5 Hours in the ER
I have written about my Dad on a couple of earlier occasions (most recently, here ). Dad is 82, a full time resident of a nursing home. and his health is deteriorating. Yesterday, my phone alerted me to a call from the nursing home. Dad was being transported to the ER for assessment following a fall he had in his room. (He told me that he was trying t make up his bed – Dad is supposed to call for help transferring from the bed to his wheelchair, so making the bed is a big no-no).
Dad’s short term memory is Dory-sized (if you don’t know who Dory is, shame on you…Finding Nemo and soon, Finding Dory), so all other challenges are magnified. Dad “knows” he is not supposed to try to stand on his own. Dad “knows” that he is physically weak. Dad “knows” he is supposed to stop and think before taking any action. Dad “knows” he is supposed to call for help, but he doesn’t want to “be a bother.”
I understand that. It breaks my heart to have to talk with him about it, because I know he will forget the conversation before I leave the room. Oh yeah, that literally happens. I know that Dad doesn’t want to do anything that could cause him to fall. He doesn’t want to be a bother, and trust me, falling and then needing a trip to the ER qualifies as a “bother” in Dad’s book.
Spending Sunday afternoon/evening at the ER is certainly no fun. Watching my Dad struggle to put on his game face is heart-wrenching. Watching my Dad physically deteriorate is one of the hardest things I have had to do.
I will do whatever it takes for my Dad, because he has always done the same for me. I will do whatever it takes for my Dad because that is what Christian living is about. I will do whatever it takes for my Dad because I love him. I will do whatever it takes for my Dad, because I love Jesus.
Dad’s most recent fall, like all of his previous falls (too numerous to remember now), did not result in any broken bones. This time, he did not get a concussion, stitches, or even any bruises. The CT scan of his head and upper back came back fine. No UTI (he’s had two of them in the past month, but none at the moment).
Our time together in the ER yesterday (Feb. 21st) was lengthy (they were seriously busy…almost a “code black” kind of busy), but I got to spend it with my Dad. I watched him doze. We joked with each other. We talked seriously about Peggy and the kids & grandkids. Dad might not remember the conversation, but he always asks about them. At the end of our five hour ER visit, Dad thanked me for coming to be with him. That brought tears to my eyes. I simply responded with, “Dad, I love you.” To which he replied, “I love you, too.” My day was made. Of course, as I was leaving him to go home, he said (as always), “give my love to Peggy.” THAT, my friends makes me happier than you could ever know.
Whatever stage of life you are currently in, whatever the nature of your relationship with parents, etc., may I please urge you to make the most of the time you have with them. Do not take them for granted. Cherish the time you can spend with them. Even in the ER. Especially there.
P.S. After I wrote this, and obviously before I published it, I got another call regarding another fall Dad had this evening, meaning he had already long forgotten my admonition this afternoon to NOT try to stand on his own. No ER trip necessary this time. Sigh.