Sunday, August 07, 2011

During My Absence

"You know the world is going crazy when the best rapper is a white guy, the best golfer is a black guy, the tallest guy in the NBA is Chinese, the Swiss hold the America's Cup, France is accusing the U.S. of arrogance, Germany doesn't want to go to war, and the three most powerful men in America are named 'Bush', 'Dick', and 'Colon.' Need I say more?"
~ Chris Rock


This last year has been crazy. It's probably been one of the most stressful years of my life. It's definitely been one of the saddest, and because of that I've suffered more from depression lately than I'd care to admit.

For the life of me, I can't remember just how much I've shared of my personal life on this blog, or where I left off, but I can always fill in the blanks later.

Both of my parents were extremely ill this last year. My mothers Lupus, and complications due to the meds that she takes to treat it, caused her to be in the hospital for over 43 weeks of the last year, on and off. To make an extremely long story short, she struggled with infection after infection, after having hip surgery. After multiple surgeries, and being on the most powerful antibiotics known to man she's finally doing much better. My dad however didn't fare so well.

Dad was diagnosed with 2 types of lung disease: Pulmonary Fibrosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), about 8 months prior to my absence, but during this last year he declined very quickly. About 7 months ago dad got to the point where he couldn't leave the house, and shortly after that even a trip to the bathroom became a chore. Towards the end of April my dad tried to commit suicide with an overdose of pills. Two weeks later on a Tuesday after 5pm, my mother returned home from the hospital. After a very short reunion, my mom went to sleep for the night exhausted from the return home..... my dad slept on the couch to give her a restful nights sleep. At 8am the next morning my father fell down and broke his hip and was rushed to the hospital.

Due to his lung disease, the doctors couldn't put him under a general anesthetic, so he was given an epidural to freeze him from the waist down for the surgery. The surgery was a success, but my dad started to have additional breathing problems shortly after the surgery. Almost 7 days to the hour after breaking his hip, my father passed away. A nurse had come in to check on him and he was awake and stated he wanted to get up to go to the bathroom. My dad sat up, swung his legs over the side of the bed, placed his hands on the edge to prepare to push up and gasped sharply and passed out. We were told that he was gone almost immediately after that gasp.

Two days after my fathers passing, my mom's infection resurfaced and she returned to the hospital. We managed to get her a day pass so she could attend my fathers informal gathering to note his passing (he didn't want a service). My mom remained in the hospital for approximately 5 more weeks, before she was released again. During those 5 weeks, my brother, mom and I had numerous talks about her health and how we were going to provide enough care for her. Kevin and I knew that she really only had 4 options:
  1. Move in with Sherri and I in Newfoundland.
  2. For Sherri and I to move back to Ontario and have her live with us.
  3. Have a live in Nanny.
  4. Move into a retirement home.
She didn't want to move to Newfoundland, because she wouldn't get to see her grand children. She didn't want for Sherri and I to have to move back to Ontario, and she refused to have a stranger live in the house with her.

In the end mom came to the conclusion that she couldn't live in the house by herself anymore and that she would be open to the idea of moving into a retirement home. After visiting only a half a dozen locations, mom found a place that she was more than happy to call home..... without any pressure at all from us.

Mom decided she wanted to move into the retirement home sooner, rather than later, and a few weeks later we moved her in. I had decided to stay with her for the first week until she was settled, but as fate had other plans. Early the next morning my mother had another relapse and was rushed back to the hospital for another 2 week stay. After that last hospital visit things started to improve for her. I stayed with her for a week (left after breakfast each day and returned after supper) and ever since then her health has improved. I'm happy to say that she's eating better, socializing, attending daily fitness classes, joined a knitting club, attends movie night, goes out on off site lunches, and is very much feeling happy and at home in her new apartment.

On July 22nd Kevin, his girlfriend Shara, his two children Josh & Vanessa and I, took the family boat out on Lake Simcoe where we frequented regularly to fish. We said our goodbye's and spread his ashes on the lake. It wasn't nearly as sad as I had anticipated, and the day was even a little lighthearted when my 11yr old Nephew said "Goodbye grandpa, may you rest in pieces", and not by mistake.

I returned home on July 24th almost 3 months after my arrival.

Ronald Edward Wells 28/07/1945 - 11/07/2011 I love you dad R.I.P

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