Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Daddy Update

My dad. John Wayne, reincarnated. For sure. Words cannot even describe the strength of this man. After a grueling, four hour surgery in which a cancerous tumor was removed, organs and muscles torn out, bowels re-arranged, and his body sewn back together like a rag doll, he is solid as a rock. The morning after surgery, held prisoner in the Intensive Care Unit, he woke up demanding a toothbrush! The nurses had no idea what do with him. They are accustomed to patients who are, and who wish to remain, heavily sedated. Minty-fresh breath is the last thing on any one's mind down there in ICU.

My dad is the exception to every rule.  He was desperately trying to climb out of bed to wash up, shave, and brush his pearly whites. He described his ICU experience as a type of hell. He believed he had been sentenced there to wither away and die. Those were probably the drugs talking. From what I saw, the nurses were kind and attentive. They were just not prepared for the likes of my dad.

Over the past week, I have seen sides of my father I never knew existed. Let's just say Morphine and Dad don't mix. 6' 4" (too tall for any hospital bed) he is larger than life. His height alone is threatening. This kind and gentle giant became a bit of a tiger.  A few of the nurses were actually afraid of him. He experienced some pretty vivid dreams and hallucinations while under the influence of all the meds continuously pumped into him. Eventually, they had to stop administering the drugs, for his protection and theirs. Finally, once his mind was clear, he looked at me and said, "Why on earth would anyone want to take this stuff for fun?" Truth be told,  I've done my share of recreational drugs.  A father never needs to know that stuff about his daughter, so I just shook my head and whispered " I have no idea, Daddy."

As I write this, my dad is on his back in a hospital bed, doing leg-lifts, trying to raise them higher than his chest. He amazed all the doctors with his miraculous recovery and strong will to 'do it himself'. He has refused all pain killers and sleeping aids. I know his pain must be excruciating. In the same situation, I would be wearing out that button on the morphine drip. Or at the very least, demanding a vat of vodka be pumped into me 'round the clock. Not my dad. His grin and bear it attitude is astounding.

Yesterday was Dad's first day of solid food. He hadn't had anything to eat in over a week. When they said SOLID FOOD, I automatically assumed very light, bland, soft foods: scrambled eggs, oatmeal, jello, pudding. Imagine my surprise when his dinner tray arrived last night: pork chops, mashed potatoes, gravy, zucchini, canned fruit cocktail! He looked like a kid in candy store and began to consume it with gusto. I marched right out to the nurse's station insisting there had to be some kind of mistake because my dad can't eat this! His nurse reassured me that while my dad would not have much of an appetite, the doctor said he could eat whatever he wants now. NOT MUCH OF AN APPETITE? My dad ate every last bit of that meal, in seconds flat!

As a Holistic Health and Nutritional Consultant,  I saw everything wrong with the dinner he was served. I am a Vegan and I know Dad will never give up his meat, but pork chops and gravy? How about some grilled chicken or fish? When we left the hospital later, I said to my mom, "We need to seriously change Daddy's diet."

My folks believe I am crazy with the way I eat. My ideas about food as the foundation of healing and disease prevention is foreign to them.  They're in their seventies and would prefer to take a pill than consider changing their diet. They think my food is boring. Maybe, but at forty-nine years old, I am in perfect health.  I plan on tossing all the chips, dips, convenience foods, boxed mashed potatoes, macaroni with faux cheese, hamburgers, sausage, and hot dogs in my parents' kitchen and replacing it all with wholesome, healthy, REAL food.  My dad has cancer, for God's sake. Colorectal Cancer. Enough is enough.  I want my wonderful, amazing dad to win his battle with this horrible disease and stick around for a long time. We need him. The world needs him.

The doctor said my dad might come home today! The original plan was to hold him there no less than ten days after surgery.  A normal person would need that much time to recover. My dad is not normal. He is extraordinary. So extraordinary, in fact, that he took time to encourage and bless all his visitors yesterday. They were there to encourage him. Instead, they left laughing and weeping and filled with joy. That's my dad. Always a kind, exhorting word for others. Always thanking and glorifying God. One cannot help but fall in love with God after spending a few moments with my father.

My dad. He never feels sorry for himself. He walks the path and does not waiver.  He never takes any credit. He gives it all to God.  I am so blessed to have a father like this. Although dad and I differ on topics of religion and politics, his example makes my own relationship with God so much sweeter. It also sets my standards very high when I think of the kind of man with whom I wish to spend the rest of my life. This has forced me to make some hard choices recently. The right choices, but difficult nonetheless.

My father. God in him. As him.  Dad's work on earth as God's hand extended is not over yet. As his daughter, I plan to do everything possible to be sure his work gets done............

And this is my Daily Cyn................

No comments:

Post a Comment