Remember back in the elementary days when you started arguing with someone how it would invariably come back to whose dad was tougher.

“Yeah, well, my dad is gonna come over and beat up your dad.”

I don’t remember being that kid.

I mean, I didn’t get into too many fights as a kid.

I can remember only a couple — one with Travis Ellis over a marble or something. Maybe it was a girl.

And the other time I remember getting beat up by a Dekerlegand. I don’t remember if it was Chris or Kevin.

Most of the time when I got into a confrontation, I usually joked my way out of it.

I’m pretty sure I never dragged my dad into it.

And it’s not because I didn’t think he was capable. I never questioned my dad’s toughness growing up.

I was just always told, by him, that he wasn’t a fighter.

“I’m a lover, not a fighter.” He would tell me. In fact, he said that’s how he got mom.

While my mom’s brothers were involved in a fight with some fellas from Port Barre, my dad swooped in and worked his charm on my mom.

I’m sure my dad did some fighting when he was younger, but he was probably more like me, the guy who everybody liked just enough to not mess with them.

This past week, though, I realized that my dad wasn’t completely honest with me.

Turns out, he’s more than just a lover.

Two weeks ago, he had surgery on his neck to repair some nerve damage. A few hours later, doctors were doing everything in their power to resuscitate him after he suffered a massive heart attack.

At one point during the weekend (it’s all a blur now), the cardiologist said his heart was barely hanging on and the next 24 hours of his (and our) life would be critical.

I listened with numbness coursing through every limb of my body as she talked about heart pumps and IV drips and quality of life.

It was a sleepless night for all of us as we spent most of the night praying for something positive to happen.

And it did. By the next morning, his blood pressure was holding pretty steady. His heart rate was maintaining a good rhythm. The color in his face was coming back.

That next week we watched as his heart got stronger and stronger, to the point where the cardiologist said he no longer needed the heart pump to keep him going. Soon after, the medicine stopped flowing through his IV.

It was just in time, too, as his grandbabies were heading in from Pensacola to see their Pampy. When he gets around to talking, I’ll ask him if that’s what helped him push over that big hurdle.

By the time the boys and Timberly got to town, he was looking so much better. In fact, I had sent Timberly a picture of him the day before, just so they’d know what they were dealing with, to prepare the boys. But by the time they got there, he looked like the old Pampy they knew and loved.

Now, 14 days after his two near-fatal heart attacks and 12 days after the doctor said the next 24 hours of his life would be critical, Pampy is in stable condition in the spinal care unit at Michael Debakey VA Hospital in Houston.

He’s making progress every day and defying science. He’s starting to feel more and more each day, and I still believe he WILL walk out of that hospital.

Yesterday, he told my mom and brother that he will beat this. And I believe him.

See, he’s a fighter after all.

And my dad may not be able to beat up your dad, but he will beat this.

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