Saturday, September 6, 2008
My Dad is in a Wheelchair
Yet, another one of my current life's tribulations is the story of my father. He is the only person in my extended family still alive and I am only 36 years old. Last year, after my mother passed away and my daughter got the diagnosis of PDD-NOS, I can remember awaiting the phone calls from my step mother regarding my dad's test results. They went to numerous specialists and even some non-traditional medical professionals over a nine month stretch. Yet, to this day, we have no accurate diagnosis. All we know is that he started losing his balance. He started losing his muscle tone. And because of that, at the young age of 62, he lost his private medical practice too. He could no longer stand long enough to treat his patients. His legs would quiver so much that he couldn't even take one step forward without having to concentrate and hope not to fall down. And, when he falls, he can't get up. I still can't believe my eyes! And, when I call to talk to him on the phone, he slurs like he is drunk although he is not.
When we traveled to Chicago last weekend to celebrate my brother's 30th birthday and watch him run, ride and swim in a Triathlon, I was startled to see my dad in a wheel chair for the first time. It was balmy and crowded and we were all tired from maneuvering through the masses on the crowded sidewalks. I think I drank like ten bottles of water to keep hydrated that day. I would offer my dad some water, or snack and he would decline because he knew that he wasn't able to wheel himself into the bathroom, I think that is why. Either that or he is depressed.
My heart is so sad for him and for my step mom. Today, the Saltville school system is honoring my father in the Hall of Fame for his years of service to the school corporation. Since he had to sell of his practice last year and slide into an unwelcoming retirement, this is a big celebration for him. We are loading the van right now and preparing for our drive there. I am looking forward to seeing others acknowledge him and his dedication through the many years. Yet, I am scared that I and the rest of my family may be forced to recognize his handicap - how it has snuck up on us, how we don't have a name for it and how we don't know how his future will stand.
More on my father, his condition and our past relationship struggles in future posts...