Like a man stranded on an island – my father has not had solid food for almost 8 weeks. His determination and stubbornness has gotten him past the last chemo/radiation therapy. Not only is he 85 years old – he still has hung on to his beautiful gray hair during chemo. However, his little body has become quite weary and disoriented. I am not able to say out loud the amount of weight he has lost.
The thing is – I have no doubt in my mind that he will improve. I expect it of him. Is this unfair? Is this unrealistic? Who is to say. It is just something I know in my heart. Like when someone feels lucky in Vegas – I’m feeling lucky in Tucson.
After an extremely long day today – visiting dad, fixing a couple of things at his house, plus taking care of his health care business – he was transported from the ICU to a Skilled Living Facility. He was exhausted and while he slept starting around 6:30pm for many hours, I peacefully, quietly, sat directly in front of my father for the majority of the evening. It was quite an experience for me, standing guard as I shared with every new nurse, caregiver and CNA that happened into his clean, light blue room…
Softly I spoke, “Hi. I’m Julie and this is my Dad. He just finished cancer treatment for his throat.”
The team hooked him up with his new feeding tube. Real nutrients were starting to gently drip directly into his tummy. Thin. Small. Frail. None of this matters because I felt his spirit, even though at rest now, was, larger than life. Strong. Determined. Stubborn. Ornery. Yet, still a sweet generous man.
And my dear gentleman friend. My new defensive blocker of some of the extra challenging people in front of me, had just brought me some food and coffee. I felt a little guilty chowing down in front of my father as he slept. My gratitude was fresh and filling the room. Then bam… once again I felt my own body was not pleased with my pushing myself to the limit one more day. My feet burning like frost bite from the Fibromyalgia. It was time for me to put myself to bed. Can not help my dad unless I help myself. Time to go….. But I did not want him to wake up and not know where he was. So I wrote a sign on a piece of paper in big perfect letters and left it next to his bed:
We transported you to an After Care Facility in Tucson.
It’s good! 🙂
We will see you soon.
It feels good to do the right thing. Even if it brings a few tears. Because I know that I am lucky to be given this opportunity. Another life lesson in the making.