Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Saw an Angel

When my dad was at his worst in the hospital, I was busy trying to work, trying to prepare a new house for him and all the medical equipment he would need, and move all at the same time. I had spoken to my brother at length before I started making preparations to take care of our dad because I knew from watching my mom care for her mother that it was a job that could not be done alone. My brother assured me he would be there to help in any way necessary - all he wanted was for daddy to live.

However as I moved along with the process I found myself to be the only one who seemed to have time for our dad. Billy always had an excuse for why he wasn't available - except for a little token lip service or to criticize something I had done. He would then proceed to tell me how he could have done the job better, but we were out of time, things had to be done right then because daddy was coming home.

One day Billy called me to tell me he had a U Haul for me to use. I thanked him profusely. Then he told me that I had to use it that very afternoon. At that point in time my dad could not even feed himself and I had been around the hospital enough to see that if I didn't feed him then no one would. The nurse would just come and take the untouched tray away. If I were there I would wake him to eat. Of course he was a fully grown man who would have no part of me feeding him, but he was blind and out of his mind. He did not realize that even though he had the food on his fork that it was not reaching his mouth. He would deposit the empty fork in his mouth and chew and swallow - what he was swallowing was thin air. I would stand beside him and as the fork got to his lips I would drop little bites of food on it and viola! He would eat. He had no idea that I was doing this. At least the nourishment made it to his body instead of covering him and his bed and the floor.

I asked Billy to come for lunch to feed daddy. He said no. I asked him to come for dinner to feed daddy. He said no. When I told him that daddy needed someone to feed him he said the nurses would do it. As I said I witnessed enough to know that they would not. As I sit there wondering what to do because daddy was so weak that he didn't need to miss a meal I looked up to see an angel in the doorway. I blinked. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Standing there smiling at me was my cousin, Shiela. I could even see a glow around her as she walked in and hugged me and my dad. It turns out that my great uncle, Wallace, was in the hospital at the same time and she was staying with him.

We laughed and talked and most importantly she laughed and talked with daddy. She even gave him a massage to calm him which worked wonders. I told her about needing to move and needing to feed daddy and she offered to help. She would feed daddy while I did what I had to do. She thought I was wrong about the nurses not helping him to eat though but she promised to take care of things.

Late that night when I got back, she told me that I was right. She came to check on my dad at lunch and no one was there to help him eat, so she fed him. The same thing happened at dinner. Over the next few days she stepped in to help my dad everytime I needed to be somewhere else. This was while my brother had even stopped trying to pretend that he would help care for daddy and was actively doing anything he could think of to make the situation harder because I had the nerve to tell him off for not doing what he was supposed to do.

Now Sheila is in a battle of her own with breast cancer. I want her to know she has all my love and support and if there is anything I can do to ease her pain I will. She is an Angel.

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