May 11, 2005

Parents You Never Really Outgrow Them

People often extend the wish "may you live in interesting times" and when I look back at the slice of time between April 2004 until now it really has been an interesting year.

But a large portion of it was not the kind of interesting I would like to live in or during. Long time readers are aware that in April 2004 my father suddenly became exceptionally ill and was not expected to survive. He spent three weeks on a ventilator and suffered from a number of issues including a major heart problem.

I remember flying out to New Jersey where he and my mother were visiting my sister and wondering if he would be alive when I landed and the undergoing the same feeling when I flew back to Los Angeles.

I remember thinking that one of the strangest things about it all was that even though he had suffered a heart attack his heart problems were considered less critical than the other issues.

Eventually he recovered from the initial issues and underwent a triple bypass. That was on July 21, 2004. I know because my daughter was born on July 23rd, a week after her due date. I spent a large part of the 21st praying that my father would be ok and that we wouldn't go into labor until I knew that he was ok.

And so he was and in time he recovered and was able to come home and resume everyday life here in LA. That loud sigh you heard last September was me, relieved that he was home and that I could see with my own eyes that he was ok.

I was also pleased to see my parents return because I had been watching my grandparents age and deteriorate and was concerned about what would happen if one of them died while my folks were away.

It wasn't a fear of not being to handle arrangements, I could do all that. But it was hard because I felt overextended trying to care for my immediate family as well as elderly grandparents and I was concerned that I wasn't able to provide them with the help and attention that they need and deserve.

Since they have been home I have watched my father continue to improve while my grandmother has gone the opposite direction. My mother and I have spoken at great length about this because I understand the fear of losing a parent and can speak about this with a little authority.

And in discussing this with my mother it just reinforces my belief that for many of us you never really outgrow your parents. It doesn't mean that you rely upon them for decisions big or small, rather there is a certain security in knowing that they are there if you need them. Always available to lend an ear if nothing else.

If you ask my parents about whether I come to them for advice they will tell you that I do and my father will add that he gives it even though I almost always go my own way.

Yesterday my father was admitted to the hospital because he has some kind of kidney problem. It is a little unclear right now exactly what it is but they know that his kidney functions are off, creatnine is high ( I remember that from my own experience, but I'll save that for a different day) and in general things are not as they should be.

I don't like vague descriptions or understanding of medical issues and I feel like I am a little lost here. They said that this might be caused by one or more of the drugs he is taken, but it is not clear. Now I suspect that the docs know more or at least have suspicions that they have not shared with us yet because they are not sure so I am going to sit on my hands for another half day or so.

Mostly because my BIL is a doctor and is going to be speaking with my dad's doc and get the inside story on what is happening here. So I expect to be filled in on the details.

I am relatively calm because there is no reason to panic. I am anxious and nervous that this will be serious, but the reality is that we do not know what is going on so I am going to assume that things are serious enough for him to be hospitalized but not necessarily catastrophic.

And the only reason catastrophic comes to mind is due to last years festivities. But unlike last year my dad is conscious and able to discuss his medical care as well as communicate with us.

The hardest part about this for me is not being able to do more to help. I am frustrated that I cannot offer more help than I am, but that is just the way life is sometimes. Sometimes all you can do is suck it up and that is something that I can do.

In the end I have no belief other than my father is going to be ok and that even at 36 a boy can love and be concerned about his daddy.

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