It was a very long day yesterday. Daddy had been sick for a few days and even though I wanted to take him to the doctor days earlier, he and Mama had resisted. I should have put on my big girl pants and insisted but I’m still “the child.”
Day 1 – Late evening…
“Your daddy isn’t doing well,” says Mama.
“I should take him to ER,” I reply.
“Okay,” said Mama.
Next morning –
“Your daddy is doing better,” says Mama. “I don’t think he needs to go. It’s too hard on him and he is improving.”
“Are you sure?” I ask.
Day 3 – Early, very early in the morning.
“Your daddy had a horrible night,” said Mama. “He’s just not going to make it. There’s no use taking him in. He’s too weak to go.”
“Let me talk to him,” I reply.
“Daddy, I’m taking you to ER,” I tell him. “I’ll be there in an hour.”
Taking a Trip to the ER
So just 45 minutes later I arrive at Mama and Daddy’s. Daddy’s in his recliner. Mama’s trying to round up his clothes. He is as weak as a kitten. The heater in his room is on full blast and Mama’s running around like a chicken with her head cut off. I get Daddy ready to go and then Mama decides she’s going too. Oh, my! I know I’m in for it now.
It takes me 15 minutes to get Daddy into the truck. Mama’s trying to lock the front door. We are finally on our way. Daddy sits in the passenger seat with his head down like death is around the corner. Mama is going on and on and on about something in the back seat.
Finally we reach the ER. I get the wheelchair, or something that’s suppose to work like a wheelchair only it’s all metal and my daddy is skin and bones. Good thing I insisted on him bringing his thick throw quilt. I tell Mama to wheel him in while I park.
I circle all three parking lots and can’t find a single space to park. On round number four, I finally get a spot somewhere in the back forty. By the time I reach the waiting room, Mama is already done.
“We should have never come,” she says. “He’s too old and he’s just not going to make it. We will NEVER do this again. Look at him. He’s miserable.”
“Mama,” I say. “This is the way it always is when I take him. Last year he went through the same thing. He told me on the way he’d never see you or home again. After his visit and meds he felt so much better and he recovered. Don’t you remember?”
“He’s not going to get better,” she says. “We’re never coming here again.”
Give Up or Visit the ER?
After a short trip with Daddy to the bathroom, the doctor comes out into the waiting room and gets Daddy. There are no beds, we’re told. But this sweet, kind doctor starts taking blood work in the triage area. Soon Daddy is whisked away and placed on a gurney in the busy hallway. The place is slammed with people.
They wasted no time getting him hooked up to fluids. I give daddy’s young, petite nurse the low down on what’s been going on. I tell her my mama thinks he’s dying. She tells me he’s dehydrated and needs fluids and electrolytes.
Within minutes, Daddy’s eyes perk up. Mama is hovering and trying to reassure him. Now remember — both of them can’t hear unless you’re yelling. So mostly all Daddy says is, “I can’t hear you!”
Minutes later, Daddy is fast asleep and feeling better. Now Mama wants to go get something to eat. So I take the long hike to the back where the truck is parked and go pick her up at the ER entrance.
Long story short: when you feel in your gut that your parent is ill and needs help, go to the ER!