It’s not easy, but somehow Desi Brother and I get Dad into the SUV, caravan to Abbott Northwestern Hospital and get Dad checked into the ER.
My niece is visibly unhappy to be in the hospital. Sidebar: if Pebbles Flintstone was desi, she’d look like Desi Niece. My niece has a little tuft of hair in a rubber band sticking up from the top of her head, and just a little bitty Buddha baby belly. Anyway, I don’t know if it is the antiseptic smell or the inability to roam freely in the waiting room, but Desi Niece doesn’t want to be here. Not that I blame her, I don’t want to be here either. Not because I don’t love Dad, mostly because I do and I don’t want to know what’s wrong with him.
The morning hours spill into the noon hour. Mom comes into the waiting room and orders us to eat lunch – McDonald’s – and we eat. I ask if we will bring anything for Dad and Mom explains that the attending doctor is not allowing Dad to eat because the series of tests have begun. After lunch my brother takes his family home because Desi Niece needs a nap. Shoot, man. Desi Girl needs a nap!
When it is just Mom, Dad and me I wander around and finally buy an over-priced gift store book, the critically acclaimed White Tiger – which slowly becomes a disturbing read for a disturbing afternoon. After a few chapters I head towards Dad’s room. I run into his doctor, who pulls me aside and tells me that he wants to run an MRI but Dad is refusing, and can I talk him into it. The doctor is working to rule out ailments and Dad is not helping. I march into Dad’s room, lecture him a little and he agrees to the test.
I don’t realize it is night until my stomach growls. The doctor finally comes back and says Dad is being taken to ICU. Okay, so spending ALL day in a hospital was pretty nerve wracking enough, but ICU? When the doctor finally tells us what he thinks Dad MIGHT have, he asks me NOT to Google it on web MD because he is not certain. Fine. Fine. Whatever, I think. What the hell is Guy-on Bar-ray syndrome anyway? I text the disease to my brother and tell him to stay put and that I will send him details once I have them.
It takes another hour for Dad to get moved to ICU. So I step into the hallway and call my brother. My sister-in-law tells me that Desi Brother is at the hospital. What??? Where the hell is he? I then spend the next 30 minutes looking for Mom, then Desi Brother, then I lose Mom, and then I find Mom, and then I lose Desi Brother. When they both appear I lose my shit and ask them to STOP doing desi Houdini! “Well, I looked up this thing that they think Dad might have…” Desi Brother says a little gravely. Ugh. He is the calm, rationale one, so I doubt his Internet findings will comfort me.
We go to Dad’s room, make sure he is okay in ICU and go out to the dark parking garage. I unlock the freezing cold car and turn on the ignition. Nothing. I turn the key again. Nothing. Then I beat the back of my head against the head rest. This has been a long and awful day. All I want to do is go home and now, I get to contend with a dead car battery.