My drunk uncle said he saw my parents in the emergency room, and no one believed him

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

In 1962, my parents were involved in a car accident. My mother was unhurt, but my father banged his nose on the steering wheel.

A tow truck towed my parents' car to the impound lot, and an ambulance whisked my father to the hospital. At the hospital, a doctor packed my father's nose to stop the bleeding.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of town, my alcoholic uncle got drunk again and passed out behind the wheel of his car. An ambulance brought my uncle to the same hospital where my mother was waiting for the doctor to stop my father's nosebleed.

My uncle, still drunk, spotted my parents in the hospital, but as it turned out, no one would believe him. When the hospital discharged my uncle the following day, he told his wife he had seen my parents in the emergency room after his accident.

She smiled and listened to his bizarre story and told him, "You need rest after everything you've been through. I'm sure you were seeing things. If my brother and his wife had been at the hospital, I'm sure someone would have told me."

"Someone is telling you," he insisted. "I saw them with my own two eyes."

His wife did not believe him.

Meanwhile, my parents didn't go to work the following morning because their bodies ached all over from the accident, even though it was thankfully minor. My father's boss called my grandparents' house to ask where he was.

My uncle had already told my grandparents about seeing my parents in the emergency room, but my grandparents didn't believe him, either. However, the phone call from my father's boss made my grandmother concerned. So she sent one of her daughters to my parents' house to inquire about my father's whereabouts and find out why he didn't go to work.

When my parents heard knocking on the door, my mother got out of bed to answer it and found her sister-in-law standing there.

"I came over to see what was going on because my husband said he saw you in the hospital last night, and I didn't believe him," she said. "He wasn't making much sense," she confided, "as usual. First, he said he saw both of you, then in the same breath, he said, 'No, I don't think it was them.'"

Because of his diabetes, when he consumed too much alcohol, he would see things that weren't there. Drinking made his blood sugar levels go haywire, and it wasn't advisable for him to continue, but he did it anyway. Unfortunately, he died at a young age from complications of the disease.

His drinking also destroyed his credibility, as he learned the day no one would believe him when he said he saw my parents at the hospital the same night he crashed his car while under the influence.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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