Saturday, March 03, 2007

I don't know who had bed #3 at the Donnell House before my father, but I will forever think of that unknown person as "Wally Pipp". Yes, Dad is the Lou Gehrig of hospice. The place has 8 beds, and an average of about a person day has passed away there since he's been there--and that's with an average of about 50% capacity. I read the local obituaries every day I was home, and only one day did none of them indicate that the decedent had passed away at the Donnell House. One day there were 4.

But Dad perseveres. I talked to the doctor yesterday and he said that they do have longer-term residents, and they knew Dad would be one of those when he got there. He said that it's hard to provide any timetable becasue there's no medical reason why he's alive right now--but because he's basically stable, it's probably a matter of weeks, not days or hours. So I'm back in Ann Arbor.

My Dad has what you might consider a dying wish. He wants a notebook computer, because he wants to write a book about this stage of his life, to give his late days meaning. Of course his neuropathy means his control over his hands is (literally) shaky at best, he has no energy or ability to focus for more than five minutes at a time, and he's only intermittently aware of his surroundings. But the one thing he's consistently focused on and insistent on is that laptop. At one point I told him I'd be leaving town yesterday and that we might not have another chance to talk one-on-one, and he said ok, gathering himself for what I assumed was something serious. He asked me if I had any ideas about getting him that laptop.

At least he's lowered his expectations a bit--my brother tells me that when he first got this idea, he was saying that he doesn't want any of these low-end laptops but is looking to spend about $1200.

It is worth noting at this point that my dad will die insolvent, with no assets other than crappy old cars and his latest social security check, which my mom will use to attack the stack of bills that's gone unpaid for the last few months. So it's not as if we're denying him something that we could easily provide.

So I spent my last hour in town scouring local thrift stores for whatever crappy computer of any kind I could find. To no avail. But at least I get to relive that failure every time I post something on my own Inspiron. So I got that going for me.

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