About a month later, dad was wheeled off the plane in a wheel chair and meeting Sami and I at LAX. I was more than happy he had finally made the trip down. We were confident we had done the right thing. However, my shock at his appearance was hard for me to hide. His face was noticeably puffy under his Stetson hat, he wore an over-sized suede suit jacket, slippers instead of shoes because his feet were still swollen, and his legs appeared skeletal though the jeans he wore. Immediately, he could tell I was troubled and asked me what the worry was. I bluntly told him that he didn’t look good. He was actually surprised. He told me about how people specifically complimented him on how good he looked. He said, in fact, one time they even applauded when he came back to the Eagles, a local club he frequented in his hometown Vashon Island, WA. They were happy to see him alive.
I wheeled his chair curbside to the truck. It was difficult getting him in the passenger seat because he so weak. He could barely stand on his own, and lifting himself up was nearly impossible. He flopped into the truck and Sami and I helped him straighten out and buckle in. As we drove out of airport pick up area, I offered him fresh grapes and noticed that he was literally too weak to pull the grape off the vine.
On the arm of his large suede jacket, there were spots of blood. He had a paper towel with dried blood on it, showing out of the wrist of the jacket. He told me that while he was on the plane he had to use the bathroom, and while he was able to make it to the bathroom, when it came time to raise off of the seat, he couldn’t. Embarrassed but stuck, he had to ask someone to help him. If that weren’t enough, the man who helped him didn’t grab him by the hand, instead, he grabbed him by the forearm and as he did so, my dad’s paper thin skin was peeled down as the man’s hand slid down his arm. The top layer of skin on his forearm and bicep was literally peeled down and he was still bleeding. The flight attendants almost didn’t let him continue onto the next flight after the lay over because of his wounds. His trip down was even worse that I could have imagined.
When dad got to our apartment he showed us his arm and I nearly fainted. Had Sami not been there to help bandage him I don’t know what would have happened. My head was spinning.