Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First loves, dignity, and feeling like your head is under water...

It's said that every girls first love is their dad.  For me that's 100% true.  My dad has been the one person that believed in me unconditionally.  He always told me I could do anything and that I could change the world.  (I haven't changed the world yet, but I'm sure one of my kids will).

Even though this song is written about a significant other I can relate it to my dad.... like the song I was his muse and we're each others end and beginning.


We disagreed on most things including politics and religion.  The greatest thing about my dad is that he taught me to think for myself.  That's not popular in parenting because most people want to raise clones of themselves....not Jim and not me.  One of my greatest accomplishments is that I've taught my kids to think for themselves, my dad's legacy will live on :)

Jim, wrote an Astrology column, weekly, literally until the end.  He was writing his column when the stroke happened.  When I first got to Las Vegas we had every hope of a full recovery.  I stayed for 5 days but 30 minutes after I got home the hospital called and he'd had another stroke, this one at the brain stem.  Most days he's lucid and oriented, other's not so much.  I moved him to Corona in June so we could be closer....going back and forth to Vegas was difficult and expensive.  Unfortunately, he's been in the hospital or a nursing home since April 28th... 

There isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't ask if he can go home with me.  At this point there is no way because Medicare/Medical won't cover someone from hospice being here 24/7.  So, I created a fund-raising site hoping I can raise enough funds to bring my dad home.  I think he deserves the dignity of being home and letting go of this life the way he wants to...as heart-breaking as that is for me.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hospice, dreams come true, and the irony of it all...

Yesterday, I entered the hospice chapter of the journey with my dad.  Not necessarily because he is ready for it but because the hospital is having trouble placing him in a nursing home without it.  Medicare and Medical have ridiculous rules and have made my life a living hell with all of their bureaucracy.  I've signed the consent forms before but we've never ended up using hospice because my dad has rallied.

(For those of you who don't know what hospice is it's type of care and philosophy of care that focuses on the palliation of a chronically ill, terminally ill or seriously ill patient's pain and symptoms, and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs)

Right after the hospice social worker got there my son called, he and his friend decided late Friday night to go to Mammoth for a snow boarding adventure.  Christian wanted to know where to go to rent equipment so I asked my dad.  His reply was "tell him to go to Footloose and ask for Tony, he's part owner and an old friend, tell him you're my grandson and he may be able to hook you up, or to to Kittredge's and ask for Bob, tell him you're my grandson and he'll take care of you."  Moments like these are encouraging but heartbreaking at the same time because mentally my dad is sharp and clear but his body is failing him.

I started taking my kids to Mammoth several years ago during the summer, the first trip they were pretty bored, they couldn't deal with the quiet of the mountains.  So the first trip was sort of a bust except for canoeing on Lake Mary and a visit to Whitmore pool.  Then four years ago we went again (minus Jade, our oldest daughter) for my Uncle Pat's memorial celebration.  This time Christian fell in love with Mammoth and has really wanted to go during the winter.  Well, this weekend he's there and staying with my dad's cousin.  He even got offered a seasonal job at the mountain yesterday! He posted a picture on Instgram saying "a dream come true, I think I just found where I want to spend the rest of my life."

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The irony of all this is that Mammoth will be my dad's final resting place.  We lived there when I was a kid, after my parents divorced.  After I went to live with my mom, my dad stayed and I spent most of my summers, long weekends, and spring breaks there until he moved to Las Vegas when I was in high school.  The standing joke with my dad for years was him saying that when he couldn't ski anymore, strap him to a pair of skis and push him off the top of the mountain.  I can't tell you how many times we've looked into buying a place either in Mammoth or Bishop so my dad could live the rest of his days there.

There's something magical about living in Mammoth and it seems to be in the DNA of the men in my family.  My dad and one of his younger brothers, Pat lived there for years.  My other uncle had a second home there for a while and my dad's cousin has lived there for 35+ years.  And now my son is wanting to live there for the rest of the winter at least.

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