Friday, October 10, 2008

The big scare

You would think that a post containing the word "scare" in October would have to pertain to Halloween. You would be misguided to think that today! There are far scarier things than witches and ghosts so I've come to find out.

There are a few things that my dad needs help with once in awhile. I've been trying to get over to his house to help wash his comforter and blankets and clean some spots in the carpet. Not only does my dad have a very arthritic knee but he is on oxygen and these make everyday tasks hard to manage. Yet for the most part he manages alone during the day just fine while my mother is at work. On my end the challenge is juggling everything. My "help" can be had as long its before 10:30 am. Or you will get "extra" help in the form of a Kindergartener who may or may not be cooperative with the plan. I then have a chunk of time until 2:30 in which I need to be home for when the "tornado", otherwise known as Nolan enters the picture. I assure you its like a whirlwind when he walks in the door based on his level of pent up energy and emotion from having had to pay attention and be good all day! So everyone knows there is a very unpredictable element as to whether or not I an available after 3 pm each day.

So yesterday was the day my dad and I and Colton agreed to. Dad would be at a clinic appointment until 1:00 pm. Colton and I would arrive shortly thereafter. It took me until 1:30 to convince Colton to go with me. We arrived. And this is the scene that greeted me. First of all my dad's pickup was in the driveway, the hood up and a battery charger hooked up to it. I instantly assumed dad had missed his appointment and would be waiting inside. We came around to the back of the house and the back door was standing open. We knocked on the door and shouted inside as we waited a minute. No answer, no sweat. We went inside. The first thing I noticed was dad's oxygen tubing snaked down the stairs going to the basement, unattached to anything. A half finished bagel was on the kitchen counter. The lights were on. But still no signs of dad. We hollered. First down the stairs, then throughout the house. No answer. And then I saw something that caused my heart to drop.

Dad's portable oxygen tank, the one he uses when he leaves the house, was sitting in its crate next to his stationary machine. When you grow accustomed to spending time with an oxygen dependent person, they can almost always be found attached to the other end of the supply! And if they are not the question becomes how long can they go without it? I assure you, in the case of my dad... NOT LONG!

By now PANIC had set in. I called my mom's work. She had left for the day a half an hour ago and nobody could provide me with any other info. Dad was probably not with her. After walking around the block, and checking every square inch of the house I called in reinforcements. It took about 10 seconds for my husband to hear the panic in my voice and he was on his way. And he brought along his mother in case we needed someone to watch Colton. You can only imagine the scenarios that were running through my head.

Within minutes we heard a car in the driveway. Imagine the look of incredulity at the sight of a tan car pulling in. My husband's car is blue. It was my Uncle Ernie. As he got out of the car and made his way around to the passenger side for the second time that day my heart dropped. The car door slowly swung open and a cane appeared first and then slowly emerged the face of my father. I almost didn't know what to say. I was a little shocked to hear the words and voice of someone who sounded an awful lot like my mother... except I quickly realized they were coming from me. Ernie looked a little amused when he saw the expression on my face and then when I addressed my dad with a "How could you! I was so worried!" his grin widened into a knowing look. Willard was in trouble and getting one of those "Brainerd" scoldings made famous from my mother's side of the family.

But for the most part my dad was largely unscathed. It seems that the oxygen company had just recently sent out a new portable tank that my dad was using. With a dead battery on the truck he did the most logical thing, he called Ernie. He went to his appointment and then he got hungry. So he and Ernie went and had a bite to eat. He was a little confused about exactly what time it was but assumed he'd be home before I got there.

As for me I think I am slightly embarrassed and yet mostly just grateful. Its reassuring that so many people are willing to drop what they are doing and come to the rescue of not just my dad, but myself as well. Even when I just need rescuing from myself!

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