September 16, 2017
Ground Hog Day
My dad’s quote of the day – “Life is a strange proposition”
On the evening of September 11, 2017, my dad suffered a series of seizures and as a result he is back in hospice care. Today was the first day following the seizures that we have been able to have a conversation. After telling him how much I love him and how happy it made me that he recognized me, he gave me a look that let me know he did not know where he was, but being a proud papa, he didn’t want to admit it.
This is my dad’s second round of seizures and he has had three serious falls that resulted in brain bleeds. Following each event, the doctors can never guarantee any level of recovery and there are about three (if not more depending on the severity) days of him being considered non-responsive. During this time, he may make incoherent movements or noises, his eyes open and wandering or if lucky, sleeping. It seems that once he begins to get the right level of medication, he sleeps for at least a day before waking.
At dinner with friends last night discussing my dad’s conditions, they asked how I was doing. I had not thought about how I was doing but to my surprise I realized I was doing well. I used the analogy of the movie Ground Hog Day… I am trying to learn with each experience and get better at caring for both dad and myself after these extremely stressful events.
When I saw the look in his eye’s this time, I didn’t cry or get upset as that would cause him more concern. I was prepared and knew that the best way to approach his confusion was a calm, reassuring conversation letting him know what he had been through, where he was and that it’s normal for him to be confused. As with most conversations I have had with my dad regardless of his state of confusion, he makes comments that stay with me. When I paused and we sat there holding hands, he looked at me and said, “Robin, life is a strange proposition.”
Like Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors, I have learned that we can relive difficult situations, but by learning to change my attitude and approach when dealing with them, I can find happiness. We can shuffle through repeated misery or learn to find joy in the moment, such as caring for a loved one.
Things can change in a second, however I am making the effort to focus on what I am doing in the moment.