Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Today, I miss my dad. As Feng puts it, "his mind is confused". I plan to call him today and the bonus will be if he realizes it's actually me on the phone. The extra bonus will be if he understands what I am saying. I took a lot of years for granted. I never imagined my dad would be the way he is today, I thought he'd always be there. I believe he knows how much I love him though. I was blessed to have spend last week with him to repeat over and over how much I loved him.

Happy Father's Day Daddy! I love you more....

Monday, June 13, 2011


Today was a tough day for my dad. He did not want to take a shower and I am not sure if I pushed him to hard (not literally) to take one. He kept pushing his walker with all his strength to get past me. He then went to his knees and used his head to push me out of the way. I really thought he'd just give up and take a shower but he wouldn't. After the ordeal, he was exhausted. He's been asleep for the day and he is more confused than he has been. He went to the kitchen, thinking it was the bathroom. It kills me to see him like this and I feel guilty for trying so hard to have him take a shower. Maybe if I had not been as stubborn as him, he wouldn't be so exhausted and out of it right now. Then again, maybe he would be.

He didn't go to his doctor's appointment again today. Feng and I tried and tried but he just kept saying no. I went to his appointment anyway and this time I was late. Some care manager explained it would be better if I spoke with a social worker and so I did. Speaking with her did not help my dad but it helped me. I wanted them to know that he's a good man. That he's not some crazy alcoholic like the nurse practioner made him sound like from the notes. I told this woman that he was a proud man. That his entire life, he took care of everyone and he did things himself. I told her that he was sweet and smiled and that he was in pain from this disease. I told her that he drank when he came back from the war to forget about what happend. That throughout most of my life, he didn't drink and if he did, he drank O'Doul's. I told her after the B left, that yes, he did drink but it was, again, to forget. I explained if he was an alcoholic, I would admit to it but he is not. I told her I wanted him to have a doctor with some sort of compation. When I left, I felt better. I know there is nothing anyone can do for my dad but it does not make this any easier. He is a man with a good heart and has always had the best intentions. He loves his family and would give his shirt off his back for someone, he is loyal. I am pretty sure that is where I get my loyalty from, my mom as well. I have the best and the worst of the both of them but all in all, I think I am most like my father with a little bit of my mother to balance me out.

When I leave for the airport in a few hours, I am not sure how I will be. This could very well be the last time I see my dad and that is hard. How do I leave? How do I say goodbye, knowing this could be it. I will keep in my heart his grin, the one he makes when I say "I love you", when I tell him he is discombobulated, then proceeds to laugh, a little. The grin he makes when you repeat back to him "God Damn It" or "you are a pain in the ass". He used to tell me all the time I was a pain in the ass and now I reciprocate his words. He smiles at me with that grin and says yes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

More with dad....

So when I was little, probably around the age of 5 or maybe even 6, I remember my dad pouring water on me to wake me up. He was living in Arizona at the time and we had just gotten home. I must have been asleep and would not wake up. I remember being in the garage, on the floor. My dad told me to get up or he would dump a bucket of water on me. Apparently, I did not get up because I remember that bucket of water being dumped on me. As I think back now, maybe I wasn't asleep, maybe I was throwing a tantrum because how else would I have gotten from the truck to the floor in the garage! hmmmmm.....

Well today was pay back day. Dad's been sleeping all day. He's definitely very tired. He still needs to take his medicine and he really needs to get in the shower. First, I tried to get him up to get a shower but he will not go. He keeps asking why he has to take a shower. I told him because he is dirty and he smells. He says "I don't want to take a shower" so I tell him too bad, when I was little, I didn't want to take one either but you made me! He gets a grin on his face as he lays in his chair with his eyes closed. This goes on and on. I pull the blanket off him and he immediately raised up saying "HEY". Guess what, he's still not in the shower! So, now we are on to finishing his medicine. He tells me that he has taken all of his medicine and he's not taking anymore today. I told him he has not taken it all, he only took 2 pills. We go back and forth. I ask him why I would lie to him and he says "because you are". So, I told him if he doesn't sit up to take his medicine, I will pour water on him. He just lays there. I start to tip the water, knowing I won't drip much on him and I warn him the water is coming. He does not move. So, the water (like a whole 3 drops) hits his shoulder and he immediately sits and and says "HEY". I told him pay backs are a bitch and he needs to take his medicine. He just looks at me with a grin on his face. Yeah, he still has not taken his medicine. I know he needs to but he is so dang stubborn! I'll try again after Feng gets back from bringing him food. Even though it's so hard to see him this way, he still makes me laugh and these are the moments that I will always cherish!

All for a can of peaches

So over the last couple of days, he has not communicated very much. However, he can be very clear when he is not happy about something. First and foremost, he wants to do everything on his own. Friday night, he went into the kitchen. He kept going to the refrigerator, opening the door, then shutting it. He would go back to his chair. 20 minutes later, he was back. He finally sat down at the kitchen table. I showed him a can of peaches and asked if he wanted some. He just looked at me. He then grabbed the box that contained the canned peaches. Apparently, he felt he needed to open the box so he started tearing it down the side. I stopped him and I got "God Damn It", then angrily puts his hands down as though he's fed up. I explain that the box is already open and show him as I pull out a can. He proceeds to take out 3 cans of peaches. I stop him and he gets frustrated with me again. Now it's time to open the can. I give him a fork and he starts to push the fork into the can. Apparently he must think if he pushes hard enough, it will open. I try to explain if he turns the can over, we can open it by pulling the top off. He says no, we can't open it that way. So I tell him to watch and he gets mad again. Then, he lowers his head as though he is pouting. This makes me laugh. I tell him to stop getting mad and to stop pouting! Again, I tell him to stop pouting and watch. He looks up to see the peaches are open and has two cans!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Trying so hard

I went to the VA clinic to talk with the doctor about my dad's condition. If I remember correctly, I swear she said she's a nurse practitioner. What the blessed hell... I need to remember to ask why he is not seeing an actual doctor. Maybe it's because there is really nothing more they can do for him. What I find interesting is that I asked questions she did not know the answers to. My my dad had been seeing a civilian doctor therefore, she assumed that the civilian doctor had run the tests I had asked about. I asked if she would like me to have his medical records sent over and instead, she is going to run tests herself (which is good). My dad has been seeing this doctor/nurse for at least a year. I wish a year ago he would have allowed me to go into the doctor's office with him because I would have researched and asked these questions then. Why is it that someone without a medical degree can ask questions that these people who are professionals should know. It's all over google! He has an appointment on Monday, June 13 and I will definitely ask some more questions then. Starting with where the HELL is a DOCTOR at!
Reality is though, there is still nothing an actual doctor can do. My dad is still drinking and therefore, he was cancelled from the liver transplant list. I don't understand where his drinking came from. When I was really young, I remember he had crown royal bags around, so maybe he did drink back then. I guess I am pretty sure he did. As I got a little older though, for most of my life, he drank O'Douls and when the B**** left, he did start drinking again. So I really have no idea what kind of drinking he did. I felt like this nurse just assumed he was some sort of alcoholic and that pissed me off! He's not, maybe in some way he is, but I know my dad and he could/would quit if he was coherent and wanted to. I believe for him, drinking helps with his PTSD. Not that it's ok, but when someone from the VA wants to assume he's an alcoholic, they can go screw themselves because the war is what caused PTSD, Diabetes 2, and cirrhosis of the liver. At this point though, it's my dad who needs to make changes. He's a stubborn man and with his situation now, it's highly unlikely to happen.
Last night, he kept trying to drink beer. I started crying and told him it would kill him. He just looked at me with a blank stare {which is what he's done for the past two days}. I don't know if he understood what I was saying or not; however, he finally started drinking water and 24 hours later, he still has not had a beer. Maybe it's wishful thinking that he understood me but I would like to think he did!
Everyone keeps saying to cherish the time I'm with him and I am. It's hard though when he is pretty much asleep all day and night. When he is awake, he just stares and does not talk. Over the last two days, he has not really said anything to me. He did tell me twice that he loved me, and that was after I said it to him. I am thankful for that, very much thankful!
Last night, as I was crying, I told him I wanted to have a conversation with him, that I wanted him to talk to me. A few minutes later, he tried his hardest to talk to me. His words make no sense but I know he tried and that is all that matters to me. I miss talking to him. I miss him understanding what I say. He's a good man and his heart is always in the right place. I wish more than anything, I could make him better and no longer in pain.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Liver Failure

I just arrived in Alaska tonight so I can go to the doctor with my dad. Some of you may be aware that he has cirrhosis of the liver. While growing up, I did not live with my dad but I honestly do not remember him drinking much. He actually drank O'doul's, which was a 'fake beer'. So how did he get cirrhosis? There are facts that state Agent Orange, which was a herbicide sprayed during the Vietnam War can be the cause of liver failure. The VA has not acknowledged that the dioxin could cause cirrhosis of the liver. I've read several forums of Vietnam Vet's who were exposed to Agent Orange and now have cirrhosis of the liver and the VA still denies this. The VA tells them it is due to drinking. The men state that they have not drank or rarely drink. But here's another bright idea good ole VA.... many of them drink because of PTSD! Hello.... men came home at the age of 20 and put sandbags around their house to protect their family. America's spit on these men, protested against them. There was no support back then..... so yeah, maybe they did turn to drinking to forget! Now, I am not against supporting our military at all. In fact, I 100% support them. I'm just extremely disappointed in how our Vietnam Vets were treated and it sickens me that 40 years later, they are still fighting for what they deserve. I, for one, will more than likely lose my father because of that war. I was fortunate he returned home and I had many years with him. But in reality, I am shafted because he should not be dying!

So for now, I am sad, heartbroken, angry, mad, and mostly cherishing every moment I have with my dad!

My dad.... 5th Force Recon, USMC