I had just written a blog post about living without regrets and that things can change in a moment.
That same evening, the hospital tracked me down and left a voicemail that a man with my father’s name was in the neuro ICU of the region’s largest teaching hospital. If I was this man’s family, could I contact them. If I didn’t know this man, just disregard this message.
My heart sank and raced at the same time. My dad is in the neuro ICU in the city hospital an hour away from my dad’s home. I knew it must be serious.
This is the man who, at age 79, put a new roof on his house. Who, just last year, was moving tons of rock with a backhoe.
When our senior parents are doing well, it’s very easy to forget how old they are and assume that they will continue doing well. Although, in the back of my mind, I have played this very scenario out many times. My dad lives alone and he might have a medical emergency where they would need to track me down because he couldn’t speak for himself. And, that’s exactly what happened.
Yet, I was shocked when it did. I just couldn’t believe that my dad had had a stroke. My Dad?!
It’s been seven years since I’ve been in the hospital “system” and that long since I’ve been a caregiver. It looks like now is the time to dust off those skills I’ve written about and put them into action.
If anything, this experience will be a testing ground for what I’ve learned in the past and what might be useful for all of us living and dealing with the after-effects of our loved ones’ medical emergencies.
I’m off to morning rounds to meet my father’s Attending Physician for the first time and learn more about what happened.
So begins the Dad Diaries.