It’s been a little crazy around here. I told my daughter at the end of January that I felt book-ended by crises, and once I said that, it only got more crazy. That’s what I get for opening my big mouth. I don’t talk much about family. Matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever written a blog post about anything family related. Dogs? Yeah. The humans. No.
But. With all that’s happened and happening, I thought I’d share what’s got me feeling a little wrung out and emotionally drained, and wondering, how can I write? Let’s start with my daughter. Her name is Brooke. Actually, it’s Laura Brooke, Laura being her great grandmother’s name. She passed away quite some time ago. My daughter just came through a difficult pregnancy. She didn’t suffer from anything unusual but she seemed to get “it” ALL. Like the nausea that makes you lose weight instead of gain. I said, “it’s a girl.” (I was right, btw) Then she had to go through tests for gestational diabetes. That came back high, so she had to have another, more intense evaluation. That came back negative, but made her sick for two days. Then she had to deal with “this,” and was hospitalized. I won’t torture anyone with details. She also had this, ptyalism – the entire time. Oh, why not add in gestational hypertension and then pre-eclampsia to round out the misery? Sure, that happened too.
By now, any guy reading this has probably said, “Goodbye.”
In addition to all that, my daughter has a heart condition called Wolff Parkinson White syndrome, but, mainly due to the hypertension, they induced her at thirty six weeks, so the baby was unexpectedly here a month early. She is healthy and mostly just plain adorable. Her name is Abigail Marie. (Marie is my mother’s middle name) She is 18 1/4″, and 5.5 lbs. Pure “tee” total cuteness.
That’s the good news.
The other crisis is my father, and the opposite end of the spectrum. A new life has entered my world, a little light shining as bright as a new star, while my father’s own light dims. A while back he was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney failure. He refused to do dialysis. My dad is at odds with doctors. He loved his chiropractor, and the herbalist woman he went to for years. Meanwhile, the white coat individuals can take a hike. “They’re trying to kill me.”
Many, many years ago, before I was even born, and when my mom and he were newly married, he suffered a nervous breakdown, the old fashioned term used to describe “a stressful situation in which someone becomes temporarily unable to function normally in day-to-day life. It’s commonly understood to occur when life’s demands become physically and emotionally overwhelming.” (Wikipedia, 2014) I wonder about this time in his life. A time when he should have been happy go lucky, in love, and starting fresh. Mom said it was the hours he worked. He traveled. A lot. He worked on the large refrigeration units, like this, only older versions, and for this same company. He’d go somewhere, come home, collapse in bed, and four hours later, off he’d go to another state for days on end.
They gave him electric shock therapy. After the eleventh “treatment,” my mother said, “no more.” I think that’s why he’s turned off from most doctors. That was NOT a good experience to go through. All my life my dad has been the gentlest of men I’ve ever known. He’s never cussed. Not even a “damn.” He’d say, “That ‘John Brown’ car is giving me a fit,” and that was his way of cussing. I’ve never heard him raise his voice. He never spanked me, not once. He was so quiet, yet always there, the sort of presence where, if I looked back over my shoulder, there he’d be, letting me go my own way, like a shadow, never in the way, simply a part of me.
This past week I went with him and Mom to his nephrologist’s office. Hospice had been recommended twice a week, and Mom wanted me to verify with the doctor what that meant timewise. I’d read six months. She’d talked to her friends at the spa, and they’d said the same. I know my dad is in denial, doesn’t really understand this isn’t something he will recover from. His body is toxic, filled with too much acidity, and other waste his kidneys are unable to filter, and this is affecting his mind. I believe to some degree, my mother too, is in denial.
This coming October they will have been married 59 years. I’m not sure my dad will see the anniversary because the nephrologist confirmed what we all feared. His kidney’s are worse, his creatinine level rising. Ten or above is Stage V, end of life, his is at twelve. And as I write this post, I’m not sure I’ve been able to get my own head around this fact. The very idea of his current suffering, and what is yet to come. I think about “the girls,” their own kidney failure, and how oddly coincidental it will be this same thing that will take my father from me. And if he makes it six months, the timing will also be in August.
I asked Mom, “what about me giving him a kidney?”
Mom said, “He’d never allow it.”
That’s how he is. He will just…, go. He will not want to, but, he won’t fight. He’ll go quietly. Without a fuss. Like the sun slipping behind a cloud so there is no longer a shadow to see.
So, I ask myself, “how can I sit here and write?” By using the joy, the pain and sorrow, I suppose. There’s more than enough of it to go around.
So, I am writing. And strangely, it’s helping.
Have you continued writing during difficult times?