Category: Dad

A Rose by Any other Name

A Rose by Any other Name

20120621-092207.jpgHappy Belated Fathers day to all the dads, or soon to be dads, or wanna be dads.  Any dads are welcome, even pseudo dads.

I’m not sure what made me think of writing about Dads day today and not on Fathers day itself.  Maybe it was busyness, or lazyness, or carelessness, whatever ‘ness it was I am here now.

I have been reminded of the day frequently though as I go about my business around house and home.  I’m reminded when I see the beautiful rose bushes my wife bought me for the occasion.  How many wives buy their husbands roses I ask, and how many of those buy actual rose bushes?  I bet not many.  I am very fortunate for sure.

Another thing that I thought of when posting about Fathers Day were comments made by friends on Facebook.  Essentially they related to passing on well wishes to all the men who provided guidance and love to children, whether their own or others, and mentoring those children by showing them what it means to be a man, and a Father.

Some of these comments were directed to Grandfathers, some to close friends who provided Fatherly guidance in a home where no Father was present.  It applied to the role of Father outside the biological one.

So Happy Belated Fathers day to all those to which this applies.  After all, isn’t a rose by any other name STILL a rose?

Thanks for Writing Award, and Time Flies….But where does it fly to?

Thanks for Writing Award, and Time Flies….But where does it fly to?

The Thanks for Writing Award

The other day I was given the honor of sharing the “Thanks for Writing Award” by My Soulful Healing.  Needless to say it came as a bit of a surprise, a very pleasant surprise but a surprise nonetheless.  It’s just that I haven’t been on the blog scene for some time now, by writing any recent posts I mean, and I’m very! grateful I am still on someones mind.  I still need to find out how to fulfill this honor, or pass it on.  The sharing of the award has inspired me though and I’ll endeavor to improve my blog presence. Awards are a nice thing.

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Stop….and Smell the Roses

Stop….and Smell the Roses

Now I know the title sounds like one of my previous posts “Wake up and Smell the Roses” but it’s not just a replay, really.  Todays title is the actual saying, albeit punctuated differently, and it really has some merit.  It is also one of the credos I will try to follow over the next number of months.

I’m still struggling a bit with this retirement thing, the big “R”, and whether it’s early retirement or not the challenge for me is the same.  I see so many things I can do, so much I should do, that I overwhelm myself and in the end do very little of either.  What I need to do is chill, take a breath and a break, and don’t fuss over jobs that call out to be done, they’ll be there another day.  It’s all about the balance isn’t it?

Magnolia in bloom

Yesterday was a good example of a day spent in balance.  I worked for a short time in the yard, took a walk for my health, cleaned the bathrooms (don’t fall over), and posted to my blog.  When all was said and done I felt pretty good.  I don’t have any roses I can smell but I do have a lovely Magnolia tree blooming in my backyard.  Every year I look forward to seeing it in all it’s majesty, and stopping to gaze at it frequently brings me calm in a busy day.

In trying to bring order to my days I’m still thinking a master “to do”  list will be beneficial.  I can complete one or two items a day from the list and still feel a sense of accomplishment, while maintaining some personal time and an opportunity to reflect.  Exercise will fit into that schedule as well, or it should, and my day will end up being more well rounded.

I was planning on seeing Dad today and that’s one of a number of jobs/tasks that needed to be done.  I shouldn’t call it a j0b/task really,  because it is after all caring for my father and family time should not fall into that category.  Helping him should be done for love and compassion, not out of some sense of “have to”.  It was something that had to be done and git it done I did (how”s that for proper English?).  Trying to maximize my travelling time I did create a list of things to accomplish while out and I feel pretty successful in getting 90% of them done.  I went pretty steady but at this stage in my life I think “steady” is a relative term.

With this post wrapping up I think taking a brisk walk will round out my afternoon nicely.  I have our dinner planned, most of my chores have been completed and it’s an opportunity for a little “me” time.  Who knows, on my walk I may come across a few of the flowering beauties and truly Stop…..and smell the roses.

Write, For the Sake of Writing

Write, For the Sake of Writing

“Just write for the sake of writing” she said, “once you start don’t stop”. Boy, doesn’t that sound easy peasy. Just have to start, that’s the ticket.

Another workday was winding down, I peered longingly out my window at the sun soaked mountainside dreaming of stepping into the light, away from my desk and dispensing with my job once and for all. The glare from the sun was at times blinding, but no so much that I wouldn’t look again. It was like Medusa, I had to look, but I never turned to stone.

It’s been too long since I’ve posted, about 3 weeks, and I feel like going to confession, never mind that I’m not Catholic.  I feel like spilling my guts, blurting out all those things that I feel is wrong with my life.  I can’t do it.  Oh I can blurt alright but I cannot in good conscience lament the life I have or have had.  We are blessed, and my current challenge is maintain a hold on that perspective, and live it.  Whether it’s this thing called “depression” or the weather, or just that my nature is to be this way, whatever the reason or cause I am looking for a way out of this dark tunnel.

I have to see Dad today, maybe that’s part of my funk.  He affects me in subtle ways and not really for the good.  And the fact I feel that way makes it even worse.  Here’s a man that fathered me, wasn’t ever really a father mind you and that in itself causes me some hurt.  It’s a real “chase your tail” kind of dilemma for me.  So, take a deep breath and move beyond.  I’m a reasonably bright individual and if others can get past their baggage so can I.  Thanks for listening.

So once again, write for the sake of writing, that’s what I can do.  I can write about things in my life, taking stock of my life and through this pen maybe gain a better appreciation of where and what I am.  By this writing I can answer some of my own questions and come out of the tunnel into the light.  The light of day, and the light of life.

Whiz, Bang, There he goes

Whiz, Bang, There he goes

So we visited Dad the other day, the first time my wife has seen him since he took his last fall.  I hadn’t recorded that here but it happened last Tuesday morning about 4am.  As he tells the story he woke up and was hot and sweating, blaming the electric blanket that he complained to me moments prior wasn’t keeping him warm.  Go figure.  So he’s all sticky now and thinks, hmm, maybe I should shower to clean up a bit before the care workers come to give him breakfast.

Now this is at 4 in the morning remember, not a time when lots of us take showers.  Sense my frustration? So anyway he manages the shower ok but when he step out of the shower onto the floor he puts his foot into a wet area that had collected because the shower curtain wasn’t positioned properly and spray had puddled on the floor.  Whiz, bang, there he goes, down on his left side, bruising his arm and shoulder and putting a gash in his head.  Luckily after further examination by a doctor they found nothing more serious but you can imagine the potential.

He’s feeling much better now, being about a week after the fact.  As long as he keeps getting some pain killers he is able to manage alright.  After the fall I was able to get him some additional T3’s prescribed by his doctor, without a visit mind you, and that was another story in itself.  What a harangue that would be.

I feel like I could get onto a roll here, preaching about the incompetence of so many but that is not productive and only adds to my frustration.  Never mind I feel like an idiot when I do it, I mean who do I think I am anyway??  It’s just that I feel that things could be soooo much better if people gave half a hoot about what happened in their circle of influence.  Maybe they do care but are just unable to accomplish what they want due to other circumstances.  That’s what I’ll choose to believe.

So long story short Dad is doing better physically, although I am becoming increasingly more conscious of his failing mental condition.  He certainly remembers his family and those around him but rapidly forgets more sporadic events and infrequent interactions.  As an example he went to the bank the other day to get out some money.  The teller wouldn’t give him any unless he produced his bank card.  Well, he told her he doesn’t have a bank card, he just wanted money out of his account.  Sorry sir, no card no money, or words to that effect.  Well, “doesn’t she know me” he asks.  “Why do they keep changing girls in there?”

Unfortunately he does have a bank card, he has used it a number of times, but he forgot it was in his wallet.  Once I explained all this to him again, and the fact he’ll likely have to use his PIN  to access his money, he wanted to write the PIN on the card so he’d remember it.  Calgon, take me away!

I know this is early onset Dementia, or so his earlier doctor said.  There is also likely some impact from the one or more small strokes he’s had.  Whatever the cause of the confusion it all adds up to an increased vigilance on my part and a higher level of attendance to his care.  All in all I’m grateful I can have this time with him, too soon he will be gone and I’ll be lamenting his departure.  Any reminder you can give toward that would be appreciated, I’m beginning to think it’s me that needs the help.

Dad's Day is Here Again

Dad's Day is Here Again

Today is a “Dad” day, where I will pick him up and we will do something.  In this case it’s his Eye Specialist appointment, and we’ve only been waiting for a couple months.  I shouldn’t make it sound like a negative thing, I guess here in BC waiting for specialists of any kind is commonplace and to expect otherwise would be hopeful.  I had to rattle the optometrists cage a bit in order to get the referral, they said the appropriate documentation was sent from their end but it seemed an inordinate amount before I could get a confirmation from the specialist.  At any rate it is done now and we will get his eyes checked this afternoon.

Afterwards we will meet with my wife and we’ll do the dinner thing.  It’s been a while since she’s seen Dad, she’s just busy with other things when my other Dad visits come around.  We both want to try and maximize our visits with him, hard to say how much longer we’ll have him.

I’m curious as to which direction the specialist will go with Dad, being as he’s 81.  One position could be to say “hey, he’s 81 and had a good life, why do anything”, but a more humane or human direction would be to say “hey, he’s 81 and had a good life, let’s fix him up and make the last years better”.  Stay tuned for the answer in the next episode.

I’ve been feeling a bit better now my medication dosage has been bumped up.  Still not up to where I was a couple months ago, from a feelins’ and emotions point of view, but better than a week or 2 ago.  Is it the meds or is it something else, like weather, diet, lack of exercise or daylight?  I just know I felt pretty shitty emotionally, wanting to cry at times and generally unhappy.  Hell of a way to live.

I see Gloria, my therapist, tomorrow.  I don’t know what we’ll talk about, perhaps we’ll discuss the online quiz I took about “My Top Strengths”, from the book “Strengths Finder 2.0”.  I don’t recall if I mentioned them previously but the results came out to “Connectedness, Intellection, Empathy, Individualization, and Strategic”.  I’m not sure what I think of the results, nor could I explain them in 20 words or less, but it was an interesting process to complete and hopefully I can take one nugget from it….

So bottom line there’s nothing profound to report, I wish I could say something you’d go “Wow” about but not today.  Stay tuned for further revelations.

Dinner with Dad, et al

Dinner with Dad, et al

We picked up Dad for dinner on Saturday past, and this week we thought we’d try something different and take both Mom and Dad out for dinner at the same time. They have been divorced 30 something years now but have always been able to maintain an amicable relationship, which has been a blessing for us and our family for sure.  Since Larry passed away this past March (Moms husband after my dad) we have still tried to keep up our weekly (at least) dinners or lunches with Mom, even though she lives in the basement and we may bump into to her more frequently.  The sharing of meals just gives us a chance to spend a bit more time with her, something we won’t have forever of course.  She also doesn’t seem to mind being with or around Dad and thanked us sincerely for asking her along.

We went into Trail for Chinese food, it is one of those meals that we don’t seem to have too often, and everyone seems to enjoy it when we do.  We got a large round table, probably big enough for 8, and being only 4 of us we had ample elbow room.  I dished up Dads first, from the buffet, I thought he was the most likely one to complain if he wasn’t happy.  I also got the buffet, but only after serving him his WonTon soup, and also waiting for Mom and Mo to receive their combination dinners.  We all ate with a relish.

Unfortunately the comments didn’t come just from Dad, in fact I don’t recall him really complaining at all except tor some of the buffet food being cold and his meatballs were too spicey.  Not at all??  I guess his complaints didn’t seem to be too significant, or I was too aware of my Moms concerns when her prawns came out with sweet and sour sauce on them, or Mo’s comments that her stomach was upset after dinner, or that the waitress just scraped our leftovers indiscriminately into containers after supper. It garnered a “tsk, tsk”, and a comment “I just won’t eat them now”.   It seemed maybe Dad was the quietest of the bunch.  It just made me not want to go out to dinner again…..

Is that all there is?

Is that all there is?

This afternoon I will have another visit with Gloria, my counsellor.  I don’t really know what we’ll talk about, it always seems to be a dynamic event.  Sometimes I feel good going in and other days, well, not as good.

I wish I knew how I was supposed to feel emotionally, I mean I know I’m supposed to feel good, normal, or not bad, at least most of the time.  I also know everyone has ups and downs, good days and bad, but without the scale of where the uppermost “up” is I can only tell you where I’ve been. Sometimes that doesn’t seem very far “up”.  I do have days where I feel good, pretty good in fact, is that all there is?

After our session I’ll pick up Dad and we’ll go for dinner.  I’m thinking perhaps Chinese food, it was good the last time we had it and he enjoyed it, but he may not even remember.  I know that sounds kind of callous, but it’s also true.  He forgets more and more now and I’m surprised sometimes that he even remembers my name.  Certainly he’s forgotten when my birthday is, and maybe that’s normal all things considered, he never was a good one for dates.

It reminds me of a time when we went to a family reunion about 25 years ago.  At that time my Dad’s Mom, my grandmother, was suffering from dementia and after we arrived he went into the house to see her.  He came out a short time later and told us she didn’t know his name, she thought that he was her brother.  The similarity in looks was significant for sure but still his heart must’ve been broken.  I know mine would have been.

Moods, Good bad or Indifferent

Moods, Good bad or Indifferent

I’ve been pulled back in, or at least the attempt is being made, and it’s the tug of the blog and not clutching of a tired swimmer struggling to survive. The last week or so has been hard, and not sense that my days have been full of onerous tasks. There has been some of that but moreso I had lost my drive to journal, to write my thoughts and to verbalized my fears. In short my mood toward writing, and other things, sucked.

Today had to be the day, I told myself, the point where “damn the torpedoes” I have to pen something.  It helps that another book I’ve taken up reading, called ” the Right to Write”, is describing that very situation. I’ve mentioned this book before, it happens to be the one that “jumped off the shelf” at me, figuratively not literally.  That really would have been cool, wouldn’t it.  The current paragraph describes how we just have to begin, we need only to promise ourselves that we will write for 5 minutes, only 1 paragraph, and the act of starting to write will unleash the torrents of words that are held within us.  Seems to have worked so far.  That part of my mood has lifted somewhat, like the curtains parting on a new play.

I don’t know what my problem has been, although my mind is full of speculation. The ideas of why, the reasons and/or excuses are in plentiful supply. to separate the wheat from the chaff is the challenge.

Certainly the issues with my Dad are ongoing.  The current situation is generally revolving around his scooter, and the lack of battery life.  He cannot go far without the scooter power dropping significantly and he is concerned (rightly so I must admit) of becoming stranded somewhere.  You think that’d be an easy one to fix, and it should be, but in a town with only one scooter supply store and a technician that “seems” to be run off his feet it has become a bit of a cluster f***.  Still no repair done, and the weather is great now where a spin outside would still be ok.  Soon, very soon, that will not be the case and he will be house bound, like a trapped animal, looking out from their cage wanting to be free.

Could also be my retirement plans, or strong desire for them to come to fruition.  I yearn to retire, I also feel like the trapped animal.  I’m fortunate that I can exit my cage but I am still held on a too-short leash. It’s only fear and common sense that are holding me back, fear of taking that step and common sense telling me I can’t afford it.

The passing of Andy Rooney, of the television show “60 Minutes” fame, has made me think as well.  Here’s a man who has made his passion his life , the art of crafting words.  He was described as a curmudgeon among other things, due in part to his talent for saying it like it was.  He pulled no punches and said what he thought.  His knack was also saying what many of us felt inside but were either afraid to say or unable to articulate.

So perhaps Mood can be a good thing after all, something that can drive us to say what needs to be said, if only for ourselves.  I do feel better.

Dinner with Dad, I'm Sad…I'm Glad!

Dinner with Dad, I'm Sad…I'm Glad!

It has been a while since I’ve spent time with Dad, partly just due to our time constraints, some travel, and that I just plain and simple did not have the emotional energy and fortitude to do it.  Bad Son, I know.

Really though, deep down I know I am not a bad Son, probably on many scales I am a very good son, I just feel bad, and sad, sometimes.  Bad in the sense that I don’t want to see him, bad that I am frustrated when I do see him, angry that I have to see him.  Sadness that I feel those emotions at all.  Boy, where’s the psychoanalysts couch when you need it?

So see him I did.  I drove to his place after work, and I had been planning on going anyway.  In addition to visiting him and helping where I could I also had to deposit a cheque in his account, the rental monies that were returned to him after his place in Langley was re-rented.  His pharmacist had also called me, there was to be a small change made to his meds, the result of his most recent blood tests.  The old meds had to be collected, the change made at the pharmacy, and then blister-packed and returned to his home.  A small to-do list, the least I could do.

After I arrived at his place we checked out his scooter, there may be an issue with one or both of the batteries, they don’t seem to be holding a charge.  I couldn’t see anything obvious but promised to check into it.  At least this time he remembered he had a scooter…….See, there I go again, bad son, Sad, son.

I’m ok, really, it just presents me with some challenges sometimes, being the parent of a parent.  Did I mention it makes me sad too??

We finished our visit by going out to dinner.  We could have stayed and had dinner at the home but I promised we’d do it another time.  I wanted to get out.  Chinese food seemed to be the nourishment of choice so we found a local restaurant where we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  One tiny little woman attended to us, running back and forth to the kitchen so often I wondered if she was doing double or triple duty.  We topped up our tanks, tried to maintain some small talk and once our tummies were full I took him home.

He is so appreciative now, so grateful for my help and commenting often “Thank you Dwayne”.  He says to me “We love you”. I know he means He loves me.  He never said that before we started helping him with his life, never that I can recall as a kid, but he says it often now, so often I have to believe he means it.  That simple statement helps to take the Sad away.  Did I mention it makes me Glad.  Thank You Dad!