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Thar she Blows!

I wasn’t prepared for his attack, coming off the week in the hospital where he lay in a drug-induced delusion. I got lazy and soft, enjoying conversations like, “How are you feeling today, dad?”

“I like horses.”

“Oh. Okay then. What do you like about horses?”

“2 o’clock. Definitely at 2 o’clock.”

After a bit, my conscience did get the better of me and I alerted one of the nurses.

“Uh, do you realize my father isn’t making any sense?”

She looked at me blankly. “What do you mean? He made perfect sense this morning.”

“Uh, I don’t think so, because when I spoke with him on the phone last night, he was out of it.”

She stomped into the room.

“Evan! Do you know where you are?” My father playfully hid his face with his hand. “I’ll give you a choice Evan. Are you home or in the hospital or are you at the zoo?”

My father smiled, almost coquettishly, and affirmatively answered. “HOME!”

I looked at her, trying not to appear smug. “I’ll call the doctor,” she said. Good idea.

The doctor came, took one look and said, “He’s zonked. I don’t think he was like this yesterday.”

Oh contraire, doctor.

So they lowered his medicine, and over the next couple of days, I saw some improvement in coherency; then the irritation started creeping back in, until ultimately he returned to his generally miserable, suffering self who above all hated to be in the hospital with people telling him what to do and where he couldn’t go. His disposition was worse but he was getting better.

The doctors informed me that they intended to release him to rehab. Since he had gone to the hospital with nothing but the monkey on his back, I needed to do a little shopping to get him some extra clothes. As I dialed his room, my fingers were crossed that the call would be quick and painless. Maybe a nurse would be with him, and then I’d have to call back later. I could only hope, but hope had failed me before.

“Hi, Dad.”

“When am I getting out of here?”

Uh oh, not a good start.

“I don’t know. You’ve gotten much better. The doctors are saying that you should go to a rehabilitation facility for a week or so to regain your strength.”

“Oh so you’re in charge, making all my decisions. I don’t have any say.”

“Uh, no. You can do whatever you like. I’m relaying what the doctor’s say.”

“I want to go home. I need to think about what I have to do.”

Gritting teeth. “What you need to do is get yourself a little healthier and then go home.”

“You just want to ship me off! Why is every idea I have wrong?!”

Anger rising to intolerable levels, “If you go home, you will lose your benefits to get into the rehab place. Plus, you are not fully recovered and they would take better care of you.”

“So you’re setting me up to fail because I want to go home and MOMMY won’t let me!”

That was it.

I exploded; the words shooting from my mouth like firecrackers. Expletives that one shouldn’t say to anyone, much less one’s sick father, but out they came. F’n crazy. F’n on drugs. F’n ruining my life. On and on I went. Bad daughter. Bad moment.

I took a deep breath. Then I took another. There was silence on the other end of the phone.

“Dad?” I asked, shaky from my emotions and outburst.

“I’m here.” He answered, smaller since I had cut him down.

“I’m sorry.”

He whimpered a bit.

“Dad, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lose it like that. I was just…”

He cut me off. “I’ll go to the rehab.”

“Really?” I was taken aback. “I mean good. I know you hate it, but it’s for the best.”

“I know and it’s not your fault. We’re in a bad place. I mean, I’m in a bad place and you’re stuck. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah.” I agreed, feeling all my energy drain. “It’s really not good. But tomorrow, it might be better.”

There it was again, hope.

“You sure can curse.” He almost laughed.

“So it seems.” I agreed with equal amusement. “Don’t make me do it again.” I teased.

But we both knew that he would.

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

47 responses »

  1. What a difficult and frustrating situation! I’m glad it worked out in the end.

  2. Hey, sometimes an anger explosion works! Who woulda thought.

  3. I am just copying and pasting this first part. Sorry … I promise you will only have to endure it once. I’m Angela — new to blogging and new to yeah write, but not new to writing. Until becoming unemployed this June (effin’ Scott Walker … oops!), I taught high school English and Creative Writing was one of those courses. So, long story short: I will always have lots to say. Feel free to curse at me if you don’t want to hear all my feedback. If you want more, let me know that too. I will glady offer even further feedback, but I’m not interested in pissing anyone off my first time on the grid. 🙂 Now, on to your post …

    I liked it. I applaud your ability to share a difficult situation with a public audience; it truly takes a ton of courage. You had some highly unique similes too. I can honestly say I have never heard anyone use the phrase “like a volcano that had eaten too many burritos.” 🙂 I want to care about your father more though — so maybe less actual dialogue and more internal monologue. Your emotional response to his words is going to let your readers really care about both you and your father.

  4. Your blog looks different. Did you change it? This story strikes fear as my parents get older. Will I have to deal with this? I have a very short fuse and am sure I would blow too. It scares me.

    • The aging parent thing is very scary. try not to think about it. what happens happens. no use projectile worrying. my dad has been old for soo many years, way before his time…

      I have a new header. Do you like??

  5. I dread the idea of my parents in the situation your dad is in. I’m sorry you are going through this, but proud of you for losing it and ultimately getting your dad where he needs to be for his own recovery.

  6. Powerful writing, Scream. Your dad needed that, maybe, so don’t feel bad. Somewhere under it all, he’s proud of you.

  7. This story made me so sad and frustrated for you. I can’t even imagine what that must be like to deal with coming from a parent.

    Your post is one of my favorites so far this week. That was some seriously well-written dialogue!

  8. I love your new header!

    And I feel badly for both you and your dad here — so not his fault that he’s aging, but also not your fault that he was being so difficult. I can also see myself totally amused if one of my kids let loose an explicative-ly colored rant toward me. I might be a little wounded, but I would certainly get over it. Sometimes you just need to be told when you’re being an ass.

  9. awesome post- very well written. i could *feel* it all.
    thank you for sharing. and i’m sorry you both are going through this.

  10. Enjoyed your writing here – I could feel the tension build and the inevitable explosion. I’m due for a run-in with my dad soon. Thanks for the primer! 😉

  11. But you got through to him, and that was what you needed. I hope you don’t have to remind him how well you curse in the future.

  12. It sounds like, when you exploded, that you said things that needed to be said to your father. Of course, you may have regretted HOW you said it, but sometimes that is the only thing that works.
    I hope your father is doing okay at rehab.

  13. I liked how you wrote out the conversation…very real. But sorry it had to go that way.

  14. i got nuthin’ but love 4 ya sista!

  15. First off, I LOVE the new header! Great work!
    Secondly, I admire your honesty. I could never, ever, EVER swear at my Mother so I think that it’s kind of badass that you swore at your Dad and it WORKED!
    Good story!

  16. Great story, as usual, but I didn’t know volcanoes ate burritos. I now have this mental image that I really wish I could shake.

  17. Not sure how I missed this one–until now. That is, I still dont know, but I read it, so it is no longer missed. Anyway, can you post the transcript of the explosion? That would be even more amusing yet.

  18. This was a well told story. I could feel the emotion in it – very real, very authentic. Very well done.

  19. It’s an Ahsploshunn! <–me being a dork. Hi. I'm sorry you're going through so much with your Dad. The bad daughter words hit me square in the gut. We have all felt that "child guilt" and it is miserable. But sometimes, when you gotta blow, you gotta blow! Great story.

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  21. Oh man! I don’t know if ‘should’ enters the picture here. He needed to hear those things. You may have saved his life and your relationship with him. I hope the monkey gets off his back.

  22. As usual,I’m clapping at your ability to deal with writing in such a magistral way. One is so attracted by your dialogues,and your descriptions ,tha would like to go on and on…….By the way,I wish your dad recover soon!

  23. Thank you for writing so honestly about what it can be like to deal with someone like this – it’s good to know that it doesn’t just happen to me! I love your writiing. All the best

  24. What a rough stage of life I am SO not looking forward to – I’m glad that you guys have the kind of relationship that can overcome a blow up like that. Kudos to you both for trying to work through it all!

  25. Ohhh bless you! I soooo remember the days of taking care of my dad… He was on the Diabetes/Dialysis train… It was not fun. My husband and I had to threaten him to go to the hospital when he collapsed on us. Sadly he’s gone and I’d take back any one of the arguments I had with him in a hot second. It’s hard to say enjoy it… but enjoy it 🙂 and hang in there 🙂 Big hugs!

  26. It’s so hard when we sometimes have to talk to our own parents like they’re the kids.

  27. Hugs. That’s got to be so hard. I’m glad he listened.

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  30. Holy f’ing shit! I see in other comments that folks commented on your writing (for Yeah, Write, I guess). But I didn’t notice the writing. I was too caught up in the story.

    Oh and fearing my own verbal tirage when my husband, some day, ends up hospitalized. It won’t be pretty.


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