Well, after a long, sleepless night and a myriad of long distance conversations with my brother, the general consensus is that nobody knows much of anything. When they did a CAT scan, they found a bunch of blood in my father’s brain, but now aren’t sure if it’s a stroke, or an OLD stroke that happened some time ago, and nobody caught, or a WORSENING of that older stroke. It’s very confusing and completely frustrating. I’m getting a lot of “maybe’s,” and I don’t do well with uncertainty–I never have. He’s also in a lot of abdominal pain, so they think he may have a bowel obstruction, which would require surgery—an operation that he is unlikely to make it through because of his weakened condition. Oh, and did I forget to mention that they ALSO found pneumonia on his right lung?????
Whatever the outcome, it seems clear that my dad will no longer be able to work a full-time job. The irony of all this, of course, is that he is a doctor, a guy who spent his entire life taking care of other people, and ignoring his own health as a result. So now my brother and I are faced with the daunting task of researching care units and assisted living facilities. My father had a heart attack–followed by open heart surgery a few years ago–and he never quite recovered. Shortly after the surgery, he went into congestive heart failure. Since then, he’s caught pneumonia at least twice a year, and these constant bouts of illness have weakened him beyond belief. Then, last year, he had a stroke. My mother is not in good health, and my father will need constant care–there is no way he can stay at home alone if/when he comes home from the hospital. The only solution seems to be to move both of them closer to my brother and I, and into an assisted living facility where they can get the care they need, and where we can visit often.
This has been a completely lousy year in many respects, but mixed with joy. I moved to California, which I love. My first two books were published, and I’m damn proud of them. My third book will be out in July, I’ve hired a kick-ass PR firm to hype it, and I’m really excited. It looks like I’ll be doing a slew of television interviews, and various other publicity. My brother’s wife is having a baby, and I’m thinking of having one of my own soon. All this is very exciting, but the situation with my dad’s health darkens it all, and makes me realize just how precious every moment is. So much of what I see going on online is hateful and snippy. People saying things they wouldn’t DARE utter to another human being face-to-face. So, no matter what happens to my dad, I’ve decided to approach things from a more positive outlook.
Life is too short not to.