Watching Trump’s Trial on CNN While My Dad Wants to Die

Dad fell in his apartment at the assisted living center. An ambulance transported him to the OHSU emergency room. I got the call at 5:30 in the morning right as I was ready to take Elmer for our customary walk.

Driving to OHSU I thought: is this it? Is this how this ends for Dad? For me in Portland?

I waited for ten minutes and then was ushered in to see Dad. The ER doctor told me he didn’t suffer serious injury and there was no evidence he’d hit his head. Dad had no recollection how he fell.

We occupied a treatment room for the next eight hours while nurses, orderlies and doctors attended to him. His care was uncoordinated, contradictory but I didn’t say anything. The treatment room itself was an de facto museum to former methods of intra-hospital communication. Why not remove them?

I brought along my journal I keep in the car and during the eight hours, wrote the single longest continuous entry since I started keeping journals in 1979. I might have written another book.

From time to time I turned on CNN and watched CNN talking heads analyze the prosecution’s closing arguments in Trump’s “Porn Star Hush Money Case.”

I could only stomach five minutes of the broadcast and then turned it off. In the intervals of watching and writing in my journal, Dad would ask me to take him to the river and let him walk in and float away.

Then it was to procure him a .45 automatic.

Then it was “Call Dr. Kevorkian.”

We discussed Dr. Death and how American culture simply is too immature to understand death and its non spiritual role in the ecology of the world. Our culture prolongs death and existential suffering for idiotic religious reasons and perfectly sound multi-trillion dollar reasons.

I told Dad to knock it off about me assisting him in dying. If he wanted to do it himself, so be it. I wouldn’t be upset but if he fucked it up, he might end up in a vegetative state and rot without ever having a sentient thought again or conversation with me.

That shut him up.

“Besides,” “we got a hundred smackers bet with the universe that you’ll live long enough to see Trump imprisoned or dead.”

He laughed.