Sunday, March 20, 2005

Wake Up Call About Charles

I couldn't go to sleep last night. I was so tired but couldn't make myself go to bed and stayed up surfing blogs till about 2 a.m. I made several half-hearted attempts to write a post that has been in my mind for a week about Charles, but each time I ended up deleting versus posting because the content just didn't seem like what I really wanted to say. I wanted to call Charles. In fact, I felt an uncanny urge to call him but mentally talked myself out of it several times. I justified not calling him by the facts I had already talked with him earlier in the day and that he was hopefully resting and didn't need me to wake him up. I wanted to talk with him but didn't know what I would say even I did call him at such an odd hour of the night.

At 3:25 a.m. our house phone rang. I had been in and out of sleep but never reached that sublime state of rest where I am oblivious to the real world. Deep and restful sleep. I was instantly wide awake before the first ring was completed and fumbled around my nightstand in the dark with my heart pounding while thinking, "This is it." I answered and the voice of a strange woman who was obviously at a party said, "Doug?" Realizing that it wasn't "the call" I kindly told her she had the wrong number. After her apology I hung up the receiver and snuggled under the covers spooning against the backside of my wife feeling like I needed additional comforting but not knowing why.

Again, I went through the insomniac's ritual of trying to force myself to go to sleep and began the roller-coaster in and out of acute consciousness and semi-dream state without ever achieving the unconsciousness I so desired. Then I heard my mobile phone ringing downstairs and rolled over to look at the clock and see that it was 4:30 a.m. and thought, "This is it," but then quickly adjusted my thoughts to, "No, it's gotta be the Message Center calling because they cannot find my on call engineer for a customer problem." That made more sense... didn't it? By this time the call was missed and I knew I needed to get up and head downstairs to see who had called and probably end up calling the Message Center back to get the facts of what was going on and who I needed to chase down at this ungodly hour. Customers... sheesh.

Before I could get my robe on the house phone started ringing. My heart stopped... "This was it," I sensed. No one would call my house phone after missing me on my mobile unless they were family and it was an emergency. No one else had both numbers. "This is it," I kept repeating in my mind, "This is it." I grabbed for the cordless handset on my nightstand for the second time tonight only to find its battery was dead. Damn it! "Screw the robe," I thought, as I headed naked down the hall and then down the stairs in hope of getting to the phone before the answering machine kicked in. No such luck was with me tonight.

The answering machine picked up the call. "Hello Georgia," came my Dad's voice over the speaker. "This is Arkansas calling and it is around 3:30 a.m. our time." His voice sounded wide awake and almost cheery. What the crap was going on? "Don't know when you Georgians get up on a Sunday morning but when you do, give me a call." And just as I picked up the cordless downstairs phone and pressed "talk" he hung up.

Damn it! Why was this happening like this? I immediately got my mobile and clicked on "Return Call" to my Dad's mobile phone. He answered in the middle of the very first ring.

"Hello, Tony OH," he answered cheerfully just as if it were the middle of the day and we were having a scheduled conversation versus what I knew was going to be a disturbing call.

"What's up?" I asked. The strained relationship he and I have had for most of my life was making this more difficult. More about that maybe some other time some other post.

I won't go into the details of the needless banter that was exchanged between us until he got around to saying what was the reason for the call. Charles had been moved back to McClellan VA hospital and was in ICU on a respirator. His lungs were filling with fluids and they were trying to pump them clear. He appeared to be conscious but not truly responsive due to the extensive drugs they put him on.

I found myself surprisingly calm with no emotion in my responses. That strangling feeling of helplessness wasn't scrambling up my throat and I was, at least for the moment, in control of my emotions without much effort. I listened to the assessment of Charles' condition and the only thing running through my head was if I should load up the car and hit the road to be by his side. I caught myself only half listening as I realized that leaving immediately wasn't necessarily the right idea.

"So, that's about it for now," I heard my Dad say. "I'll give you a call when we find out anything else."

"Okay," was all I could eek out.

"Okay, have a good day," he said and disconnected.

"Have a good day?!?" flashed in my brain. "Have a good day?"


It is now several hours later and the update that just came in is no better than the original call. Is this it? Who knows? I find myself praying that some miracle happens and Charles makes an amazing recovery and baffles Science, yet another voice is praying, "Father, please let him pass over in peace." I feel gnawing pangs of guilt when that voice rises within me.


Pam said...

Hang in there. I wish I could say more. Pam

CT said...

take a couple percaset, vicoden, and wash them down with a 12 pack of shinerbock!!!!

Linda Rae said...

you know what's sad the pills and the liquor don't help, i've tried to make them work for the past two years...

Tony said...

Pam, you've said so much more than you know to comfort and support. Thank you.

TB54, at one time I may have taken you up on your advice. Now I am a much better and wiser man than that and prefer to live life on life's terms so I may learn what the Universe is telling me.

Linda Rae, I am glad you know the ineffectiveness of the pills and liquor in dealing with life. I send you positive universal energies that you are able to apply that knowledge and move into a higher state of consciousness with your inner self.