*me and my dad, taken sometime during the age of the dinosaurs…

April 14, 2010 Arrooooooooooooooo….

Arooooooo, Werewolves of London – the current song that is stuck in my head. Last night when I should’ve been sleeping, wanted to be sleeping, needed to sleep, it was Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi whoops it just changed to Poker Face. I have been using the Lady’s music as background to my a.m. sit-ups, push-ups and weight lifting routine. The genius and devil of pop music is that it is so damnably catchy…can’t read my, can’t read my, no he can’t read my poker-face… 
My father has decided to live – thank you very much universal power for that – and as of today he has used his oxygen (prescribed for 24/7 use in January) eight consecutive days as the doctor ordered it those long months ago. This is a relief. This is a gift. This is a good choice because he still has a lot to live for and many, many people who love him and want him to be here for a good long time. People like me. 
My niece and her fiancé were here this past weekend and, having just about graduated from Med School (May 16th the actual date but all rotations and testing done), they went to work on him, asking questions, and examining his meds. He loved the attention which was, to my mind, the best medicine of all for him right now. He lied like a dog about his oxygen use – or rather he said he had been using it right along 24/7 – yes, right along for the last 6 days only, you old coot! And last night he went to his favorite watering hole with the portable tank where he met one of his buds, and threw back a few beers. I did not ask him if he smoked because I don’t want to know; I assume he did not but again, I don’t want to know and whatever choices he makes now, as I have a limited time left with him, are just fabulous, perfect, ideal, and wonderful as far as I am concerned. 
I also found out this past weekend what the mother of the bride (my older sister) and the mother of the groom are wearing to the wedding in May: gray suits, one from Armani and one of Versace’s. The groom’s mamma is going sleeveless (so Michelle Obama chic) and my sister’s suit has three quarter sleeves. This means I can now look for suitable color contrast in a suit or separates and so important to get it right because how often, really, does one get to dress up? Not often enough! The bride, need I say it, will be wearing Vera Wang. How fun! I love a good party! And I need one, although in less than two weeks I will be retreating with my best pal from college at Kripalu, a yoga center in the Berks. Yeah! Life is good, much better than last week. Deep breath, deep gratitude, deep love for my pop.

April 14, 2010 One Day at a Time

Today was a long – endless – bad day. After seeming to be improving, my father took a turn for the worse and is now in the hospital. The congestion in his heart and lungs has dramatically worsened; his o2 level on oxygen was 84 which is very low. He has gained five pounds in just two days, all retained fluid, as his legs are painfully swollen. He struggled to breathe all day. He signed a DNR, hospice was called, and will join us in taking care of this wonderful man tomorrow. I am exhausted and so, so sad. He does not want to be transferred to a larger hospital in Kingston or Albany; he does not want heroic measures. He wants to go home – and will, tomorrow – where he wants to die with his family and the people who care about him around him. And his dog. 
His mind and spirit are entirely intact. The nurse (who was fantastic and exactly his type: smart, feisty and attractive) was placing the little thingummys for an EKG on his tummy and he said “can’t you go a little lower, har har har”. I love him so much. His GP, affirming that he wanted to go on home and into hospice care, said “So Mr. Miller, you’re giving up?” and while I get where she’s coming from I also wanted to kick the living shit out of her. But I did not. And so life goes on although, sooner than I can bear to admit, without my beloved father. Everyone says miracles happen all the time, well, yeah, miraculously I had this great, great man as my dad for almost fifty-one years. Lucky me, but as to him bouncing back from the edge of the precipice, I don’t know about that one. Help me to help him, help me.