Suzy Snapper
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
You never really know how big your family is until you've just spent several hours speaking to each brother, each sister-in-law, each niece and nephew...not to mention the cousins. No one wants to bother my Mom, or upset her more so they call me. I don't think I have any voice left and I am utterly exhausted.

First, the good. He is scheduled for his angiogram tomorrow. The ambulance is booked for 8:30 and will take him to the other hospital an hour away. We are not to go with him, and will need to wait until he is back at the current hospital. If they need to do surgery, they will do it right there but will let us know. In some respects, this is good news. My Mom is cracking right now and I must admit I'm dragging. Tomorrow is a forced morning of relaxation and reloading. He is in good hands and we just must let them do their job.

The bad? Holy hell, that man can be a cantankerous, ornery old fool. He was quite out of it this morning and didn't seem to know if we were there. Eventually he woke up enough to get out of bed, go into the bathroom and brush his hair. We were so relieved to see him upright and it did Mom and I a world of good.

We went home for an hour or so in the afternoon. The hospital is 45 minutes away so that 90 minute round trip is tiring. When we came back, Grumpy Old Man was in his place. He didn't remember us being there earlier, and accused us of forgetting him in the hospital. Then, when I tried to explain the timing of our visits, he insisted it was 5:30am (why would we BE there at that time?). Further attempts at explaining got an ornery response of "I'm the one in this g.d. bed, I know what time it is." Asking what he had for dinner? The response "Catsh*t". This is a man who won't say damn without apologizing for his language.

He is taking his cigarette withdrawl out on my Mom. He accused her of conspiring against him and other very foul things. She was brought to tears. Then he said, "Doesn't matter what you do...I'll get out and get them myself. I've done it before, I'll do it again". Keeping in mind that they are keeping him very medicated and he's not really able to move, we thought he was just confused again.

I pulled the nurse aside and talked to her. That damned man got out of bed this morning, argued with the nurse then signed himself out AMA. He got down 4 stories in the elevator, walked approximately 500 feet to buy a cigarette off anyone who would sell him one. I was FURIOUS! I realize the nurses can only do so much...the man is an adult and they can't restrain him.

We could, she explained, bring his cigarettes back in. However, I have refused. If he wants them, he's going to have to do it himself. I am not about to make it easy on him. I am more than sympathetic to the pains of withdrawl, but he is offered every chance right now of making it easier. When else can you go through this while sedated to ease the effects?

So I said to him, 'How DARE you? You are putting Mom and I and this entire family through hell. We are trying to HELP you! Take it, you old fool.' I still can't believe I spoke to my father like that but I was so angry. He just glared at me. I reminded myself that I wasn't talking to the man that is my father. I was talking to an addiction.

He was just so mean to my mother, though. 55 years together, and I've never heard him utter a cross word. She was in tears.

I did make her laugh though. The visual of my 74 year old father, going in stocking feet (he has no slippers) and a hospital gown, with unshaven face and uncombed hair....bumming smokes from the passerby. What a sight! Silly man!!!

The nurses have been excellent though. They have been tireless in supporting us, as well as caring for him.

Tonight, however, I've gotten home and I am utterly exhausted. I feel like I'm still driving even though I'm just sitting in my chair. So I am going to crash. We still have a long way to go, but for now, it's a bit of a respite while we allow others to take care of things.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer trapped in a corporate buyer's body. Steel shopping by day, and freeflowing prose by night. One day I hope to have the nights become my days, but am intimidated by the sheer amount of people who share my dream. So I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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