When my dad was in the hospital, he had told me about the cloud.
He said, “I’m waiting for a light bulb.”
“A light bulb?”
“There is a cloud in my mind, over everything. I’m waiting for it to lift.”
We walked around the hospital wing. There was something different about him. He smiled more, seemed to have fewer worries than I remembered. He was optimistic. He would tell me about how he talked his way into becoming a bartender with no experience and threw back free drinks between work, how all he did was play basketball with friends and go to school or work in a city he knew nothing about.
My dad said, “I’m not giving up.”
“What do you mean, you’re not giving up?” I said.
“I’m not giving up. I want every last chance I’ve got.”
“Then why did you sign the Do Not Resuscitate forms?”
“I didn’t sign them.”
“You signed them. They told us you signed them. What if an accident happens?”
“I don’t know what I signed. But I take them back. I want every last chance.”
“Do you know what those forms mean?”
The doctors kept telling us that he was getting sicker, but he had gotten a great burst of energy and optimism.
I asked the doctors to see the MRI scans. My family didn’t believe that he was getting sicker when he had suddenly gotten this great burst of energy and could speed walk around the hospital.
When I am on the nitrous gas, I finally understand what he was going through. A person can’t make decisions when they have a lot of drugs in their system and they shouldn’t be asked to do so. I kept trying to see my original dad, the dad I had for years and years, the one who would peek behind the door when I played piano.
Later, when he was in a coma, I entered the room and his eyes were wide open as he gasped for breath.
The nurse said, “He’s not in pain, don’t worry. That’s how he breathes.”
From the doorway, the nurse grabbed my hand and dragged it to my dad’s bedside and put it into my dad’s. I didn’t know that that was how you were supposed to act. I remember being told, sometime, that I shouldn’t touch a hospital patient because I’m bringing in germs. But I’m glad the nurse did that for me.