This is such a random post, but it’s just that I had a dream about my dad the other night, and it just made me miss him more than usual.
My dad is alive, but ever since he had a major stroke last March, he can’t talk or walk. He wears diapers now. He needs help to do anything.
My dad was always the strong one in our family.. He was the patriarch. He always made things better. Anytime I felt really stuck in a situation, I knew I could turn to my dad. Whenever I was in a car accident, I called my dad and he would come right away, even in his shorts and slippers. He had paid off my college tuition before I even graduated from high school. He took us on trips all over the world- Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, France, Italy, Greece, Spain… He walked me down the aisle on my wedding day. He was very strict, but I knew he really loved me and didn’t want to see me get hurt. He just wanted to protect me. He was not perfect. He had a gambling addiction. He was way too protective of my mom, which she hated. They would fight a lot. But when it came down to his role as my father, he aced it.
About six months before his surgery, he sat us all down to talk about getting surgery. His doctor had recommended he get a Ventricular Assist Device, which means he would get surgery to get his heart stronger. After surgery, he would have to depend on batteries to live. He would need to wear a vest with batteries or he would have to be connected to a wall.. He told us he didn’t want to do that because that was no way to live. So we postponed it.
In the beginning of March of 2012, the doctor told him that he didn’t have much time to live, about 2 or 3 weeks. His heart was failing. He needed that surgery if he wanted to keep living. Doc said that after the surgery, he would feel so much better, and he would have more energy and even joked that we would be running after him trying to keep up.
We all drove to San Antonio the 25th of March to be with him the day before the surgery. He went into surgery the very next morning. He had tears in his eyes because he was afraid he was not going to make it.
The doc said that the surgery had gone well and that he was under anesthesia so he was going to be asleep for a while longer. I had to work so I drove back home.
I get a call from my mom when I was at work that my dad had not woken up when he was supposed to, and that the doctors didn’t know what was going on… Tests showed that he had had a major stroke after the surgery. My mom called me crying, saying that they didn’t know if he was going to make it.
I had to excuse myself and go to the restroom to cry because I was at work…
The tests showed that the stroke had damaged the area that allows us to speak and apparently it messed up one of his arms and one of his legs.
I went to San Antonio as soon as I could.
Seeing my dad in the condition that he was in was one of the hardest things in my life.
This was the man that made everything better, no matter what. He was always in control. He always had the answer. Yet, here he was in front of us, helpless, wearing a glove on his good hand because the doc said that he was trying to take off all the wires. When he first woke up, I couldn’t speak and not cry. It was too hard.
Eventually he was taken to a recovery center to get therapy. About a month later, he was allowed to come back home and continue his therapy there.
It took me a while to get used to seeing him in a diaper, to being fed in the mouth, to see him going around in a wheelchair. It definitely took a while to get used to him being aggressive with everybody. He would (and still does) bite my mom or my brother… Sometimes he tries slapping their hands.
I know that I’m his daughter and that I should visit him more often because he was always there for me, but I think that I am trying to build a wall between us. I’m afraid of getting to close to him again and going through a stage of grieving again.
When his whole situation happened for the first time, I literally cried myself to sleep nearly every night.
We do visit him nearly every Sunday since he lives about 45 minutes away.
I know he is still my dad, but it’s just different now… and I miss him SO much. I miss his strong voice, his Givenchy cologne, his big kisses and hugs, the feeling of security he would give me.
Dad, I really really miss you… And I love you….