linking with Tell Me a True Story ~~~
The road between Monmouth and Corvallis-Albany , Oregon 22 years ago was a lovely, leisurely, bucolic drive. The back road wound in and out of farm land, old cemeteries and small Mom n Pop stops.
That day we were racing time. Straight down Highway 99. No stops. No leisurely jaunts. Windshield wipers flapping, I kept the car steady while the intermittent sobs from my passenger were sprinkled with his trademark “Hmmm.” as if in the midst of this crisis he was having some deep inner , silent conversation.
The back seat was at times silent, at times chatty as we drove South. With no cell phones or Google Earth at my finger tips with only the written directions I’d made , locating Serenity Lane proved more difficult than one would imagine.
Spotting a big chain Video store on the corner, I ran in for directions. Returning to the car in the now bright sunlight I saw my Father’s face frozen looking at the Video poster shining in the sunlight. Turning to look, I saw nothing revelatory. Still, it brought him more tears.
When we reached our appointed destination it was not at all what I expected. Serenity Lane looked more like a Frat House than a treatment facility. My then one year old son, my mom and the now docile lamb like figure of my emaciated over six foot Father and I made our way inside. As the Director led my dad upstairs to interview for admittance I saw my dad lean down unsteadily on the stairs to pick something up off the dark carpet. He looked back briefly and was gone.
Assuring everyone (including myself) we would be headed out ‘soon’ to get some Mclunch , imagine my surprise when the Director called us into his office not to sign admittance papers, but to tell me he could not take my dad.
“But” I began. He stopped me. “Over the phone it sounded like a typical case” he explained. “Had I known his condition I would have sent you straight to a hospital.” The alcoholism, the misuse of Antabuse , malnutrition, and the onset of Delirium tremen –we’re not equipped he stated simply.
“But”, I was going to say, “this is typical”. Just another day in the life of.
Back in the car everyone! Turning back onto King’s Road to Good Samaritan Hospital admitting.
The Admittance Receptionist – Nurse watched as my dad rose from his chair where somehow he’d answered many of their questions. He wandered the small ER lobby while my mom occupied herself with her small Grandson outside. I, thankful for the brief respite. He occasionally muttered to himself & fingered something in his pocket while alternating with tears and laughter at some Private, personal revelation.
Paperwork somehow completed. Upstairs in the hospital room , finally. What had started early that morning was now ending or at least closing this day -this evening. Finally. Quiet. Finally . Someone else (respectable, responsible & respectful) to look to- to take charge.
The Doctor explained in detail what would happen next. Silence. Then Protests. The Doctor waved me to the hall. “Does your mother understand what’s happening?”
Watching through the window we watched her as she watched them wrap leather cuffs to his wrists and strap this man to his hospital bed -Husband, Grandfather, Dad.
His wife’s stricken, confused, defiant look & protests. The Nurse and Doctor almost in unison-
“Mrs. White? Levon? You aren’t taking your husband anywhere. You both now have no choice.”
Next up Epilogue- p 7 Oh! That Explains It.
Until then Trust The One True King especially when it feels as if you can’t hold on, you can’t take one more step. And double dog dare ya- if you’re longing for that drink & a View 😉
Shandra- Daughter, Mother, Sister , Soldier.
All rights reserved December 2013*