Wednesday was the start of the worst 3 days of my life.
The morning started off easily enough. All I needed to do was call our local internet service provider to find out why the taxes on our bill went up by $17 in a single month. I made the call, and learned that they were already aware of the problem. The Customer Service agent said that there was a meeting going on to sort out the problem, and she’d call me back with the update as soon as she had an answer. All I needed to do on my end was stay awake until the call came in. So, I started watching “Hell’s Kitchen” on the tubi app on my Playstation 4. No problem, right?
Well, that was at 9:00 am local time. I didn’t get the call back until about 1:30 pm, at which point I was already feeling pretty worn out. I was watching “Captain Marvel” just to stay awake. Shortly after I got the call from the Internet company, I decided to finish watching the movie I was already in before trying to get some sleep.
That was a bad idea.
Before that movie ended, I got a call from my sister, Tammy, telling me that my dad was in the hospital. He’d had a stroke. I told her I’d be there as soon as possible, and called my wife to come get me. Because she was on the hiring committee for a new staff member at the library she works in, she was supposed to pick up a candidate for the job so the staff could meet her for supper. Of course, she arranged for someone else to do that, and left work early to come get me.
Just to be up front, my dad is going to be alright. He’s suffering some speech slurring, and has a minor amount of motor control trouble, but he’s alert and communicative. The real problem was something that happened while we were visiting in his room.
He got a call on the hospital phone from my brother Wally. While he was on the phone with Wally, dad expressed that he wanted someone to call my mother. I agreed to do it – IF I could use dad’s cell phone to make the call.
It was probably the single biggest mistake of my life. I still awake from nightmares – 21 years later – of the single worst sentence I’ve ever heard anyone say. It was my mother telling me that she’d prefer that I was dead than following my heart to practice Scientology. I’ve never experienced a worse betrayal, and I was 36 at the time.
So, when I called her to tell her about dad being in the hospital, she did thank me for the call. But she couldn’t restrain herself from trying to have the last word on our relationship. Ever since, the only way I can get any sleep is to get so drunk that I pass out. It’s been nearly 3 days. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I can’t bring myself to return to dad’s hospital room because she might be there.