As soon as my computer came up, I noticed 8:29 in the bottom corner of the display instead of 7:29, as my watch and all of the clocks in my house said. Shit!
On the road, I called my sister to let her know that I was an hour behind.
Arriving at Pitt Memorial Hospital, I turned into the Emergency Room entrance, only to eventually be sent around to the admitting building, which was down the road yet a bit.
I arrived in my dad's room at just a little after 10:00, where my mom was on one side of his bed holding his hand. After a round of hugs, I went to the other side of the bed and held my dad's other hand. There was a time when he would have pulled his hand away after a few seconds, but not today. He held on to my hand, and on and off we squeezed each other's hand. After about a minute of that, I looked at him. His face was turned toward my mom, but there was a tear streaming from his left eye, and my heart beat for every boy and man who has never felt the feeling from their father that I felt right then—particularly gay boys and men, from those whose fathers could never accept "that kind of son," to those whose fathers just tolerated them, to those whose fathers totally abandoned or disowned them.
Dad said a lot of things easily, but every now and then struggled with something, about which he got easily frustrated. At one point, he said about the bed, "Up! Up! Up!" and as we held the button for it to come up automatically, he got more and more agitated. We thought he wanted it to go faster, but as it turned out, though he was saying up, he wanted it to go down.
At around 11:00, they declared the "discharge process" initiated, and at about 1:15 or so, we finally starting making our way out. Before we left, though, Dad had his hospital-provided lunch in his room, while Mom and I went downstairs to the cafeteria for our.
Right after we got back to his room, mom helped him get dressed, and after a short wait for a wheel chair, we checked out.
They followed me in their car, and I drove over to NC 111, which takes them to Kinston, where they catch NC 24 to Jacksonville. After getting them on that road, I turned around and headed back from whence I'd come as that was the way back to Raleigh.
I accidentally picked up NC 264W Alternate instead of NC 264W, but stayed on it even though I realized my mistake early enough to turn back. It was somewhat of a scenic route, but not a lot of intersections or anything. At about 15 miles into the drive, though, I saw a slew of cop cars ahead, an ambulance, and a fire truck.
As I passed the accident, I saw one of those big, heavy-duty pick-up trucks, like a Ford 450 or something like that, completely turned over on its roof, all four tires up in the air. It looked bad.
The rest of my trip was uneventful. I exited 264W Alternate in Wilson and got back on 264W, for the rest of the trip to Raleigh.
I met Joe at the Outback in Cary, where we had a $28 meal for $3, as he had a $25 gift card. We both had the Queensland Salad. Afterwards, we stopped over at the nearby Caribou Coffee where we each had a cup and chatted for a while.
Back home, I devised this blog entry and called it an early night.