Journal Entry-July 2, 2002
C-you are nothing but a fucking coward. But you hide it well, how lovely. You are not only a coward, but your passive-aggressive tendencies may indeed make you the Bish you are. Wake up little sister, daddy ain’t giving you any golden stars for making his life “easier.” At this very moment, I hate the white and red cells that make you human in others’ eyes. Rock on, superstar, just keep me the fuck out of it.
Why was I so angry? My father was suffering from dehydration, renal failure, pancreatitis, uncontrollable diabetes, and devastating neuropathy. In a hospital near Philadelphia, while visiting my father, I was approached by my siblings.
“We don’t think you are capable of taking care of dad. We want him in a nursing home, but you need to agree to it. Your drinking makes you unpredictable, you understand.”
The above journal entry was written six months after I moved my father into a house a mile from my own. My husband and I tended to his every need, and the home we made for him was quite lovely. He loved to sit at the kitchen table and watch Minnie and Pearl(the horses across the street) go grocery shopping, listen to talk radio. I was a nervous wreck, my marriage hanging by a thread, fired from my job for having a panic attack. After calling his house for an hour-we had an agreement that he would pick up, as I had run over there so many times in a panic, for nothing-the meals on wheels woman stood, staring at me with fright in her eyes. I grabbed my key, ran into his house, and found him in a diabetic coma, bleeding from his mouth, his peritoneal dialysis machine beeping.
I called 911, my husband and friend arrived minutes later.
“Come on daddy, don’t leave me, please, hang in there, help is coming.”
He moaned, and the EMTs walked into the house. My husband had to pull me off of the EMT, as she moved in slow motion and every second counted. Fire chief, EMTs, police-they were all there, and the fact is they knew the address, they had been there so many times before. Rushed into the ambulance, he was resuscitated by an EMT. Moments later, we were in the Emergency Room.
“No more, no more,” I screamed into the phone. My sister wept and agreed. I could not be with my father every second. He needed to be in a nursing home, and we found the perfect fit with Stoneridge Village. Close to here, we could visit him often, and I was there when the nurses couldn’t figure out his dialysis equipment. I would run over, in my pajamas, in the middle of the night, to instruct them-again-on the matters of renal failure.
I wrote this entry after finding out that my siblings had visited dad behind my back, and even though I was his caretaker, his POA, and his best friend. I wanted him safe and sound, but that was of no concern to them. After submitting a ten page report to the administration, in which my best friend, an RN, had also requested dad stay safe in the home, I was called into the Administrator’s office.
“Your father and family agree…..he will be released this week.”
A week later he was dead. After numerous amputations to his leg, his heart gave out. And I remain undaunted in my quest to right the wrongs of people who had no business making a decision that would decide the fate of my beloved father.