From Cleveland to Syracuse
December 30-31, 2010
4:55 pm text Phil: Dad has taken a bad turn, kidneys shut down.
4:56 pm text Me: Oh, dear! I’m so sorry.
4:57 pm text Me: What can I do to help you?
5:00 pm text Phil: Not much to do. Heading home now, hoping to get there in time.
5:01 pm text Me: I’ll pray…
5:01 pm text Me: You flying or driving?
5:07 pm text Phil: Driving. Holiday. No flights.
5:08 pm text Me: Eep.
5:08 pm text Me: Alone?
5:20 pm text Me: Please drive really fast and be very careful….
5:21 pm text Me: Do you want to be entertained or left alone?
5:30 pm text Phil: Maybe later. 🙂
5:33 pm text Me: Sure. Whatever. I mean it. Any hour.
6:29 pm text Me: Checking in, thinking of you
7:30 pm text Me: Making good time? Hope so…
7:50 pm text Phil: Doing ok
8:36 pm text Me: Cool. What did the fish say when it swam into a wall? Dam. 🙂
9:52 pm text Me: Where now?
9:54 pm text Phil: 90 miles from Cleveland
11:01 pm text Me: Doing ok?
Philip called at 11:15 pm. And we talked until 5 am! He often calls me while he’s driving, but usually only talks for about an hour. I was so pleased that he’d let me help!
I got him all the way from Cleveland to Syracuse, when he was almost to his destination and needed to start calling family and making plans. He told me about what was going on with his dad (kidney failure and double pneumonia), let me look up funeral homes and cemetery info for him, then told me about his new work, then asked me about mine, and my surgery and the cat dying, and then we started talking about the past and….wheee!
(This may not be in the right order…just tried to get down everything I can recall)
First I asked him what they had said about his dad. He said his kidneys had failed and he had double pneumonia and there was little the doctors could do other than make him comfortable. He’s in the hospital. He said his dad was alert and joking and asking for beer, and the doctor said they could give it to him, so one had already been smuggled in there.
He talked to his brother about whether to do anything heroic and when to stop. He had talked to his nephew, told him to get out the chocolate stout he brews for Philip to drink for breakfast! He will go there, shower, eat and drive to the hospital.
Everyone is coming to see his dad one last time – even Philip’s kids are driving up! He said his daughter has a GPS, which is good because neither one of them can find their way anywhere. I told him even GPS can be scary, about a friend being sent through the Holland Tunnel and NYC to get from Philly to VT! He said he likes driving in NYC. That I’ve become too big a New Englander. I said, “At least we have the best football team in the country right now.” (I’m so bad) He was in a very generous mood and allowed as how that was the case! He explained how family members could stay with his brother and nephews. I said how great it was that they all get along and are right there. He said his brother has a great house except for the fact that they only have dial-up internet, which he considers not having it at all. He said they’re not computer people, didn’t even have cable TV until a couple of years ago. He has his laptop but nowhere to be online.
He talked about how his mother is unflappable, literally never seen her get upset or cry about anything, but she was hysterical on the phone. The neighbor who was driving her had to talk to him while his mother wailed in the background. He said she had spent her entire life focused on his dad and he didn’t know what she’d do when he passed. I said we were worried about the same with my mom. I asked if she’d stay in their house, and he thought she would.
We talked about my dad and my mom. And how I wished it could be my dad in the “death any moment” seat instead of his. He told me about his mother-in-law (who died in August) and how she questioned why God would leave her alive so long to die so awfully of Alzheimer’s. She got to the point where she didn’t know who they were, massive dementia, not eating. Just awful. We agreed that it’s okay to ask God why and rail a bit. May not get an answer, or the answer you want, or in the time you need it, but it’s okay to ask. He talked about the nursing home administrator who talked him out of taking her into their home, and how to pick a place to place her.
He asked me what happened to my cat, so I explained that he stopped eating and we tried everything, and that we’d had such a bad experience with the vet and our last cat, so we didn’t want to take him in there. He told me about a dog of his dying due to a vet error and how he got so angry he wanted to burn the place down with the vet in it!
We talked about how his dogs are hating the cold, hating the booties, wouldn’t go outside for three days. He said one hates it, but another loves it, dives in and roots around in the snow, then shakes it all off and dives back in again. He likes that dog best. He’s his buddy.
He was quiet and I thought he was falling asleep, so I started to ask him questions.