I got the phone call Thursday around noon. My step mom told me that my dad was in the hospital. He had planned to go to rehab the day before, and he was on his way there when he ran out of gas. Someone stopped to help him on the side of the road, but quickly realized that something was not right. They called 911. When the ambulance arrive my dad said he was on his way to rehab clinic and they were expecting him. After a quick phone call the EMT confirmed this and was preparing to drive my dad to the clinic. It was only when my dad tried to stand up and collapsed that they realized how serious the situation was. The took him to the hospital, he spent the night in the Emergency Room, and has since been in ICU.
My dad hasn’t been able to walk for a week. During the day he sits on the couch, watches T.V., and rolls around the house in a chair when he needs to leave the living room. At night, he crawls up the stairs like a toddler to go to bed. He hasn’t eaten more than a few bites of food over the past two weeks. His skin has turned yellow, as have his eyes. Jaundice is a sign that you liver has stopped functioning properly.
Obviously I knew it was coming. It was just a question of when. My dad is an alcoholic. He has been for as long as I can remember. He is also a habitual smoker. Family and friends have begged him to stop for years, but he never listened. And now he’s paying for it. The doctors are saying that he may never leave the hospital. They are keeping him stable as he floats in and out of consciousness, watching his liver for signs as to how well it is actually functioning.
I’m really scared. I don’t know how much longer my dad will be alive. I am so stressed out that my hands and feet are covered in hives. I have cried a lot, and spent hours on the phone with my mom and sister.
Of course, I am in New York, I have a paper due Monday, and two finals on Tuesday. I am debating whether or not I should change my flight and go home earlier than the 19th. I don’t know what to do.
It’s still partly surreal, but also very very real. I don’t want my dad to be gone forever.