I sat straight up in bed and shouted, "MOM!"
I was startled. I never do things like that, shouting in my sleep. A glance at the clock told me it was 5:45am, plenty of time left to sleep in.
It stayed with me all day, that feeling of trying to reach my Mom. I only had to pick up the phone and call, which I knew I would do in the evening, for our weekly chat.
Being 300 miles away may as well be 3 thousand at times.
Something in me was avoiding the call. I finally made it.
They had a difficult time waking up Dad in the morning. He was very weak, could not pull himself up. His blood pressure was somewhere in the 40's. Later I learned his pulse was a scary 42. He was in the wheel chair all day. They could not make it to church. The Angel, Jeannie (the nurses aide that Mom found several years ago) called all day long to check on Dad.
I realize that one day I will wake up thinking that this day will be like all the others. I'll get ready for work, go to work, I'll carry on with tasks the day demands. And then the cell phone will ring. I know it will be my sister Kitty, I'll not understand anything she is saying because she is crying.
Then that normal day will change into the day that everything changes.
Its been over three years ago Dad suffered from congenital heart failure and we almost lost him. It was almost six weeks before we were able to bring him home. He went to a re-hab hospital to regain strength and learn how to walk with a walker, pull himself up out of bed, feed himself etc. etc. All those basic things that we take for granted become a small miracle when practiced by someone who was so close to death.
Then very soon after he came home he had a stoke. The time spent in the hospital are worse than anything imaginable. But he managed to come home again and one of the ER room physicians suggested that a new drug just released to treat Alzheimer's be given to Dad.
It was like a miracle. It breathed new life into Dad.
Several months after that, again on a Sunday, his blood pressure dropped so low that he could not be waken up. The ambulance was called and once again he was admitted into the hospital for observation.
It was then that the Wicked Nurse gave us a piece of advice, do not call the ambulance any more when he begins to go. It's his time, she was trying to tell us, and it is their profession to cheat the inevitable if they can, but our family must make a decision about the quality of his life.
I wanted to get in her face and tell her that if it was her Father she would feel differently.
Years later, I have forgiven her for her bluntness. Because I have a better understanding now.
They did not call the ambulance this Sunday. And he bounced back.
I am not prepared. I think I am, but I am not.