A Type of Gentle Lying

My father landed in the hospital a few days ago due to what is likely a combination of factors. Normally, I’d immediately notify my mom but she’s currently abroad and both because we are Irish and my dad’s health ruined their last vacation, my brother and I decided to gloss over the incident until she came back…until the hospital’s palliative care team called me and asked to talk to her.

Is my dad dying? No more than normal.

Did I nearly excrete masonry upon hearing from palliative care? Yes.

Getting a call from palliative care before getting a call from a doctor or nurse would be like getting a call from a behavioral expert about alternative education opportunities for your child before someone told you they’d knocked someone out in a fight.

In other times and places palliative care was the team you call in when someone is flat out dying and the hospital wanted to know if you wanted to spring for the scented morphine. Now they do a bit more and this was a courtesy check to see if my dad had advanced directives but they very much wanted to talk to my mother as my dad said she was in charge. She very much is not and the paperwork confirms it. My parents are very much divorced or at least as divorced as two people who are not actively co-acrimonious who previously shared 35 years together and currently share two children and a grand child. She should be called on to make no choices and she should be asked to make no calls. I’m pretty sure she’s not listed as anything but my dad says otherwise.

I messaged my mom to call when possible as dad was in the hospital.

We held the call with palliative care without my mom. Arnold from palliative care and I were in my dad’s hospital room and my brother called in. Arnold spoke with a deliberateness that reminded me of me and except for referring to things like an artificial heart as a “heroic intervention”. We all want dad to go home but it’s good to know we know what he wants if something pops up.

On the way out of the hospital my mom called. I braced for the observation that we’d hidden this from her and:

Me: Dad’s in the hospital and they want to talk to you.

I am no longer worried she’ll be mad at me.