When I was in my internship year of residency at Oakwood Hospital, I lived at home with my parents in Michigan. It was only about a 30 minute drive from work, and I figured it made a lot of fiscal sense to live at home (and continue to eat Mummy's yummy food, of course 🙂).
At this point, Daddy had been doing alright; he was still somewhat mobile and was able to do a number of tasks on his own. But he still was occasionally admitted into the hospital, but relatively speaking, he could've been worse.
I went out one night with my girlfriend and stayed at her place since we had been put late. But a phone call in the morning woke me up.
It was Mummy and she was hysterical.
I told her to calm down and tell me what was happening. All I could gather during her crying was
"DADDY IS BLEEDING FROM HIS MOUTH!!!".
I started to panic. I immediately got into my car and sped all the way home. When I arrived, the ambulance was already out front, and I saw the EMS personnel bringing Daddy out on a stretcher. I asked them what had happened, and they said it seemed like he may have had a seizure and bit through his tongue (hence, the blood).
They said he was very confused and was not able to answer any questions they or Mummy were asking. I looked at Daddy and saw what looked like fear and confusion in his eyes. I wasn't sure if he was post-ictal or not (an altered state of consciousness after a seizure), so I asked him
"Daddy, do you know who I am??".
He looked at me, and a clarity came over his eyes; my heart started beating a little bit slower when he said "Manoj".
Daddy was still there. And I told him everything would be alright.
It turns out he did in fact have a seizure, and it had originated from the site of his original stroke in 2001. We were told at the time that patients with strokes are still at risk of developing seizures up to 7 years after the initial insult (Daddy was just approaching his 7 year "anniversary").
It seemed Daddy could never catch a break.
He started on some anti-seizure meds, and honestly, this was the part I hated the most. Not because I didn't want his seizures to be controlled, but because they dramatically altered his mental state.
He wasn't able to process information as quickly, he would frequently fall asleep while sitting, and he always seemed to be in a slight daze. It took at least a year before he was on a regimen he could tolerate.
But before that, I just wanted Daddy to be Daddy.
I guess I'm fortunate in that sense. I've spoken to friends who said they lost their loved ones twice, the first time being to dementia. And as usual, this perspective changed my view on Daddy's passing once again. I had Daddy - heart, mind, and soul - till the very end.
From that perspective, I should count my blessings.