The Call

I woke up about 7:00 am this morning to a phone call.

It was from my father, one of the people in the world that I do my best to avoid. I don’t get along well with him in the best of times, and now events have turned him into a stressed out basket case. During the last couple weeks of recovering from my recent move/relocation/march through hell my 95 year old grandmother suffered another fall. She spent four days in the hospital and returned home. Our local hospital (which will be closed down and relocated in about a year) has been absolutely pathetic in treating and caring for it’s recent crop of prisoners. So after waiting for four hours of constant pain in the emergency room, and four days of “whenever they feel like it” local hospital care. she was not in the best of shape returning home, and after a few days of “feeling like shit mediocrity”, she took a turn for the worse.

I went by there this morning in response to the summons from my father, and found her in great pain on her bed waiting for the paramedics to arrive. She came out of her pain haze long enough to talk to me for a few minutes. She told me she loved me and my wife, told me to tell my wife Elaine good bye, and asked me to take care of my dad. My father went in and talked to her awhile, and said that he had did the best he could and that a nursing home was the only choice he had left. I could hear him crying as he told her through the closed door of the bedroom.

I stood there and watched the paramedics haul her out, the same ones that had taken her away at other times, and realized that this would probably be the last time she would ever be in the house she had lived in for some seventy years. I saw her eyes as she left the old house and realized that she knew it too. She had already said her goodbyes.

Over all, I hope like hell she dies before she gets to a nursing home. One of the reasons I bought a pistol a number of years ago was to insure that I never ended up in one.


I’m sitting here typing this now, and strangely enough I keep thinking about my emotional state as I was in the old house. I didn’t get emotional, and I didn’t break down. I just felt calm. Glacially calm. Strong emotional control has it’s strong points, I guess, and God knows I got to be good at it in times of stress. However, a few things did pop into my mind on the drive back home. In light of my grandmothers requests and comments I have some thoughts of my own…

  • How the hell is a man who hasn’t worked in twenty years, and has been an cruel, brutal, anxiety ridden mass of neurosis for twice as long going to be able to survive?
  • How can you take care of a person who despite managing to survive Vietnam, has had a depressing number of people taking care of him for years?

I have no answers to either one of these questions, and with circumstances as they are, I’d better figure out the answers damn fast. For better or worse, it’s up to me to be the grown up now. If I had to take a guess, I would say that my father will be dead in five years. I don’t think he will be able to survive this, no matter how much he may want to.

And in the end I don’t know how I feel about that.

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~ by maximkovalenko on May 6, 2003.

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