Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for my little balloon of happiness to be shot down by the snot-nosed bully across the street, Reality.

Saturday afternoon my sister stopped at our house on her way back home to The Capital after leaving the family farm. I asked her how everything went the day before and she laughed humorously.

She then proceeded to share Friday’s activities.

My brother, Ray, who rents the farm, and my father, who is too weak nowadays to farm it himself, got into a scuffle. The facts are rather unclear as my brother isn’t talking about it and my father’s recollection is a bit fuzzy, shall we say.

You see, even though I’m quite judgemental about my MIL’s alcoholism, I really should focus some of that energy on my own family. My father is an alcoholic as well.

So as I was saying, Dad believes that Ray punched him in the side. At the hospital (oh yeah, wait til I tell you more on that), he told the doctor that Ray kicked him. The doctor asked if Ray had been drinking. Dad replied, “Hell no! I was.”

So now I’ll back up a bit. After the mystery kick/punch/fall…he came into the house and told my mother that he needed to be taken to the hospital. He didn’t feel right. He told her he was going to change clothes. Because a hundred years or so ago my parents fell out of love with each other, my mother didn’t believe him (which I find obscene as the man hasn’t been to a doctor since his carpal tunnel surgery years ago even though he’s in constant pain from one malady or another, and he’s a smoker….and of course the drinking….), so she just left him there to go to work. Just drove away while he was changing clothes.

My sister ended up taking Dad to the hospital.

Now that we are up to point of the hospital admission: they decided to keep him observation overnight and to watch any change in his urine because the first tentative guess was that he may have damaged his spleen. If so, a before and after comparison of his urine over several hours would verify. However, the next day, it wasn’t so much the chemical makeup that had the doctor concerned, but the blood in his urine. Copious amounts of blood.

An MRI was performed. His prostate was enlarged. My sister nearly scoffed when she was asked if he had had a recent PSA done. What was unusual is the size of his bladder. It was enormous! However Dad claimed he felt no need to empty his bladder. He never gets up in the middle of the night. So they inserted a catheter. More blood in the urine. His bladder had expanded to hold almost two quarts of fluid.

Two. Quarts. in his bladder. And he couldn’t feel it.

He is negative for prostate cancer. But they have no idea why the enlarged bladder and they still haven’t had the radiologist result out the images from the MRI (which was done Saturday a.m. and it is now Sunday p.m.). Probably Monday sometime.

We went up today to see him and just as we neared his room we saw a man in a gown walking with a nurse very slowly. His gray hair was mussed and his legs were as thin as a bird’s. He shuffled painfully down the hall. Mr. DD said it was my Dad. I said no way and I peeked into his room, which was a semi-private. The other patient said that the nurse had just taken him for some exercise.

When I stepped back out in the hall, the small, frail man was slowly heading back towards us. It was Dad.

The strongest, fastest, smartest man that was there when I was a little girl was gone. He had been eroded away by hard physical labor, booze and a loveless marriage to literally stand before me a mere wisp of what he once was.

Harsh Reality.