Friday, April 5, 2013

My Hero is Broken

Dad and I at his birthday last year in May, 2012

It is said that a girl's first love is her dad...never have I believed that more than I do now. My dad was my first love and the only man I have always been able to count on. It is difficult to see someone you love get older and weaker, especially a man like my dad who has always been so strong and independent. I still see him with "little girl" eyes as my big strong dad that will be here forever to guide and protect me, my hero. But now my hero is broken; now it is I, along with my family that is having to guide and protect dad.


Dad and I out to breakfast a few months ago.

Dad has been having problems with his legs and equilibrium. He gets dizzy if he rises too fast or turns too quickly. Unfortunately he's not the most patient man in the world (at least not with himself) and he doesn't wait to make sure he's steady before he takes off walking so he ends up falling. His pride has kept him from using a walker or a cane, no matter how much we all nag him about it.

A few months ago he fell running to get the phone and he cracked four ribs. The Sunday before Easter Sunday while turning to lock his door before going out for his afternoon walk he somehow fell again and fractured his pelvis. He doesn't remember how he fell or why.

Dad lives alone in a gated retirement community. He is surrounded by other elderly people and he has coffee in the recreation room every morning and has made many friends there, so we had not worried much about him as we felt it was the safest place for him, and it was except for the fall.

Dad is the toughest person I know, he fractured his pelvis, reached up and unlocked his door, scooted backwards on his butt until he made it across his living room to his phone and called my sister-in-law and told her he had fallen!!! Can you imagine the pain he must have been in? She got there and immediately called an ambulance to transport him, scared that if she moved him (not that she could have as dad is 6 foot 3 and weighs 215 pounds) she might cause him further injury.


Dad and two of his grandsons, Isaac and my son James in the ball cap.

I was sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon doing nothing, looking forward to writing my post on my weekly low-carb wrap up. I had just applied hair color to my hair and was sitting in my kitchen with no make up on, wearing sweats with my hair full of hair dye sitting atop my ahead, loving that I was able to be a slob for the afternoon with no chores, errands or obligations when I got the call that dad had fallen and was in the emergency room with a broken pelvis!

Anyone that has ever colored their hair knows that you can't just run out the door with hair dye on your hair, you risk losing all your hair, so I had to jump in the shower first and rinse out all the color. I took the quickest shower of my life and my son and I picked up my brother and we all headed to Bakersfield, which is about 25 miles from where we all live.

My dad teaching his two sons his secrets to BBQ-ing!

We got to the ER room and got a chance to see dad. He wasn't in any pain at that point thanks to morphine, they were doing tons of tests on him and we waited to see what was going to happen. They of course admitted him and made him comfortable and we went home. The next day I went to work and put all my ducks in a row and told my employers that I was going to be at the hospital with my dad and headed over there.

Dad was in good spirits but a little out of it and he got more out of it as the day progressed. I blamed the morphine and thought that he would get better once he didn't need it anymore, but dad has continued to get more confused in incoherent as the weeks progress. 

We knew that dad would not be able to go back to his apartment and take care of himself. We were fortunate that he qualified to be moved into an assisted living facility. He is still there and he seems happy. He has days when he knows where he is and why he is there and then he has days when he thinks he is at work and is surrounded by the people he worked with.

Today he finally had a good day, he understood where he was and why and he wanted to know when he could start walking again. I had to tell him it would be another four weeks and even then he would have to do therapy first. But he took it in stride and said that was ok, he likes where he is and he likes the girls that take care of him and he told me not to worry about him.

He told me to go ahead and go home so that I wouldn't end up driving at night and to not worry about coming to see him if I was busy because he was ok. That's the dad I know and love and remember, the one that always thought about me first before himself! I have full faith that he is going to recover, but the fact that my hero is broken...even in only temporarily breaks my heart. 

My dad and his youngest grandchild, Melissa.



 

16 comments:

  1. Ah, Alicia - it's so hard, and my heart goes out to you. Your love for your wonderful dad shines through what you've written. I wish him a speedy recovery and an easy time settling into this new chapter of his life.

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    1. Thank you. He's getting better and stronger every day. I'm hoping the meds are what are clouding his mind. Thank you for your good wishes, I appreciate it!

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  2. Alicia, I feel your heartbreak and your worry. The pictures of your dad are wonderful. He looks so sweet and kind and he's very attractive. I hope he gets better soon and that the confusion is only temporary.

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    1. Thanks JarieLyn! It's so funny that when I was in high school all my friends thought my dad was dreamy...lol. He is a very handsome man. Thank you for your good wishes, I appreciate it very much!

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  3. Oh Alicia, what a shame about your dad. It is very hard to see the parents that have provided for you and loved you suffer the ravages that plague the elderly. You have reached that age, the truly awkward age, where those that you depended on now depend on you. I hope your father recovers quickly. You were fortunate to have a wonderful father, and now he is fortunate to have a wonderful daughter. I don't envy your father's health, but I do admire his family.

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    1. Thank you Sextant for your kind words. It is very hard to see such a strong man being too weak to even feed himself. But he is getting stronger every day and I know that he is going to get back to himself. He was and is a wonderful father, and I love him beyond measure.

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  4. Oh, I feel your pain. Your Dad is blessed to have your love, but I know how you feel.

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    1. Thank you Grammy! This is why I love blogland, because you aren't ever alone and you have wonderful people like you and the others that have commented and wished my dad well. :-)

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  5. You have been blessed with a wonderful dad and I hope he recovers soon.

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    1. Thank you Angie, you have been a big help during all this my friend, and I won't forget it!

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  6. On our side of the pond, every kind of retirement community has some sort of medical supervision and they're responsible for taking the injured person to hospital and bringing him/her back after treatment. I understand that where your Dad lived there was no such supervision. Luckily, you and your sister are the best daughters one could wish for.
    Let's hope he gets better soon and needs no help at all.

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    1. Thank you DUTA! Where my dad was living was a gated community so he was safe from strangers bothering him and he had others his age around him, but it wasn't a community where they provided him any type of medical care. They did take him to his doctors appointments and once a week they took him grocery shopping.

      The place he is at now is much more like what you discuss. They take him to his doctor, they help him bathe and get dressed and get out of bed. The prepare his meals and for those elderly folks that are no longer with us mentally, they hand feed him.

      I hope that he will get back soon and be able to go back to his little retirement community as he was very happy there and loved being independent. Thank you for your good wishes! It's nice to see you back :)

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  7. Alicia, I'm so sorry to hear your dad is not well. I'm glad you've been able to find a place that tends to his needs. I know this is a difficult time for you and I hope he has a complete recovery. Hugs and blessings...Mary

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    1. Thank you so much Mary! It has truly been a blessing to find this facility. The girls there are wonderful and one of the nurses there even went to school with my niece and nephew so she keeps a special eye out for my dad. We hope for a full recovery and that he can go back home soon.

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  8. Oh no, I'm so sorry Alicia:( I will lift him up during my morning devotions. Hugs to your family!

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    1. Thank you Cara, it's very much appreciated!

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