I am on my way to the hospital in a taxi. I have asked the driver to turn off his radio. Cat I ask you to turn off the radio? Yes. Thank you. You’re welcome. They called from the lung ward, my father isn’t taking in enough oxygen. His oxygen is falling.
I was very awake and quite high. Half an hour before sitting in the taxi preparing myself for his death, I was at home and had just put a small amount of cannabis in my pipe and smoked it.
They had called while I was playing a video game to distract myself from thinking about my father being in the hospital and what might happen and what it would mean and how I would feel and the freedom it would give me and how all the signals of his death which I have been given over the past ten years had muffled my panic with their large number and how this was very different from all those times in the way that he in none of those instances had been in the hospital and that he hadn’t been inside a hospital for ten years and that he had no choice now but to commit himself to the systems of the hospital, to accept this challenge.
There was also the possibility that they would cure his pneumonia and that he afterwards might be able to move to an apartment where he could go outside every day, on a balcony or terrace, and feel the wind, rain and sun on his face. Should I regret not having helped him move? He could have bought help to fix it up before selling if he really wanted to move. I don’t think he did, but it is not an easy subject I have digressed into. Then the phone rang and I looked at the number. I knew who it was because I didn’t have it listed and it was a land line. I took great care in getting out of the door in a quick but not panicky manner.
I remember getting out of the taxi and walk towards the building I had left just a few hours before. It must have been the first weekend after he had been put in hospital, because I was home alone. Yes. My girlfriend was in another part of the country, visiting her grandmother. I was walking on a path that pointed diagonally toward the eight story tall hospital building, looked up at it and thought to myself: Is it neccessary for a person in my situation to run at this point? Then I ran inside and hurried up the stairs.
I went directly into the bathroom to take a piss, wash my hands and face, and to have a look at my eyes. I looked sane enough and went out into the corridor where I was approached by a nurse. She asked me if I was my father’s son (using my father’s name), I said: Yes, she said: We just talked on the phone. Listen, your father is not very well. The doctor has been here, he’s had a look at him. At the moment his numbers are a little better, but we don’t know how long they will stay that way. How low are his oxygen numbers? They were below 70, but last I checked they were in their eighties. Is there anyone else we need to call? It was maybe three in the morning. I said no and thanked her, she told me I could go in, I did, past his roommate, another very thin, but older person with a mask, who had spent most of the preceding day watching television.
I went to my father’s bed, took his hand and looked at his thin, pale face with the big, transparent oxygen mask over his mouth and nose, his strengthless arms hanging at his sides and a shallow, fastpaced breathing pumping in his chest. I brought a chair to the bed and sat down. I told him I had been called by the hospital, and that they had said his blood saturation had been low. He looked exhausted. I took his hand. I started crying and told him I loved him. He also started crying. I told him I was so happy he had met my girlfriend (I used her name). He cried with even greater strength.
Time went on. The oxygen saturation in his blood rose. 85, 86, 87, 88.
He stabilized around 94 for a couple of hours, I nursed him and watched over him as he slept. I wrote this, which had happened:
He took my arm and led it to his neck. He was lying down. I had just pulled him further up in the bed. He grabbed the railing and pulled over to one side, led my hand to his neck. There is more bone than muscle, the muscles are small, like shoulder pads under the skin. Or ergonomical soles for shoes. I massaged his left shoulder. It was nice.