Maybe you will understand a little more about the inner-working of my psyche after you read the following:
SOB (sister of blogger) and I planned to meet at the gym this evening, where we would silently and companionably exercise on adjacent machines, with me perspiring and her, not so much. Per the plan, she would hand off some necessary documents to wind up my mother’s estate, thereby completing a highly-charged emotional task in the middle of sweating, grunting people. Precisely the juxtaposition that would humor Mom z”l.
Then a received a message at the office from my secretary. “[SOB] called. Nothing urgent.”
I called her back, thinking she was calling to bail on the gym part and set up another rendezvous of the document transfer.
She answered, “Hello?”
I gave my usual “Hellooooooooooooooooooooooooo” response.
Pause. “I’m here with Dad.” Pause.
Already, I am having visions of the ER and heart trauma, because SOB doesn’t just drop by Dad’s in the middle of her ICU work day. My heart sank. So this is what she means by nothing urgent?
“He looks ok. He fell on the street and landed on the right side of his face. But he’ll be fine.” In fact, my dad at 90.5 years-old is agile and still has some awesome Fred Astaire moves. But still, he FELL.
She handed the phone to Dad.
“Dad, are you ok? Are you still at the ER? Did you get stitches?”
“No stitches. [SOB] thinks I look ok.”
“Dad, give the phone back to [SOB].”
“You mean a real doctor didn’t look at him?” I asked SOB.
“Oh, you mean like a juris doctor, like you?” Ok ok ok ok ok ok. She had a point.
Dad was checked out and he is fine. He just has one really bad bruised, swollen eye, made worse by his heart medication that thins the blood. He fell but he got back up which is the best part.
SOB has a way of sugar-coating things, so as not to unduly alarm people. But, SOB and I are a team and we need to deal with family issues together.
“Really, don’t come,” SOB continued, “Dad made me take a picture so you would feel like you were here.”
“Wait, Dad wants to tell you something.”
“How much do you pay for your eye glasses?”
“Because my $35 glasses didn’t break or cut me and I bet your fancy $400 glasses wouldn’t hold up so well. Would you like me to pick up a pair at Costco for you? Just give me your prescription.”
OK, there is nothing wrong with my father. But I didn’t want to tell him that I spend more than $400 on my frames lest THAT give him a heart attack.
Crisis occurred and resolved in 1 hour. Priceless.
Later at the gym, SOB whips out her cellphone and shows me a picture of Dad smiling with a huge bruise and swelling around his eye. “Dad says you’re the family archivist, and this is one ‘for the books,’ so here,” she said.
Dad looked bad — horrible in fact, but he was smiling. I think he was smiling for a lot of reasons, first among them, he is ok. Second, he only had to call and help was immediately dispatched (albeit SOB).
But there is more. He understands that SOB and I have this pact to share the funny, the macabre, the good, and the sad when taking care of our family members. That way, we stay strong. And his insisting on the picture was his way of telling us he understands us. And that he is amused by us, too.
Two hours later, he was fine and glad to be home, resting, with his children nearby.