Saturday, May 26, 2007


They found him. Turns out that when they (my sister and her husband) were on their way to my house, they passed an ambulance that was taking him to the hospital.

He had driven to Wal-Mart to get some plants (which was in his game plan). Now, my sister checked the parking lot at Wal-Mart, but never thought to check across the street -- he had turned into the Unicel parking lot and decided to take a nap. Folks there noticed that he wasn't getting out of his truck, so tapped on the window and asked if he was all right, and he explained that he was feeling sleepy and wanted to get off the road. (I wish everybody were that smart.) So they let him be, and just kept checking on him periodically.

Around 4:00 p.m., they found him unresponsive, so called an ambulance. The paramedics found that his body temperature was 106 degrees -- that's not a typo -- so transported him to the hospital. After they got him back down to normal, they released him.

While he was there, they ran an EKG and an EEG, and found him to be in fantastically good health. Now, here's the kicker: While the rest of us are Eating Healthy and trying to exercise and not having too much success watching our weight, Dad eats a diet of meat and potatoes -- his lips haven't tasted a vegetable probably since his mother weaned him, he's been to the doctor four times in his life (and one of those was his Army physical), and having been raised by Polish peasants, he thinks nothing of eating food that's been in the fridge for a couple of weeks. And he has the constitution of a 30-year-old. His exercise has always consisted of home improvements and, since they moved to NH, raking leaves. Period.

We were freaking out because if he had become disoriented, who knew where he'd end up: New York? Canada?? As I said to my sister, "If he missed the turnpike exit for Milton [where they live], he could be halfway to Canada by now and have no idea where he is."

So, to answer the obvious question of why is he driving at his age: We have been trying to get the keys away from him for the past six or seven years. One day, the police called my sister (he lives with her): They had found him driving down the middle of the road, over the double yellow line. When the cop pulled him over, doubtless thinking, "Boy, I've got a live one," Dad explained that he was driving there to avoid the potholes in the road. Okay. The cop said, "But what about oncoming traffic?" And Dad said, "Well, there isn't any. When it comes, I'll get over." Annie said, "Please take the keys away." And the cop said, "We can't. We can only do that if he hasn't passed his driving test."

In NH, you have to take a road test every time you renew your license, if you're over 75. Dad's last road test was last year. Among other things, it involves driving on a very heavily-travelled 55-mph highway. And he isn't all that confused, normally, though over the past few months, it's getting obvious. Well -- I'm hoping this scare will give my sister the courage she needs to take the keys. He will make her life miserable if she does, though.

Thanks, all, for the prayers. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how living into your 90s is supposed to be a good thing.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dad's Missing

My sister just stopped by our house to let me know that my 92-year-old stepfather has been missing since noon today. She last saw him at the cemetery where my mother is buried, and said that he seemed disoriented; she put him into his truck, made him drink some water he had there, and told him to go straight home. He never got there, she and her daughter have been to all his usual haunts, and there's no sign of him.

Now, he makes this trip to the cemetery at least twice a week, so he shouldn't have become disoriented that easily; plus, his bank is on the same street, and he goes there once a week, so this is not unfamiliar territory. But he has been getting vague of late, and of course, now she's kicking herself for not having foreseen that he couldn't drive ten miles from Point A, where he goes 2-3 times a week, to Point B, where he lives.

OK, somebody want to go into this with me one more time, why old age is supposed to be such a freaking blessing?!?!?!