Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Memories of My Dad

I've been thinking of my Dad a lot recently; am not sure why. I was passing a car on the interstate the other morning on the way to work and saw this guy with his arm hanging out the window exactly like my father used to do. His arm was big & strong, just like my Dad's, so I almost felt the need to look into the window to make sure it wasn't him! I can't help thinking of how young he was when he died and what joy he got out of life. He was the kindest man I ever knew and this is saying a great deal because I knew some wonderful men who were great mentors when I was growing up in our Christian fellowship.

My Dad oftentimes made me extremely angry, and he had these habits which I found EXTREMELY annoying (like sucking his teeth, digging at his toenails with a pocket knife, driving like a bat out of the hot place, etc.) What's funny is I catch myself doing these things sometimes (NOT digging at my toenails, but the other stuff). He was always so concerned for me and seemed almost to physically suffer when I was going through periods of great pain, surgery, hospitalizations, etc., etc.

I remember one time when I'd had to have major emergency surgery up in Wisconsin. I had gone up to Milwaukee to start a job as a PICU RN, working a thirteen week contract. I went up a few days early so I could move into my apartment, and the night before I was due to start work, endometriosis implants obstructed the tube between my right kidney & bladder (this tube is called a ureter). It was HORRENDOUSLY painful! (Think of someone ripping open your back & knifing you over & over in the kidney.) I managed to drive myself to the ER, knowing that I'd have to have major surgery only six months after the last major surgery, 'coz this same thing had happened then, only it was the left ureter/kidney/bladder. I was absolutely devastated besides being in the kind of pain where you can only rock back & forth & moan "Help me, help me. Please, Lord, help me!"

(Part of the reason I was so terribly devastated is I'd gone through a hysterectomy four and a half years before so I would no longer have to suffer the pain of multiple surgeries that was endometriosis. Then for four years I kept having the same awful pain (it started back up three weeks after the hyst) but I couldn't convince my doctors that this pain was endometriosis. They kept telling me it wasn't possible to have recurring endometriosis post-hyst & ovary removal and they implied I was lying, drug-seeking or crazy. One doctor even asked if I'd ever heard of Munchausen's Syndrome (where the pt has a psych disorder that makes them want to have surgery over & over). So when they finally figured out I'd obstructed my left ureter six months prior to this obstruction, they apologized for not believing me, said it was really rare &, thankfully, I'd "never have to deal with endometriosis again" -->thus the devastation! It was as close as I've ever come to committing suicide 'coz I felt like I just couldn't live with this unending cycle of pain & surgeries anymore.)

Sure enough, I spent a week in the hospital, had surgery to repair the ureter, then was given a prescription for pain meds to cope with the post-surgical pain & discharged. My brothers & my Dad came up to Milwaukee to move me back out of the apartment ('coz I couldn't work for the next 4-6 weeks so I lost the contract) & down to VG, again. My brothers took the truck with my stuff & I drove home with my dad. I didn't know @ the time you weren't allowed to fill a prescription for narcotics written in Wisconsin outside the state lines. Within three hours, I was throwing up from the severe pain. My dad, knowing all of the above & desperately wanting to help, kept asking me how I was & the car kept going faster & faster. He decided to take a shortcut through some country roads to try to get me home faster. As we're barreling down a dark country road, going 70-75mph, the car headlights suddenly went out! I could hardly see straight from the pain, but I'll never forget how terrified I was as my dad never took his foot off the accelerator & just started banging the dashboard. Sure enough it was a short in the the electrical circuitry & the lights came back on within a moment or two. Now I think back about it & can't help laughing at his audacity! It is also is touching to me 'coz it was so representative of how helpless he felt but how urgently he wanted to do something to make me feel better. I wasn't going to feel any better, pain-wise, when I got home, but it just seemed important to get there & he did his darnedest to get me there! What a dear man he was!

I miss him so much & long to talk to him. I am thankful he is at home with His Lord & Saviour, but I wish I could have gotten to know him better. Most of all, I wish I'd showed him, more clearly, how much I loved him. God knows, though, & I praise Him, for His timing is perfect.

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