Months To Years Fall 2018 Months To Years Fall 2018 - Page 56

I had no idea where that story came from. Towards the going on, he asked about his roommate. When we told end, when he had lost his English and was speaking him, he started to cry. The man in the other bed was his Russian for the first time in 84 years, or Yiddish, or worst fear. something at least totally incomprehensible to me and the   Filipina nurses, it was too late to ask.   Two weeks later his doctor moved him upstairs to a single room with a big sunny, ocean view window. He was able The birthday I know is nine weeks away. He would be to get up a bit, get himself to the bathroom, and eat 90 this year. When I think about his birthday, I get three real food. We walked into his room one morning and images: one is an article I read decades ago about dates found him sitting on the bed, legs dangling over the side, of death. In the 1980s, researchers posited a correlation sobbing. He had just gotten the news about what was between birth and death dates. The advent of big data wrong with him. He was crying because, as a physician, he has put a crimp in that theory, but I’ve still thought about knew how close he had come to dying. it every year. It seems likely my father will die within six   weeks of the birthday I celebrate.   While he was hospitalized in 1989, my mother told me whenever I came to San Diego to visit that my father Following a series of small strokes in December, his arteries worried it would be our last visit. It’s one of the only things were so occluded it became difficult for him to stay awake. she ever told me that I really regretted she told. Years after That and the cardiac-induced dementia decimated what she died, it still made me crazy every time I left him. was left of his cognitive skills. By early January, it was clear   G. could no longer care for him. The responsibility for transferring him to the skilled nursing facility fell to me, which brought back the second image – etched into my brain right after he was diagnosed as a heart patient. Trusting my discretion, he told me had a bottle of capsules   16 February   I spent most of yesterday alone with my father. It was the first day G. had taken off since January 7. When I got he kept in the medicine cabinet. If anyone tried to put him there, Mo was already up and dressed and out in the hall in “the home,” he was going to swallow the pills. The pain in his wheelchair. He was sprawled over his tray table, a of moving him was exacerbated by the realization he had pillow under his face, fast asleep. I sat in the hall with him waited too long. as he slept and woke, sat up and folded back down.     acute bacterial endocarditis, a life-threatening infection There was an attractive, well-dressed woman in her late The third image is my dad in the hospital in 1989. He was in the ICU 10 days before they diagnosed sub- of the heart lining. Once they started massive doses I watched the other patients’ relatives come and go.   70s visiting her husband. of antibiotics, he began to respond. His erratic blood pressure stabilized and they moved him to a first-floor “Who am I, John? Do you know, my John? The love of your room. Looking back, we should have gotten him another life? Is that who I am, John?” room. This one was dark with a window obstructed by an   outside wall. I suppose we were so amazed and happy he was alive it didn’t occur to us we all could have used a And then the snappily dressed, trim, healthy looking man, probably not 75, with his wife slumped over in the sunnier room. wheelchair. He was cheerfully walking back and forth   from her room at the end of the hall, to get her ice, water, The man in the other bed was 99. He had no visitors pour her juice. Going with her to the dining room and, I and he never talked, never stirred. As my father began to imagine, gently feeding her lunch. recover, and get an inkling of where he was and what was 56