Over 20 years ago, my father's mother - my grandmother - died. It started with an accident. She took a fall down some stairs and broke her hip. While she was hospitalized, a blockage formed in her bowels and she went in for emergency surgery. She never awoke from the anesthesia. She was 80 years old.
My Dad has been falling a lot lately. The problem is with his legs. He's in constant pain from arthritis and swelling and infected sores, so he shuffles along, just like and old man...and his feet get caught on the ground. That's when he falls. And because it's all happening too fast for his 80-year-old reflexes, he bangs some part of his head on anything and everything around him, usually the ground itself.
Last Wednesday, I received my birthday gift from Dad. I get $50 on my birthday, and the same on Chanukah. I actually expected a call from him on my birthday, but he fell on the 9th...twice. So he was a little preoccupied. Still, I called on Thursday and let him know that his gift was received. That's when he told me about his falls on my birthday...and the other falls before that...and how he can barely walk...and how upset the whole thing has him.
Later that evening, when Becky got home from work, I told her about the call. And I made a dire prediction of the future that went something like this: "My father's soul is already dying, and his body won't be far behind. You know how it's going to happen? It's going to be one of these falls. He's going to go down one day and break something that'll require surgery to fix. That's when a team of doctors will surround my father's bed and explain that there's no other way to fix the break. They'll explain all the risks, like having to take him off his blood thinners for his artificial heart valve, along with the fact that he's 80. And with no alternative, Dad will give the go ahead for surgery...and never wake up, just like my grandmother."
I wish absolutely no harm on my father. If anything, I keep praying for the impossible; I want him to get better. But I have to face reality. My boyhood dream of my father living forever simply isn't going to happen. In fact, that's part of my problem. The image of my father from when I was a kid to how he appears now don't go well together. My father was always this giant with the power to do anything. I was in my early twenties when my father gave Barry and I a reminder of just how strong he was physically.
Dad didn't just get mad at "someone;" he became enraged. It was a rare moment, but Dad actually went on the attack, and it was up to me and Barry to stop him. Mind you, at the time my brother and I worked out regularly. No matter what my workout contained, it always included 40 pushups a day - 20 regular and 20 diamond pushups...with my feet elevated onto my bed. So when Dad charged, Barry and I locked arms, then each of us grabbed for the door frame Dad was trying to charge through. We were lucky to keep Dad from accidentally committing murder that day.
He was always strong, my father. Now he's losing the battle with age and gravity. It's been upsetting him greatly, which has been upsetting me greatly. I want to go see him, but he doesn't want visitors. He wants to be alone and miserable.
Anyway, I spoke to Dad, and then made my prediction to Becky.
I was awakened at 10:00 AM this morning by mom. She called to let me know that Dad was in the hospital. He fell on Friday and cracked his head so badly that they had to staple his skin closed. We're now waiting on an ear, nose, and throat specialist (for reasons unknown to me) to consult with my father.
Dad, when I make these doomsday predictions, it isn't your job to try and make them come true.
Be well, all...better than me, anyway...and DFTBA.