|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.|