I’m not ready to talk about what’s really upsetting me yet (it’s Tommy, not Doug) so I’ll tell an old story. Many years ago (UT fans will know how many halfway through this story) my husband left me and I was staying in my parents’ house. My mother had left for work and I was watching cartoons with Noah. I noticed my father wandering the house in his bathrobe and I just assumed he was looking for something. After watching him pace about I walked back to his room to see if I could find whatever he had lost. He sat searching the newspaper for signs of anything familiar and said “I can’t read.” I asked him questions because I thought he was setting me up for a joke but always his answer remained the same. “I can’t read.” I called my mother at her work and told her that something was wrong with Dad. She guessed his blood sugar was off and told me to drive him to his gp. I did what she asked but he was silent the entire ride. My father is never silent. He has an opinion on everything. I signed him in, got scolded by the receptionist for coming without an appointment and sat down to wait. As we waited I realized something was very wrong and called my mother to tell her she needed to be there. My mother arrived minutes after my father was called back and before my mother could ask which room he was in we were all called back to speak to the doctor. We walked in the room with our hearts in our throats and the doctor immediately said that my father was having a stroke. My mother rushed him to the ER while I went home to make phone calls.
My father was unaffected physically but he had some serious gaps in his ability to think and act. He couldn’t read, identify objects or say anyone’s name but what he could say was “football game”. This came as no surprise to any of us because UT football was like a religion in my parents’ home. It was quickly evident that my father was worried about watching the first UT football game of the season. Everyone reassured my father that he would watch the game on the hospital television but he wanted to watch it at home. He had to be at home in his “special” clothes eating popcorn or the team wouldn’t play their best. This superstitious foolishness only applies to sports and it goes completely against my father’s character.
Just to prove everyone wrong my father came home from the hospital a few hours before kick-off. He proceeded to scream at the team, jump up and down and act like he was the coach. I was so upset trying to make him sit calmly that my mother gave me tranquilizers and sent me to bed. I listened from bed and was extremely thankful when UT won the game. I am not a sports fan but I have never loved football more than that winter when UT won every single game and made my father the happiest fan ever. Skip ahead to last week. My father started having suspicious symptoms and a CAT scan revealed a bleed in his brain and a dangerous looking aneurysm. Saturday my father will have an MRI and an MRA. He will refuse surgery because the surgery itself has bad odds and he feels better just waiting and letting things happen. He is a very religious man and has no fears about dying. In fact he looks forward to it a bit too much for my comfort level. So, with football season about to begin and history repeating itself there is some anxiety in our family, except for my father. His only concern is how the team will play.