Thursday, March 06, 2008

On Being Old And Sick

Once again I had a busy day yesterday. I did get an early start. My wife had an early morning meeting at her office so I arrived at work about 90 minutes ahead of my normal schedule. I wasn't crazy about having to get out of bed an hour earlier than normal. I still haven't recovered from the lack of sleep over the weekend when I had to get up at 6:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday. Despite all my complaining about early risings, I am a morning person. I probably got more work done from 6:30 AM till 8:00 AM than I normally do all morning during a typical work day. It was silent and calm, just the way I like it. The rest of the work day seemed busy as I was often running back and forth from my little corner of the world to our Human Resource Department. It was another day of interviewing young people looking for a job and a break. I did leave work early for one last doctor appointment. I think I have all that behind me for a while. None of the doctor visits were unpleasant. I just consider it a hassle to go.

After I went to the doctor, my wife and went to the hospital to visit my father. When I entered his room it was something of a shock. Although he has seemed "old" for quite a while, he seemed especially old during this visit. He appeared to be sedated. There were breathing tubes and IV's. He never knew I was there. I sat in a chair by the side of his bed and silently prayed for him. I also found myself thinking how much it sucks to be old and sick and helpless. Regardless of one's relationship with a parent, it is very difficult to see them like this. When he was young he always seemed big and strong to me. He was always physically active and loved working in his yard and garden. I was never especially close to my father but we have always been friendly and comfortable with one another. Like most fathers and sons, we had some rough years when I was young. I realize now that it must have been difficult to be the father of a rebellious child of the sixties. Once we got past all that we always got along well. Realizing my own challenges and failures as I father I am much more tolerant of the challenges he faced and the mistakes he made. In retrospect he was a good father in many ways. Looking at my parents and my mother in law in their old age with its many challenges is certainly a reminder of my own mortality. With the mental conditions brought on by my father's Alzheimer's and the physical weakness caused by his Parkinson's, I am not sure where my Dad will go from here. I have put him in God's hands.

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