Friday, July 18, 2014

Not Myself

It has been an off week for me. I have had a dull headache all week long. Tylenol and I are very familiar. Thinking I might switch over to Aspirin if it continues. Just so happens, a bottle of Tylenol is on my desk.

The county fair has been going on, so the swimming business is slack, leaving me lots of spare time. The weather has been glorious, 70's during the day, cooling to 50's at night. Despite all this, I seem to lack the motivation to do anything. I half-heartedly mowed and mulched. Mindless chores that leave my mind open to ponder other things.

Last year when I went to see my dad, he still looked somewhat healthy. He still had lots of fight and determination to win his battle with cancer. They managed to shrink the initial tumor with chemo and radiation and he was all set to have surgery with a good prognosis for a complete recovery. The pre-op PET scan revealed that the cancer cells had spread. This was not good news, but he gamely opted for more chemo.

At this point, his only disappointment was that he did not lose his hair. I suppose he thought he should be rewarded for all the sickness he endured with the radiation and chemo. Mama is a groomer. She feels it to be her responsibility to present her husband to world well groomed and neatly dressed. Her grooming weapon of choice is tweezers. My dad has the baldest ears and nose of any old man around, thanks to Mama and her tweezers. I once heard her tell him to be still, she was not going to have him riding down the road looking like she didn't care about him. Daddy had high hopes that all his hair would be gone.

He took his chemo faithfully and after a time I got the call that he was in remission. We all sighed that huge sigh of relief. Except for the inconvenience of  a pump and a port, life was getting back to normal for him. Calls became infrequent and when I did talk to him he was still his old optimistic self, rattling on about his daily activities, telling me what he had for supper, when he mowed the lawn and what he planned to put in the garden. Phone calls with him are awkward. He doesn't always hear what I say and instead of asking me to repeat myself (not such a big deal for me, since I live with He Who can't hear either), he will try to assume the contents and come back with something totally off subject.

I prefer to write letters. I think he prefers that, too. I can, after all, spin a tale. I never expect him to respond in writing and he doesn't. He is also apt to paint a brighter picture of his future than is real. Mama called me around the beginning of this month and told me just how sick he was. Remission is over. He was given two options. More powerful and toxic chemo, or let the disease runs it's course.

I went last week, totally unprepared for what I encountered. He is so very weak. Frail does not begin to describe him. My Daddy, always bigger than life, the most dependable man in the world was so shrunken. Barely able to walk, but still refusing help. He is trying so hard to live. Not for himself, but not wanting to leave his family.

Everything else seems not to matter to me. A man pulling a trailer just plowed down one of my flower beds and drug a boulder a good way ....... and I didn't care so much. He will be here a week, no doubt to address the axle on his trailer. It was a huge boulder and he rode over one, caught the next one and pulled it down the road. I am just not myself, I didn't even laugh.


joanne said...

it is so overwhelming to watch our parents dying, we want so badly to believe they won't, they can't because they have always been bigger than life, super heroes able to handle and conquer anything. You are on my heart and mind, and in my prayers dear one, and so is your daddy. take care.

luksky said...

I can so empathize and understand what you are going through. My mother battled cancer for 5 years as we all sat back and watched her slow decline. It's the saddest thing in the world to have to watch while a loved one wither. It was almost like I was withering right along with her. (((hugs))

Joanne Noragon said...

Saying farewell is the hardest thing you'll ever do. My heart is with you.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear about the condition of your dear dad. This is a very hard time indeed.

As for your headache, may I suggest Exedrin? Works wonders for me.

ellen abbott said...

my father died in the middle of the night from a massive stroke. one day here, the next gone. it was the way he always said he wanted to go, did not want to be sick and linger and waste away. I'm glad for him that he left the way he wanted. I think about it and wonder if it wasn't easier on the family as well.

Val said...

Sorry to hear about your dad, but glad you got to spend a little time with him recently.

Unknown said...

Try some ibufrofen (Advil). I think it works a whole lot better then Tylenol!
It's been almost six years since my Dad left. I still reach for the phone when something happens at a ball game that I want his opinion on. Watching him towards the end was hard, but I am thankful my siblings and I were there.
Be good to yourself. Store up memories so that you can pull them out for comfort during the bad times.