It’s going down for real!
Last night at 1am, I was binge watching Grey’s Anatomy at 1am and happened to have my phone next to me. I have a Nest motion sensor camera in my parent’s room just in case they fall in the middle of the night. The camera turns on if there is movement in the room and pings my phone and starts recording. They are at the other end of the house in their own area and it would be impossible for me to hear them if they shouted. I saw a lot of unusual activity on the camera and then saw my mom get up and out of bed. Nothing gets my mom up once she’s asleep as she takes over-the-counter sleeping pills every night. Once I heard talking on the camera, I threw on my white furry robe and scurried downstairs.
Sure enough, my Dad was on the floor, bleeding on his new white carpet. I tried to lift him, but he said it hurt his hips, so I put pillows under his head and called 911. The CNA I hired to help me with him told me to never hesitate to call 911. She said most nurses can’t lift an adult, and they call the paramedics.
So many thoughts were running through my head: is this the right place for him? If I can’t even lift him, would he be better off living somewhere with big musclemen nurses or people who are trained for this? Can I do this? I can’t do this! Of course I can do this, because the thought of my beloved father living in a place where he doesn’t know the people is completely out of the question. I pulled myself together and handled the situation. I caressed his head and tried to make him feel better with jokes. I asked my Mom to get me some towels for his bleeding, but she can’t hear and just stared at me so I ran back and forth tending to his wounds.
The paramedics and firefighters showed up, at least one was the same paramedic who took him to the hospital in an ambulance when he first arrived at my house three weeks ago.
They checked him out, bandaged his cuts and scrapes and helped him up. He was mad about all the hoopla, my Dad is a proud and stubborn man who doesn’t like to be helped. He walks hunched over and has to flip his feet to walk. He’s very unstable, but he refuses to use a wheelchair or the very nice expensive walker my nephew gave him. He actually falls often, and surprisingly has never broken a bone. He’s also in extreme pain at all times, especially in his shoulders and arms. He has advanced CLL, a form of chronic leukemia. It’s in his bones. It’s really hard to pick him up when he falls because he can’t stand on his feet, can’t move his knees and hips very well, and you can’t pull him by the arms because of the pain. I usually lift him under his arms around his torso.
So in a huff, my Dad walked as quickly as he could around the room to show the paramedics he was fine. He decided to sit on the arm of the recliner I had bought him. This didn’t work at all and he toppled over sideways into the chair so he was lying sideways like a lounge singer on a piano. They had to help him to a sitting position.
They asked if he was ok and he told his favorite story, the one where he is on his ship in the Navy and sees the prettiest girl he ever saw standing on the pier. He says he told his commanding officer that’s the girl he was going to marry. With tears in his eyes, he pointed at my mom, who was giggling with her hand over her mouth and her hair sticking out in every direction. The paramedics and firefighters are so so awesome, so compassionate and kind. My Dad was a paramedic and a cop for a while, and they speak his language.
I ran upstairs to throw on a skirt and tank top, clipped back my hair and yes, put on my armour–ruby red lipstick. I tried to get my Dad to slip on his Ugg boots but he wanted his sneakers so I got on my knees and helped him get them on. The paramedics helped him into my ridiculously huge car, and I drove him to the hospital at 1am with him complaining at whole way. By 2am, we were heading home. I put him to bed with his cane next to him incase he needed to get up. I went upstairs to watch Grey’s Anatomy until I could fall asleep. I couldn’t stop shaking.
The song Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol came on, and finally, I wept myself to sleep.