What Happens When Your Dad Has a Fall


I haven’t been posting for awhile, and it’s because my life has suddenly become very narrow–and at the same time, expanded in ways I hadn’t expected, at least not to deal with for another decade or so.

My dad recently had a terrible fall in his apartment building, one he doesn’t even remember. Everyone says that’s a blessing, and I agree.

As I write this, he’s a couple weeks into a physical rehab place that does only physical rehab, no long-term patients, so they are definitely dedicated to getting people shaped up and shipped out.

But I wasn’t always this hopeful.

  • Getting a call after 10:30 pm on a Thursday night from a hospital is an instantly-terrifying experience.
  • Arriving at the ICU not sure what you’ll find, despite having heard and written down what the doctor said over the phone, because your focus has sharpened to throwing clothes on, grabbing your purse, and “getting there.”
  • The equal sharpness of relief that he’s awake, coherent, and talking when you do get there.
  • The dread that this set of injuries means he has only a short time left.

And that odd mix of capability and confusion, with different doctors and nurses saying different things:

From the start, we were told that my dad had a “brain bleed and aneurysm,” among other physical injuries, and that this “aneurysm could burst at any time.”

So we were wracked with fear. My dad has a Do Not Revive clause and he was adamant that this remain, so after a few days, they moved him out of the ICU into a trauma-ward hospital bed.

But he kept hanging on and saying he was fine. We thought, well, that’s a mercy.

I never actually saw another doctor again, but the nurses on the case filled us in, and it turned out that his aneurysm is in his NECK.

Well, I can’t get back those fear-filled days, but now I felt allowed to look ahead more than each single day.

I felt hopeful.

Now my evenings, weekends, and a few work days here and there are filled with plans that I’m allowed to plan now that I know my dad will be all right.

Visiting, bringing music and tempting treats, taking him to doctor’s appointments, and searching for a less risky environment that will allow him to stay independent longer, a place that is close to all his stores, and (perhaps more importantly) paved bicycle trails, and (perhaps most importantly) allows pipe smoking, are where my energy is going these days.


THIS is not my dad.

I’m grateful for my friends and family who have been so supportive. Listening to me vent is EXTREMELY helpful, and I cannot put enough emphasis on that.

I’m also grateful I have an understanding, family-oriented workplace. We’re not numbers here, we’re people.

So that’s where I’ve been lately, and that’s where I’ll be for awhile longer. I’ve got some cautious hope going. I’d like to think I see those clear skies ahead, or at least less cloudy ones.

And it’s so true when people say that you can rise to any occasion. You really can. You can because it’s what you need to do.




One thought on “What Happens When Your Dad Has a Fall

  1. Pingback: Instead Of A New Year’s Resolution, Make An Oath Instead | Turn the page

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