Wednesday, April 16, 2008

How to reassure the practically Immortal they are not dead

In the following imagine that the ornery old man who is my father is speaking like Ricky Ricardo...I did tell you I was reared by Lucy and Ricky, right? Okay, so as you read, remember the accent. And that particular little whine that latins have when they are trying to get a point across...

Okay, it's been an exhausting week, and it's only Thursday. I can't imagine what my sister Toni is feeling...like death warmed over would be my guess. It all started Monday...I was giving the kitten (which we call Baby because he's not old enough to tell us his name yet) his 9 AM feeding when the phone rang. So I'm balancing kitten and milk filled syringe and a phone (of course the Baby takes umbrage at the audacity of anyone trying to interfere with the feeding he has anticipated for two hours and promptly pees on me.) It's my younger sister Toni and she's saying "well this is what's happening, I'm on my way down to Cheraw (she lives in Columbia which is not exactly just down the block) because Crystal (our cousin) has Daddy and is on the way to the hospital ER with him." I drew a blank for a minute and then I said WHAT? Toni wasn't sure exactly what was wrong but said our sister Holly had been down on Saturday and she had felt something just didn't seem right. Did I mention that our father is 92 years old? Did I mention that he is still extremely clear headed and healthy and practicing medicine? I didn't? Well, he is and he is. He has been practicing medicine in this county for about 45 years. He is never sick. He is the healthiest man I know, and we decided long ago that he would outlive us all. So I get everything here settled, tell Mac where I'm headed and get to the hospital pretty closely behind Toni. I go in search of my father and am taken to the cubicle where he is resting and find him, Toni and Crystal. He is in agony, terrible pain, he tells me . He announces to me immediately "Sandi, help me they're killing me". Doctor's are notorious for making absolutely awful patients. "Daddy, they're not killing you...what's wrong?" He tells me he doesn't know, but it's a terrible pain and he's been feeling not quite himself for about 2 weeks. We later find it's been more like 2 months, but we were in no position to know this. I've often heard that animals hide their illnesses and pain in a manner of self defense. I liken Daddy to the old War Horse who refuses to relinquish control of his gait to any young whippersnapper with his hands on the reins. So they give him pain medication, determine he has a bowel infection and prepare him to see the surgeon. Luckily the pain medication doesn't let that information about possible surgery through or he would have bolted. We're consoling him and answering health questions asked by Chuck, the Charge Nurse who asks "Doctor, when did you retire?" The three of us, (Toni, Crystal, me) turned to look at him as if he had lost his mind. Daddy looks at him as if he is just slightly soft in the head. "I am not retired, I still work everyday." Chuck looks at us and says "really?" as though this doddering old man can't possibly still be at the art of medicine. We all nod as one. Sudden respect from the young Charge Nurse who is now hoping to be half this healthy when he is in his nineties. Daddy is moaning in pain as Chuck begins asking questions. High blood pressure? no Heart disease? No Diabetes? No And on and on and he is in disbelief. "Look Chuck," I said, "except for the excruciating pain he's in right now, he's in better shape than we are, and probably in better shape than you are." The Surgeon eventually sees him, and he is scheduled for surgery at 7:30 AM the next morning. They put him on fluids and and antibiotics and he is settled in, and it's clear that the pain meds are not touching the depth of it. In between moans of agony he is introducing us as "my babies " to the nurses and doctors that are in and out. And we stand there around his bed, this group of old babies, to console him. He begs me to stand at the OR door and make sure they don't kill him. "Don't leave me Sandi," he pleads. I assure him I'm not going anywhere, and he is satisfied. He is pleased that Toni is staying for the duration and seems happy that we will protect him from any harm.
He announces to anyone who will listen that he is dying. We assure him he is not dying, that he's too ornery to die and try to get him calm. In between demanding to know why he didn't call us when he first noticed that he was sick and telling him that no one was trying to kill him my sister Toni (who I plan to nominate for Sainthood while the Pope is here) was on the phone notifying our brother and other sisters of the situation. Finally at about 4:30 PM the pain meds had seemed to be working a bit better when Toni's husband Tim called. Toni asked Daddy if he wanted to speak to Tim and of course he did. He took the phone and said "Tim, come here and get me they're trying to kill me". We refused him any telephone contact after that. Did I mention it was a rough week? Well, it certainly doesn't improve. The 7:30 surgery isn't done till after 1 pm the following day. I at least have the luxury of going to my home and getting some rest (seems poor health is an advantage after all) while Toni has become one of the walking wounded having had no sleep (or not much at any rate) trying to care for the Nominee (World's Worst Patient) 24/7. Sister Nikki arrives and tries to take over the duties Toni and I have been handling for two days and we swat her away like an annoying mosquito, relegating her to the bedside to hold his hand and let us Grownups handle this. She is twenty years younger than I am and ten years younger than Toni. We can be forgiven for treating her like the child she is. Toni and I give each other glances when Nikki tries to take over. She hasn't figured out that she can not win against the powerful front we become. Finally the surgery is over and Daddy is back in his room. When he opens his eyes and sees all of us, brother Michael has now joined the group, he asks quite innocently, 'I am alive? Not dead?" Michael once again consoles him with the now popular words of "no Daddy, you're not dead...you're to ornery to die." It's the dark humor of the Douglas Clan that gets us through. But in my heart I know that when the Angel of Death arrives, he's going to have his hands full...our father will not go gently into that good night.

45 comments:

smilnsigh said...

Hooray for your Dad! His fighting spirit, I mean. His actions can be... mmmmmm... problematic, hu? -grin-

Being incapacited probably hurt as much, as the pain itself. -sigh-

M-N

Abbie said...

Is this post supposed to be humourous? Because I smiled. A little. Okay, a lot.
Especially at when the Angel of Death arrives, he's going to have his hands full...our father will not go gently into that good night

And dad's obnoxious questioning of knowing he'd outlive you all by asking if he was dead yet...as if y'all came to greet him into the pearly gates...lol

I'm glad he's okay. Bless his heart.

JanaBanana said...

Well Im glad to see he got the help he needed... what did it end up being? Why the surgery?

Kari emailed me last night about Jodie's baby girl :) How exciting! My turn, My turn!

Bax said...

First I have to tell you how blessed you are to have such a close and loving family to rally around your father in his hour of need! I'm so impressed by his health and vigor!! He's in my prayers for a quick recovery! You are all such good kids! Hugs to you all!

Jan

Country Cottage Chic said...

Hope Daddy is back up & running very soon!

Lee said...

Praise God for giving your dad spunk and a large and loving family. Plus the stamina to survive such lengthy surgery at his age.

Amen!

Toni said...

As sister Toni, I laughed to the very end upon reading how we had to relegate Nikki to Daddy's bedside and let us Grownups handle the situation! So true!

Mima said...

He sounds like an amazing man, how wonderful to still be practising the medicine that he loves at such a great age! So glad that he is now doing better, it must have been such a shock to you all as he has always been so healthy.

I hope that his recovery isn't too difficult for him, and for you as his carers!

Jeanne said...

{{HUGS}} please keep us updated. It's so hard when the folks get older.

Jamie Dawn said...

What a guy!!! I had fun reading this. Maybe I shouldn't have had fun at your dad's expense, but YOU are the one who wrote this funny post.
Your dad sounds a lot like my son. He is rarely sick, but when he is, he is the sickest that any person has ever been.

david mcmahon said...

He sounds like a true immortal, Sandi. There should be more like him!

Suburbia said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting at my place!

joan said...

I think you Dad sounds like a gem. I was wondering where you were this week. I'm sorry you had to go through all of this but it sounds like you Dad has a fighting spirit. Get some rest and take care. I'll keep your Dad in my prayers.

Seamus said...

I have to admire anyone with that much will to be so active at 92 - ornery or not!
Hope all goes smoothly for your dad Sandi.

justabeachkat said...

Oh man would I love to meet your Daddy! He sounds like a "hoot" and I mean that in the nicest way. Long live the "hoots" of the world! I'll pray for a speedy recovery for your Dad and some rest for you and your siblings.

Hugs!
Kat

Brenda said...

wow girl you have been busy. Im glad dad is better. Id rather have him doctor me than some of these new ones.I think all men are babies when sick shhh I didn't say that.
Get your rest and don't you get down girl.
Hugs, Brenda

Jeni said...

What a great story and what an incredible man your father must be. Too funny though that he insisted everyone was trying to kill him. Hope he keeps on the healing track now too!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Your dad is an inspiration! What a marvelous tale and I certainly hope that things settle down so you don't have too much more material this week. I'm saying a prayer for you and yours. How wonderful that you're nominating your sis for sainthood while the Pope is here; I think that you're already saints. Take care, sweet Sandi!

Mary Isabella said...

I am so glad he is doing better. Wow you did have a week. Wishing you a beautiful weekend...Mary

Merisi said...

Your dad reminds me so much of my children's wonderful pediatrician, who still is a bit younger, but I am sure will practice medicine until his very last hour.
I wish you all the very best!

Merisi said...

I read elsewhere that you were thinking about getting a camera.
Yes, pleeease do, I want to see more pictures from your beeeeautiful part of the world! :-)

Momma said...

I am in awe! Your family has had a tough week, but it looks as though the sun is coming out. All the best to your father as he mends.

Peace - D

P.S. - Found you via David.

Hilary said...

He sure sounds like a force to be reckoned with. I wish him a full and speedy recovery.

SandyCarlson said...

The feisty spirit can chase away death! I hope your dad is recovered soon and that you all get to rest and recoop (as my gram used to say).

Pam said...

What a wonderful soul your dad has! What an inspiration.

I hope he has a speedy recovery and is back practicing medicine soon!

Maggie May said...

I hope I have such a strong spirit when I get really old. Good for him.
I came over from David's.

Angie(quillysilly) said...

OK..so I must officialy be addicted to your blog! I just sat here for an hour and read back through your older posts. Amazing....I trust that your Dad is recovering nicely and I will be back to check on how is doing! Have a great day...Angie

Akelamalu said...

Wahay for your Dad! My Dad (83)had a hip replacement last November and is back gardening - you can't keep an old dog down can you!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Came via David - your dad sounds absolutely remarkable, an amazing example of life.

Crystal Jigsaw

singleton said...

For a helluva week, you've journaled it in fabulous color....just the way he would want the story to be told, I'm sure! Amazing! Congrats to you all! And cheers to Dad!

Daryl E said...

Oh Sandi! Oy and Vey. Its a mixed blessing but a blessing indeed to have your father in such good shape that he would withstand the surgery ... I hope his convalescence is pain-free for all you and your sisters. I have no doubt he will be quite a handfull!

David sent me!

marye said...

so hard to watch parents go through health things, I know. Yay for him. and count this time as precious. :)

Mary said...

dear Sandi
hope your father is feeling better and will make a speedy recovery Love from us all Mary

Terri and Bob said...

Wow. I hope to hear from you soon about your dad... he sounds like someone I would like to know.

Uncle Joe said...

Thanks for the visit today!

sybil law said...

Aw, that is a great story! Congrats on the win, too!
Glad your dad is on the mend and I hope this week goes much smoother for you!

Stacey said...

Somehow I think your daddy and I would get along just fine! I don't think many look onto the elderly and notice they have a sense of humor that could rival any of ours--not that your daddy is elderly, something tells me he is NOT! What a delight.

Thank you for the great story...and thank you for coming over and lifting my spirits a little as well. You are right, David is great, I enjoy his work very much!

NeereAnDear said...

I have to say... that even through all the rough you find the humor... your story is heartwarming... and picturing your dad with all that spunk made it all the more poignant...

I only hope that since I am an ornery little bugger .. that I can be quite as fighting mad as he is

HUGS
JO

Jo Beaufoix said...

So glad he's alright, and what an amazing man. I hope I'm a feisty old person rather than delicate. I plan to be. :)

Sandy said...

I pray your Dad will be up and at 'em very, very soon!

Jeff B said...

You gotta love honery old guys like that! (I do mean that respectfully)

Hope he's doing better now.

CrazyCath said...

What an amazing guy! And what an amazing team you and your sister make - a bit like your dad I'd say!

Hope he recovers soon. Over from David's. Great blog.

Cowgirl said...

wow, wow & wow, Sandi! Firstly for your amazing Dad, what an inspiration! And secondly for all you "babies" who must have been doin' it tough the lot of you!

Hope he is back on the right side of the medical blanket so to speak quick-smart.

xx

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Oh My! Sandi, I spent this entire post, worrying, then laughing, then worrying then laughing. Your dad sounds like an amazing man. And I totally understand the whole - olders sisters vs younger sisters thing! I am glad that your dad did well during surgery (of course,even I expected that he would at this point!). Give him a hug from me..
xo
Penny

indicaspecies said...

Such a beautiful write-up! Truly well deserving of the POTD. Glad to know the Immortal is fine. :)