I got the call last Wednesday night. My sister-in-law found Dad on the bathroom floor, confused and dehydrated. Tests at the hospital revealed kidney failure. The doctor spoke in terms of days and urged, “Tell your family to come.”
I was on my way to visit my son, but my trip was diverted to be with my Dad. After one day in Dallas I flew to Springfield, VA. My daughter and son-in-law met me at the airport and took me to the hospital where I would take my turn spending the night. Dad was a lot weaker and couldn’t get up by himself, but was eating, talking and resting comfortably. By this time the doctors were speaking of dialysis, but we declined. He would come home with hospice care.
We set up his room on Saturday and bright him home Sunday afternoon, where he joined my brother and his family, my sister and I, and my daughter and her husband for supper. To tell you the truth, it all seemed pretty normal. So now we’re all set up with nighttime nursing care, support from hospice and our family. All we can do is wait.
It’s not an exact science, that’s for sure. Two days later, Dad’s not looking much worse, eats OK, sleeps a good deal and is getting grumpy again. What’s that spell? “Normal.” He just needs help getting up and down. I know, things can change in a moment, but when will that moment come? Should I stick around? Go home and come back? I’ve got no definitive answer. I’ve got stuff to do here, stuff to do at home and plenty to do at church.
Most of what I do here is sit around. I’m used to a pretty busy lifestyle. It’s tough to go from 60 to zero in an instant. I’m restless, grateful, trying to be helpful, and thankful for a whole bunch of gracious folks who understand, pray for me and give me all kinds of space to do this.