I have been in Baltimore for two days, fortunate enough that one of dad’s lifelong friends allowed me stay in his apartment to ride out the storm while being closer to the hospital. Baltimore is my family’s hometown.

There has been no singing the last two days, and I have been frustrated with Dad’s care. I had to tell a nurse that my dad’s blood pressure spiked, or that he needed suction to remove the heavy congestion in his chest. 

Solace in the small

Three minor high notes today… Although Dad was not verbal today, he smiled at me. When the charge nurse asked him, “I’m David. How are you today, sir?”, my dad didn’t speak but extended his right hand. The nurse moved around the room and I said, “David, don’t leave the man hanging!” And he shook my dad’s hand. I wondered if my dad was happy that someone addressed him as “sir”, rather than “buddy,” “darlin’,” or “friend.” It is hard to find humanity in shock trauma. David is a wonderful nurse and answered a lot of my questions. I told him the posse of residents and doctors didn’t even touch my father at rounds, much less make eye contact with me when I was a foot away. He listened with genuine empathy, and for that I will remember him and hope that he remains on the schedule of nurses during my dad’s stay.

My dad’s anxiety has dovetailed with mine. Early this morning, I dreamt that my mom brought our dogs to the apartment I’m staying in. I remember saying, “Mom! Dad will be so excited to see you!” And then I woke up. My mom has been gone since 1992. It was nice seeing her for a few brief moments behind my eyelids.

Yesterday Dad was really out of it and it was the first day he didn’t seem to know I was there. Today was a small blip of improvement, and I am so thankful for it.

I am also thankful for my boss and coworkers, who towed the line all week so I could have this time with my dad. Like police, firemen and women, nurses, and doctors, they were there during the storm taking care of their charges. I hope they know that I would do the same for them.

Travel time

I am staying in Federal Hill and have been walking to the hospital. My walks take me past some landmarks that I hold dear. They have brought me joy during the trudge. Seeing so many people walking around the snow-jammed city — snowball fighting, sledding, laughing at themselves falling into a snowbank — really made me happy. Here are some photos of my walk back this evening. I took them not only for fun, but to show my dad tomorrow so he can see the snow (which he despises) that I’ve been telling him he’s missing. 

Light Street

  
Bromo Seltzer Building
  
Harborplace with a ghostly USS Constellation
  
And the flag was still there!
  
No, not really …