Thursday, January 15, 2009


Context in real life can make all the difference in what happens.

Last Thursday, Shelley went to take her eighty-seven-year-old father supper and found him on the floor in the bathroom. He had fallen while going to the restroom and hurt himself. He couldn't get up. It is unclear how long he had been there on the floor, but he was in bad shape, and Shelley called me to help get him up.

Robert had been declining in health and awareness in the weeks preceding this occurrence, and Shelley had taken him to a new doctor, one that practices internal medicine, hoping to get him some relief and help. The doctor prescribed antibiotics to treat his not being able to control his bowel movements. Then, after the accident, he was extremely weak and unable to stand up, communicate clearly, or understand fully. We contemplated calling 911 but decided against it, and Shelley tried to schedule an appointment with the doctor who had prescribed the medication. The doctor said to take him to the emergency room and have him checked out --- it was the prescribing doctor's day off. Golf day, I presume.

At the emergency room, they said Robert had cracked a rib and punctured a lung. The doctor said it wasn't serious enough to admit him, but he needed to be seen the next day again to make sure things hadn't worsened and that he wasn't bleeding out internally. We spent most of the day at the hospital waiting for them to reach this conclusion or getting him there or back home again. It was clear that Robert couldn't be left alone. Shelley stayed with him most of the time and her brother, Chris, spent some time with her. Her other brother, Norman, came to spend the night after he went to the movie.

Since then, things have been hectic, especially for Shelley. She has spent much of the time with her father, as much as she thought she could. She is worried that he will die. She is unprepared for it, and she wants to spend more time with him in the eventuality it happens imminently.

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