Last night, about 9 PM, just as my eyes were beginning to grow heavy and the desire to go to bed began to steal luxuriously through my body, the phone rang. When the phone rings at night, I always worry; is it Jeremy, in trouble or in need of a ride? Or, more likely, is it a family emergency, a problem with my parents?
This time, it was the latter. My dad, whom I had been talking with just a couple of hours earlier, as he cheerfully nattered on about his sudoku prowess, had fallen in the garden after dinner, and was now in terrible pain. I tried, in vain, to put off the problem until morning, but the caregiver insisted he had to go to the hospital, so, a bit afraid I wouldn't make it in one piece, I got into the car and went to his house.
When I got there, he was asleep in his bed, wearing his pjs. I thought I might as well go home again, or else bed down in the living room in case he needed me. I had brought tons of grading to do, just in case. But he soon woke up and began wailing. His back was really sore.
Despite warnings from us and from the physical therapist, dad had gone outside into the garden without his walker, using only his cane. He became dizzy when he turned his head too quickly, and when he grabbed a branch of the lemon tree, it broke, and he fell smack on his back. Luckily, he didn't hit his head, and he didn't feel any pain at the time, but later on, when he tried to lie down in bed, that's when it started. Naturally, he didn't tell anyone till then.
Angry and tired, I decided not to take him UCI, despite the fact that last time I took him to Memorial, they gave him the wrong medication, twice, and he had to go back to the hospital (UCI that time). I had sworn at that time I would never take him to Memorial again, but I was pretty sure he would be coming home, after an x-ray, and that's what happened. Only it was 1:30 AM by the time they released us. After a pain pill, it was easier to manage him than before, so I packed him into the car and took him home.
I said to my dad, who was half asleep, "You have rocks in your head, dad!" and he grew wide-eyed. "Where?" he asked, feeling his head with both hands.