“Your mom’s having a really bad day. I could barely wake her up, she refuses to eat or take her medicine. I told her to go get dressed and she came back with two pairs of pants and no blouse. I had to dress her because she didn’t remember how to do it herself.” ………. “I hate to bother you, but I think I need to go to the hospital. I keep getting really dizzy and I almost fell. And I think my blood pressure machine is not working cause it won’t register.” ………. “I told your mom to go get ready for bed. She asked me to go with her because she didn’t know what to do.” ………. “This is Lifeline. Your mother has fallen and we can’t reach your father.” ………. “I’ve been having chest pains since yesterday and my arm hurts. I think I need to go to the hospital.” ………. 1:00 a.m. - “This is Lifeline. Your mother has fallen and your father cannot get her up. He asked that you go over and help.” ………. “Where are you? Your mother is having severe stomach pains and wants to go to the emergency room.”– these are just a few of the phone calls I’ve received in the last couple of months.
I can’t say 2013 is off to a great start. Dad has had two hospital stays, one for dehydration and one for chest pains. The blood pressure machine wasn’t broken as he thought, his blood pressure was just too high for it to register. He had an angioplasty and thankfully only one small blockage was found near the stent he already has. It is being treated with medication.
Mom was hospitalized for several days with an obstruction in her colon. During that stay she was given morphine. She was unresponsive and completely out of it for days afterwards. She has not been the same since. Her good days are fewer and bad days more severe. The middle of the night phone call from Lifeline about her fall resulted in a black eye, swollen cheek and half of her face a deep purple-black color radiating down her neck.
And I anticipate a trip to the hospital with Uncle C this evening. If not tonight, soon. He’s been once this year, but has already warned us that he thinks he may need to go tonight. Of course, he always waits until the middle of the night. I guess he wakes up struggling to breath and is frightened. I would be too. I’m just waiting for the middle of the night phone call that is sure to come.
Then there was the phone call from my dermatologist’s office at 5:40 one evening … “This is Dr. R’s office. The spot removed from your back was a basal cell carcinoma. We need to schedule an appointment to have it removed.” My dermatologist had assured me that the bright red spot that seemed to have appeared overnight was nothing to worry about. Not my luck!
Is it no wonder that I’ve come to dread the ringing of that damn phone? I feel a sense of panic every time my father’s number appears. I freeze. I stop everything. I answer it no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s as innocent as, “I just wanted to see if you won your tennis match.” Yet still I my heart skips a beat and I can’t help that feeling of doom. I keep telling myself, “This too shall pass”, but in actuality, probably not for quite a while. So for now, I live in fear of that ringing phone.