Last week began as most weeks this summer, with visits to the “Ologists” for one or both of my parents. Normally, appointments are not that much of an issue, but this summer has been more than a little bit eventful and this week has been the topper. It went like this…
Monday and Tuesday there were appointments for Mom. Wednesday was an appointment for Dad. Wednesday Dad went to ICU. Thursday Mom went to ICU. Same hospital. One room apart. They’ve been married for 60 years. They like to do things together; though, as a friend of mine said, this was a bit over the top.
The fun part was that Mom didn’t want Dad to know that she was in ICU because she was afraid his blood pressure would go up. We didn’t necessarily agree, but we kept her secret. That Friday morning I went for a visit. The hospital receptionist asked for the patient’s last name. I said, “Sicurello”. She scrolled her computer and with a surprised look on her face (After all how many Sicurello’s can there be in a hospital in Florida?) she asked, “Which one?” I told her either one would work. They both belonged to me. She gave me my tag with a “you poor thing look” and asked no more questions.
I visited Mom first. She was in Room 8. She looked good and her condition had already improved. We chatted for a few minutes. I urged her to tell Dad she was there. She said maybe she would…later. Then Dad’s Pulmonologist came in to Mom’s room to talk to us about Dad. He was going to tell Dad that he was going to have to wear an oxygen “mask” at night and was concerned about Dad’s response.
A little background. A year ago, Dad was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. He had had it for decades, but until that point, it was undetected and untreated. At that time, Dad went to two sleep studies, failed them both, was given oxygen for night time use, went back to this same Pulmonologist and told him he wasn’t going to use the oxygen at night and wanted it removed from his home; all within two months. All of that, led us to this.
You can see why the Dr. was concerned. I assured the Dr. that Dad would wear the oxygen mask at night. He asked me if I would go with him to talk to Dad. I went, but wasn’t needed. Dad agreed to everything and the Dr. left, relieved.
Dad and I chatted for a few minutes. He was in good spirits. I was doing my best not to let on that Mom was in the next room. And then I saw some nurses going into Mom (Room 8), so I told Dad (Room 9) that I had to go to the bathroom, and left to see what was going on. At this point I was kind of laughing at this whole scenario and wondering how long I could keep this ‘secret’ going without Dad thinking I had some kind of a stomach bug. The nurses were done talking to Mom when her phone rang. It was Dad. We both laughed. Thankfully, Mom told him she was there and in Room 8. I went back to Room 9 to see Dad smiling and in a mild state of shock.
“Your Mom is here?”
“Yes, Dad. See that wall behind your head? Mom’s on the other side of it.”
“Why don’t they just wheel in a double bed and we can both stay in here?”
I’m not sure he was joking, but he was thrilled that she was so close. When the nurses came to walk him that day, they brought him to visit Mom. When Dad was eating his lunch. Mom went over to visit him. It was more than adorable.
On Saturday, they moved Mom out of ICU and put her in a room on the third floor. Labor and Delivery. Evidently, Mom has lots of secrets. She wasn’t there long. Mom went home on Sunday. But, that’s not the end of the story.
On Monday morning my sister and I made a quick trip to the beach. We talked, we ate, we walked, we left. It was hot. That afternoon I was on my way to the hospital to see Dad and reminding myself that the turn for the hospital is before the exit ramp for 417, because sometimes I forget. With that thought I remembered that Mom wanted me to order sheets for her and drove right past the turn for the hospital. No problem, there’s a back entrance to the hospital on the other side of the mall, so I went around the mall. This involved a big hill and, while still thinking about sheets I was not thinking about speed. Suddenly, I saw a police car in the median, which, of course, made me realize I was going kind of fast down that hill. I applied my brake and hoped against hope.
As I passed the police car, it left the median and came up behind me. He didn’t turn on his lights, so I was telling myself that maybe he just wanted a donut or had to go to the bathroom or something. I made a right turn. So did he. And then…lights. I pulled into a parking lot and reached for my wallet only to realize that it was back in my beach bag at home. I pulled out the registration and insurance card hoping that the officer might think two out of three wasn’t bad. I explained that my license was at home and apologized. He took the registration and insurance card and went back to his car. He came back and asked me my name as it appeared on my license, my date of birth, and my social security number. Fortunately, I remembered all three. He went back to his car again. I prayed for mercy and sat and waited. He came back and told me he was letting me go with a warning. Evidently, I have an excellent driving record. He did tell me to slow down. Since I normally drive like a turtle, this will not be a problem.
Erma Bombeck once said, “If you can’t make it better, you can laugh at it.” Good words that make life that much easier, after all…it’s really not that big a deal.