Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Visits With Dad

This upcoming Father’s Day is a special one to say the least, given the events of the last month.  And today, it is exactly one month since my father’s health took a dramatic turn for the worse.  But I am happy to say, that after last night’s visit with him, he is doing great on the road to recovery from not just the original issue of lung cancer surgery, but as a result of or during, or following that surgery, two strokes, and a heart rhythmn issue.

I describe the relationship with my father in two stages basically, basically the two halves of my life.  The first half was based on the results of a bitter divorce, the second half was a matter of circumstance and reconciliation.  Both of us will undoubtedly agree we have made the most of the second half.  In a prior post, I mentioned my admiration for my father.  But in recent weeks, I have learned just how strong a man that he is.

Several months ago, my father had been diagnosed with lung cancer.  After smoking for nearly 85% of his life, fifty-seven years worth to be exact, it came as no surprise when he asked the doctor, what was most likely the cause of his cancer, and then told without a doubt, “smoking.”

The best option for him was to have the cancer surgically removed, meaning he would lose half of his lung, if not all of it because of where the tumor had been located.  There would be risks with the surgery, but my dad was confident what needed to be done.  There had been some slight concerns during recovery, but otherwise, he had tolerated the procedure well.

Within the next twenty-four hours, my brother and I realized something was wrong.  And it would be another twenty-four hours before and it was confirmed.  My dad had suffered two strokes.  But because he was recovering from surgery, it was difficult to determine what damage my dad would be dealing with.

In the days that followed, he would be transferred to a rehab facility, and work very hard with various forms of therapies from speech, occupational, and physical.  Each day, his goals became very clear.  He wanted to go home.  He wanted to be independent.  He wanted to go home to his wife.  There was some confusion on his part that stood in his way, but then the day came.

I picked my father up from the rehab hospital, and stopped by the store for some flowers for my dad to give my stepmother.  Just seconds through the door, he gave the flowers to her, and then sat down at the table next to her, grabbed a deck of playing cards, and together, they did what they often did as if time had never stopped for them, played cards with each other.

He continues to improve, and much to his objections, still has some caregiving to help make sure he that any emergencies are able to be dealt with.  But some day, we all hope that he gets that 100% independence that he had before he had the surgery.  Knowing my dad he will get there.  He is so close.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

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