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    The Best & The Worst

          Two years ago today, my dad fell and broke his hip. Sixteen days later, he died.   
          My dad had fallen, of all places, outside of his lawyer’s office. None of my siblings who knew this called to tell me. That actually didn’t surprise me. I had been out of the family bullshit loop for a while. That also meant I was out of the information loop. I spoke to my nephew that night, and at the end of the conversation, he said “Papa fell and broke his hip. He’s in the Newton-Wellesley Hospital”. I love my nephew to death, and I don’t blame him for not telling me right away. At least he told me.
          My nephew was with my mother. Nobody had been to see my father yet. I called the hospital and spoke to my dad. He sounded terrible. Scared and confused, I could hear the panic in his voice. I told him I would be up to see him. I hung up the phone and called a friend. He offered to take the ninety minute drive up with me to see my dad. I'll never forget that.
          By the time we got to the hospital, my dad was on morphine and sounding much better. I, however, was still quite shaken. So I pulled the I.V. out of his arm and jammed it into mine, sending a nice jolt of the magic elixir coursing through my veins. Then two doctors came in and explained hip surgery to my dad and I. We followed them as best we could, both being doped up and all. The doctors asked me why I had the I.V. in my arm. I told them that was none of their business. They changed the subject. They were very optimistic about the up-coming surgery. So were my dad and I. Morphine does that to you.  
          A little later, my friend came into the hospital room to hang out with me and my dad. We watched the American League playoffs. The Yankees lost. That always made my dad very happy. At about 11:30 p.m. we left. I kissed my father good-by and told him he was going to be fine.
          I was the only person in my family who saw my dad that night. And that was the last time that he was ever close to being himself again.
          The next two weeks, he slipped in and out of paranoia, extreme agitation, delusion, and quasi-lucidity. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to see my dad before he started slipping away. I spent three overnights with him after that, including the night he died. They were the worst three nights he had. So I saw my dad at his best and at his worst during the last two weeks of his life.
          That’s the way it always was with him. I saw the best in him, and the worst in him. I loved him dearly for all of it.
          I miss you dad...     

     © 2008 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and Wrongs) Reserved   

     I encourage Comments. So let me hear you.

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