My Dad

Better Half and I had the most wondrous afternoon. It was a total pleasure waking up late, without a care in the world in regard to schedules. The only solemn shadow was a fair bit of miserable news from Colorado.

I woke up to find that Better Half had already prepared the celery and onion for the stuffing mixture, and had toasted all the bread. It was a simple matter of combining everything together (with five dogs desperately hoping we would accidentally drop morsels) and getting the capon washed and loaded. Our other side dishes were quick to make, and we opted to put work on them off until later that day.

We had just settled down for a quick game of cribbage when the phone rang. I was not expecting any calls today, and so I was rather surprised to hear my Mum’s voice echoing through my Dad’s business cell phone. (They had gone to Sonja’s house for the holiday, and were not due home until much later on.)

“Dad’s in the hospital,” she said, and it took a fair bit of questioning to sort everything out.

Apparently, after the dinner, he had missed a step while carrying two loaded platters of food to their friends’ kitchen. He fell forward, smacking the countertop headfirst, which shattered the porcelain plate, lacerating himself in the process. First of all, my Dad is as cute as a button, and the thought of him incapacitated in any fashion sends chills down my spine. At this point, the news was that he had cut his hand and face.

That was bad news Round One.

Round Two: he did not just “cut” his hand and face. The porcelain severed a nerve and tendon in his left hand (his dominant hand, and the very one he had recently has surgery on!) In addition, they had to remove bits of china from his face. One of the guests, who had EMT training, helped to stabilize my Dad (who is prone to going into shock over the sight of blood), and their friends called 911. The paramedics and firemen walked in to view a scene of absolute gore: a nearly full plate of turkey scattered all about the kitchen floor and blood everywhere. They assessed the situation and transported Dad to Penrose in an ambulance. Sonya drove their car so my Mum, who has panic attacks in traffic, could be with him.

My father is a noble man, and I think that his pride was the worst casualty of the evening up until that point. We are very well mannered as a rule, and I could almost visualize him apologizing for ruining a cherished china plate (and for making a mess on the tile) as he lay on the floor. I certainly know that he felt terrible for it, and rather embarrassed. He tired to make light of the situation by offering a polite laugh about “never thinking he’d spend the afternoon laying on their friends’ floor”, or something like that, according to Mum. At the hospital, he also asked how long it would be before they would discharge him, as he really had hoped to have dessert.

Round Three: (our dinner is over by now, and we are eating our pie) The surgeon attending to Dad has urged him to call Dr. Bach ASAP, as the damage to the hand is extensive. Dad went through two hours of suturing, both to his face and hand, under local anesthetic. They removed the porcelain from his face, and reattached the flap of his nostril where it had been severed at the septum (that is the middle of your nose, where it attaches right above your lip.) He also had lacerated the inside of his mouth (no broken teeth), and those wounds needed to be addressed. His cheekbone is intact, but his face is terribly bruised. They placed a temporary cast and Ace bandage on the hand, and Dad needs to return to Penrose tomorrow so that the Attending can reevaluate the sutured areas; there is concern of blood supply to the torn nostril.

I am stressed. I would fly in to Colorado Springs in a heartbeat, but booking a flight would be near impossible as there is nothing convenient for them. My father is 71, and still works, and they have only a few vacation days left. My mother can not drive in traffic (she is a road hazard, in my opinion), and if he has to undergo surgery, they will have to rely upon cabs or friends.

A very large part of me wants nothing more than to get in my car, drive to CO, and load all their possessions into a U-haul. There is no reason on God’s green earth as to why they can not move in with us, other than their protest of “not wanting to be a burden to us.” My frustration at this situation goes beyond simply “not being able to help”. They are clinging to “proper”. PROPER, do you hear me? They must have a separate office for my mother, who is a writer. They must have a separate TV room, as TVs do not belong in the parlor. They must have a parlor. They must have this, they must have that – and my father, at the age of 71, is busting his balls to make certain they have things set properly.

I will keep you updated, Dear Readers. Should you not hear from me for a few days, it is because I am in Colorado.

Please forgive the lack of usual polish to this entry.

4 responded with...:

Anonymous said...

Toni, praying for your dad and praying that your parents will reconsider and rethink their living situation. It's not like they are old old but at some point it would be nice to just sit back and enjoy life. I know you want that for them. Somehow I think CO is in your immediately future. Be well.

Deb said...

Oh your poor, poor Dad! I can So relate to all of this... my Mom (84) has also had several major falls with multiple broken bones and lacerations. They too are of the generation that feels they can take care of themselves with no outside help. It is INCREDIBLY frustrating for us children to have to honor their wishes and let them live their lives the way they wish, even though it has become a bad situation. Your poor Dad has had such extensive injuries... my heart goes out to him and your Mom, who I'm sure must be totally distressed. I hope things go as smoothly as possible for him and that he can begin his recovery. Healing thoughts are flying his way from Massachusetts!

Anonymous said...

omg. omg. that's...terrible. and unexpected.
i hope, pray, that he gets well soon.

Roadchick said...

Thoughts & prayers are with you & your family.