After one night at the hospital having every possible test under the sun, my dad is back home. So is my mom because she decided to stay overnight with him and be his 24/7 nurse. That’s the way it is in my family; my mom refuses to ever let my dad spend a night alone in the hospital, just like when he was hospitalized during his heart surgery 2.5 years ago.
I called home to talk to my dad to get details on what happened, and it was clear he was not happy to share details. The doctor confirmed it was a stomach virus, so no medication was needed to recover; he just needed to rest and get more fluids and electrolytes in his system. I asked why they had to take him to the ER; he didn’t appreciate this question and thought I was challenging him on why he was in there. Everything in our family is perceived as an attack. Then, when I suggested he get at least eight glasses of water a day, that’s when he really lost it.
“NO, YOU’RE WRONG!” he exploded. “The nurse said FOUR glasses of water a day, otherwise it will be too much and I could get water toxicity (I’m pretty certain no one on earth has ever died from drinking eight glasses of water in a day). I’m sick and tired of you! You don’t know anything!”
“You know what,” I said calmly. “All I’m trying to do is ask questions to find out what happened, and you want to argue with me. If you don’t want to drink eight glasses of water a day and only want to drink four, then that’s fine. Bye.” Click. As I hung up, he was still yelling, but who knows what he was yelling about at that point because I stopped listening.
I ended the call with my fingers trembling. When my dad gets angry, it’s like the entire earth shakes. He’s always so blinded by by his own lack of rationale, by anything that even is slightly in opposition of what he thinks, that the only way he knows how to respond is to yell and insult you (that is, if you’re immediate family. If not, he’ll yell about it while talking to himself later. He is the only person he is fully comfortable talking to). His bellowing angry voice used to terrify my brother and me, and the infuriating feeling it gave me when I was younger was in me in that moment.
And that’s when I smiled. I’m so happy I no longer live at home or anywhere even remotely close to that house of hell.