Tonight, my mother and my brother moved the bed out of her guest room.
Tomorrow morning, a truck will deliver a hospital bed to take its place.
And sometime after that, an ambulance with my father in tow will make the trek from the hospital to my mother’s and father’s home.
Only a week ago, he was sitting on a bench in the warm afternoon sun surrounded by loved ones, relatives, and friends, greeting and shaking hands with anyone who wanted to see him.
Six days ago, he was sitting on his own couch with his beloved dogs, Molly and Cassie, by his side.
Five days ago, he was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother eating dinner before walking around his house, checking and touching this and then that as he moved from room to room.
Three days ago, he was shopping with my mother, helping her push the shopping cart. But his hand kept dropping from the handle. He couldn’t hold the grip with his right hand.
The ambulance arrived and whisked him to the hospital. It appeared to be a mild stroke, and the staff decided to keep him overnight just to watch.
Two days ago, my dad didn’t get to go home as planned. He had a rough night and started having a bit of trouble swallowing. The doctors had some serious, painful talks with my mother. They used words like “new baseline for his alzheimers” and “might not get better”.
One day ago, Dad didn’t get to go home as planned. He had enough trouble swallowing that he didn’t eat, and he didn’t get out of bed. The doctors had even more serious conversations with my mom. They said things like “can’t go home without round-the-clock care”.
Today, my father didn’t get to go home as planned. He failed yet another swallow test. The doctors had more bad news. They used words like “hospice” and “quality of life”. But then, with my mother’s gentle cajoling and patient care, my dad ate some mashed potatoes and pudding. His first food in days.
Tomorrow, my dad is going home. He won’t walk through the door, and he won’t sit on the couch with his beloved Molly and Cassie. But he will be home. Around those he loves and those who love him. My mom says, “We’re just going to go home and live our life.” Sure, it will be with hospital beds, and nurses and social workers. But it will be home.
Tomorrow, my dad is going home.