You’re the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold, you’re daddy’s little girl, to have and to hold. You’re sugar, you’re spice, you’re everything nice, and you’re daddy’s little girl! ~ lyrics written by Burke & Gerlach ***but not their exact words, just the ones my ‘rents mashed together…

April 3, 2010 I Love You, Dad

A daddy’s girl is something I could never, would never, deny being. I adore my dad and while I absolutely know he does not and never did know everything about everything, deep down inside I still believe that he does, always has, and always will. Contradicting that ancient child belief of mine in his omnipotence is his current state, the result of a life time of smoking and his accompanying refusal to do what it will take to maintain even the gravely compromised state of health he has. He will not use his oxygen as he should; we are talking about a man who hasn’t worn short sleeves in decades because he doesn’t like the way his arms look, and you think he’ll cart an oxygen tank around? Not gonna happen. And he will not do the nebulizer four times a day preferring to wait until he “needs” it which is when he is hunched over, literally gasping for breath. This is very hard for this daddy’s girl to watch. And yet loving him as I do and so wanting him to do it his way, I have to (try to) respect his choices in this. 
He’s also not using the portable tank because he is and always has been truly, madly, and deeply cheap as fuck, so cheap it’s astounding. If he uses it, you see, then he’ll have to pay to get it refilled. His last bill for all of the oxygen equipment he now has (a lot) was around 45 bucks. He has many, many times that in his checking account and many more times that in his savings account. ARRRRGGGGG. He’s a Scotsman’s grandson alright, as well as a child of the depression. Ultimately, I cannot and will not force him to do anything, in large part because I haven’t got the will, the energy, or the desire to do so. This inertia, maybe we can call it that – inertia, is compounded by my certain knowledge that he is ambivalent about life, period, as in is it worth living for him right now, particularly as it narrows. He will be getting his lunch time meal delivered to his home; he has given up bowling and he will only get take out from his favorite breakfast haunt, because sitting there in public with his tank is not an option. And, he risks heart failure every time he leaves the house (to pick up his take-out coffee and bagel, to walk his dog) without it. 
Prayer helps. I trust the process of life, I trust the process of life, I trust the process of life. I surrender my dear, sweet, funny and profoundly cheap father to you, mother father God. He is such a good egg and such a good person. I am ready to let him go if reluctant, devastated, grief-stricken, and blinded by tears at the thought of just how much of a loss his passing will be. This morning I stopped by his house on my way to work in beauteous Bovina (I wasn’t going to, but couldn’t not do so) and found him in a bit of a state, unable to use the nebulizer because he had misplaced a part of it. I could not find it, called Lincare and they should be there any minute. Oh yes and I have to remember to breathe through this as well. In…one two three four…out…one two three four five six seven eight. I love you dad.

April 6, 2010 Thoughts on Care-giving

Here are my thoughts on care giving: it sucks, it’s hard, it’s guilt and anger inducing, it fills one with tears and resentment, deep love and cold indifference (depending on the moment) and more than anything else, it’s exhausting… Sunday morning my father called me sounding as if he were breathing his last breath, which he was not, yet I burst into tears (it was 6:35 and I had just been deeply, blissfully asleep) and, after ascertaining what was going on (his dog needed walking and he was just too weak) I got myself up and out of bed, walked and fed my dogs, then drove the 3.5 miles to his house to walk his. I called Invisible Fence today because more than anything we want to keep my dad in his home (we being me, my dad, and my brother) and he loves that dog so much, any other alternative is untenable. So, I walked the dog for him throughout the day Sunday as well as several times yesterday, all the while asking around for paid or volunteer help on the doggie walking front, preferably young, female, buxom, and vivacious. 
My father is not well and although his G.P. is unwilling to make a definite prognosis for him, she was willing to tell me that while he can certainly prolong his life by being on oxygen 24/7 (something he has only been doing for 72 hours despite her having prescribed it three months ago) his lung function is not going to get better. This is a progressive disease; my father’s CO2 levels are going up indicating that his ability to process the oxygen he is getting is going down. This is not good (and since we aspire to educate, normal healthy blood CO2 levels are around 25, his are now at 67). How long it will take for his lungs and heart to shut down completely is any one’s guess. I am also concerned that he will stop the oxygen because he is feeling better, better being extremely relative as he was knee deep in the grave for most of the past week. 
We shall see and part of that is doing whatever I can to take care of the momentary needs he has as well as being vigilant about treating myself well so I can continue to do so – help him – with, mostly, a good and generous disposition. To that end I have scheduled a massage and a hair cut this week, and a weekend away at a yoga retreat toward the end of the month. Additionally, I have informed my father that he is paying for my booze during this time; he signed a blank check this morning made out to the local liquor store where I will, later today, purchase a case of wine and a bottle of tequila. The good news is that if signing and handing over to me a blank check didn’t kill him, he may have more life left in him than we know.