After Dad died I called the hospital and asked if they knew what had happened.
I had been there the day before and seen him
And he was bad but he had been bad for such a long time.
So I just called and asked.
The nurse on the phone told me to wait while they got his nurse
And this is what his nurse said:
Apparently he was alone in the house
And he was pretty upset
And he had a gun
He shot himself in the head
But he’s still alive
Now Dad had not been home in weeks,
He had not been off the ventilator,
He was fed through a tube
And he never had a gun
And he wouldn’t fire it
And he couldn’t have lifted it
And he was dead.
But you don’t argue with nurses,
Especially the ones that confide in you when you call long-distance,
And I had been snuffling and crying on the phone,
And those nurses had no doubt forgotten about Dad who was in the ICU for so long,
Lingering and dwindling,
And moved on to the newest tragedy
And I stopped crying upon hearing this new tale of someone else’s father
Which I certainly should not have been told
And I said a quick Thank you to the nurse on the phone
And I hung up
And I laughed and laughed
Before Dad got really sick he would have loved this story
But once he got really sick he got scared and he lost his sense of humor
Which was really how we knew he was going to die.
13 March 2002