Sunday, October 9, 2011

A year ago I had a very reflective Yom Kippur, going to synagogue for Kol Nidre, with Jackie and the boys and Stan and staying over in Bozeman at our friend’s apartment .  Going to services again in the morning and then again for the memorial service and the break the fast in the early evening.  My blog entry for that day received the most views of any of my blog entries
… and all of what I wrote that day still rings true.  This year we were unable to go to services at all.  We were planning on going, but as Stan often says, “We plan and G!d laughs….”

 10/7/11, 8:45pm, Friday night

Yom Kippur Eve

I’m at Dad’s
Stan in bed.

I tape his protective eye patch
over his right eye.
He turns onto his side,
he always sleeps on his side.
“I lean on you too much.”

Better me than anyone else,” I reply

last words, “maybe I’ll die in my sleep.”

“you probably will die in your sleep, but not tonight.
I love you, Dad, call me if you want to get up,
make sure you yell for me.”

“Where’s my cane?

“It’s right here by the door jam
you want it by your bed?
on your cart?”

“No, leave it there.
How ‘bout my radio?’

“You want it on?”

“Let me hear what’s on, that doesn’t sound like anything.
No, turn it off.”

“I’ll have the ballgame on .
I’ll make it loud.,
you just like the noise.”

“O.K., Goodnight.”

I kiss him on the forehead.
“Love you, Dad”

*            *            *            *            *

And now for the way that day began…

At 9:55 Friday morning my cell phone rings.
It’s Patty.

I’m on the store phone
it’s not an important call
I put them on hold
and answer the phone

“Something’s wrong with Stan,” Patty’s crying.
“I think he had a stroke.
I can’t wake him up.”
I tell her to stay with him
I will call 911 and I’ll be right over

I call 911
I’m having trouble describing the address
but I get it done

I run over to Stan’s
He’s sitting in his cart/chair, asleep
She’s still crying
He’s not responsive
but he’s breathing
“Dad, Dad,” No response
he has that frown, that droopy face
what I think of as his Parkinson’s face

I run over to the fire station
it’s all locked up, I can hear a voice over the radio
“Lone  Peak Townhouse #11.”
but there’s no one there
all the doors are locked and there’s no one there

I run back to Stan’s
on the way back
I remember I have one of the emt’s cell number
on my phone – I call him
he say’s he’llbe right there

I call Jackie and tell her what’s going on

I go back to check on Dad
Patty’s still holding his head up
he looks the same
still not responsive
but I get him to blink
he opens his eyes for a second
but he’s still out of it

I go back outside
Seth, the emt has arrived
and so has the ambulance
Seth wakes Dad up –
he’s definitely out if it,
but he’s more responsive

he shows Seth his teeth
he shrugs his shoulders
he smiles
slowly he seems to come back to life
as they put him on the stretcher
I gather up all his meds
they move him through the house
on the stretcher
as they leave thru the front door
Jackie shows up
he recognizes her right away
he’s talking
he’s coming back to life

as if from a deep sleep

and so I go in the ambulance
I’m in the passenger’s seat
Stan keeps asking for me
Dan, the ambulance emt, keeps asking him questions
he stabilizes Stan, evaluates him
it appears that he fainted, passed out

Stan woke up, took a shower,
shaved, then for some reason sat down in his cart
he doesn’t remember

Patty found him passed out
sitting in his cart, naked
his head against the wall
breathing irregularly,
he looked gone

We don’t know what happened

on the way to the hospital
he begins to complain
of a very bad headache

at the emergency room
he continues to complain
it’s the worst headache he’s ever had
and he doesn’t usually get headaches

the nurse comes in with
a needle full of morphine
Stan and I both tell her – no morphine –
“he’ll get ‘daylights’ ,” I tell her
She doesn’t understand me,
“like nightmares, but awake.”

“Oh, he’ll get loopy. How about a couple of Tylenol.”

“Yes,” we tell her

They take him for a cat scan of his brain.
It shows nothing, but they still want to admit him,
give him an MRI and take spinal fluid.
“Whoa, have you talked to his neurologist yet?”

“I don’t think we want to admit him,” I tell the doctor.
“We think he’d be better off back at home.”

He’s feeling pretty weak, but he hasn’t eaten a thing yet today.

Patty arrives, we get him some oatmeal,
We get him out of bed
he walks around with his cart.
Jackie arrives
We get him dressed
It’s after 4 already
We get him out of there
and back home

and watch baseball
and keep an eye on him
and give him his eye drops
and get him some dinner
and keep him occupied
and he goes to sleep around 8:30 pm.

10/8/11 Yom Kippur, 8:35am

12 years ago Stan sat by the bed
holding Mom’s hand
when a bright light appeared
and Pearl flew away

this morning I heard a loud cough
and ran downstairs
“I’ve been in bed long enough, 13 hours,
I want to get out of bed
I had a bad dream
take this thing off” Dad tells me
pointing to his protective eye patch

I take it off standing by his bed.
“What did you dream?”

“I was in trouble, I visited the Schultz’s, Carl, Della and Joshua was there,
but I wasn’t welcome, I wasn’t invited and
you don’t just show up uninvited.
I’m having trouble remembering.
How many teams are left? 2? 4?”

I tell him, “there are 4 teams left, 2 national league
and 2 american league.”

“St Louis – Milwaukee,” he says curling his lip, thinking hard,
“don’t help me. there’s something wrong with my memory, don’t help me.”

I say, “Yeah, there’s something going on with your short term memory.”

He scratches his head, “Tigers – Rangers,“ he says.

“You got it.”

“I don’t know if I want to take a shower.”

I tell him, “I’ll watch you. You don’t have to take a long hot shower
like your grandson, Howie.”

Stan smiles, “Like Howie?”

“Yes, Howie. He just stands in the shower, just stands there,
Hot water running over him, doesn’t wash himself, just stands there.”

Stan gets out of bed, “First I make my bed. I don’t know if I can make my bed.” 
we make his bed.
he walks into the kitchen
takes his morning sinemet
and a full glass of water

we head back to his bathroom
“and there was a man in the bathroom,”
he tells me, “a man with a hat.”

“You saw him or you dreamt that?”

“I don’t know, maybe it was a dream.”

Stan takes his shower.
I sit in the bathroom and watch him
as he goes through his routine.
He’s doing well, doesn’t need any help

Out of the shower, drying himself off
he tells me,  he’s O.K. I don’t have to stay and watch him.
I tell him, “Your stuck with me today.  The doctor said someone has to stay with you
for at least the next 48 hours. What can I tell you. You’ll just have to pay me double.”
He walks naked to his closet and gets a pair of underwear and a t-shirt
At the side of his bed he puts on his underwear standing up,
“I don’t know what happened yesterday…”

He puts on his t-shirt and heads over to his cart with his pants.

I suggest to him that maybe yesterday he was already a little befuddled,
confused, didn’t feel right
and walked over to his cart, sat down and passed out
head stretched backwards against the wall awkwardly

“Who knows? We’ll never know,” I tell him.
He tries to get his pants on,
but he’s having trouble so I help him
I tell him, “It’s O.K., you don’t have to pay me extra”

“We used to pay you in the store,” he tells me

and I tell him, “Yes, $1/week, then $2/week, then $10, then $20, but if  I had a paper route I didn’t get paid.”

He laughs, “You remember. We did O.K. Pearl and Stan. We raised 4 good sons.
You guys would sit at the end of the counter, I remember Harold sitting there reading comic books. Pearl would make him French fries in the pizza oven and then customers would want the same thing. What I hated the most was eating at the end of the counter and then a customer would come in and sit right next to me and say, “You eat here, too?!”

Dad makes his oatmeal
It’s too hot to carry
I carry it to the table for him
He eats his breakfast
and studies his morning pills
“No Sinemet,” he says. “No Sinemet,” I reply.

“What’s this one?” he asks

“That’s the baby aspirin. That’s a new one, the doctor wants you to take one a day, now that you are off the Coumadin , it’s a blood thinner.”

“I hate to take that pill,” he says.


“Because Bayer killed all those Jews.”

“O.K.,” I say, “I will buy a big bottle of generic baby aspirin, but for now that’s all we have, that’s all I sell at the store….”

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