As my dad lays in a hospital bed in a hospital gown with a BiPAP and a heart monitor and an IV all hooked up, I watch him sleep, laboring for the precious breaths he needs to continue living. It’s hard to watch. My brother calls and tells me that I can come on over and watch my nephew. I tell him I’m at the hospital with Dad and that I’ll be right there. The nurse wakes my dad to do something and I tell him that Mom should be there soon and that I have to go, and that I love him. “Love you, too,” he manages to say, eyes half shut again as he drifts out. I meet my mom in the hallway and tell her about the tests that they ran on Pop while I was there, and head on out to go watch my nephew, already late because my sister-in-law got off of work early. Fortunately, my spouse is home, and I walk in the door to find Squiggle Bug happily hugging his soft, stuffed duck and watching cartoons on the bed with my spouse. Squiggle Bug is happy to see me, and resumes watching cartoons.
Mom calls after 2000 hrs, asking me how to get back to the ER parking lot from where she is at the hospital because she’s gotten lost after visiting Dad. I give her directions and she informs me that my dad doesn’t have pneumonia and that one of the kidney specialists will be over today. She asks if I can take the borrowed oxygen bottle back to the clinic in the neighboring town where Pop first went before we transported him to the hospital in Billings. I told her I could certainly do that if they’re open today. They should be. Pop refused to be transported by ambulance to the hospital the other day, so the doctor let my folks borrow their oxygen tank so that my dad would make it to the hospital while we took him there. My dad’s doctor there is very understanding, and thankfully, willing to bend the rules enough to get my stubborn father to the hospital services he needs. I’m going to write the doctor there a personal thank-you note for his efforts. After all, he saved Pop’s life!
I speak with my Bishop about matters of the heart, matters of health (he’s a physician), and matters of eternal spiritual nature. He offers me a blessing, which I accept, to be given on Sunday following Sacrament meeting. I choose Sunday because I don’t, like my dad, want to be a burden to anyone. “I was listening just now to you talking about your dad and, let’s see…stubborn…doesn’t want to be a burden to anyone… Sounds like someone I know,” said my Bishop, and we laugh. Yes, I am my father’s child. I am so grateful for my God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, and I am ever so grateful as well for my Bishop and his family – great people and dear, special friends of mine – who are mindful of others and willing to give of themselves to help me and my family. My Bishop suggests that I pray with my dad and tell him how much I love him, since my dad is unlikely to accept a blessing right now. It is a brilliant idea, and one that I plan on following up on and doing because these things tend to humble one’s heart. So if you’re reading this and you pray or meditate on positive vibes, or whatever you do, send some positive thoughts my Pop’s way if you are willing. He needs a lot of help. He’s very sick, but I have a sense of peace about his condition. I know he’s going to be okay. I thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers for Roger (my Pop).