Posts Tagged ‘NaBloPoMo’

20110507 missing oak tree

I refuse to react.

I refuse to participate on any level with a bully.

I refuse to allow anyone or anything distract my father from his continued comfort, peace and healing.

Only God will guide me in my decision making.

I am strong. I am tall. I am clever. I am tenacious.

Perhaps I am a daddy’s girl after all.






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cloud streetWhile my father was resting at the skilled living center as his feeding tube gradually, gently allowed nutrients back into his dehydrated body, my gentleman friend and I went on errands for supplies.  I was grateful to have his hand to hold. . . My body buzzing with anxiety – my mind fuzzy with a horrific sence of urgency – my vision blurry as if someone rubbed vaseline petroleum jelly around the edges of my glasses. . . Clearly it was a good thing I was the passenger and not the driver.

As we drove down the empty road and the sky was jam packed with fluffy Arizona clouds, the GPS seemed to be confusing our sence of direction as we did our best to navigate around Tucson so I could get a couple items for Dad.

“. . . Point 5 miles U-turn . . .”  the automated female robot voice said.

Following directions – we did a U-turn.

” . . . Point 5 miles U-turn . . .” the GPS said to us once more.

“What?!  Seriously?! Stop it!”  Clearly the the gosh darn GPS was more turned around than we were.

“Turn that thing off!”  We said in unison like Bose stereo speakers.

Instantaneously we burst into laughter!  Beautiful, beautiful laughter. My gawd it felt good – a moment in a day where my tears were endless and my heart was broken due to my fear of the unknown with my Dad’s health status.  Our sweet and sudden laughter created a tiny crack in my overwhelming fear and my hope rushed in – as if the laughter had broken a dam of despair.

My father’s strong spirit is inside of his frail body.  And with his whisper of a shredded voice, he softly stated, as if it was a typical Sunday afternoon, “I want to play golf again.”

My father is working with all his might every moment to regain his health. So the least I can do is remain hopeful and carry my faith with all my might.  Together we can do this.  My family is small – but we are mighty.

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IMG03689-20131103Another long challenging day in Tucson, Arizona as we all try to do our best to care for my father.  I’m hoping the explanation to his deep confusion is because of the many weeks of meds and no solid food.  He did not feel this sick when he had the beginning stages of throat cancer. Now he is someone recovering from the damaging effects of chemo and radiation. What are our choices here? My father is 85 years old.  Die because we have cancer?  Or die because we are fighting cancer?  Is it just a different journey with the same end result?  But not being able to eat?!  As for me, if I don’t eat I can not function. . .

I am mindful of my brief but lovely and blessed experience today when I went out side for some fresh air to take a moment.  The air so pure it made me feel lighter.  The clouds were putting on a magnificent show of many colors. With a motion of their own, both my arms stretched to the clouds.  They longed to grab on and be carried away into the cold brisk clean air.  What a freeing moment that would be. . .

Turning around I see the doors of the skilled living facility where my father is literally putting up a wicked fight to get his life back and get back home.  In his rough of a whisper agonizing voice he speaks of his cat.  The cat I am taking care of.  The cat he misses that is inside of the home that he misses. . . Perhaps it was the clouds.  Perhaps it was the wind. Perhaps it was because I felt a little cold. But I knew in that moment that this is not my sadness.  This is not my struggle.  This is not my day to be in a wheelchair fighting to stand up.  All of this belongs to my father.  My father the lifeguard. The swimmer at Michigan State. The original lover of dogs and cats. The Sierra Club leader. The tennis player. The single father during the late 60’s and 70’s.  The guy telling a funny joke at the bar while he sips his beer. The golfer who loves the sport so much that he bought a home in Tucson with a view of a Golf Course.  The guy who keeps trying with all his might to stand up from his wheel chair.  He’s frustrated. Confused.  The caregivers and nurses kindly ask him to “please sit back down”. They have to speak over the loud buzzing of the high-pitched bells.  And all I am is the daughter who gets the honor of standing by his side and holding his frail arm and says, “I’m right here Dad, you stand untill you want to sit back down.” It was for quite a few more seconds, but he did it. I kneeled next to him looked up and I told him my truth, “Dad, I admire you.”  And it was good. It was simple. It was empowering.

Tomorrow I get to do it all over again – except tomorrow – I’m going to bring his cat with me.  Let’s change-up this journey a bit. . .

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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:

Sunday night


We transported you to an After Care Facility in Tucson.

It’s good!   🙂

We will see you soon.  

Love, Julie

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.

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Day 4 since my father was admitted to the ICU.  I’ve been in Tucson staying at his home for 3 endless days and nights.  Talking to nurses.  His case manager.  What our next step could or should be.

With barely a hint of a soft and sad sounding whisper, my father said to me, “I’m so relieved to see you.  Are you doing everything you can to get me out of here?”

It had only been a couple of hours since his first feeding began with his new peg tube. A maiden voyage with a feeding tube.

“Yes Dad, I’m doing everything I can to get you out of here.”

How did he have so many questions?  How was I able to answer every one?  Then to my surprise, I was caught off guard when the same questions were being asked of me once more.  The whispering quite soft combined with the coughing quite loud.

“Where are you staying?” he asked again.

“I’m staying at your house and I’ll still be there when you get home.”

I read his lips as they moved and said, “That’s good.”

“Our family is small Dad – but we are mighty!”

He looked at me with a gentle smile as he pulled his hospital blankets up around his tender neck.

Another long visit.  Another long day in Tucson in my father’s empty home.  My sadness comes to the surface as I walk into his kitchen.  Sadness much more extreme than when I am sitting in the ICU with him.

Taking care of the must-do tasks and chores and errands for my father is a labor of love that I am honored to do. I keep moving, yet, my bottomless sadness makes time stands still.  How ironic that today is daylight savings time where every state in the USA sets their clocks back – every state that is – except Arizona.  I could have used that extra hour today.  An extra hour to help my father be more comfortable. An extra hour to use to apologize to my kind and thoughtful gentleman who drove me to Tucson, who made sure I ate, who lets me cry and cry and cry.  California has never felt so far away. Love has never felt so close.

Dad's hood

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My father has a strong spirit.  The cancer is in his throat and as a result he has no voice.

Autumn Colors and My Father

I stepped into his room at the ICU to visit him.

I washed my hands – they were cold.

As I walked towards him and quietly sat next to my 85-year-old father, he gently took my hand, felt it was extremely cold and gently tucked it under his top blanket on his hospital bed to warm it up.

He dozed for a moment…. He woke up…. He slowly reached up to give me a  gentle pat on my head.

Sometimes – not speaking can be a nice thing.  A blessing….

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