Monday, April 26, 2010

happy birthday dad!

my dad had a massive stroke 9 years ago.

the day before his stroke, his father died of a heart attack. my grandpa was about to go into surgery for his heart and didn't make it to the hospital. my dad drove to san francisco to pick up his mother to take her back to humbolt co. where they lived. it was a rough day already to say the least. on the drive north, my dad and my grandma stopped in wilits, ca. to get some gas. when they pulled up to the gas station, my dad was disorientated and couldn't figure out how to open his car door. when he finally did, he fell to the ground and passed out. stroke.

unfortunately wilits hospital is not the most high tech. they did not have a particular drug which stops the bleeding in the brain post stroke. he was in bad shape. when he was stabilized enough, he was medavac'd to fresno where my parents live. his new home was intensive care for about 3 weeks. the bleeding and swelling of his brain continued and they had to drill a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure. we were told more than once he wasn't going to make it. he was in and out of consciousness and hallucinating due to the bleeding and drugs. these were not happy hallucinations. he thought he was being abducted by aliens and was quite scared. seeing such a strong man, my this condition was unnerving.

the story is deeper and darker for other reasons but the main point is he survived. he came out of the hospital about a month later, unable to walk or go to the bathroom by himself. i moved back home from eugene, oregon to help my mom help my dad. the old bob was was a shell of what was left behind. mourning the loss of that person was the hardest.

fast forward to today and he's living on his own. he also has a boat in sausalito which is his LIFE. he is a man of the ocean and is happiest there. he can't use his left arm and has to walk with a cane but he's walking! if you'd never met him before you'd think his brain was 100%. knowing him well, you'd know he's lost a few things....but ask him about law....ask him about when he was 6 years old, sharp as a whistle.

i get scared knowing he's on the boat by himself. i worry about him falling off or hurting himself but i have to remember that it's the place he loves most. he's lost so much already in his life and i can't take this away from him. he had an accident on his scooter yesterday and fell down a steep hill. he's ok, a bit shaken and his pride is hurt. i just got off the phone with him to wish him a happy 69th. he's decided to take it easy today on the boat. read, enjoy the breeze, listen to some classical music.

this is a man that does not let obstacles get in his way. he has already overcome great barriers and continues to charge forward each day. he has had things happen to him that would crush most people. somehow he looks forward and moves on. i try and capture this spirit in my own life. it's hard.

so today is really his 9th birthday in my eyes... not his 69th. 9 years of survival, nine years of beating the odds. happy birthday dad! i love you and can't wait for what adventures the future will bring us.


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