Back in the 70s when I was still a teen, my Dad would take me to concerts. These weren’t concerts I wanted to go to and he’d drive. These were concerts he wanted to go to and – after I got my license – I’d drive.
Usually these were singers he’d heard on the radio. We saw Freddie Fender, Mel Tillis, Anne Murray, people like that. Then there was the time he bought tickets for someone he’d never heard sing. I had, though, and loved her songs. Finally, a concert I wanted to go to. Still, I wondered why he wanted to go. I found out when we got there.
High Energy Concert
We sat down a few minutes before the show and Dad started a conversation, as he often does, with the people in front of us. They were all dressed up and excited to be there, and asked Dad if he was a fan.
“I don’t know much about her, but I really enjoyed listening to her father so I thought I’d come.”
“You’re going to love her,” the young couple told him.
“The style is different,” I added, “but she’s great.”
“And she puts on a great show,” they said.
So we sat back and watched Natalie Cole positively kill it on stage at the Circle Star Theater. They were right. Great show.
That night came to mind when “This Will Be” came on the radio on the drive to work this morning.
Low-key Emergency Room
The phone rang a few minutes before 8:00 the other night. It was a police officer asking me to review a request for an emergency protective order. While listening to the brief statement of facts, the phone beeped to tell me another call was coming in. The display said it was Dad. He rarely calls that late. He usually always calls me at 5:15 to catch me on my drive home from work and to catch up on how things are going.
I called him back at his assisted living apartment and he sounded like he was speaking through a nose full of tissues. It turns out he was.
“The person here is working on my nose. It won’t stop bleeding.”
“Did you give them your nose clamp?” That’s the little plastic spring clamp the emergency room triage nurse gave Dad when he had a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop a couple months ago.
“No. I don’t know where it is. Do you want to talk to her?”
I talked to her and she said they were calling for an ambulance to come by to check him out. I told her I was on my way. By the time I got there ten minutes later the ambulance driver had already checked out Dad. The bleeding was stopped by then, but she recommended Dad be seen at the ER.
We drove across town to the hospital and signed in. The place was crowded. It took about a half hour to be seen by the intake nurse, another 90 minutes to be taken to a tiny curtained off portion of the emergency room, and another half hour for the doctor to come by.
I’d heard him helping other patients, each time introducing himself and then apologizing for the long wait. Dad kept saying he hoped it would only be a matter of being looked at and then they’d tell us to go home.
That’s how it turned out. The doctor came by, apologized for the long wait, checked Dad out, and said that once the bleeding had stopped there was really no reason to be seen at all. I mentioned the concern of the ambulance driver and the doctor said, “Yeah, well, you know …” or something like that. He also gave some insights on cause, so I said I’d follow up with Dad’s primary care doctor the next day.
We got out of there after 12:30, drove back across town where I walked Dad up to his apartment and then dropped off his discharge paperwork with the medical staff, and finally made it back home to shower (I always feel like I have to shower after trips to the ER) and go to sleep a little after 1:00. Getting up for work later that morning was an interesting endeavor.
Dad’s doctor and I spoke the next day, she made a change in his meds, and the hope is this will take care of the nose bleed issues.
Living Somewhere Between Pop Concerts and Emergency Rooms
Dad and I haven’t gone to a concert together in decades. Nowadays our trips out are either for medical appointments or sitting in a coffee shop and just visiting. In fact, most Saturday mornings you’ll find us at one of the small coffee shops that fill our college town. Dad always insists on paying for the drinks – hot chocolate or iced tea for him, coffee or chai for me – just like he paid for the concert tickets when I was a teen.
I’m at an age when I’d rather sit together over coffee than go to a concert, and driving to scheduled medical appointments is certainly much better than getting a nighttime call for a trip to the ER. Dad is at an age where most people would be happy simply to still be around, yet he’s able to live in his own apartment and enjoy trips, good food, and days filled with activities from exercise classes to movies in the theater room to musicians and singers coming in a couple afternoons a week.
So I guess Dad still gets to go to concerts.
Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32.)
Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (Proverbs 23:22.)
I hope I show respect to Dad not only in my actions and words, but in my thoughts as well. I don’t have the opportunity to do the same for Mom. She died when I was 14. What life might have been like if she had been with us for these past four and a half decades is a recurring thought for me.