Friday, April 27, 2007

Hand Me the Remote Control

My brother just called from the hospital and said, "Lis, I've got some bad news."

My heart dropped into my stomach.

"The handsome Dr. Garg has a baby. Which means he has a wife. Dad, however, is fine."


"Find out if he has brothers and if they're single."

I spent a good chunk of yesterday with my dad, and he was in decent humor. The physical therapist was with him, and was getting him to stand up and sit in a chair. So he's stronger.

Then last night Betty was with him and he was belligerent. Exhausting to deal with, but true to form. We know his whole personality is still there.

My brother just said that according to the X-rays, the doctor thinks the swallow test will go well, and they could have the tube out in the next couple days and he can start eating.

Everyone who sees him says that he's doing incredibly well. They're astounded at how quickly he's recovering.

I'm astounded. This man is 70. He's done himself no favors, to put it mildly, over the years. And he's strong.

When my dad wants to be charming, he can dazzle you. He's so incredibly bright. He's delightfully sparkly and charismatic. His nurses love him.

They were talking about how well he's doing, and he said to my brother, "I'm a star."

And my brother said, "Dad, I hate your show. I hate the drama. It's tragic and scary and I want out of it. I'm done with this show. We can't do this anymore."

And it's true. We can't do this anymore. It's killing my mom, and she's the strongest, most positive, shiny sunflower I know. She's bright and happy and bends and bends. But this time, she seems like she might break.

This time has to be different. Once we get past the medical part, we need to make sure it's different. We need to change the channel. We need a new show.


  1. I'm no doctor, but it's obvious that suicide attempts, especially failed ones, are attention-getting schemes. I'm sure that in some way, your father's enjoying the attention he's getting. Has he undergone therapy? At 70, he might not completely change, but at least the therapist might help him get his demons under control. My dad's almost 60 and after his heart attack he kept saying he just wanted to die and he was terribly depressed. My mom was really scared he would commit suicide. He's been seeing a therapist for a few years and he's doing better, or at least he's more stable. Depression is not something easy to deal with on one's own. Talk to your dad's doctor to see if he can recommend someone.

  2. He's actually had a lot of therapy over the years. He has demons - childhood, Vietnam, I don't know what all - plus health issues. He doesn't stay on his medication, because of course, depression is not the issue (heavy sarcasm here).


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