Feb. 1, 2016. 5:19 p.m. My father sleeps.

My brother Rod was in the bedroom nearby when Dad, who had hobbled into the kitchen, as he does every day, to a kitchen chair in front of the refrigerator didn’t sit down quite right and slid right off the chair.  “Ow!” he yelled as he landed.  “Ohhhhh….!” 

My brother rushed in and found him on the floor.  Rod called 9-1-1 and an ambulance came and brought him to Glen Cove Hospital, 5 minutes away.  The doctors said he had fractured his hip.

Old people don’t heal their broken bones.  But this was not a problem for Dad.  He’d been in a huge car accident on Thanksgiving evening 10 years earlier.  A pin was holding his fractured hip together.  Dad just needed rehab.

Where would he liked to go? asked the doctor.

“Glengariff,” said Daddy.  His primary care doctor, Luigi Capobianco, M.D.., was a shareholder.  Dr. Capobianco was his late wife’s father’s physician.  Dr. Capobianco went to St. Patrick’s Church.  Dr. Capobianco was a Roman Catholic, like Daddy.  He trusted Dr. Capobianco.  He wanted to go to Glengariff, because he believed he would get the best care, because Dr. Capobianco was like that.  You might even say Dad worshipped Dr. Capobianco.  He counted on him in every way.  Daddy was a loyal and faithful patient.  He knew he could trust this man.

I had never met Dr. Capobianco.  But when I did, a few weeks later, I got the impression he didn’t know Daddy from a hole in the wall.

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February 20, 2016. 9:28 pm

DaddyAt 9:28 p.m. on February 20, 2016, in room 214 at Glengariff Nursing Home in Glen Cove, N.Y., my father, Gerard H. Teevan, 92, waited for someone on staff to put him to bed.  Forty-five minutes had passed since I asked an aide and a nurse to take care of him.  They promised to come by.  We waited.

At last, exhausted, he laid his head on the table.  I took this picture with my cellphone, and brought it to a nurse.  Wait, they said.  We have lots of patients.  We’re busy.

They came, 20 minutes later.

It was not the end of the world.  Still, I look back, and my heart breaks.  My father never complained.  He just did what he was told.  Wait.  When you’re 92, you have no choice.

Wait.

No one who’s 92 should have to wait for anything.

What is MRSA?

Hospitals and nursing homes are incubators for superbugs. I never thought about this before February 2016. Now I think about it all the time.

MRSA is a terrible superbug.  Daddy caught it at Glengariff Nursing Home. It killed him.

Medical facilities are constantly disinfecting things.  Workers disinfected their hands.  Cleaning people disinfect the furniture and surfaces.   Nurses disinfect patients.  All the bugs that aren’t dead are…. superbugs.

A MRSA superbug that enters a scratch or a blister moves fast.  That’s what happened to Daddy.