It is difficult to describe exactly how I felt in the 18 days my father lay in the hospital, so sick and weak that he could not sit up un-assisted as all the machines whirred and beeped, with nurses and doctors poking and prodding , as they took his blood and administered fluids.
I still can’t imagine what it was like five or six days before when he fell in his kitchen, hitting his head, he lay on his kitchen floor for five long days and nights, cold and alone in his autonomous life, unable to crawl the 10 feet to his phone. How long were those five days? What was it like when the police rang the doorbell to perform the wellness check we initiated and heard him calling? Or when they broke through his front door and rescued him. In those moments, the balance tipped slightly back toward life, even with a dangerously low 93 degree temperature, failing kidneys and a host of serious problems.
That first day when we arrived by his side, neither Tracy nor I thought Tom would ever leave the hospital. We rallied our family and urged them to show up in person. We wanted us all to spend time together while he was still with us and reasonably lucid, rather than risk waiting, in case there was no later.