Saturday, March 31, 2007

Dixie Cups

My Father in Law passed away a little over two years ago. Assuming the statute of limitation has expired on any crimes I committed, I shared the following story with Char and the neighbors.

I called Vic one day when he was in assisted living. He was upset. It seems like one of the doctors visited him and once again recommended hospice. This was the third time in a few weeks they had tried to get him to go to hospice. The reason - all the medications were doing was prolonging his life. Excuse the h*** out of me, but I thought that was what medicine was suppose to do.

Somewhere in our conversation, Vic mentioned he felt like a drink. In all the years I knew him, he never did drink much, although he did have an occasional Coors beer.

I went to visit him and upon walking into his room it was evident he was still upset. We talked a little about the doctor’s visit and about dying. Neither one of us felt like there was any need to rush it.

I told him I had brought him a present and produced one can of Coors beer. He looked at it, shook his head, and said he didn’t know about that. I started to put it back in my pocket when he said, “I said I didn’t know about it, not that I wasn’t going to drink it”. Vic invited his roommate, Vern, over for a toast. We proceeded to talk about “guy’” stuff - cars, power tools, etc. We also talked about death and dying.

Suddenly a nurse opened the door and stuck her head in. She was checking to make sure everything was all right. What she witnessed was three grown men setting in an assisted living center, scrambling to hide their rose imbedded Dixie cups with 2 ounces of beers so they wouldn’t be busted. She smiled and closed the door.

Vern remarked, “That was close”. Vic shook his head. Then they started to laugh.

I set there for an hour listening to those guys tell stories that started with, “I remember a time when. . .” and ending with “I don’t know remember how it ends but it sure was funny”. All the while laughing and sipping beer from a Dixie cup.

Vern offered to give me dollar “for the hooch”. I told him he could buy next time. That resulted in even more laughter. When I left they were still going strong telling stories and laughing.

Driving home, I started having second thoughts. How was that alcohol going to interact with their medication? Was beer good for their hearts? By the time, I walked in the house I realized it was the right thing to do. The laughter and the lift in their spirits would most likely offset any harm two ounces of hooch in a Dixie cup could do.


Blogger Rachel said...

You are right Ralph. It was the right thing to do. Absolutely!!

Great story BTW!

7:04 PM  
Blogger Raggedy said...

That was a beautiful memory!
Thank you for sharing it with us.
I agree it was the right thing to do. You lifted and lightened the hearts of those men that day.
Good on ya!
Have a great day!
Huggles and Love,

7:55 PM  
Blogger Cliff Morrow said...

I had heard the 'talking book' version, this was even better and is one of your best blogs Ralph. Vic was truly one of lifes good guys. Thanks for letting us in on it.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Jerry said...

When you get to Vic's age, breaking a rule or two should be allowed. You're a good egg, Ralph. Thanks for sharing.

7:16 AM  
Blogger "Early Bird" said...

I enjoyed your post, and yes I'm with your, they needed something familiar and a laugh or two!
I used to work in a place like that and the only thing I would have done different than the nurse was given a wink ;)

5:27 PM  
Blogger Aravis said...

What a wonderful memory; thanks for sharing it with us. As for drug interactions, I think if there was any danger the nurse would have pointed it out. You brought some joy and normalcy to their day. You couldn't have done better!

10:48 PM  
Blogger Miki said...

Thank you for sharing that one. I too smuggled something into my Dad when he was in the nursing home. He was not allowed anything to eat as his esophogus and stomach were basically non functional, but was allowed ice chips. he begged me and my boys for a slurpee, didn't really care which flavor, but wanted one, so I obliged. a small one, fed to him from a spoon over the course of an hour. It wasn't the best remedy for his dying, but it did make him feel good to share a slurpee with his"guys" like he used to when they were in my parents' care. It lifted his spirits and made the boys feel better about visiting "pop". That is what matters, making the life we have left worth living. You did that for your father in law, and are a great man for doing it!

2:50 PM  
Blogger Miki said...

By the way, Pierogies are little dough pockets filled with mashed potatoes and cheese or onions. Sometimes they have meat in them too. You boil them like ravioli, then drain, and saute with butter, yes the drastic artery clogger, butter, and onions. Served while hot they are decadently delicious!
That is why Polish Americans only eat them at Easter time! Or anyway this one!

2:53 PM  
Anonymous SILOR said...

Well said. I would be vvery happy if that were to happen to me. Great story!

3:37 PM  
Blogger 1 plus twins said...

what a beautiful memory!! it definitly was the right thing to do and the stories you heard were worth it and priceless. thanks for letting us all a part of it by sharing.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Your compassion and wisdom made these guys very happy, and made a wonderful memory for you. Sometimes rules should be broken. This was definitely one of those times.

10:59 PM  
Blogger nora said...

I worked in nursing homes all through high school and college.
It sounds like you broke all of the right rules.
Visits like those do wonders for the soul.
You were an amazing SIL (are you listening SILOR?).

3:25 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I completely agree with you. Your visit, and the laughs the three of you shared were the BEST medicine, and that bit of beer was just a bit of a kicker to add to the fun.
What a wonderful story, and a heartwarming memory. :)

6:29 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

A wonderful post, ralph. I read it last night too, it's fine for repeats.
BTW, I thought maybe I left a comment last night? I'm thinking nicer than I was last night so I'll try again.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous gel(emerald eyes) said...

I remember meeting you in blog land several months before reading your poignant tales about and with your dear FIL, V.

You gave him more "life" in life and shared it with him, to boot. That's love.
Wonderful way to remember and honor Vic, the man you vividly painted in words before my eyes.

9:46 AM  

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