My Dad is in hospital. I’ve spent the day sitting by his side, occasionally holding his hand, rubbing his shoulders or his feet and trying to reassure him.
Mostly, he does not want reassurance. He just wants to go home. But he is fragile with infection, a very high temperature and delirium. And home has become many different places. His fever has put him back in his hometown of Harare, working at a pharmacy, drinking in the golf club, and playing poker knowing that his wife (my mom) is phoning him to please come home.
He’s forgotten that his wife (my mom) died almost two years ago.
He keeps trying to pull out his drip. When I tell him where he is, in a hospital, he dismisses it completely.
I have never been sick, dear Violet, he says. Not for a day in my life. And I am not going to get sick now.
It’s true. I do not remember my Dad ever being ill. He has always been in control, strong and healthy.
And suddenly, without warning, he isn’t.
We don’t know how much of his behaviour is because of fever, medication, old age or dementia. He’s up and down and all over the place, and in fact I am now home on the couch and my sister called to tell me he is ‘doing much better.’
So we have no idea what to expect. I think it’s going to be a fairly long and difficult process.
And I know he’s sick and it’s horrible and awful but he did say one thing to me that made me wonder about everything.
He looked at me and said:
Where is your husband, Violet?
I reminded him that I’d got divorced a few years ago.
Well then, darling, he said. This is a perfect place to find the second one.
Get well quickly Dad . I love you.