One of my all-time favorite hippie lyrics is by Buffalo Springfield as sung by Stephen Stills “Paranoia runs deep, into your life it will creep…”
So my Dad’s been in the hospital for over three weeks and it looks like he will finally be released tomorrow. It’s pretty obvious that when he comes home his life will be very different from the 93 years that came before. His mind is as clear as ever, but his body has taken a real beating. Emotionally it’s been a crazy time – ups and downs, tension, drama, a lot of “what next?” and fox-hole-religion-soul-searching.
He’d been in the same two-bed hospital room for so long that we got to see quite the parade of broken, sick old men as his room mates. Many tried to make the best of it, cracking wise with the staff and dealing with the pain. Just as many were bitter, angry and belligerent, making it nearly impossible for the nurses to help them.
From the behind the drawn curtain in the other half of the room I heard the patient yelling, at the top of his lungs “Don’t touch me or I’ll sue you! I’ll sue you and everybody here! You don’t have jurisdiction over me, you can’t touch me if I don’t say it’s OK! … and if you kill me with that murder weapon you’ll go to jail! Call the police! I’ll sue, I’ll sue!”
“Did he used to be a lawyer?” one the nurses asked the personal care-giver who was called in to be a buffer between the patient and the staff.
“You have to understand,” the care giver replied, “he used to be the chief council for 20th Century Fox.”
“It starts when you’re always afraid, You step out of line, the man come and take you away…”