A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hello, Hello? Anyone there?

My dad is in a nursing home in Chicago. Although I try to go out and visit him at least four times a year, my main contact is via phone. Dad has a cell phone and a phone in his room. So, in the past, it hasn't been too difficult to track him down. However, things have changed over the last several months.

He often gets confused about using his cell phone. Forgets to charge it - and sometimes how to charge it! Tries to see a missed call and winds up calling that person back, but doesn't know he's called them so he doesn't say anything - while on the other end the person is saying, "Hello, Hello!" - all the time listening to him fumble around trying to turn the phone off. His room phone has been having problems with volume, and with working in general. So it's been frustrating.

Last Thursday, I spent the entire drive home trying to talk with my dad. It had been several days that I had been calling, and he wasn't answering either phone. Finally on Thursday he answered his cell phone (I had called his room phone again but no answer), however the volume was so low that I could barely hear him and he could barely hear me.

Me: Hey dad, finally got through to you!
Dad: Sandi? Is that you? I can barely hear you.
Me [talking much louder]: Yes, it's me. Can you hear me now?
Dad: Sandi? Is that you? I can barely hear you.
Me [screaming]: Are you in your room? I'll call on that phone.
Dad: Yes, I'm in my room

I dialed his room number, it rang 10 times, no answer. So I called on his cell phone again.

Me [still screaming]: Hey dad.
Dad: Sandi, you called me on my cell phone again.
Me: I know, you didn't answer the room phone
Dad: It didn't ring - damn thing must be acting up again. Let me look at it. Oh, there's a different phone number printed here. Maybe they changed my line. Call this number.....
Me: Alright, I'll try.

Dialed the new number. After five or six rings, a very nice little old lady answered and I said I was sorry, I had dialed the wrong number. Called my dad back on his cell.

Me: Dad?
Dad: Sandi, you called me on my cell phone again.
Me: I know, the other number was wrong - some woman answered.
Dad: Damn it, I can hardly hear you.
Me: Hang up, I'm going to contact the nursing station for help.

Now I called the main number and asked to be connected to the nursing station. Asked the nurse if she knew the exact phone number for my dad's room. She said she didn't but the person at the front desk would.

Called the front desk again and asked for his number. Turns out the original number I had was still correct. So I called the nursing station again and told her the issue. She said to give her two minutes and she'd go to his room and listen for the phone. I waited, and I dialed. Nothing. No answer. Called Dad's cell again.

Me: Dad?
Dad: Sandi, you called my cell phone again!
Me [trying not to laugh maniacally]: I know, you didn't answer the room phone. Let me talk to the nurse.
Nurse: The phone didn't ring. What? I can barely hear you. There's another number on this phone, try dialing it.
Me: That's the number my dad gave me before and someone else answered. But I'll try one more time.

Dialed the second number. This time no answer at all. Called back on dad's cell.

Me: Dad?
Dad: Sandi, you called my cell phone again!
Me: Just hang up. I love you. I'll talk with the nurse again.

Finally, throat raw from screaming, I called the nursing station one more time and asked that they get his phone fixed. She agreed that there was a problem (!!). Now I need someone to show my dad how to work the volume on his cell phone and I may actually be able to talk to him again.

Funny thing, when I got home my husband innocently said, "Have you talked with your dad lately." After he picked himself up off the floor, he listened to my tale and gently poured me a glass of wine......


Catheroo said...

OMG. This cracked me up! Your dad with his "You called my cell phone again!" just slays me!

At least you were in the privacy of your car, and not yelling into the phone in the mall, or at the grocery store.

I hope they fix the phone situation too, so you can save your voice. (But tell Ed to keep the wine handy, just in case.)

ira said...

" You called me on my cell phone again!" Lol!

Wendy said...

My grandpa was the same way. My granma is like that now. She still lives in her own home, alone. My mom is her neighbor though so she looks out for her. She has to go over often to hang the phone up after grandma has forgotten. Must be just as frustrating for them as it is for us though!

Hope they fix his phone!

Jenni said...

I hope they fix his phone soon too.

His "Damn it" comment cracked me up. That's so Gramps.

The Kept Woman said...

Holy crap.

I'm with Catheroo...that cracked me UP! I can imagine that it was frustrating at the time but you have to see the humor in it now...:)

Catheroo said...

Happy Birthday Sandi!
I remember last year, we helped you celebrate. :-)
Hope you had a great day!
Love, Catheroo

kathy said...

Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, dear SANDIIIIIIIII!

Happy Birthday, tooooooo yooooooooou!

: )

Best wishes on your special day!


ira said...

hey!!! happy birthday sandi!! :) take care

ps: I had to tag someone with the "eight random things". Guess, its gonna be you birthday girl!!

Desert Diva said...

You probably have Verizon Wireless too. Hello - can you hear me now?

I'm sure the whole interaction was frustrating, but it's great that you still were able to talk to your Dad - just not very well.