Sunday, 6 January 2012

08:28 – We replaced our old den ceiling fan yesterday. I expected it to take an hour or less, but it ended up taking several hours. But it’s finished, and Barbara is happy with the new one.

There was a front-page article in the newspaper this morning about Mt. Airy, the town of about 11,000 people about 25 miles northwest of Winston-Salem that’s most famous as the setting for the The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD. During the 20th century, that town’s economy was based on the North Carolina Big Three: tobacco, textiles, and furniture. Tobacco and textiles disappeared years ago, and they’ve just announced that the last remaining furniture plant is closing. In a town of 11,000 people, they’ve lost 4,600 manufacturing jobs over the last 15 years. That pretty much sums up small-town North Carolina.


Barbara’s sister just called to tell her that their dad was on his way to the hospital again because his legs were badly swollen and he was out of his head. Barbara dropped everything to head for the hospital. As she was getting dressed, her sister called again to tell her that he wasn’t on his way to the hospital but her mom was panicking, so Barbara just left to meet her sister at their parents’ apartment.

I suggested that it might be a good idea for them just to drive their dad to the emergency room, to avoid a middle-of-the-night surprise. Barbara said they’d sworn off taking him to the emergency room themselves because he’d just have to sit there for hours, where he could die before he was seen by a doctor. If he needs to be hospitalized, they’ll call 911, because patients delivered by ambulance get immediate treatment.


09:03 – Barbara just called from her parents’ apartment. The ambulance is there, getting ready to haul her dad to the emergency room. He suffers from congestive heart failure. She said his lips were blue, he was having trouble breathing, his legs were badly swollen, and he was confused. Her mom has calmed down a bit, although she’s still afraid they’re going to be thrown out of the retirement village because of Dutch’s frequent medical emergencies. Barbara and Frances have explained to her that that’s not how it works, but her mom is a worrier. If the hospital admits Dutch, which I suspect it will, Barbara’s going to come home this afternoon. Frances will stay with her mom.