Dad's Big Fathers Day Weekend (Mis)Adventure

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Until this year, my now 87-year-old dad has driven from North Carolina to Michigan each summer when the time came to make the pilgrimage north to the family cottage on the big lake. That is a trip of just over 800 miles, but one he, I think, mostly enjoyed. When my mom was alive, of course, he had a co-pilot, but he has done it alone the last few years since she died. His doctors deemed him capable, and, indeed, he got there and back safely each time--driving up in early June and back in September. This year, however, without the urging of his daughters (which, I'm sure he probably sensed was soon to come), he voluntarily gave up the steering wheel and had me book a flight for him.

What a relief! Each time he'd set off on either leg of the trip, I had worried that something catastrophic might befall him. Pushing images of mangled cars out of my consciousness, I practically held my breath for the days he was on the road. With flying, I figured he was guaranteed to make it safely--incident free--with no harm to him or anyone else. Turns out, I was wrong!

Yesterday (Saturday), when I got up from my nap and hadn't yet heard from him to say he'd arrived, I called the cottage and no answer. So I called my sister Ann and she replied to my "Have you heard from Dad?" with "I was just getting ready to call you." He had fallen and broken his arm! He tripped and fell while going to the bathroom. He'd had wheelchair service because walking is difficult for him, but wanted to make a quick trip to the loo before boarding the plane in Detroit. He didn't think he was hurt too badly, so he went ahead and flew to Grand Rapids, where he was going to pick up a rental car and drive the 2 remaining hours to the cottage, but on the way, he realized something was really wrong with his arm.

He ended up going by ambulance to the hospital there, and after a cat scan and some other tests, it was determined he needs surgery to put in a pin, etc.--first scheduled for today, but rescheduled for tomorrow. So he spent Father's Day in the hospital--and as bleak as that sounds, he is always happy to be the center of attention, and he has been that for sure, so I don't feel it was a total bummer for him! He'll be there till Tuesday, and when he leaves, won't be able to be on his own. My sister Linda, who is not actually a saint, (but may be on the way to becoming one), dropped everything to fly up there and take care of him and stay with him till he is able to be on his own again in a few weeks. She and Ann weren't planning to arrive there till the end of the month, so she really had to scramble to get ready. I'm so glad and grateful she was available to go!

Anyway, I've written all this and still haven't said all I was planning to say. Like that I at first felt guilty for his fall because I thought he had fallen while trying to hoof it through the airport. I had ordered wheelchair service for him but had not called the airline right before departure to be sure he was all set to have wheels--yes, a little compulsive, but I had meant to do it and was already feeling a little bad that I hadn't. I got over that in a hurry once he said he'd indeed had the wheelchair. (And yes, I do remember speaking of the uselessness of guilt a couple of blog entries back!)

Also, I was meaning to mention that the area where where our family cottages are located got flooded very badly in a storm Thursday night but that our cottages are okay--just hard to get in and out of the resort, parts of which are under feet of water. The beaches are closed, among other areas, because of e. coli contamination. Yuck! It actually might not be such an inconvenience for my dad to be hung up in Grand Rapids for a couple of days--it will give time for the flood waters to recede a bit. NOT that I'd have chosen this particular delay tactic!

Here at home, nothing so dramatic, thank goodness! The Hamrick girls were all over to honor their dad today, and it was really great to spend time with all of them. #2 brought her pet hedgehog, who was very cute, but burrows and hides out most of the time, so we didn't see as much of her as I'd have liked. Rick spent most of the afternoon playing good-natured computer geek, fixing her (#2's, not the hedgehog's) virus-infected computer, so he got to be "Hero Dad" today. I guess even though there's a day that's designated for Father's Day, you're never guaranteed to be able to be free of a father's duties! Or, in my dad's case, to be where you thought you'd be!

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This page contains a single entry by Julia published on June 16, 2008 1:08 AM.

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