I sit cross-legged in a chair, a few feet from the hospital bed where my father lays mumbling incoherently in a light sleep that breaks every 10 or 15 minutes. He’s been confined here for two days now with the pneumonia he was diagnosed with a week and a half ago. He had seemed fine when I spoke with him on the phone. The doctors had sent him home with antibiotics and instructions to rest, hydrate. I called him every other day to check on him and asked him to call me if he needed me. Then he got in his truck, ran over the mailbox, and went weaving down the road on his way to a doctor’s appointment he’d gone to the day before. And here we are.

Thank god he lives on a road where the neighbors still look out for one another. Thank god he lives in a small town where people know my sister and I and how to get in touch with not only us, but related people who live in town since we’re both at least an hour and a half away. One neighbor called the police to find my Dad on the road and get him to safety. Another called my sister’s ex-husband to come be with him until she could get there. Another, medically trained, convinced my adamant and confused father to go to the hospital after he’d refused the police, my sister and both current and ex-husbands, and a band of other neighbors.

I knew none of this until my sister called from the ER to tell me my Dad was being admitted. For me, it went like: “Hi, Dad, what did the doctor say at your check-up on the pneumonia today? So he said it’s pretty much cleared up and you just need to get your strength back? That’s great! Of course you’ll be feeling weak after this. Yes, definitely, if you want me to come, just call me and I can come spend a few days. Take care of yourself and I’ll check on you again in a day or two, but just call if you need me.” Sleep. Hmmm, he sounded okay but I wonder if I should just go ahead and go visit anyway? I don’t have any plans this weekend. Ring. “Hello? WHAT?” Bam.

One day you’re sitting on your couch feeling sorry for yourself because you still don’t have a job, you’re so depressed even black clouds shun you, and you don’t even have enough money to buy groceries so you’ve been eating plain rice for two days. You’re hungry, tired because the anxiety won’t let you relax long enough to sleep, and at your wit’s end with creditors calling for money you don’t have. All you’ve been thinking about is your own desperate situation, holding it together to find work, save your home, keep some of what you’ve worked to build. Finding some shred of the self-confidence and dignity you think you remember dropping in that pool of tears you keep crying. Then this happens, and all you feel is selfish.

Did I learn nothing from losing my mother in this same hospital 9 freaking months ago? Literally five rooms down the hall from where we are right now, my mother died. With me sitting in a chair, a few feet from her bed. With her rarely speaking at all and almost always in an incoherent mumble.

Posted from WordPress for Android