Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thoughts on my dad

dewdrops

So here I am, back from Texas. Going home was just as hard as I thought it would be, and I guess even more so. My dad has been sick for months now, and aside from a brief hospital stay in July when he had a stroke (1 night!) he has consistently refused to go back. We've dealt with this for years: plainly put, he hates hospitals. But this time there was the added stress of seeing him decline over the past months, knowing he was in terrible health, and wondering if the trauma to his brain is keeping him from understanding what he was saying no to. Maybe he was saying no to hospitals, but was he saying no to staying alive?


dad and Isabella

It was so hard watching him over the 10 days I was home - I knew right away he was different: normally he jokes and does these goofy, complicated puns on words, combining English, Spanish, and just about every other language he's heard over the years. This time it took him 4 days to call me m'ija , and he only said it once -every other time he'd rattle off in a jumble of words, making so little sense. He called me by my sister's name a few times, then after awhile he called me "la otra", or, the other one (in English). It seemed the only thing he could do were basic tasks, like eating, but several times he complained of head pain and just stopped moving. We tried calling EMS twice but to our incredible frustration, the nice firefighters who arrived refused to even touch him. The reason? Because he said "Don't touch me." Apparently anyone can refuse medical care, no matter how bad their physical state! We were so frustrated - he was saying no, but to what? To life?


I'm glad we were able to spend Christmas with him, even though he was in pain and so confused, not calling any of us by our names. However, he seemed so full of joy any time he saw one of his grandchildren, or when we gave him a hug, he would say "Thank you." The day I left a lot of crazy circumstances came together and he's in the hospital now, finally in intensive care. The doctors ran lots of tests on him and found a brain tumor the size of a fist, and if all goes well and he's strong enough, they'll be operating on him this week. I'm not sure what point this post has except maybe to persist if you have a family member who is very sick - my brothers basically had to force him into their car when EMS wouldn't take him. I appreciate all the good thoughts you've sent my dad in the past, maybe just remember him now. Sorry again for the personal aside, but just being able to share this means a lot to me...

19 comments:

susanc said...

I'm so sorry about your dad, Floresita. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. It is so hard to see our parents and other loved-ones age and slow down. This is one part of life that I know is inevitable, but I hate it.

Nanci said...

Floresita,

I love your site and work and was saddened to hear your remarks about your dad but my parents are in their mid/late 80's and I'm dealing with much of the same and I think they reach of point of not wanting to go on. My heart and prayers are with you and your family. Enjoy the good days/times whenever they come.

Rosa said...

I'm so sorry that you are experiencing this with your Dad. I am seeing a decline in my Mom (without the health issues) with her memory. She is forgetting a lot of things. It is very scary to experience it.

I wish him well.

Veronica said...

I will keep your family in my thoughts. My grandmother was particularly stubborn about hospitals, but when my uncles finally convinced her to go, she received the care she needed to add 10 years to her life. I hope things go well for your dad, that he gets what he needs and is able to understand and communicate what he actually wants.

Alli said...

Oh, I am so sorry, Floresita. All the best to you and your family - I'll be sending positive thoughts in your direction.

IamSusie said...

What a difficult trip. It doesn't make it any easier that it is common for people to refuse the care they need. I'll keep your dad in my prayers. Remember that his sweet loving self is still there as show by his delight in the younger children in your family.

beadgirl said...

I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'l pray for you and you family, and I hope it all works out for the best.

Jenne said...

Oh, Floresita, I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. It broke my heart to hear he only called you m'ija once. My Grandpa calls me that. Oh, I'm so sad for you.

I will be praying in the name of Jesus Christ for him and you and the rest of your family.

My nephew had a brain tumor the size of a walnut. He had surgery over a year ago. It was so frightening. I'll pray for the hands of the surgeons as well.

God bless!

Wendy said...

It is good you saw your father even though it was hard and he wasn't like his old self. I'm so sorry to hear about the stroke and tumor. My father passed away from a brain tumor in 2007. He also became quiet and confused at times. It was difficult to see him slip away. I'm glad your father has the option of surgery. I wish him well. You are in my prayers.

KristenMary said...

Oh my gosh, parents can be so stressful!! My heart really goes out to you and your family. I'm sorry this is a hard time for you.

Mrs. Trumbull said...

So sorry to hear that your dad is in bad health. I'm hoping that he's well enough to undergo surgery, and if so, that it turns out well. Glad you were able to celebrate your mom's birthday. Your site is a constant source of inspiration, and a joy to read! Hope things go better for your family in the new year.

Bunny said...

I can relate to stubborn parents. My mother refuses to tell me when she is sick, and often I find out about hospital visits after the fact. And I live with her!!

I will keep you and your family in my prayers, Floresita. God bless you!

megan said...

I'm sending you good thoughts... this situation is all too familiar to me. We had the same resistance to medical help with both my Grandmother and Grandmother. Trying to respect their wishes and keep them healthy at the same time is such a frustrating experience and can leave you feeling helpless. I hope all goes well with your dad's current hospital stay and that he feels better enough to realize that medical care can make him more comfortable. <3

Lisa PN said...

Floresita,
I am so sorry to hear about your father. For the past 5 years, we have been dealing with my dad's sickness. He has bone cancer. At first, he really wanted to go to get it fixed (which doesn't really happen with this sort of cancer.) but it did subside for many years. And now it's back, on and off, and he's so tired of hospitals that he won't necessarily let us know when he is hurting. Which of course, is so hard for us.

I send you light and love and hope that your father heals and gets better soon.

sewitsforyou said...

Let me know how it all goes. I will be thinking and praying for your family especially your dad for a full recovery.

j

a cat of impossible colour said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about this, Floresita. All the best to you and your family.

La Traductora said...

I'm so sorry that your father and family are suffering. I know, I took care of my mother before she died. Soemtimes I took care of her with a heavy heart. Regrets? None whatsoever. It was an honor and a privilege to have taken care of her.
By the sweet tome of your blog, I can tell that you feel the same.
Please take care.

Quietgirl said...

You don't need to apologize for serious or sad thoughts. This is the thing we all have in our life, and sharing them and supporting each other is how humans survive. And I also suspect that the healing created by these individuals networking and helping each other is one way in which god works.
Best wishes to your father and your family.
:)

Stitcher S said...

Haven't been online much, just read this now.

I've been with my parents four times in the E.R. in the last eight months..and three hospitalizations. We lost our dad to Alzheimer's in August, and my mom was hospitalized before Christmas and is still very weak.

It's tough, tough to see our strong parents get sick and older. My prayers are with you and your family. It helps to know we're not alone.