Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hospital Chat or how July 5th became the 6th

After taking time to visit my Dad in the hospital, and buy a new grill, it was getting a little too late for grilling as part of my planned Independence Day celebration. That was okay. My family and I would simply do the grilling on July 5th, instead.

So, on July 5th, after getting most of my Saturday morning "chores" done, I sat down to assemble the new grill. It turned out to be a little daunting. My wife's more mechanically inclined than I am but, I wasn't going to let her work on it. This was a grill, and I'm a man. I didn't want the conversation with my friends to turn into:

Frank: "Nice grill, John."

Me: "Thanks! My wife built it for me."

Frank: (sputter, cough, snigger) "What? You didn't do it? Ha! Hey Charlie! Guess what? Newman's wife built his grill for him!"

Charlie: "What is it, Newman? Is turning a screwdriver too much for you? Buwah ha ha ha!"

I'm sorry but, even in the adult playground that's just too much scorn to take. I had to build it myself or risk being labeled a pansy-man.

The grill assembly wasn't bad. There were a few times when I let out howls and pseudo curses (Dang it!) but, to my credit, for once I kept the real cursing down to a minimum.

After putting the new grill together, I took a lunch break After scarfing down a quick lunch, I got ready to use the grill for the first time - to baptize the grill, so to speak.

Grills, of course, do not suffer baptism by water, but by fire. Lots of hot charcoal generated fire.

Getting up out of my chair the phone rang. Just great. I thought. One more delay between me and playing with my new toys.

It was my oldest brother. "John, you need to get your butt up to the hospital now. The doctor wants to talk to us all about Dad."

I was speechless. Several scenarios immediately ran through my brain. They all ended with my dad is dying and may not make it through the next hour, let alone to the end of the day.

"Okay. I'll be up in a few minutes," I barely replied, knowing full well it would take me an hour to drive to the hospital.

My Lovely Wife and my sixteen year old son, the Boy, decided to come up with me this time, leaving the younger ones in the care of my oldest daughter, Writer Girl. We hurried and got everything together, tramped out to the car and made our way, yet again, to the VA hospital in Salt Lake City.

What had seemed like "gloom and doom" turned out not to be so bad. The surgeons were very optimistic. The problem was that my Dad came down with a fever, and they couldn't explain it. It looked like an infection, but they weren't sure where it was coming from. The doctor wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page, in terms of what was happening with my Dad, and that make sure we could all agree on what needed to be done with his care.

This was a really good meeting for everyone, especially my mom. She was having a hard time explaining it all to the rest of the family. (The next day they discovered he'd developed an abscess in his gut and now they can deal with the infection.) There were tears all around, and much hugging. My two older seemed to think the other brother didn't agree but, they're both wrong. All my life they've fought like ... well ... brothers. In spite of their misgivings about each other, we were all agreed about what to do with Dad. They just didn't want to admit it to each other, or themselves. I may beat them both with a stick before this is all over.

Once again, though, by the time MLW, the Boy, and I got home, I was emotionally drained. It was too late to start grilling, anyway, so we all just scrounged the fridge for leftovers and frozen burritos

My 4th of July grilling plans had been moved once again. Now I would have to celebrate Independence day on July 6th.

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