Mortality of your Parents

get2choppaaa

Ostrich
My father is my hero. He is the greatest man I have ever known and the reason I am the way that I am. I could, and maybe one day will, write a book about him... but for now, I would like to share a story that I think many have experienced something similar to.

On Christmas in 2016 my brother, and I visited my folks with our wives. I was on leave while in the Marines and had just had a child a few months earlier whom my parents had not met in person. On Christmas Eve we had a massive party as my parents own a restaurant and they have a large party every year. My Dad would cook gourmet meals for 50 people by himself, Mom would make drinks at the bar, and my brother and I would entertain our family friends. That next morning was like every Christmas morning, Dad woke up and made breakfast, Mom made the table, poured the juice, and made sure everyone had coffee while we eagerly waited for Dad to come up. While opening presents he got to hold my boy, whom we had named after him. After about 5 minutes of opening the presents and holding my son he got up, he walked to his room and said, "I dont feel well." We all thought it was weird as even at 63 he had the constitution of an Ox, was still in great physical health as far as we knew, and assumed he was just going to come back shortly.

A few minutes later, Mom said “where did your Dad go?” I heard only what I an describe as the voice of God telling me "You need to check on your father, he is dying." I cannot describe the way I heard this voice, it was so thundering and piercing and direct as though I was being commanded by God and yet so gentle in my ear that I knew only I could hear it. That feeling made all the hair in my body stand up and chills went through me. I had felt the direct presence of God in my life before in other things, but nothing so overwhelming.

I walked into his room, and saw him blood red and sitting down. I asked “What’s going on Pop, you look like shit.”

He looked at me with a look of a proud man, who was incapable of admitting such state. His face was beet red and I knew he was having a heart attack.

I said “ Dad are you ok, do you feel tight in your chest?”

He nodded, “A little tight, but I am fine. Go enjoy your presents.”

I knew that he was having a heart attack, walked out of the room, and grabbed my younger brother.

My brother, whose father in law had just had a stroke and was extra cautious, had him chew some asprin while we called 911. Dad said, “What are you doing? I am not going to the hospital!”

We looked at him, “Yes Dad, you are.”

The EMS crew arrived and wanted to carry him out on a gurney. He said “No way. I am walking.” Before he could get out of the room and to the stairs he grabbed me by the hand and said “Son, sell the God Damned Beef. ” Now to my father, at 63, he had already outlived his father by 8 years. Him having bought a case of Prime Beef Tenderloins and not selling them was worse than a trip to the hospital, especially one he didn’t think he needed. I said “Dad, these could be your last words and you’re worried about a case of beef? Really?” He said, “Yes!” and refused to let them put him in a gurney and walked to the ambulance. Reluctantly he got in while Mom climbed in with him.

Well fast forward a few hours, he had a major heart attack. He received Nitroglycerin and was somewhat stable, but his health was declining and there seemed to be no sense of urgency among the staff about getting a cardiologist to see him. I sat there in the hospital room with him, while my Mom and brother and the spouses were in mild states of shock or despair. I told them finally, “Look, you guys have to go. Get some sleep and pray. I’ve got it and there’s nothing we can do.”

By Divine Providence, we were in the hospital one of his best friends was the chief of medicine for. Dad had a moment of clarity and said, “I need to text Dr XYZ. He will atleast be able to tell me what the hell is going on.” He then sent a FB message to the guy who happened to be reading it. Long story short, the Doctor came in and saw Dad and got the best cardiologist in our area (very rural East Texas) to come in as a favor to treat Dad. Meanwhile, Dad’s priest (also a great friend to him and a man who help get him back into The Church after decades of religious abstinence) showed up, and Mom got to visit with them while we prayed together as Dad slept.

They decided to run a cath and see what blockages were there before they did the bypass procedure. My Mom was back at the hospital at this time and I had stepped out as Mom had re-united with Dad and was now going with him to the Operating Room. To proceed with the bypass they had to get his approval for the procedure. Dad was lying there on the Operating Room table saying “How long will I miss work if this procedure needs to occur?” The doctor’s said “2 months or so if we do the bypass” Apparently that did not sit well as he said “No. There is no way in hell. If I can’t open the restaurant for Valentine’s day its better I die and let my wife take the insurance money.” My poor Mom, hearing this of course lost her mind with tears. I told the Docs (who were both customers/friends of Dad) and Mom, “Look you’re gonna do this. I’ll convince him if I have to, but bring Mom in there and all you have to say is “None of this matters if you’re dead. It’s better to be broke and alive than to leave Mom a widow.” Luckily Mom went in there and convinced him and I never had to.

He literally had a miracle procedure that cleared the blockage before they conducted a bypass surgery. Somehow they blew up the area that had the blockage and it cleared. It was explained to me by the cardiologist that he had never seen something like it. I don’t know what that means, if he was blowing smoke up my ass or being totally genuine… but I do know that my Dad didn’t have to have the bypass, got out of the hospital the Day after Christmas, and opened the restaurant on New Years Eve. He served 45 guests, a mere 4 days after having a heart attack that would have killed him if God had not spoken in my ear and had me check on him. If God had not placed my brother and I both at the folk’s house on Christmas Day.

Monday this week, Dad and I were joking about his first heart attack and the crazy shit he said. How stubborn he was, how lucky we were to all be there, and how God had allowed it to happen such that we all came together as a family and grew. He has told me before that he had recently found God before that event occurred, after so long being in the dark, and that a major source of that was my own witness to him. I told him about God speaking to me literally on that day and how I will never forget that. It is one of the most cherished conversations I have had with a man whom I completely idolize.

So here I am writing this on the Day of the Epiphany of Christ (though it probably wont get posted until much later ) and I sit in a similar situation, but Dad is 68 and now I am 300 miles away and they don’t allow visitors in most hospitals due to the Rona. My Dad has had another event, though less severe, but is in the hospital again. The irony is that he had a fever and high BP, and though he is not a fear mongering Corona person, he called the EMS when he had a 2 day fever and a BP of 200+/130. After several Rapid Covid tests (those hospitals really want that Covid money) a doctor came in and said, “Looks like you had a heart attack. We have to transfer you to another hospital.”

My Mom, bless her heart, is not exactly the best with these things and is 70 and is somewhat having a mild mental breakdown as is very common for people whien their spouse/parents ect…go though these things. She isn’t senile at all, but I am having to help her figure out which hospital he is in, if they allow visitors ect… all sorts of things I would not be doing if I were there.

Dad has been sending me funny videos and joking about the whole event like a 10 year old, he even suggested that they let him out to go to Walmart for a cell phone charger since he said “I figured when I left that I was just gonna get the Covid test and a couple sets of anti virals, didn’t know I’d be stuck here with the sick and infirm.” Apparently they said no to his request…go figure….. I did call the hospital and make sure they got him a charger and make sure they’d let Mom in to which he texted upon her arrival and a landline being brought into his room: “These nurses changed their tune after they realized how important I am”… I’ll just keep that under my hat.

Fortunately the same Doctor whom he is such good friends with will be seeing him tomorrow when he gets the next procedure done at the next level hospital. I’ve been reassured by my girlfriend who has been a paramedic for 10 years that this is not a major event compared to the first heart attack, and was to be expected at some point. The analogy of “Where the first heart attack several years ago was like a Viking raid on his village, this one is more like a person showing up and saying “pay me tribute or I’m getting the horde” is apparently about where we are here. However, trying to explain these things to your parents is rather tedious when not physically present. Dad doesn’t seem worried at all. Mom is losing her shit.

Anyway, I am sure many of you have already dealt with the realization that your folks are going to die one day… I am not naïve, and know this will happen. I have dealt with death before in the Marines, but been very fortunate that my Mom and Dad are still here. I ask you all for prayers.
 

kel

Ostrich
I'm sorry to hear of your situation. I've been unable to see my parents since the start of this lockdown, and I worry terribly about them. Their emotional/social wellbeing, and their physical wellbeing. They're getting old and they don't take great care of themselves and the isolation of all this is no doubt having an effect. They're not in the hospital or anything, so I can only imagine what this might be like for you, but still I think often about the fact that my parents are old now. I've always been realistic about death, but still, the stark reality of that fact as it gets closer. Death is not just something that happens to gradma and that neighbor down the street and that one kid from my high school in that freak accident: my parents are also going to die (as will I). It's a sobering thought. I'd like to say that memento mori guides me in how I act on the day to day, and it does, but again due to this lockdown nonsense I've not been able to see them nor work on a number of projects that would bring us closer as a family, which is very frustrating. Still, I'm doing my best, and I know you are as well. Your dad has the right attitude, IMO, the best attitude one can probably have, though I certainly understand your mother's reaction as well. I understand her reaction to your dad's cavalier "If I can't open I might as well die" bit, too. I think your parents and mine, for all their faults, would get on well if they knew each other. I'll pray for your family as I pray for mine.
 

get2choppaaa

Ostrich
Update:

Dad had surgery a couple hours ago and is in recovery. Mom is with him and he is stable condition to be monitored for a couple days before release. They were able to clear up the blockage/source of the heart attack and placed a stint above the location of his previous stint.

Thanks and God bless all who prayed and are still doing so.
 
I wish your Dad achieves a speedy recovery.

I can understand what you are going through, as I am going through something similar with my own father. His brothers are in their late 70s, early 80s now.

My father is a few years older (early 70s), with early onset dementia. After years of caring for him at home, we did have to place him in a "high care facility". It was a hard decision, but it is for the best.

He is 6 foot 4, with the "old school strength" from working manual labour. Could almost rip your arm off when you shook his hand. Greatest mentor I have ever had! He drilled into me that you should never be defined by your shortcomings.

My father doesn't recognise either me, or my mother, his wife of 40 years.

My Mother has been with my father since she was 20, and manages to work full time, whilst still dealing with the separation anxiety. I'd be lying if I said it doesn't rip me apart at times.

I find solace in the fact that my father gave me so many insights, recalled so many stories to me, and got me to where I am today. I have all I need to overcome any challenge I may encounter.

I remember my Dad telling me that a father should never have to bury a son.

Through hard work, working weekends, even Christmas morning, allowed the family to go from working class to middle class, and put both kids through private school.

Being from a migrant background, not being able to read and write, and growing up post-WW2, if there was any "white privilege", I couldn't see any.

Back then, prejudice against foreigners weren't merely "microaggressions". They also were nuanced to acknowledge that the actions of a few does not speak for all.

When his mother was in the hospital on her deathbed. One of the nurses there would beat my grandmother if she needed to use the bathroom, as her English was poor. It was clearly the actions of someone deranged, and someone who should not be near the infirm.

When my grandmother died, my grandfather sued the hospital. The Resident Doctor died before the case went to court, there was no compensation.

In a lot of ways, seeing the rags to riches story of my father in real time, led me to immediately ridicule any SJW nonsense that was peddled. I know that if I even attempted to try one of those SJW cop outs with him, he would tell me I was a bloody idiot and wave me off. We are definitely cut from the same cloth!
 

DenizenJane

Woodpecker
I have never really articulated this aloud, but when the whole Germscare started, there was a small space in the back of my mind that made peace with the fact that, should a supercold ever touch my middle aged parents, it could sicken and even kill them.


By then there was enough information coming from China about how coofid worked, but that's beside the point.

Thats why I've done nothing but ridicule and deride anything coofid related on this forum, but that's also beside the point.


This isn't a call to have macabre in your thoughts all day long, but you need a keep a mental note during even during the good, smooth-sailing times that your loved one are mere mortals, and aren't guaranteed any set number of years any more than you are. That's goes for your parents, siblings, spouses, and even your kids.

The thing is when you don't have any low-key philosophy like this, there's no telling how you'll react the day you get some tragic news. And we've all seen fresh grieving some next-of-kin somewhere in our lives. I'm not talking funerals- they're bad enough. I'm talking standing helplessly aside in your living room while the paramedics are there or a surprise phone call from the county coroner's office. Its pretty horrifying to watch people react sometimes.

We had someone pass away on workplace property just recently via a massive sudden heart attack. An unassuming middle-aged guy. He wasn't as lucky as your father.

And face it; our friends and families do fairly dangerous things every day. Driving, Partying, Industrial work...



One of the biggest takeaways in the Bible is that you should eshew materialism, and not put your trust in wealth. You can get a alot of agreement about that, even from people who could care less about God. But it actually goes a step further than that; you ultimately shouldn't put all your hope into your fellow man either, which includes your friends and family. There seems to be a lot more resistance to this. Not that you shouldn't try to enjoy your relationships here on earth. But it seems if you have so much emotional investment in an earthly mortal person that, when they are gone, your heart goes down with the ship, so to speak. You might not be able to carry on with life all that well.



Literally...

 
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