September 27, I received a phone call that changed my life. A phone call that, deep down, I knew was coming. I just didn’t know it would be so soon.
It was a regular Wednesday at work and quiet. After lunch, my phone boasted mom’s name as it vibrated on my desk. She was hesitant, but always asked how I was before any conversation, and then…
“Your dad’s been taken to the ER. He wasn’t responding to the dialysis nurses.”
I don’t remember a lot after that except that I told mom and my boss that I’d head to Kennestone ER so he wasn’t alone. That gave mom a little time to tie up her workday. I made the 45 minute drive from Atlanta, talking to God the whole time. “Lord, only you know what’s about to happen. I don’t know that I’m ready.”
I parked, got to Dad, and he didn’t even remember why he was there. I helped him try to put together the pieces as he came out of his fog. Taken to dialysis, hooked up to treatment, woke up at the hospital. I hoped this wasn’t about to be a long hospital stay since his hyperbaric dr told us he was doing great just the week before. Doctors came in and out, examining, asking questions that thankfully I was there to answer since Dad was still fuzzy.
When we were alone, I took notice of my dad. Just watching him. We always told him how cute he was and this day was no exception. I wondered how I got so lucky to call him my dad. He was so funny, thoughtful, kind, and SMART. I hated he was going through this, but I was thankful I was there for him. He’d been through hell that whole summer, but he was fighting as hard as he could.
Mom found us just about the time that his vascular team came in. Here it came…
“Mr. Frost, there’s a pretty bad infection in your amputation. we could do surgery and remove more, but we need to think about your quality of life. If untreated, this infection will be terminal… I would not blame you if you decided you’ve been through enough. You really have. You can let us know your decision within the next day.”
No words. I had no words. I could only make eye contact with my mom. Then I felt the tears stinging and involuntarily streaming down my face and everything turned to slow motion. Was this real? Was I dreaming? I watched Dad reach for Mom’s hand and they let us know we were being admitted in a few minutes.
The rest of the day was a blur as my dad told us he’d think about his options overnight. Though, again, I knew deep down what his decision would be. I’d watched as he went from an independent man hoping for a kidney to his life turning upside down and unaware if he’d ever walk again within 5 months. Looking back now, We hadn’t had many wins, so deciding to go out on his own terms would be the last bit of control he had. I called our family to let them know of the day’s happenings, I remember thinking I’m too young to make these kinds of calls about my parents. But there I was.
Unable to sleep, I laid in bed all night wondering what the next day would bring…