It’s Wednesday morning and I’m up and at it early.
My best friend asked me whether I’d survived yesterday. I said, “Barely, but it’s wonderful to have this opportunity.”
Up at 5:30, showered and dressed before 6:00, answering emails and swilling coffee until a little after 7:00. Packed up my suitcase and computer bag with everything I’d need for four or five days (except the Excedrin…), grabbed whatever was in the refrigerator that needed to be eaten before I return, and delivered my things to my other dad’s condo, where I’ll be until at least Saturday night. Ran to the hardware for a 3-2 adapter on the way to pick up a borrowed wheelchair on the way to spring Dad (Tony) from the rehab center at 10:00.
I helped Dad shower and dress, listened while the nurse went through the reams of discharge orders: prescriptions, prescription descriptions, home physical therapy, home memory therapy, general precautions, information about healthy lifestyles for preventing strokes and the necessity of exercise for an 86-year-old stroke survivor (he didn’t actually have a stroke, although it behaved like one). He showed me his brand new, fancy walker with brakes, a seat and a little storage basket, and proudly demonstrated how well he had learned to use it since its arrival earlier in the morning. He’ll be strolling in style when he goes home to New York next week to live near his daughter.
Navigating the hallways on the way out, we were greeted by doctors, nurses, CNAs, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, kitchen assistants and building service workers, all wanting to wish him well, congratulate him on his rapid recovery, and thank him for his sunny disposition and kindness toward them. We were both very moved by the good vibes radiating from the hearts of all those wonderful people.
I drove the car to the port cochere and with help from some kindly aides, loaded up his belongings and learned how to collapse the walker and fit it into the overloaded back seat (wheelchair in trunk). Dad quickly figured out how to get in and we were off. He had made an appointment to stop and see his financial planner on the way home, and then insisted on buying me lunch at a nearby café, stopping first at the bank. By the time we made it home and emptied out the car, it was nearly 2pm and he was exhausted from all the hubbub. While he napped, I read texts, listened to messages, and returned phone calls. And lest I fall behind, I worked for an hour on a project due on Thursday afternoon. A friend arrived to visit around 3:30, and then at 5:30, we went to a neighbor’s for dinner. She has a bit of a crush on him and tried everything she could to get us to stay later, including an after-dinner glass of fake wine (tasted like poison to me), but by 8:30, we left to go sort through Dad’s many meds before he fell asleep.
I had no idea how confusing the meds thing would be. The other day, I came over to the house to sort through the 60 or so Rx bottles and containers of pills, 40 vials of assorted eye drops, putting aside for disposal everything not on the Rx list from the doctor, all the empties, the expired and anything that could not be easily identified. By the time I had finished, I had two plastic grocery bags full. It’s no wonder he was getting things bolixed up.
By the time we finished all the remaining bottles, matching them up to the discharge prescriptions to see which ones he had and which ones still needed to be filled, it was well after 10:00. Dad took his meds and went off to bed, falling asleep with the TV on…loud. I worked for a while on my job and by the time I hit the last keystroke, I needed toothpicks to keep my lids open.
Trying not to disturb him, I turned off the TV, gently removed his glasses and turned off the bedside lamp. His eyes fluttered open as I leaned over to kiss his cheek. He drifted off smiling.