Monday, May 03, 2010

Full up

It seems like my dad is finally, finally, finally on the mend. He's been moved to the hospital's rehab unit and is receiving daily physiotherapy to regain the strength he lost while he was bedridden for nearly three weeks. He's lucid, getting stronger, and looking better each time I see him. Despite the rigors of dialysis on his frail body and the infection that still plagues it, he is fighting hard to get home to his chair in the window.

And I think he's going to make it. Maybe even by his 80th birthday on the 17th.

But still, I walk on eggshells. I'm haunted by the things I saw and heard when we thought he was going to die. I'm haunted by the way he looked and sounded when he didn't know who I was and couldn't stay awake long enough to figure it out. I'm haunted by the mumbled gibberish and the pieces of stories he told that made no sense.

I'm haunted each time I have to go back into the hospital where Thomas died.

I'm no longer quite as afraid of what I might find when I step into his room. But I barely breathe, just the same. I stare at him, willing him to stay alive while I nervously make small talk because I've long ago run out of things to say to a man who can't remember most of the last 8 weeks.

The fact that I have no life is a topic for another blog, but it would be useful if I did. I need more fodder for conversation.

In my eyes, he's like a tiny sheet of gold foil. Precious and fragile. Able to be swept from me by the smallest breeze. Gone in an instant. I hover around him, on full alert, like a parent with a toddler taking its first steps. I think he's going to choke. I think he's going to fall. I think his heart is going to stop, right there in front of me.

I'm trying to be here, present in my own life; a wife to my husband, a support to my friends, a competent writer to my clients, a keeper of house and home. But I'm trying to be there too, with him. With my mom. Doing what I can to help make all this a little easier, if possible.

I need two of me. Maybe three. And I need to sleep through the night and not be plagued by the kind of weird dream I had last night. I need to remember how to relax, decompress, and enjoy moments of peace.

There should be a special store for people who need these sorts of thing. Or, barring that, the universe needs to pony up and start being a little more equitable in its dishing out of random shit.

The universe is being an ass.


Kristen said...

You're right - it's very hard to be there - to be everything for everyone - while not losing yourself in the shuffle. It's so very hard to walk away from the bedside of an ill parent and resume a 'normal' life - whatever that is anymore.

It's hard to go about your normal day - doing the things that people do - from the interesting to the mundane - when someone you treasure more than yourself is ailing - and failing.

I know. I've been there.

I wish I could tell you it gets easier - of course it eventually does - but the sad and scary truth is I'm still haunted by my dad's death. I'm still haunted by my mom's stroke.

And every single day I wish for more time with them.

And I hate being 3,000 miles away from my mom as she struggles to recover. I know it's not much - but at least you are there. At least you can visit and encourage and make that senseless small talk - to hold your daddy's hand - and give him kisses and hugs.

I'm so very very sorry you have to deal with this. Because it is so very very hard to watch your parent crumble.

Sending you big hugs.

Alex said...

Glad to hear he's on the mend. I hope he keeps going strong. For his sake and yours.

Sending healing thoughts your way.

Catherine said...

I've been following your updates on Facebook and here...and I wanted to let you know I'm thinking about your Dad and wishing every day for his recovery and return home. You're a good daughter. {{{hugs}}}