My dad went in the hospital last Friday. He's had health problems and things haven't been good the last few weeks; diarrhea, weakness, and infection in his left leg. He's been huffing and puffing, can't breath well, and passed out in the kitchen Friday afternoon while I was still at work. An ambulance came and took him down to Dover, where they determined he had an irregular heartbeat (why he passed out), COPD ( the huffing), and that swollen leg needed antibiotics.
Being self-centered the whole thing made me feel guilty, as it should. I'd been looking at my dad a lot lately, and noticing the muscle mass he's lost in his arms, the way one leg or the other is swollen, the look in his eyes. I had to bring up the diarrhea when he was talking to the doctor; he doesn't want to talk about his accidents. Or the fact that we've had to help him stand, to get up from the toilet. I didn't call, but that had me worried all yesterday, the thought that he'd be stuck in the bathroom all day.
But when I got home, mom and dad weren't there, the kitchen table was pulled out from against the wall, and there was a little blood on the floor. Dad had fainted, had hit his arm and bled a little (he's on coumadin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warfarin), a blood thinner), and that was where he was when the paramedics came for him. Mom didn't have time for a note, I finally got a hold of her on her cell phone and learned all this.I drove down with that blankness that isn't calm, with jags of emotion. Didn't get in an accident or lose it, but it was bad. Wandered through that maze of a hospital complex until I found the ER. I just wandered around and I was about to ask after my dad, Thomas Cleaver, when I saw my Mom in one of the rooms, with my Dad. He wasn't comfortable, but he wasn't dead. That's a big deal. It didn't register, that possibility, until just that moment.