Hey ya'll...here is Chapter Two of the book I'm writing. I am just hoping it can help others by hearing about my experiences.
Stalled Out, A Blessing In Disguise
Chapter Two: Home Comes To The Run Away
After driving all night and taking turns at the wheel my mother, brother, sister and I rolled into Ocala, Florida around ten in the morning. We walked quickly into the hospital where my father had been admitted and asked a young lady at the front desk, “Where is the ICU?”
The clerk pointed us to the nearest elevator and explained how to follow the maze of twisted hallways that in our panic and exhaustion seemed to have too many turns in it to remember where she had said to turn left, go right or just keep walking straight. But after several “discussions” between ourselves our exhaustion had over taken us and we were lost, but a kind nurse seeing the panic on our faces walked with us through the halls guiding us to the unit.
We quietly walked in looking to find my father in hopes he would just jump right up and this whole situation had been a bad dream or a misunderstanding with his maid. But no, there he was lying in a bed with all types of machines strapped to him. He looked up and smiled, “Hey.”
“Hey Bob, what have you done to yourself now?” mom asked him.
Dad frowned and looked up at mom and said, “Well Connie, I figured I hadn’t seen my good friends at Ocala General in a while so I checked myself in for a visit. You know how much I love their voluptuous nurses and their engaging wit.”
Mom laughed softly and placed her hand on my dad’s face and said, “Now that’s my Bob.”
As we all found a place to sit down in his room a male nurse walked in and asked, “Are you his family?”
“Yes, I’m Brian, this is Roger, our sister Charlotte, and our mother Connie.” My brother answered.
“Is this all of your children?” the nurse asked my dad.
“That’s what the DNA tests I was forced to take by the court verified.” My dad replied.
The nurse smile and said he would go get the doctor to explain to us what the situation was with our father. When the cardiologist came in a few minutes later he asked, “Which one of you is…..Roger?”
“I am. Why?” I asked.
“You’re listed as the executor of your father’s living will and if the surgery we have planned doesn’t go correctly, and that is a possibility with your father’s deteriorating health, you’ll have to make the decision if and when we will have to cut off his life support.” The doctor said matter-of-factly.
I just sat there for a second thinking, “How in the Hell did it get to this point, where I would have to make the decision to end my father’s life. Why me? Wasn’t there some doctor or a board or someone else who made these decisions?” I looked over at my dad and said, “Why me dad?”
“Because I know Brian would unplug me from the wall himself without thinking twice, you have always been a wus and don’t have the onions to do it right away. I want at least a fighting chance.” He laughed.
I just sat there thinking his sarcasm and insults were completely inappropriate for what I was feeling. But I answered back, “Ok, Doc. Whatever we have to do.”
The doctor explained to us that due to my father’s heavy drinking he had damaged his heart beyond repair. They were planning on putting a pace maker in and giving him some drugs but that may only extend his life by six months to a year, he was going to die soon. My stomach turned as the doctor quickly turned on his heel and walked away like he just had an idol conversation. I thought, how cold. I had just driven across the country all night, I was exhausted, panicked, hungry and sick to my stomach and he just drops that bomb shell like la-de-da and walks out. I would have given anything to have seen Robin Williams walk in with a clown nose on reprising his role as Patch Adams at that point.
We all decided mom and I would take the first watch with dad while Brian and Charlotte went to dad’s house to get some rest, shower and eat. I was half asleep in the recliner chair in my dad’s ICU room while my mom sat next to dad tentatively helping him drink water through a straw and wiping his brow with a cloth as the medications he was on were making him sweat. That is about the time the shift change at the hospital happened and a new nurse came on duty. She walked in and said, “Oh….hello Bob. I see you have company. And who are you?” she asked my mom.
“I’m his wife.” She replied.
“Oh, and you live here in Ocala then?”
“No. I live in Ashtabula, Ohio.” Mom smiled.
“Ohhhhhh….”the nurse’s eyes grew larger.
“Yeah, Bob here ran away from home. So we have come to claim him.” My mom replied.
My dad shot her a dirty look and muttered, “Damn it Connie.”
About a day later I was resting at my dad’s house with Brian and Charlotte. We had been camping out at the hospital and just needed some time to decompress in surroundings that were familiar to us. Dad’s house wasn’t home to us but it was filled with memories of him. Dad’s place was certainly a seasoned man’s bachelor pad. It was lined with a huge stereo system, an enclosed swimming pool, a slate pool table, big screen televisions, a cabinet full of guns, a Cadillac in the garage, a bass boat in the driveway and keys to his 40 foot boat hanging on the fully stocked refrigerator but he had no one to share it with. It still breaks my heart to this day to think about how lonely my daddy was all by himself for all those years.
As we were watching HBO the house phone rang, it was mom. She said, “You better get here now. They are going to take your dad into surgery two hours early.”
“What?! They told us early this afternoon! What is it, 10:30? Those idiots! We’re getting in the car right now!” I said.
We rushed to the hospital but it was too late. Our father had been taken into surgery. I was so mad, I wasn’t allowed the opportunity to say goodbye if the outcome became the worst. I was about to go off on a nurse when my mom gently grabbed my arm and said in my ear, “Roger, they had to take him in early. His heart was failing. They are trying to save him. Let’s go outside I need a cigarette anyway.”
We found a warm bench outside in the Florida sun where mom was allowed to light up her Winston Light. She then explained as she pulled in her first few drags, “When the doctors told your dad about his heart starting to fail he became really scared and agreed to emergency surgery. I was with him as they pushed his bed down the hall to the operating room,” she paused “and just before he went in he grabbed my hand and he said, ‘Ah Connie…I should have never run away from home.’”
I started to sob.
Read Chapter One - Click Here