Sunday 13 May 2018 9.57pm
‘A Magnificent Life’ 2018
Yesterday was one of those days when you get a phone call that you immediately know brings bad news. It was my father’s wife calling, telling me that my Dad had been taken to hospital after suffering a mild stroke. The story came to me in bits and pieces.
First, I heard that he seemed to have suffered a stroke and briefly had slurred speech and asked his wife to call an ambulance and was taken to hospital. It was all a bit confusing and I was at a football game – West Coast Eagles versus Greater Western Sydney Giants – and it was hard to catch every word. But the news was such that someone walked over my grave.
Second, I rang my brother and told him the news about the minor stroke.
Third, I received a message and heard that his wife had left the hospital and had been called back to RPA because the tests and scans had revealed a bloodclot. That was a message in more ways than one. In the background I heard Dad admonishing his wife for suggesting that my wife and family come in and visit. He said, ‘It isn’t necessary, plus would be inconvenient,’ because he had a number of tests to be conducted. Plus, he might well be home again, late Sunday or on Monday.
Fourth, I rang and spoke with my brother, and he was happy that I’d updated him on Ali’s advice, given the blood clot.
Fifth, I rang Colleen back and she told me that the latest scans showed that a brain heamorraghe had occurred three or four weeks ago, that she’d previously noticed moments here and there where Dad’s speech was slurred, “but for less than a minute” and that there was a blood clot which further scans tomorrow would better reveal. Ali then told me that her Papa had a slow haemorrhage from a stroke and couldn’t eat and died within a week; and Colleen also told me that they had a friend visiting, Reuben, when Dad had the stroke. He was the one who’d insisted on an ambulance. He knew of someone who went to hospital with a haemorrhage or a blood clot and was dead the next day. The slow-bleed and the clot meant that hospitalisation was too late in that particular instance.
Sixth, Ali told me that I should prepare for the worst because it sounded 50/50 to her. I was surprised that it had gone from a minor stroke with him going home on Sunday -or Monday – to this! From slightly-dangerous-to-dead-over-a period-of-a-day-and-a-half made me worry.
Seventh, I prayed for my Dad and asked for guidance in whether to insist that I be allowed to visit him Sunday morning at RPA while the girls all go to the dedication at West Epping of the Minister’s daughter. That prayer is now.
“Dear God, I don’t know how bad this is for Dad and I don’t feel like it is the end for him because he has so many plans for the future. He doesn’t want a fuss to be made about this hospitalisation but Ali’s telling me that it could as easily end up with him dead on Sunday, or Monday, or this week, as it could end up with him back home again and okay for another few years. I don’t know whether to ignore Dad’s feeling that we shouldn’t make a fuss and visit on Sunday or if I ignore him. But then again, if it is his time, that’s B. Ward Powers once again wanting to direct everything and be in control and have God take him home. At 87, it still seems too soon. Dad and A, B, C and me are going to the United States later this year. He’s going to a conference in Denver, Colorado. It’s all planned and booked. I can’t pray for him to live for that or for his book on the environment to be published. I can only pray that Your will be done, because like Paul he yearns for the day his maker takes him home. God’s will be done. Amen.”
Eighth, I will go to RPA tomorrow morning to see him. I don’t know if it does me any good to witness Dad die just as I witnessed Mum die in Ferbuary 1988. It’s very invasive. I know we had umpteen great weeks of Wednesday nights, the last of which was viewing Playtime (1967).
Ninth, I don’t like preparing for exams I don’t have to sit, piano pieces I don’t have to play, or deaths that are not happening today or tomorrow. I’m a worrier, so it’s not good for me. Who besides David really cares – as true family – about this situation? Colleen and Aunty Gwen, of course. It’s the people who are talking about taking this from a minor stroke to a major haemorrhage who are doing my head in because Dad is in safe hands – not the doctors at RPA, the other ones – the hands of the one who wrote his name in the Book of Life. My Dad’s had a magnificent life and I know he’s ready the next one.