Friday, March 14, 2008

My Father's Illness And My Own

I think my father will die soon. Most of you know that he is 83 years old and has Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. He is currently in the hospital with pneumonia in both lungs. He is also on a respirator. He has been sedated and unconscious for the last week or so. I believe I am prepared for his death but I know that when that moment arrives I will be sad. At the same time I believe he has no true quality of life and little possibility for improvement. I can only hope that in his unconscious state his mind is calm and his spirit at peace. I am ready to let him go rather than see him in this condition for an extended period of time.

Yesterday afternoon I went outside for a walk. I felt the need for some fresh air and a little exercise. It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 50's. Less than a week ago we had a foot of snow and single digit wind chills. Each day had it's own beauty. Walking around the park I couldn't help but think of my father. He would love such a day. My father is a outdoor person. A beautiful spring day would excite him as he anticipated planting flowers or growing a few tomatoes. Like many people I sometimes wonder what heaven is. When my father dies I believe his heaven will be his own backyard where he will sit in his lawn chair in the shade of his tree as the birds fly around, the tomatoes grow on the vine, the flowers bloom, and a cool breeze blows. My father has often reminded me of one of the old monks at the monastery because he always loved his solitude, is very close to the earth, and enjoys the feel of dirt running through his fingers. Most of his working career was spent in a power plant. He should have been a farmer.

I'll be at the Doctor's office on Friday afternoon. I didn't do so hot on my last blood test so I need to go get lectured by my doctor, possibly adjust my medications, and most likely get a B-12 shot since it appears I have a B-12 deficiency. I am basically fine but managing diabetes can be a tricky and continuously annoying process. If it has a good side it is that it has introduced a new discipline in my life. Writing daily thoughts is a good discipline for my mind. Managing the strong desire for food that is bad for me is another kind of discipline. I must do a better job of this. Currently I take five prescriptions a day and I have lost a total of 60 pounds but it is not enough.

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