The night before vacation was rather busy. After work I ran a few errands including grocery shopping. While at the store I text my dad and asked if he had already eaten dinner. He replied he was having another “spell” and didn’t feel like eating. I took a deep breath.
His “spells” have been troublesome for some time now. People ask what they involved. All I could tell them is it appeared to be some kind of lower stomach pain. Lately it culminated in him becoming sick and cleansing whatever it was out of his system.
I thought he was being treated for them but found out during his last go-around he was not. “I guess I should mention this to my doctor during our next visit,” he mumbled.
“Um, what?” Something that takes me out of commission for hours at a time with intense pain might have been my opener.
So, while at the store, I took a deep breath because I thought I knew how the evening would go.
When I returned home, he made a couple of phone calls. “I’m doing good,” he told his friend over the phone.
After he hung up the phone I looked at him. “Liar,” I said.
“I know,” he replied in halting tones. “But I don’t want anyone to worry.”
He decided to go to bed and try to sleep it off.
I did laundry and packed getting ready for my trip the next day. Periodically, I checked on him to make sure he was okay. He appeared to be sleeping so I let him sleep. After all, sleep is the best medicine. Usually.
At about 10:30 I heard him get out of bed. He was sick.
I checked on him a few minutes later. “Do you want to go to the hospital?” That’s the question I always ask during this time of his sickness. The answer always comes back as, “No.”
“Do you want to go to the hospital?”
“I think so,” he said weakly.
Uh, that’s not how we practiced it during rehearsal.
“Oh,” I said and my heartbeat quickened. He was coherent and able to move slowly. But I would need help getting him to the car. I called my brother, RH.
“Dad wants to go to the hospital,” I explained. “I need help.”
“I’ll be right over,” RH replied.
I told my dad we were going to take him to the hospital. “Do you want to put your jeans on?” I asked.
“No,” he responded.
- He is really sick. Even after his rotator cuff surgery he couldn’t be seen in sweat pants let alone pajamas. I panicked. This is not good. Not good at all.
I went outside and pulled his car out of the garage. Then I backed into the driveway to make it easier for him to get into.
And then we waited.
RH only lives about 10 minutes away. But it felt like it took forever for him to arrive.
“Do you want me to call the ambulance?” I asked dad.
“Maybe you better,” he replied.
What? This is not how the first 100 conversations have ever gone. Not good. Not good. Not good.
RH and my sister-in-law CC pulled into the driveway and I felt a wave of relief. They helped dad to the car.
“I need a list of my medication,” dad said when he got to the car.
I ran back into the house to get the list and they left me. Which turned out to be a good thing. On my way to the hospital, CC called me and asked if I grabbed dad’s insurance card.
I turned around and went back to the house and grabbed his wallet.
When I arrived at the too familiar ER, dad was in the process of being admitted. He could barely sit in the wheel chair provided. After getting all the information needed, he was taken to a bed and given an IV. A doctor came into his room to give him an exam and we exited to the waiting room. By the time we were able to go back and see him he was sitting up and looking much better. I anticipated he would be released soon. It was a little past midnight. Work was going to be unbearable but doable. I was determined to work my remaining five hours and begin my vacation.
While the doctor was checking dad out he determined an MRI was needed. Midnight slipped to 1 which slipped to 2.
Some kind of skunk smell wafted through the halls threatening to make us all sick. The police came in dressed in their bulletproof vests. The ER sure is a happening place in the middle of the night.
Dad had an x-ray and then an MRI.
The next time we saw the doctor, he explained dad had a hernia that needed to be operated on immediately.
“But,” we hesitated, “he just had hip replacement surgery on July 8.”
That complicated things slightly. The doctor explained the necessity of the surgery. To sum up, without it, bad things could happen including death.
When you put it like that, we are all on board.
In the end, dad headed to surgery at 5:00am. We returned home to get some sleep. I climbed into bed at six.
I slept until 10 and checked on dad. He was out of surgery and doing well. He told me I should proceed with my vacation plans. I went into work for an hour and condensed 5 hours into one. Then I went back to the hospital to make sure dad was doing okay.
He really was.
“I don’t feel light headed anymore,” he said.
“You felt light headed?” I asked. “How long have you felt light headed?”
He shrugged his shoulders realizing he had said too much. “A while.”
Okay, well, I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that.
We visited for a bit. He was going to have to stay in the hospital till the next morning because his doctor was off that day. That didn’t bother him as much as the diet restriction he was on. He hadn’t had anything to eat since 1:00pm the previous day. He was hungry. But the doctor put him on a clear liquid diet for the day. He almost had a nurse willing to get him real food until she double checked the notes. Nope. No real food for him all day long.
“If I have to eat broth,” he told his nurse, “let it be the chicken broth. The beef broth was terrible. I was awful.”
“I’m sorry,” she said knowing there was nothing she could do about it. “Do you want it now?” she was trying to be helpful.
“No, if I have to eat broth all day I can wait until dinnertime.” He was so disappointed.
I could tell he was already doing much better.
Since my bags were already packed for the week, I left town after leaving the hospital. A bit of an inauspicious beginning but my birthday road trip 2014 edition was finally underway.