I sit here staring at my Daddy. I am 56 years old. He’s been in the hospital, not because he’s sick but because he fell. I asked for a neurological work up while he was in there. He has early dementia it won’t get better. It can only get worse. He’s 88 years old. He goes to work every day, at a company he owns and has operated for 50 years. He invented a machine that makes coils and toroids. I know, I know, look it up at Gormanmachine.com.
My brother came to me and was really excited and wound up. “Dad is calling his secretary a bitch. He’s not acting normal! The time has come. We have to interfere!!” I agreed to call his accountant and have a conference and see just how bad it’s become. I knew he was making some bad calls healthwise but maybe he was still on the ball moneywise. His accountant told us he’s lost almost a million dollars over the last 8 years.
I told my brother we needed a “fake” doctor’s appointment with a neurologist to get an assessment and we agreed to get him to the doctor’s to find out what was happening. On the way home I threw up out the window of the car. A few hours later I was vomiting uncontrollably and had my very first panic attack. The ambulance was called. I was admitted. I scared the piss out of my fiancé and my daughter.
My poor Fred was trying to call my oldest daughter, who is a nurse, and still sound sane and in control. “Your mother needs you right now, can you come?” he said. I was in the background yelling “Fuck That! HELP! HELP! I’m stroking out!” My blood pressure cuff read something like 220 over 110. I was totally hyperventilated and my hands and feet were locked up and I couldn’t even hold the puke bucket and I was shaking like a leaf. I knew after the accountant’s meeting my life and my Dad’s had changed forever. I was horrified.
I also felt very stupid when I found out that breathing too much put me in the hospital. Hyperventilating apparently doesn’t do a lot for you though. My EKG was superbly abnormal for 24 hours and then they finally let me go when they got the same normal reading twice in a row. I had no idea you could do this to yourself and I felt really stupid that I used up a hospital bed because of it.
As I left the hospital I learned my Dad had fallen. He’s just come out of a month’s stay at the hospital. He fell and couldn’t get up. I have his health care proxy. My brother wielded it like a sword and woosh Dad was off to a hospital where I asked for a full neurological work up. He failed.
Well I recovered and me and my in-state brothers went to work and now me and my brothers have installed a life line button and some modifications to his stairwell and stair elevator. We’ve returned him to his natural environment and for the first time ever in my memory my father has expressed a wish for my help. He doesn’t want to be alone. I’m staying over at his place at his express wish. He wants me. I can’t believe it. He’s the most independent MF I ever met.
I sit here with all the lights on because he’s partially blind and he needs them and I cry because my Daddy actually needs me and he’s for the first time grateful that I stayed overnight so that he’s not alone and believe me he’s at the same time mad as hell that he does need me. But I cry because he’s old. He’s failing. My immortal Dad will die. I hate this. I hate this. I hate this so much. He’s a grumpy, crotchety, stubborn old man that I love with all my heart because he’s also curious and daring and gave me most of my wonder at the bigness, the newness, the wonder of the world. My heart breaks.
I look at him sleeping so soundly and innocently and I see the Dad I knew at 5 years old. The one that threw me up in the air, so high, and caught me in his strong arms. The one that joked with me. The one that cared if I was brought up right and who cared if I was chaste. The one that helped me through some of my worst times and I see the face of the young competent man he was but I hear only the echo of that man and so I cry.
God I hate this.