My Father's Day

Robert Young and Jane Wyatt, the ideal parents

Today is Father’s Day. Tomorrow is my father’s birthday. He will be 94.

Five weeks ago he irregularly fractured his neck while on a 39 day cruise to Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore and Japan. (Don’t ask what business he and my 92 year old mom had going to Southeast Asia.)

Four weeks ago he was deposited in a hospital in Vancouver, B.C. I returned him and my mom, who had contracted pneumonia, to New York via air ambulance where he was admitted to an excellent hospital. The flight took half a day. My mom had enough of hospitals and went home.

On his first day in hospital he experienced “sundowning,” a medical term for when disoriented and medicated patients, especially the elderly, lose all sense of reality. I was told it would last only a few days.

Two days later he went into the OR for neck surgery lasting five hours. The following day he was still disoriented.

Two days after surgery, his once agile mind seemed to be slowly returning. Two days later, we had a conversation. He wanted to go home.

After three weeks he was released to a rehabilitation facility for an indefinite period. The first day was disorienting (for me), by the second day, my father had made friends with others on his floor.

On this day before his 94th year he is working hard to recover.

Today is Father’s Day. It would be great to turn back the clock and calendar so this never happened.

Tomorrow is his birthday – he just wants to go home. That would be a wonderful gift.

6 thoughts on “My Father's Day

  1. Hans D Reichert

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Mother’s day and father’s day should be everyday. My parents are going about their daily routine in Germany. As you know Veronika, Isobel and I are living in England and we phone them each Saturday. It is hard sometimes, especially when you feel that they need you, doctor’s appointments, house maintenance etc. They don’t tell me really if they need me – i usually find out afterwards. They did not want to worry me, so they say. Still caring 0f course, always caring  – they are my parents.
    I trust your parents are OK now. I bet you are pretty proud of them. Give them a loving hug, I am sure that you do that anyway.
    Best Hans

  2. Liz Danzico

    Reading this after the clock has turned forward — days after Father’s Day and the birthday. Thinking of you and parents and hoping home has come. Best wishes this holiday week and all days!

  3. Allan Chochinov

    A touching letter Steve. The warmest wishes for father’s day today, and a huge happy birthday to your dad for tomorrow. If your parents have half your will and verve (wait, together that would make a Steve Heller!), you’ll all come out of this even stronger. All the best.