The hospital is a throng of visitors and professionals shuttling about merging and exiting like a cadre of ants. We stop at the front desk and get Frank’s room number.
“Thank you so much,” I tell the clerk, before winding our way through a maze of corridors and elevators. Eventually we arrive at the sixth floor. Frank’s door is open, so I give a knock and poke my head in to find him sitting up in a chair.
“Hi, Frank.”
“Geno,” he says, after a pause of recognition.  He rises feebly from his armchair and gives me a hug while I choke down a lump in my throat.
“Here, sit back,” I tell him. “You remember Dave?”
“Sure, I remember Dave,”
“Hi, Frank,” Dave says, shaking Franks hand.
“I don’t remember him being that tall, though. Cripes, he’s a monster,” Frank says, and then laughs.
Frank is considerably thinner than the last time I saw him. His skin is frail and translucent, the cartilage in his face prominent, his eyes wild and fearful. I have seen this look many times before. It belongs to those precariously close to death.
“How’s the food in this joint?” I ask.
“It’s good. I just finished lunch.” He points to an empty tray on the bedside table.
At least he still has an appetite. It makes me wonder what he’s been eating at home, if anything.
“Are they treating you good?”
“Yeah, she takes good care of me,” he says, pointing at a nurse’s aide who’s feeding a decrepit patient in the next bed over.
“Bury me at Fort Snelling Veteran’s Cemetery,” he says. “Just have them blow the bugle over me.”
“I have it all taken care of, Frank. Don’t worry about it.”
“How long am I going to have to be here?”
“Well . . . until I get things straightened out.”
“That bitch upstairs really did a job on me, I’ll tell you,” he says, shaking his finger, assigning the blame.
“No . . . she was helping you; she took care of you after your cataract surgery.”
“No! She is the reason why I am in this mess,” he yells, with spit flying out of his mouth.
“Just relax,” I tell him, placing my hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him down. “I didn’t fly thirteen hundred miles to come here and argue. I’m here now and I’ll get everything under control; everything will be just fine.” Telling Frank not to worry is like telling the Pope not to pray. If worrying was an Olympic event, Frank would sweep the gold.
“Here take my check book. It’s in my coat pocket,” he says motioning me to get his coat out of the closet. “When is Billy coming?”
“Tomorrow, I guess.”
“Did you get in the apartment?”
“No . . . I had to call John to let us in.”
“Here, take my keys. They’re here in my pocket.”
“John is going to meet us here any minute now. He’s worried about you.”
“Go inside the closet in my bedroom,” Frank says.
“Look in the blue suit coat pocket. There is four hundred dollars in there. Give it to Billy so he has some money. I don’t know if he has enough money to get back home.”
“Do you remember telling me you thought John was poisoning your food?”
“No! I never said that! John is a friend he—”
“Okay . . . okay . . . just wanted to know if you remember. Listen I need to get with your nurse, so just sit tight and relax.”
“Hi, I’m Gene Palmisano, Frank’s son. I was wondering if I could speak to his nurse,” I tell the ward clerk at the nurse’s station.
“Yeah, that would be Trish; I’ll go see if I can find her.”
“Thanks, and give yourself a raise, okay?” She laughs and gets up to find Frank’s nurse.
Frank is all agitated now, talking to himself like a crazy man, cursing and shaking his fist in the air. These are his true colors; I knew he couldn’t keep up that hoax of sanity he perpetrated in the Emergency Room last night.

Excerpt from:
Thank God I'm Frank