When I was little.. I seriously thought my dad was superman.. invincible.. he was never sick ( spring and fall he had allergy stuff but never really sick) .. My mom told me about a time he had pneumonia.. he let that get him down exactly two days and he was back to work .. my father's weight flucuated about 10 pounds .. we was always between 195 and 205.. he is 5 foot 11 so that is a decent weight not fat at all..
My father has always been "young".. young at heart..young in thought.. young looking.. birthday before last he was asked how old he was.. his reply? " I am 22 trapped in a 64 year old body.. do you have any idea what that feels like ? "..
So you can imgine my complete surprise when I recieved the call ... My father had a tumour in his stomach .. they were going to have to remove it .. at that point.. and I know some of you will think I am crazy .. I just knew every thing was going to be ok .. My dad could make it thru anything !!
He has been my role model.. the voice in my head.. the person that convinced me I could do anything I wanted to ... the person that taught me to stand up for what I believe even if it wasnt the popular opinion.. to be strong.. and be responsible.. every thing you do in life has a price.. to tell the truth even if it hurts .. that doing the right thing isnt always easy .. to work hard.. and take pride in what you do no matter what it is .. do the best you can always..
My dad is not perfect .. no human is .. there was always the "but" at the end of every compliment.. " you look nice but you would look nicer if you lost 10 pounds" that kind of thing.. my dad isnt a huge complimenter so when you recieved one .. you knew he meant it.. my father and I never told each other "i love you " until I was 21 and on a plane to Europe.. a trip in which I think he thought I wasnt going to come home...so he made sure I knew he loved me.. since then I never get off the phone or leave his house with out telling him .. my father grew up in a house that wasnt very affectionate.. My grandparents just thought you should know you were loved .. they never really said it .. I knew I was loved.. it was just more special to hear it ..
I lost my grandfather last June.. so this thing with my dad has weighed heavily on me.. This is my father in July .. when I went home .. about three weeks after his stomach surgery .. he was nice enough to humour me and pose with Llarry .. he knows I am the "eccentric" one .. so .. he does what I ask within reason
This was ok to me .. he is thinner than usual..he weighed about 168 at this point.. but has the stomach the size of an egg.. so it was to be expected .. he would lose weight.. and of course more weight would be lost thru chemo and radiation because .. well .. its the nature of the beast.. He had to go thru treatment because they wanted to make sure.. 2 lymph nodes out of 12 were slightly effected by this tumour .. they didnt want to take chances..
SO. I got home Thursday evening .. after a call from my step mom telling me my dad had taken a fall a week earlier .. busted his head.. was admitted to the hospital .. severly dehydrated and somewhat malnurished.. they gave him fluids.. and liquid food.. he got out .. and what do you know .. a couple days later .. it happened again.. so he has been in the hospital ever since.. he had a feeding tube but it was taken out wedneday before I got there.. he thought he was strong enough to go use the bathroom alone .. got out of bed .. fell ( you would think he would learn by now ) and pulled the tube out.. so they left it out .. nothing prepared me for what I saw when I got home.. I guess my step mom had thought she has told me.. I got to my dads room .. and was totally shocked.. my dad weighs 132. pounds.. I will let that sink in for you .. 5 foot 11.. 132 pounds.. I took it in stride.. went in kissed him hi.. he was surprised.. no one told him I was coming.. I wanted it that way .. we talked .. he got tired after about an hour.. and I left..
I made it to about 10 feet from the elevator.. and lost it.. had total mental meltdown.. My dad looked small and frail.. and old.. very .. old.. I remember a nurse grabbing my arm as I was going down.. she sat me on the ground and brought me water.. asked if I was ok .. I said no.. but I will be.. I was in total shock.. I have to be thankful I didnt see him with the tube.. so .. I got it together enough to drive home.. and then sat in the middle of my bed and wept.. loud .. ugly.. sobs.. I got it out of my system .. My dad needed me to be the pillar this time and by god that is what I am..
I went and sat the majority of friday with him .. convinced him to eat his food.. or at least try .. and he did for me.. (that made me feel good) He ate solid food ... breakfast .. lunch.. dinner.. more than he had in the past three weeks.. I know chemo is hell.. I know the metallic ugly taste in your mouth makes you not want to eat a thing .. I understand it .. but when you dont have extra body fat to lose.. and you dont have a stomach big enough.. you HAVE to..
They have him on a marijuana based drug that is supposed to make you hungry .. apparently its working.. Saturday morning before I left to come back .. he had 2/3rds of his cereal.. half a bran muffin and a couple bites of banana.. and a promise he would drink his Ensure before lunch.. I told him I was going to call to make sure he kept his promise.. My dad NEVER breaks promises.. if its important enough to say "I Promise" he does it.. I called.. he had just finished it up .. GO DAD!!..
I know he is going to be ok .. he has to be!.. My dad isnt ready to die.. He will get thru this ... the doc assured me this was rock bottom its all on the upswing from here.. I guess the whole realization that my dad wasnt superman any more.. has been hard.. no one wants to believe its happening.. my dad is 65.. that isnt old to me.. I want him around another 30 years.. THEN he can leave.. I might have learned all I need to by then .. just maybe ..