I screwed up today. Dad had an appointment for a blood draw at 1 pm, and I didn’t show to visit him until 12:30. My sister was there to take him to his appointment, and I barely got to say hello before I had to say goodbye.

Relations are tense with my sister; we don’t communicate. She had it marked on the calendar in his room, but Dad and I haven’t visited in his room yet this trip. I didn’t see it. I have a cold. I slept in today and headed here later than I might have.

It’s not her fault. It’s not my fault. It certainly isn’t Dad’s fault, but there it is.

Now I have the option to cool my heels for another hour and a half or so and return to see him, hoping he is alert and awake then, or to declare I did what I could today. Neither one feels great. As I so often tell my students struggling with life decisions, “There is no right answer. There is no wrong answer. You have to do your best and decide.”

Today is my last day here. I can’t come back tomorrow; my flight leaves at 8 am. We did have a good visit yesterday. I was there for 2 hours. Part of the time we were watching a holiday performance at the nursing home. Yesterday he told me that he would drive down to Texas to visit me next Christmas. He likes the warmer weather. I suggested we should take a side trip to the Grand Canyon. Of course, I’d have to do more of the driving for that. He wanted to know where we were going to dinner, and I named one of his favorite restaurants in the area. He gave me a hard time about my abused fingernails. It was bittersweet.

So much of visiting a nursing home is bittersweet. It is the right thing to do, so hard to do, and the only thing you can do. I make it out here twice a year. Maybe I could make it three. Given how far away I live, I could probably justify one. Do what you can do. Try not to let the rest get to you.

It is getting to me a little today.

One thought on “Screw-ups

  1. I ended up writing this at lunch and doing some other work for an hour and a half, then going back to see him for another hour. It wasn’t what I planned, but it worked out just fine.

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