January 13th, 2009


Home, Family

Life in the Circus
     If you have a moment free, spare a thought or a prayer (if that's your inclination) for William Cardwell Routliffe.
     He's 80, I think. He had a cardiac arrest at the retirement home where he lives, in Florida. He's currently on a ventilator.
     He's my father.
     I am told he's stable. I learned that about 15 minutes ago, when the hospital called me. They called me because they hadn't been able to contact my brother.
     I contacted Mac, who's on assignment up in the armpit of Prince Edward Island. Got him on his cell phone, standing out in the middle of a PEI winter blast. He''ll call me back once he's at a hotel.
     I am in limbo now, waiting for calls from his pulmonologist and his attending physician.
     I didn't grow up with my father. I've met him consciously three times in my life as an adult. He's visited me once. We talk on the phone, but have done so less and less over the years, for various reasons.
    My mother tells me he used to sit with me on his knee and teach me how to dunk doughnuts in coffee or milk. It used to upset her, but apparently it made me giggle. I've seen pictures of him back then. He was handsome - really handsome. He looked like a movie star.
    He had the various demons that are, apparently, a tradition on his side of the family. He survived them, but didn't really escape them. Still, survival counts for something, right?
    I love him, even if I've only met him three times, and even if it's not the same kind of love I have for my mother or my brother.



We just spoke with the pulmonologist. It's not  a cardiac arrest. Dad apparently had the stroke about two days ago, and was unresponsive when he was brought in.

(I do not know why it took them so long to get in touch with us, but it probably had to do with a mis-written number for my brother, and my brother's non-availability because of his assignment.)

Although this could change - and I want it to change - the actuality, per the very careful, very circumspect pulmonologist, that it is unlikedly he will regain,or retain, any cognitive ability. We made comments about "a couple of weeks' but I have no idea what that means. I'm just sitting here, because by typing things out to you folks, I can keep my thought processes operating in some sort of linear fashion.