Friday, January 09, 2009

Circle of Life

Something went wrong with my Dad this week. Sitting at a table with his son, daughter-in-law and wife, he suddenly could not speak. He could not see. He could not respond. His right arm went numb and he felt nauseous.

Seems he had a mini-stroke - basically, nature's polite way of warning you that a big stroke is in your future. As he recounted to my brother later, it was like " ... my gears went into neutral. Like the movie screen that plays in my brain suddenly went blank." A great reminder that we run on electricity, just like a space heater.

As I type this, Dad is checking out of the VA hospital in Biloxi, MS and returning to his motorhome, along with his wife, Shirley, who actually lives in Redmond, WA. They've got a bi-coastal marriage and it seems to work.

The whole episode gave us quite a scare. The worst part is knowing that stuff like this is the natural cycle of things - right on schedule. On January 15, Dad will be 75 - outlasting his own father by over a decade. He is getting older and I noticed it more over the holidays. I like to be in denial but events like this make it harder.

Truth is, old age catch up with all of us. Earlier this week, I applied henna to my hair in an effort to hide the gray. Though I'm in pretty good shape, I notice that things are changing and I am starting to understand why old people talk about their ailments so much - pure astonishment at the cell break down.

Against the advice of an inner circle friend, I saw Brad Pitt's latest, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." ("This week might not be the week to see this," she warned, "It's pretty intense.") She's right, the movie is not light but it was actually the perfect time to watch it. The premise is a man who is born old and progresses into youth - turning nature on its head and emphasizing that we all need to be taken care at both ends of our lives. (Other than a few annoying voice-overs and endlessly bad accents, the writing and acting - Cate Blanchett, fer chrissakes - are superb.)

Rich or poor, black or white, fat or thin - we are all born helplessly naked. Pretty or ugly, short or tall, Democrat or Republican - we all (hopefully) die old and infirm. In between, you better live to the fullest because before you know it, party's over.


hotdrwife said...

Indeed, and well said. I'm reminded of Carlin's joke that we should all start old so we end up as an orgasm. :)

And to give a nod over to your 'about me' part, you are more than passing through. You are making a mark and you've certainly made on in my life.

Lots o' love to ya and super-speedy get well wishes to your dad.

fyrchk said...

Nothing but good positive thoughts for your dad!

You are awesome and I am so glad I can call you a friend. In this amazing journey that is my life, I've met tons of people, but you are one that makes me want to live my life to the fullest!

Fang Bastardson said...

Much love to Bob. I remember when my dad started to get sick, he still a number of good years left in him.

You know the welcome mat is always out for you, electronical as well as the kind you get at Walgreens made out of Astroturf.

Mark Dowdy said...

Let's hope this is a really early warning sign, Heather. My thoughts and hopes are with you and your father.

ClizBiz said...

Wow. You guys are the best. Thanks so much everyone. If we were all in the same bar right now, I'd buy the first round.

quirkychick said...

Holding Bob in lots of loving light. My dad is older than he is and I am so aware that he won't "be" here indefinitely. Mom's Bob has parkinson's so that's like watching someone slow down in slow motion.

I feel you on feelin' the age but as long as we're laughing and loving - we're doing good.

Sending a kiss and a hug your way my dear. We are really taking that trip up the mountain this year - no matter what.

Lisa said...

Oh Heather, how scary. I'm so glad he's OK. I love you and am thinking of you.

Kath said...

Hey Hedder!

So glad your dad is out of the hospital.

My Mom had a mini-stroke (while raking leaves) 3 years ago. She fell into the leaves she was raking...thankfully my Dad saw her fall and called 911 asap.

She's fine now...really! Took her about 3 months to be 100% back and only cause she wanted to ignore that she had a stroke...even tho it was mini.

I'm telling you this to (hopefully) help put your mind at ease.

While getting old is a part of life, it's 'different' when it happens to our parents. Our parents can seem invinceable and the reminders that they are mere mortals can be hard to take when push comes to shove.

Would love to meet Bob one of these days. Keeping him, his wife, and of course YOU in my thoughts and prayers.



Anonymous said...

So glad Bob is OK. Sounds like he had a TIA (transient eschemic attack), basically a long term damage but a sure warning sign to change some peanut butter/choclate ice cream, etc...

Keeping you guys in my thoughs and prayers....always.


Fang Bastardson said...

Yeah, a TIA. That's just what my dad had. He lived for years with them with little long-term ill-effect. Then they took his cigarettes away and he didn't last two weeks.

Whatever the doctors say, don't let them take Bob's tobacco products away from him!


ClizBiz said...

QuirkyChick: Thanks for the love. We'll need that weekend road trip more than ever this year.

Lisa: You know I love you too.

Kath: That is so scary about your mom! I worry about my mom who lives alone in LB. Wish I could get her out here but she's a California girl.

Fo: Wow. You obviously know my father. He tries to eat fish but then puts a hearty layer of tartar sauce over that ...

Pete: Funny you should say that! Everyone is trying to take his cigars away and he refuses. I'll tell him your advice - he'll be pleased.

vlib said...

Good health vibes to Bob! Heck, to all the damn Clisbys! I can hear my own dad's voice, shouting, "Smoke 'em if you got 'em!"