Karen’s parents both fell two weeks ago.
One resulted in a likely cracked rib.
The other resulted in a coma.
Karen’s parents aren’t old. They shouldn’t be falling.
Long divorced, to learn on the same day that they had fallen, was eerie. And heartbreaking.
Standing alongside your wife, as she tries to keep tabs on her mother, who assures us she’ll be OK even though we know there’s more pain than she’s really letting on...while she’s dealing with nurses and doctors and relatives and lawyers and accountants and neighbors...it’s a maddening feeling, my not being able to fix this.
But there may be little left of her dad to fix.
He should be, the doctors and nurses say, he should be coming off the ventilator. His body doesn’t agree. There is bleeding in his brain. And there is swelling. And there is pneumonia. And heart failure came along like a dirty little bastard because his body simply didn’t have enough to deal with.
He went into the hospital talking. About falling down the stairs. About the neighbor who found him. About his two daughters.
And that was it.
That was all he said.
And then he was in a coma.
Best case, the doctors say, is that he will have extremely limited verbal and physical ability.
“He won’t be the same person he was if he wakes up.”
We were ready to rally. We know how to quickly mobilize and solve shit. That is what we do.
But her dad’s body is simply unable to rally, to gain traction on something, to pull him out of his state of somewhere else.
And so we all wait.
And since there is no way to solve this one, no way to fix this...we cook.
We need busy hands. Kids and a job fill most of that need. But at night while we’re talking about what comes next, I cook. Anything she wants.
Ravioli. Pecorino and pear. With fresh pasta, made in our kitchen for the first time. Perfect the technique. Make it great. Make it better than what we had in Florence. Remind ourselves of easier times, when we came home pregnant with our son.