The 11 p.m. Phone Call

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Once you reach a certain point in life, the phone can’t ring at 11:00 at night unless it’s bad news.

Our phone rang at 11 last night, and it was bad news: the nursing home calling, Aunt Joan has a fever, they need my consent to take her to the emergency room. Well, yeah, of course! And then you wait for the phone to ring again.

First thing this morning, I called the hospital for an update: sit on hold for a while, and then they can’t tell you anything yet. For some reason my blood pressure begins to climb.

Half an hour later, another phone call: and, praise Our Father, now everything’s all right, the fever’s all gone, they’ll give her antibiotics and keep her a bit just to make sure, and then it all goes back to what passes for normal, these days. Well, I’d rather have her in the nursing home. She’s been there long enough for the staff to develop some commitment to her.

Until the next time the phone rings late at night…

6 comments on “The 11 p.m. Phone Call

  1. I am the youngest child of parents whom were both younger children within their families, so I grew up with grandparents that were quite elderly. I remember going to visit my paternal grandmother as a child, knocking on her door, and wondering if this would be the day that there was no answer. She had survived a serious heart attack and form my entire youth we all waited for the other shoe to drop.

    It’s a sad fact of life in our fallen world; we are forced to watch people age and die. Hang in there, Lee; you are doing well.

    1. When Aunt Joan goes, I’ll be the oldest surviving member of my family. Who ever thinks that he’ll be that? My inner 10-year-old is incredulous.

    2. I can relate. I’m the oldest of my surname. I have a few older cousins on my mothers side, most of whom I have never met. When my father’s youngest brother passed away, about 15 years ago, I became the old man of the family, and I was in my mid forties at the time. It’s a strange feeling, when one realizes that there are no old sages in the family that you can turn to, and even worse, that I have become the old sage others turn to. This aging business is no fun.

  2. Praise God! He surely is faithful. When the phone rings – or there’s a knock at your door in the middle of the night (which is what happened to us), the instant reaction is ‘bad news’. Thank God, your result was good news.

    You and Unknowable have forced me to look at the hard truth which hadn’t really occurred to me until now – I’m the oldest in our family too, with the exception of a few cousins we don’t see.

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