...some good news.
Although I'm hesitant to broadcast it, lest the spiteful gods hear me and snatch it all away again, it seems like my dad is finally on the mend. As mended as an almost 80-year who is patched together with spit and tape can be, that is.
He's still in that godforsaken hospital - 5 weeks today - but he's now lucid almost 100% of the time, receiving physiotherapy in preparation for leaving the hospital, and slowly but surely getting all his health issues sorted out. Including the new ones introduced by the stellar staff and the hospital's motley collection of germs and bacteria.
Don't get me started.
I can't even count the number of times I was sure this wouldn't end happily. I've never seen him look so old, frail or sick - some days so much so that I'm sure I physically recoiled at the sight of him. And the confusion (a result of the build-up of toxins in his body from the undiagnosed kidney failure) is something I hope never, ever, ever to have to see in him again.
It broke my heart when I'd say goodbye and he'd ask if he was coming home too, or when he was sure he was in an office building from his long ago working career, or when he was too weak and confused to feed himself, or when he thought I was his mother. And especially when I looked into his eyes and knew he had no idea who I was.
We are the lucky ones, my family and I, because he has come back to us. I can't imagine what it's like for the families of people with dementia for whom this is a permanent state. My good God, I don't know how they do it. Just a few weeks of this has left me utterly exhausted, body and mind. How people do this for years is absolutely beyond me, but I have a tremendous new respect for those caring for loved ones who are disappearing right before their eyes.
My birthday is next week. Time has a way of changing what you wish for. Five years ago, having just lost Thomas, I would have thought that my dearest wish upon turning 40 would be to have another child. Today, I just want my dad home. And I want him to stay there for as long as the gods can possibly spare him.
I've asked them for a lot of things over the past five years. I'm hoping they'll finally give me this one.