It's an eerily familiar scenario.
A senior struggling with health, a phone call from the nursing home - going to Emergency - my own trip to the hospital, sitting in an Emergency Department room talking with someone who is seeing things - ants on the table - and looking so frail.
When did this former heavyweight boxer and all-star athlete lose so much weight?
Pneumonia. Low oxygen count. Fever - 101. Pulse racing at above 105.
As I sat there with dad Thursday I kept thinking of all those trips with Nana, until we reached the point where I told the home to stop sending her to the hospital as the trips were doing nothing except reducing the quality of her life.
As for dad, by last night he was in a room, at least for the weekend, stable, fever down, but still not thinking straight, still looking so frail. I stopped by to see him after school, found that the home had not sent his teeth or his glasses, so I drove to the home to pick them up and returned to the hospital. The man should at least be able to eat and watch television.
I asked about his condition. His nurse, who was basically seeing him for the first time, did not know, didn't even know if he could receive pain medication for his arthritis - even though he'd been on pain abatement medication for years.
The nurse never came back, so I went to the desk. No one knew anything. Ask his nurse, they said. His nurse walked past me into a room behind the desk. No one said anything to him. They had all stopped talking to me. Busy. I finally snapped, "Guess I don't find out," and walked away.
A few minutes later a nurse practitioner showed up to dad's room, apologized, and went over a few things - but she had no idea how long he would be there. At least the weekend. Maybe more. The doctors had left no notes. She searched through the documents for my name and phone number - I'm his proxy. No luck. No sign of the papers that had been with him in the Emergency Room, so she had to take down contact details.
Then the nurse came back and apologized. I did too for my sarcastic tone.
Dad lay in the bed. I'm not sure how much of this he understood. He wanted to be back at the home. He wanted to play bingo, and cards. He was going to miss the communion service. He started talking like he was in the home. Where's my dresser, I want a chocolate. I reminded him he was in the hospital. He looked at me, puzzled for a second, then said he knew he was in the hospital.
I kept thinking of those last months with Nana.