Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Prelude

I started the blogging process back in 2007 as a way to express my emotions involving the ever evolving changes in my life.

My parents have been experiencing declining health since earlier in this decade when my Mom had to have a heart valve replacement. Soon after my Dad's eyesight became a major issue and in 2006, at the time they both retired and bought a motor home everything began to really fall apart.

They were able to take one real trip out west with my sister and her husband and when they made it home Dad was in Congestive Heart Failure.

Around a month later he was having 5 bypasses and subsequently went into renal failure. My mother was very ill at this time and I rushed her back to Douglas in the middle of the night so that she could be admitted into the hospital.

So I had Dad in Valdosta and Mom in Douglas. And this happened on more than one occasion.

When we finally got them somewhat stable we began training for Dad to do home dialysis. The plan was for them to be able to do dialysis in the motor home as they traveled.

It was during training, that I had one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

I was going to the training with Dad every day. (Mom started out going to, but ended up in the hospital) I would leave the training and drive back to Douglas to work. Then when I left work at 8pm or so, I would drive back to Valdosta since we had to be at the clinic at 7am.

I was very tired one day and I asked Denise to ride with me so that she could drive me back because I was afraid I would not make it on my own. We stopped to get a bite to eat and Dad and Mom headed back to the motor home at the KOA.

Denise looked at her phone and said, "Granny just called me."

So I looked at mine, sure enough I had missed her call.

I listened to my voicemail and it was my mother, hysterical. "Sheri!! Oh my God!! Sheri!! Call me!!"

I knew what had happened. I knew my Dad's fistula had started bleeding. When this happens it REALLY bleeds.

I grabbed my purse and tore out of the restaurant with Denise on my heels. We ran red lights, practically ran up on the sidewalk, and were involved in a hit and run. (I told Denise as I was running the red light and the car tagged my rear end that I was NOT stopping. She became hysterical at this point)

I knew that I was going to find them beside the road with my father dead. This whole time I was praying and I had Denise redialing my Mom. Finally she picked up.

Yes, he had a blow out, they were at the motor home. He had made it off the interstate and into a Wendy's parking lot and with the help of the Wendy's employees got it under control.

As Denise and I were pulling into the campgrounds I told her "You realize your mother is going to jail."

From her reaction, I guess she didn't realize it.

I have been called to my Dad's bedside on so many occasions, have had him lay his head on my shoulder and weep like a baby, have bathed him, reoriented him, prayed for him, and been told that he asked for someone to just help him die.

I have wept, hurt, and longed for resolution.

My Dad is once again in the hospital. Saturday night in ICU he was confused, combative. At one point he squeezed my had and gritted his teeth with the effort he was putting forth.

"Daddy, you have never hurt me." I said.

He deflated on the spot. But shortly he was back to fighting, "Why were we doing this to him?" I would lift my hands so he could see them and tell him I wasn't the one holding him down. It was the restraints they had placed on him to keep him from injuring himself or someone else.

And as usual, when he gets like this he called for my brother over and over. "Tim!! Tim!!"

I know the reason, because in his only son he sees the strength he is lacking.

And in those moments when he comes back to us, he is poignant.

We have been dancing together for many years now, but the music has changed. The symphony is getting closer to its finale, and the man that has been leading us is getting tired.

Oh how we long to hear those songs of youth again, but this is a different tune.

This is the prelude, the start of a song we have never heard, never wanted to hear.

God, bless my Daddy today.

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