Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Storm

I felt like I just barely made it through finals and graduation when my father was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He was there for about a week, while I was stuck in New York packing my apartment. He was diagnosed with cancer (Multiple Myeloma). He got out of the hospital and was home a few days when my mother fell. She had worried herself into a frenzy. Then, in the middle of the night, my father called for me. He needed the ambulance again. I thought the dark was scary when I was young, especially after all the horror movies my mother let me watch, but this was a different kind of scary. It was much worse. After a few hours in the ER, my father was admitted to the ICU. A day later my mother fell again, and I called the ambulance once more. The EMTs picked her up off the floor and put her in bed. The next day, the doctor determined that she fractured her hip. So I called the ambulance again to have her transported to the hospital. It seemed almost impossible for both of my parents to need to be in the hospital at the same time, but there they were, one on the third floor and the other on the second.

Since my father was admitted, he has had two surgeries to correct a bleeding ulcer which was probably caused by medication. It looks like he's headed for another surgery. And now there is a fever to complicate things. My mother had one surgery, to correct the fractured hip. She was transported to rehab today, but my father is still in the ICU. And I have a sore throat, so I can't visit. I've been staying at their house, waiting and answering calls from neighbors and family members who are all worried and wondering what's going on.

At this point, I'm not worried about my mom. She's out of the woods, as far as I'm concerned. My father, however, is still very much in the woods. I speak to the nurse every day. Today she told me that my father is very sick and very uncomfortable. He's nauseated from losing blood, again, and he's shivering from the cooling blankets they have on him for the fever.

There's nothing that I can do for them. I sit here in the living room, watching movies hoping that they'll ease my mind even if only for a moment. My heart jumps every time the phone rings. It's difficult to fall asleep knowing that the phone might ring with potentially bad news. And I am so sad because my father is so uncomfortable. I'm trying to take care of myself, but it's not easy. My every thought is with my parents right now, especially my dad.

He said something to me the other day that made me realize just how close to the end he might be. He said that he just wants to live long enough to see me get into Princeton. Just a few weeks ago, his end seemed so far off. Now it seems like it's creeping up on us faster and faster with each passing day. The family doctor assures us that everything is under control and that he'll be fine, but I am doubtful. And I am mad at myself for being doubtful, because I believe that being optimistic sends positive energy out into the universe, and being doubtful does the opposite.

So, as I sit here in front of my father's big screen television, affectionately known as my baby brother, I will try to focus on the positive and pray for my father's discomfort to pass and for him to make it out of the woods and home safely as quickly as possible.