Hanging out with Dad

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.

Snacking on Fruit Loops

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.

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2 thoughts on “Hanging out with Dad

  1. You are right when you say there is no definite answer. When my father-in-law had a brain bleed, we were told to come right away. It could be a few hours to a few days. We stayed a week and then decided we needed to go home. He lasted a month. It is surely a tough place for you to be. I don’t think there is a wrong decision in this case since your dad has good care.

  2. Dear Pastor:  Your dad may not be saying it – being grumpy etc., (went through the same thing many years ago with my pop) but God is with you and of course your dad.  Yes,  we here at SOTCLC miss you and I know I speak for the congregation – but at this sad time – with you and the help of God, your dad needs you – who else can he be grumpy with but you.  In this case, I would recommend “think dad first” – we (your congregation) will survive but our hearts are with you.  Dr.Weinrich (as before) did well and gave an excellent sermon and I know we will survive and besides we have two other “pinch hitters” available in our congregation.  You have a devoted congregation and we will do with what we have while you are away. Stay awhile with dad – you will only have him for a little time more – I only wish that I gave my pop the time I should have and over the years regretted not being there when he passed.  I was too busy at work!  God bless and – always, Al Jensen

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