Dad at the Hospital
A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from my mother and, during our quick conversation, she said Dad needed to talk to me. I explained I was busy and asked if I could call her back when I got free. She said that would be fine. After finishing the task at hand, I returned her call. We spoke for a moment, then she put Dad on the phone. I knew something was wrong as soon as he started speaking. He was having a hard time getting his thoughts in order and it was making him agitated. The major indication that there was a problem was when he was unable to tell me the type of car he currently owned. Dad has been a “car guy” for as long as I can remember, so I grew worried. I told him to collect his thoughts while I spoke with my mother again. After suggesting she check his blood sugar and his blood pressure, I told her to call me back when she was finished. I began making arrangements to leave work early, then waited for her to call me back. When the call came, she told me she was getting ready to take him to the hospital. Based on his symptoms, my only thought was that he was having a stroke.
Several times during our trip to the hospital, Dad asked me where we were going? After telling him we were going to the hospital, he would tell me that he didn’t need to go. After his fourth time asking, I explained to him that he had already asked so we were going to let a doctor tell us if he needed to be there or not. By the time we reached the hospital, he was showing signs of improvement. My sister, brother-in-law, and nephew arrived moments after we did.
When they took Dad back to begin the process of checking him out, my sister, brother-in-law, and I began talking. By the time we were finished, our combined information—now collected—pointed not to a stroke, but to carbon monoxide poisoning. My sister let the nurse know what we suspected and she drew more blood to test specifically for that. In the end, it turned out that we were correct. From the time they took his blood until the time we were taken to a room, several hours passed. When we finally did see the doctor, he had breathed in enough fresh air that he was no longer ill. Thankfully.
While sitting in the waiting room, however, I began thinking about writing—when I quit worrying about Dad, that is. It took three of us with different parts of the same story to figure out the ending. Sure, if one of us would have known the whole story to begin with we could have saved ourselves some worry, but it wouldn’t have made for good reading. Never give one character all the answers. Not only does it make a boring story, but it isn’t realistic. Another thing to remember is that you shouldn’t give every character just one clue. There needs to be an overlapping of knowledge for the answer to come together seamlessly.
Just thought I would jot this down.