You’re actually reading this?
If you’ve been reading this blog from the start you know that I started it on a whim and figured it’d be words whispered into the wind. You’ve been reading it though and I’ve been blown away. I’m constantly hearing from friends, reconnecting with people from my past, and even meeting some new faces. Its awesome. I love people.
This morning I had to get up at 7:00 to go to Lahey for pre-op at 7:30. I was a zombie. The mornings and I… we don’t see eye to eye. The day went by quickly enough though. Some more blood work, a few meetings, lots of blah blah blah. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to hear about what is going to happen anymore, I just want want it to happen. They tell me things like “We’ll make an incision here and then divide the liver here and blah blah blah” I want to say “Great. Yea sure. Do what you gotta do. I’ll be asleep.” It makes me think of Jerry Seinfeld’s stand up routine. He makes fun of airline pilots for describing exactly how they’re going to get to their final destination. His take is, just get to where it says on the ticket. That’s how I feel.
Tonight we’re back at my parents house. Dad and I are both in the living room watching whatever we can find that has the strangest title on netflix (no hits yet). Him, because he often sleeps out here (its easier for him) and me because I’m always awake at this hour. These have become my favorite times. Sitting around at home just being together. Its funny, when I was younger I was always itching to get out of the house. I wanted to go somewhere, do something, and be with my friends. I couldn’t wait to be independent. Now I come home and I don’t ever want to leave. What an about-face. I still want to see friends and visit my favorite restaurants, but I relish every second that I’m here, sitting in this chair and hanging out.
I’ve made it home almost once a month lately, but still I wish it were more. I’m selfish. I’ve been home for holidays, the super bowl, my parents move to a new house, and basically every other excuse I could think of. The holidays are my favorite. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have an excitable side. Sometimes also referred to as a childish side. I’m the guy who ends up playing with all the kids under 10 at the family reunion (even other people’s family reunion). People say things like “oh you’re so good with kids” or “how nice of you to put up with them”. What they don’t know is that I’m the one starting all the games and I’m having the most fun. On Christmas morning I still wake up at about 6:00AM (the only day of the year I do this gladly) and yell “CHRISTMAS WOOOOOOO!” to wake the house. Coming home for holidays and family time is the best.
I have to admit though, its been hard at times this year. When you see someone everyday its tough to notice gradual changes. When you see someone once a month its much easier. Its also terrible. Over the last several months I’ve seen my dad’s health deteriorate before my eyes. Its horrifying. This isn’t how things are supposed to work. Under 50 men aren’t supposed to melt away before you eyes, but this one did. I tried not to show it, but when I’d first come home I was often surprised to see that dad was visibly sicker. I hated it. The only thing worse was seeing him in pain.
Christmas afternoon we were in the living room visiting with family after a delicious dinner. Apparently, big meals are tough on liver patients. When one organ starts to fail it makes it harder on everything else in your body. Even routine physiological processes become a challenge, even digesting food. As we sat in the living room dad started having extreme abdominal pains. His face would contort, he’d make noises, and I’d watch in horror. Horror mostly because there was nothing I could do. Nothing to do, but watch.
As time has gone on his health has deteriorated. Its been hard to watch and I know even harder for him to go through. Happily, there are still good times mixed in with the bad. Yes he’s sick, but he’s also still the man I’ve grown up knowing. His sense of humor still shines through in spite of everything else. We laugh and everything feels normal. Today, for example, we were at Lahey when my aunt said “Dr. Pomfret and Dr. Pomposelli. Hmm, those are distinct names. I wonder if they’re related” (what she meant was “Those names sound similar, I wonder if they share an ancestry”). Silence lingered for a second and then dad said “Yea… I wonder if they’re related… because their names are so different…?” We laughed and we’ll probably continue to laugh about it for months to come.
Its nice to think of the months to come. They say I’ll feel as good in a few months as I do today. Dad, he’ll likely feel better than he does now. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to help. I got an email today from a good friend. He told me he’d come across my blog and wanted to let me know he could relate. Recently he had been in “the waiting room”, as his dad went through chemotherapy to treat leukemia. He said I just wanted to let you know that you have something to look forward to in the months ahead. Then he said something that really hits the nail on the head, something that I’ve picked up on in conversations with others, something that identifies them as having been through a similar experience. He said “Its great that you are actively able to help your dad, I think that’s amazing”.
I worry that I’ve overplayed the helplessness card. I know when people say things like my friend did they don’t mean it as a slight in anyway. What they mean is, waiting is the worst part and it must be nice to feel like you can actually help. They’re right. As hard as it has been to feel like I’m just waiting, what a blessing its been to have the chance to do something. If you’ve been in “the waiting room”, as I’m sure many have, man its tough. I want to tell you that you have more courage than I. To remain strong, to be positive, and to continue to wait? Now that’s brave.
Unfortunately in this world there will be trials and there will be tribulations, but don’t despair! I encourage you if you’re in one of these times, reach out. Reach out to family, reach out to friends, and I suggest reach out to God. You’ll find very quickly that most of these people have just been waiting for the chance to reach out to you. Thanks for reaching out friends. My dad and I both look forward to the times when we’ll be there reaching out for you.