House of Tears


Another Hospitalization

After keeping Dad overnight in the hospital, they sent him home the next day with more medications, and instructions for the assisted living staff.

Within two days I received a call at work from the head nurse at The Plaza.  When the aid came in to give him his morning meds, she found him laying next to the bed glassy-eyed, the shower running.

The nurse had called 911, the ambulance was on the way, and could I meet him in the emergency room?

Yes, of course I’ll just leave work – again – and head to the hospital. 

Did he have a stroke?  Or a series of strokes? We never received an answer to that question.

This time the hospital kept him for several days.   I am thankful my work was understanding and flexible.   And thank goodness our sister Linda could once again fly home to help manage the hospital situation.   They told us to start looking around for a nursing home.

(In what spare time would we hunt for a nursing home?  I wondered.)

Shopping as an Antidote to Grief

Friday I attended my company’s annual Council Meeting in downtown Minneapolis.  I had to leave the main gathering to answer hospital phone calls several times.  Two items of significance happened that day.

  • My company was selling a new jewelry line to benefit our foundation. It was lovely, but I am not prone to impulse spending.   However, I was in a fog, and impulsively charged $400 worth of jewelry for myself.  It’s called “shopping through grief.”
  • Linda was at the hospital with Dad when they suddenly decided to move him out before the weekend. Had we found a nursing home yet?  Linda, not familiar with the area, asked “Did I have any ideas?”  “Where should they move him?”

Anger and Help

No, I had no ideas, no ideas on a nursing home, no time to look, no ideas what to do about my father.   It was all moving too fast, I was angry at “the system” (whatever that was), angry that my strong, competent father was reduced to a person with blank, staring eyes, angry I was out of control.

Which is exactly why they have hospital social workers.   Mid-afternoon Linda called, they had found a place for him.  I gave up on attending the Council meeting and drove back to the hospital with my shiny new necklace.

House of Tears

Yes, they had found a nursing home about twenty miles from the hospital.  Would we please move him out by dinner time?   He was discharged, and Linda and I put him in the car, and drove him to his new home, where he would be the next six weeks.   He was completely baffled as to what was happening.

For him it was his temporary new home.  For me it was the house of tears.

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