Saturday, May 17, 2008

From Head to Toe

It was a privilege to spend this week with my dad. I love him and wanted with all my heart for him to have a good happy week.

When anybody shows kindness, patience and gentleness to him, immediately, I become a member of their fan club. I want to applaud, and weep and hug them and bless them. (I do resist the urge to hug.)

The highlights of my week were meeting many such wonderful people. The man that delivers meals five times a week to my dad and stepmom is energetic and cheerful and says as he hurries out the door to his next stop, “I love serving your mom and dad!” I was about to offer him a tip and he said, “Don’t even think about it!”

Amy who comes to clean their home every Thursday—at minimum wage—says, “What else can I do for you today?”

The neighbors across the street that watch out for Dad and Kay and noticed a new car and no Kay and came over to express their concern. (Kay was visiting her daughter, Linda, this week.)

On Wednesday, I took Dad to the podiatrist. There was a brief discussion about whether the procedure that he needed should be done, considering his other health problems. Dad, in his soft, sweet way said, “Well, if you can’t do it today, I know how to wait.”

Dr. Adams responded, “Yes, Walt, I am sure you do know how to wait.”

After looking at the problem though he said, “Walt, this is causing you a lot of pain, isn’t it.”

Dad said, “Yes, it hurts.”

Dr Adams, “Yes it hurts a lot. I hate to even touch it to numb it. It is going to feel much better when I am finished.”

When the procedure was finished, I said, “Show me exactly what to do, I want to take good care of my dad.”

It is no wonder that probably every patient and caretaker that goes to this doctor falls in love with him. Dr. Adams looked at me and said, “I can see that. You will do all you can for him.” And I will, I will.

There was quite a contrast in bedside manner as Donna and I took Dad for stitches on his ear after his fall on Thursday. The doctor came in the room clearly aggravated. He didn’t hide his frustration as he asked questions and folded his arms and sighed wondering, “Why did you fall this time?” Clearly, he did not have time to deal with the emergency. When he left the examining room briefly, I said to Dad, “Your doctor seems like a grumpy man.”

Dad sort of shrugged to indicate “no,” and then said, “This has messed up his schedule for today,” indicating that I should not judge the doctor too critically.

I was a bit worried when the doctor came right in, grabbed some kind of tool, and started working and I asked, “Are you going to numb his ear?’

The doctor did seem to relax a bit then and with a small smile said, “Yes, I will numb it.”

Later, I thought the doctor showed a bit of compassion and decided against suggesting that Dad change doctors—especially after cousin Carol laughed at my description of the doctor and indicated that he is a good doctor and said that it is very difficult to change doctors. I am sure that Carol’s response had some experience behind it as her mother, my Aunt Fanny, just recently celebrated her 96th birthday. (An aside on Aunt Fanny—she says, “Everyone has one but not everyone has an Aunt Fanny.”)

I sent out an alarmist call to my nurse sisters after seeing my Dad’s legs, begging one to go to the doctor with Dad and me. Donna was able to rearrange her schedule and come. What we heard was not encouraging. Dad and I heard other things as well this week that were hard and heavy:

“This diagnosis of congestive heart failure is not a new diagnosis for you.” (Although it was a new term for Dad to hear— perhaps because he had not wanted to hear it before.)

“We want to keep you from going to a nursing home as long as possible.” (A coated stab that indicates that Dad is only inches away from a dreaded end of life experience.)

“At your age, I would not do any treatment for those legs.” (Meaning there is no help available and they will not get any better and they will get worse.)

Each morning Dad and I read the Bible together and sometimes prayed out loud together and sometimes Dad said, “Let’s just pray silently.” This verse that I read today is particularly appropriate.

His [the Lord’s] pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:10 - 11

No comments: