Saturday in a Nutshell

by Joey deVilla on December 21, 2004

11:00 a.m. Wendy (yup, she flew in on Friday!) and I show up at the hospital to help Dad check out.

12:30 p.m. Lunch at Mom and Dad’s. Me, Wendy, Mom, Dad, sister Eileen, brother-in-law Richard, nephews Aidan and Nico.

At lunch, Aidan says “We’re all together now!” to which Dad says with a smile, “That’s right!”

2:00 p.m. I take Wendy on her

very first Christmas shopping trip. We buy presents for my sister,

brother-in-law, and cousins, who’ll all be gathered at the deVilla

extended family Christmas party on Saturday.

Wendy’s shop-fu is very good.

5:00 p.m. On the expressway bound for home when my cell phone rings. It’s In the Hall of the Mountain King — the family ringtone. I can’t answer because the phone is in my pocket and I’m driving.

“I’ll get it as soon as I get a chance to pull over,” I tell Wendy.

A minute later, the phone rings again. Family ringtone again. This

time, we’re off the highway, so I manage to pick up. It’s Eileen,

telling me that Dad was sweaty, spaced out and weak and that an

ambulance was coming for him.

I swung the car around and made tracks for the hospital for the second time that day.

5:15 p.m. Since we were

close to the hospital, we beat the ambulance to the ER. Minutes after

we arrive, Mom, Dad and the paramedics arrive. Dad’s passed out on a

stretcher, looking very pale with an oxygen mask strapped to his face,

while Mom very calmly reports all the details to the attending

physicians and nurses. All I can do is stand there. Wendy takes my hand

and squeezes it.

Mom tells us to wait in the ER lobby.

6:45 p.m. It turns out that

Dad’s blood sugar dropped to a dangerously low level. An IV helps bring

it back to a normal level, and he’s conscious again.

He tells us that he has no recollection of being taken from his bedroom

or the ambulance trip. “I felt as though I was in space and someone was

performing strange procedures on me. The next thing I remember is being


“Dad, you sound like an alien abductee,” I say, which makes him smile.

“You should eat,” Mom says. “Can we get you something?”

“I want a roast beef sandwich,” replies Dad.

I take everyone’s orders and Wendy and I go to the nearby Quizno’s.

7:30 p.m. ER picnic! Mom,

Dad, Eileen, Wendy and I are eating in the ER. Quizno’s isn’t fine

dining and the atmosphere of the ER isn’t anything to write home about,

but the stress of the past couple of hours has made us all famished.

I’ve visited Dad in the ER a number of times — he’s sort of like the

Indiana Jones of diabetes — and they always have a knack for putting

him beside a guy who’s pipelining five gallons of phlegm in his lungs.

I really hate that sound.

“Poor Wendy,” jokes Dad, “she’s been in town only two days and she’s been to the hospital three times already.”

9:00 p.m. Dad’s been moved to

the Cardiac Care Unit — the place he left only that morning — for

overnight observation. Mom, Eileen, Wendy and I make sure Dad’s all

right and head home.

Dad left the hospital late Sunday afternoon and had dinner with the family.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 21, 2004 at 6:25 am

“Dad left the hospital late Sunday afternoon and had dinner with the family”

Good. That’s my favorite part of the story.

As a grown child of a parent with diabetes, I know that drill – the fact that I’m an only child of a single parent, well… it’s tough sometimes, but you soldier on. I’ve gotten the 3 A.M. phone call – “I think you need to take me to the ER” – so I understand what this thing you’re going through is. It’s god’s dancing lessons, I think – every so often, the tune changes, and we have to learn a new step, but we keep dancing because what else is there to do?

Anyway, I hope that all remains well. My thoughts are with you.

Happy Holidays to you and your family Joey, and many more.

Anonymous December 21, 2004 at 8:11 am

Dude, I spend four days offline, and what happens? I just can’t turn my back on your dad.

Glad to hear he’s doing better — we’re keeping him on the prayer list.

Anonymous December 21, 2004 at 8:56 am

Joey — Marlene and my thoughts are with you and family. I hope Dad will do well. I am looking forward to getting to know him as a friend. Barry

Anonymous December 21, 2004 at 9:35 am

Thanks, Dad.

On another note: Joey underreports the gnarliness of eating dinner in an emergency department. Not the waiting room, mind you, but IN there, with bleeps and suction noises and such. I now understand why my brother never eats during a shift. 🙂

Anonymous December 21, 2004 at 9:55 am

My best wishes for your dad and the rest of your family.

It’s not easy dealing with a hospital environment, and I think it helps to have folks around you who care about you even when you’re wearing a bumless gown.

Anonymous December 21, 2004 at 2:56 pm

Thank you for the update. Wendy has been helping to keep us informed. As you know, she’s a strong woman. She does very well in a crisis. We wish we could be of more help to you, but as Barry said, you are all in our thoughts. There are many praying as well. Love, Marlene

Anonymous December 22, 2004 at 7:19 am

My thanks to everyone for their kind words, especially from my parents-in-law!

(Okay, they’re not my parents-in-law just yet, but they’re so much like family that I say “why wait?”)

Anonymous December 29, 2004 at 11:50 pm

It’s Liz here, from California and

Boy have I danced that dance a bazillion times, but my mamacita was an alcoholic and a diabetic and it just isn’t a pretty picture.

Is your dad a candidate for an insulin pump? Would that help even out the blood sugar (for you those of you without diabetic fu, that’t the name of the game, even blood sugar.)

Worth mentioning, even if he isn’t.

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