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« Fireworks are pretty, but also loud. | Main | More about what pisses me off. »
Wednesday
Jun222005

It can now be revealed.

Now that my father is safely returned to the homestead, being lovingly tended to by his devoted family, I can make fun of him.

But first, a word or two for those of you who might soon have a parent in the hospital. If your parent is over 65, no matter how vigorous or youthful they may appear, they will be described by the hospital staff as “elderly.” You may scoff at this. My parent is not some addled 90-year-old gumming his tapioca pudding! you may say to the doctors, as I did, and they will smile indulgently at you and continue to refer to your vigorous youthful parent as Elderly. Breathe and let it go. Whoooosh. There!

Okay, so the “elderly”—well, they’re a colorful bunch. Apparently they are prone to developing something called ICU delirium. Which means that the blinky-blinkiness of the lights and the constant beeping of the monitors and the nurses prodding them 24/7 seriously messes with their sleep/waking cycles, and they go (and I’m going to use a technical term here), completely fucking nuts. Now, I’m telling you this because when my father began to behave, ahem, colorfully!, our doctors did not clue us into this. They didn’t explain that this happens all the time. They cheerfully referred to my father as “psychotic” and when we asked, “But why, doctors? Why?” they shrugged and said, damned if we know! Whoops!

I don’t know what led them to do this, except some sadistic streak running through the staff of Mt. Sinai. They watched us as we scurried about, wringing our hands and knitting our brows, and they chortled darkly. Luckily I have a good friend in the medical profession (hi, Mike! Hi!) and he kindly took my 8 a.m. phone calls and explained the matter to me as if I were not, in fact, an idiot. Thanks, Mike!

At the time, when my dad had just woken up only to reveal that he was batshit insane, my mom kept prodding me to write about it in my blog. “Hey, you should write how he said [insert hilarity that could only be concocted by the insane here]! That’s some funny stuff, what he said!”

“Well, mother, I suppose, but wouldn’t that be disrespectful of our poor ailing patriarch?”

“What could he say about it? He’s so nuts, he believes that [insert witty delusion here]. Haw, haw!”

[Note: the above conversation was edited to make me sound good and my mother sound bad. Also, my mother never once said “Haw, haw” in her life. No one says that, except the heathens in Jack Chick publications. Please alert me if you have evidence to the contrary.]

[But she did want me to make fun of him. Just for the record. Because crazy people is funny.]

After a few days of wacky nuttiness, the Father regained his mental clarity, and we rejoiced. And then he said some things that made me laugh with him, and not at him. Because he is a funny man, even when sane. At one point he asked my mom to shave him. “But it looks like the nurse has been shaving you already,” my mom observed. To which my father rolled his eyes and responded, “Do you know how they shave you, here? They dump ice water over your head, and when you stop screaming, they start shaving.”

At another point, he was mocking a roommate he had suffered for a few days—a whiner who had to loudly regale anyone in his presence with the details of his aches and pains. I guess over the course of a day or two, the whiner had also revealed himself to be an idiot. And my father said, “It boggles the mind, how such a person can be smart enough to live. How does he have the mental capacity to get through the day? To simply leave the house and find a sandwich?

I am glad you're no longer with the idiots, Dad. Or at least, now you're with the idiots you know.

Reader Comments (54)

It really is mind boggling, but I too am compelled to click the dunken donuts link.

man. those ad sense people are bastards.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermathew
My google ad is for coffee. They really know me!

Glad your dad is better.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterliz
Hospitals are a horrible place for sick people.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTorrie
Glad your dad is better! My grandmother was in the hospital battling cancer and they kept yelling at her like she was deaf...she's not even remotely close to being hard of hearing, so she started yelling back at them that she wasn't deaf, were they?
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterKat
I guess that delirium thing is really something, huh. "Nice place to visit, perhaps, but I wouldn't want to live there."

Maybe the drug-induced condition should be technically termed: Juice-that-promises-you'll-entertain-one-and-all-with-utterances-that-can-only-be-described-as-REALLYFUNNYSHIT.

My dh was under the knife one time for the repair of nearly every tendon in his left foot (following an incredibly stupid--and totally preventable--bicycle accident) when in his drugged-up stupor he SPOKE with the surgeon (who was our friend and neighbor, but that's another story). Yes, he SPOKE with him DURING the procedure! Apparently the meds kept him relatively pain-free, but still able to converse, and joke, and generally become a pain-in-the-ass to the people trying to fix his foot.

I later learned from our surgeon/friend/neighbor guy that good ol' Mr. Jokester literally kept them in stitches (pun intended) throughout the ordeal and that they had to pause several times in order to regain their composure--and to pick the scalpel off the floor, no doubt.

He'd challenge them with riddles like, "What's wrong with this hand?" holding it out from under the sheets cupped in the shape of a "C." Of course, no one knew. They assumed the only trouble was with his f'ing foot. "There's no BEER in it!" he'd chortle.

Then he had an itch. A terribly bothersome itch from hell (according to He Who Itched). Apparently, those wonderful pain-killing meds not only encouraged utter giddiness and spillage-of-all-things-we-shouldn't-reveal-in-public, they also made the very tip of his nose buzz with unbearable itchiness. Funny thing was, he couldn't find his nose to save himself. Try though he might, it just wasn't happening. Itch. Itch. ITCH. No relief!

Naturally, the surgeons could barely contain themselves--especially when my dh announced (not for the purpose of entertainment, but simply offered as a statement), "Biggest fucking thing on my body, and I can't find it."

After that, they decided it would be best to completely knock him out, lest they fix the wrong foot or lop it off entirely.

I can't imagine what he'll say or do under the delirium-inducing drugs your Dad SO enjoyed. Don't even want to think about it, although, thanks to you, I now might expect something a bit out of the ordinary.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterPlanet Mom
I guess that delirium thing is really something, huh. "Nice place to visit, perhaps, but I wouldn't want to live there."

Maybe the drug-induced condition should be technically termed: Juice-that-promises-you'll-entertain-one-and-all-with-utterances-that-can-only-be-described-as-REALLYFUNNYSHIT.

My dh was under the knife one time for the repair of nearly every tendon in his left foot (following an incredibly stupid--and totally preventable--bicycle accident) when in his drugged-up stupor he SPOKE with the surgeon (who was our friend and neighbor, but that's another story). Yes, he SPOKE with him DURING the procedure! Apparently the meds kept him relatively pain-free, but still able to converse, and joke, and generally become a pain-in-the-ass to the people trying to fix his foot.

I later learned from our surgeon/friend/neighbor guy that good ol' Mr. Jokester literally kept them in stitches (pun intended) throughout the ordeal and that they had to pause several times in order to regain their composure--and to pick the scalpel off the floor, no doubt.

He'd challenge them with riddles like, "What's wrong with this hand?" holding it out from under the sheets cupped in the shape of a "C." Of course, no one knew. They assumed the only trouble was with his f'ing foot. "There's no BEER in it!" he'd chortle.

Then he had an itch. A terribly bothersome itch from hell (according to He Who Itched). Apparently, those wonderful pain-killing meds not only encouraged utter giddiness and spillage-of-all-things-we-shouldn't-reveal-in-public, they also made the very tip of his nose buzz with unbearable itchiness. Funny thing was, he couldn't find his nose to save himself. Try though he might, it just wasn't happening. Itch. Itch. ITCH. No relief!

Naturally, the surgeons could barely contain themselves--especially when my dh announced (not for the purpose of entertainment, but simply offered as a statement), "Biggest fucking thing on my body, and I can't find it."

After that, they decided it would be best to completely knock him out, lest they fix the wrong foot or lop it off entirely.

I can't imagine what he'll say or do under the delirium-inducing drugs your Dad SO enjoyed. Don't even want to think about it, although, thanks to you, I now might expect something a bit out of the ordinary.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterPlanet Mom
Boy. Those were some funny t-shirts. Yeah.

Your Dad completely cracks me up. I was reading this and thinking about the vant he had regarding Dora the Explorer (or maybe it was Maisy?) and laughing. I'm glad he's doing better!
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDM
You know, my husband totally needs to lighten up, do you think I could sneak him in to the ICU just until he makes me laugh?
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterclickmom
Jack Chick tracts are insufferably cheesy, not to mention full of theological batshit, even to Christians. I would wholeheartedly corroborate your assertion that indeed NO ONE says "Haw, haw" save for those misguided heathens.
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLisa J.
I am glad to read that your father is ok, but I can't stop giggling fiendishly! I have no idea why doctors don't tell people about ICU psychosis. I mean, its so scary and horrifying, but once you know what it is, you can almost enjoy it. I think I might be grateful for it because during such a stressful time, boy does that shit lighten the mood. So insane, you can't NOT laugh. I don't know which is funnier (because of course I have my own stories to add:) the time my Dad started referring to his manhood as the baby jesus or the time we went to visit and thought he was all better, he reached for a tissue (so we thought) but instead picked up the whole box and held it up to his face very carefully and making a face we had never seen and using a voice we had never heard said "hello" into the box several times and then held the box to his ear in hopes of a response. oh the memories. icu psychosis keeps you on your toes and makes the time go faster!
June 23, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterheather
Glad to hear he's home safe and soon to be sound.

(the kleenex box one is priceless, heather!)



June 23, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJen
I'm glad your Dad is home and on the mend -- and I imagine if I keep reading his ailments will be revealed to me. I love getting to know people in "Momento" fashion. Eventually these polaroids will mean something to me... (but hey! that kid! SO cute!)
June 24, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterxquzme
I am so glad your father is better and home. The hospital thing is crazy. When Dave and I were first dating we went to see his ailing grandma in the hospital. At the time she was have visions of little birds flying all over her room and she was convinced that there was yarn on her teeth. She could not pick the yarn fast enough before more would grow back [she kept telling us while feverishly picking at her teeth]. Like they did for you, the hospital staff assured us that it was her age and the drugs. That was all good until they asked me to take her to the bathroom. "She just won't go and she keeps wetting the bed." I went over to help her when she SCREAMED at me, "Go away you freak!" Ah, the delirium.
June 24, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
I think some women in the maternity ward were also going insane over at Mt. Sinai. I've been to the 'ward' twice now and the staff and surroundings can certainly make you go insane.Michelle
June 24, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Glad to hear he's doing better!
June 24, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterDarcie
I hate hospitals; glad to hear your Dad is home and getting better. When I was in for my c-sections (two kids, two surgeries UGH!) I would say outrageous shit to the nurses just for the reaction I got. The OB/GYN let me get away with it because he didn't want to put up with my shit any longer than he had to and everyone chalked it up to stress or whatever.

Good times.
June 24, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterwarcrygirl
glad he's better.when my grandpa was sick, i called him on christmas and asked how he was. he replied "tired". when i questioned why, he told me a long story about being taken to tijuana to be a porn star. being semi-accustomed to such stories, i responded with a simple "how was it?" he said it was surprisingly tiring work. ha!
June 24, 2005 | Unregistered Commenternicole
My husband's grandmother had something similar, and I think the doctors called it Hospital Psychosis. It's a real thing!
June 25, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAthena714
Apparently the Google ads don't change. I came here today sniffing around for a new entry and re-read this one... well, it IS funny... and thought I'd go ahead and click the ad again. Yeesh... an ad for clothing I wouldn't be caught dead in, very useful. I'm glad you get paid just for me clicking because as much as I enjoy your blog (enough to click the same ad twice for no reason!), I would never buy one of those t-shirts.
June 26, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTitanKT
Thank you so much for this! Without it I couldn't have pulled it up to show my mom this weekend when my grandfather went berserk just to show her that it's not just him...it's all old people! See, you had it easy...Grandpa pulled out his IVs and unhooked his catheter bag, somehow got past all the nurses and doctors, got in an elevator, went to the first floor, and walked down a hallway telling everyone that he saw that he was sorry that they had been exposed to something and that they all were going to die. My mother, her brother, and her youngest sister all had to go to the hospital to coax him out of some bathroom on the first floor. Not to be missed...good times. He thinks that he dreamed it...and I think that we are keeping it that way!
June 27, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterKristen
HAW HAW! But seriously, I am glad your dad is ok (except of course his psychosis)
June 27, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterkat
Hospitals do some funny things to people! We heard my grandfather cuss for the first time ever about a week before he passed (he was 92). They tried to feed him something and he spat it out and stated, "That tastes like horse shit!" My equally pious grandmother, unfazed, simply asked, "And how do you know what that tastes like?" So thankful that he was 'with us' mentally up until his last 2 days.
July 1, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterKaty
I know I would like your dad. I like him already. You are lucky to have a funny one, and I'm happy for you that he's doing better.
July 2, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa_AR
i am curious about what will happen when my parents start having to head to hospital. not because i want them to get sick, but because i'm real curious what it will be like to see those two prudes stoned out on morphine. oh the hilarity that will certainly ensue.
July 3, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterthe Mighty Jimbo
I'm so glad other people have shared the fun! When my MIL was hospitalized for encephalitis, the ICU psychosis was compounded by the swelling of the brain. She was a HOOT! She was obsessed with work, so she would call and talk with people for hours - but no one ever told her she had to dial 9 to get an outside line. She also thought the nurse call box/TV remote was a phone, so would "leave messages" for the nurses. "Hi, this is Jane. I paged you a few minutes ago and no one has come. I am quite concerned." We called her Houdini Mama because she was VERY SKILLED at escaping restraints, too.

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