Friday, December 9, 2011

In Sickness and In Health

I've been neglecting my blog lately; I've been neglecting almost everything, lately. My father has been seriously ill, and I have come to realize that having a sick family member is a full-time job.

My 76 year old dad has been having some heart trouble over the past few years, which eventually meant that he required by-pass surgery, or risk having a heart attack. He had the surgery, which went well, but the ensuing complications, including two more surgeries and four stints in the ICU has meant that he's been in the hospital just over a month. The initial surgery, the triple by-pass, seems to have been successful, and he's getting better....slowly.

It's been a roller coaster, for all of us. (For example, when the ICU calls at 1 in the morning and says "you should probably come down here", you don't just roll over and go back to sleep.) And whatever it's taken out of me to be dealing with the time and the emotions and the stress of it all,or my brother travelling down here on the weekends,  it's been way harder on my mother. And whatever we are going through, my father has to deal with it ten times more and then some.

And over the past month, the phrase "in sickness and in health" has flitted through my mind more than once. Every step of the way, my mother has been in that hospital, at my dad's bedside, holding his hand. Every day. For hours at a time. Without complaint. And it's not because she "has" to be there, it's because she wants to. Because she couldn't let him go through any of this alone, and because she knows he would do the same for her. She's had her good days, and her bad, and my mother is no martyr, she's perfectly capable of saying "these are my limitations and I'm at them". But after 53 years of marriage, she and my dad know that there is nothing they have to deal that isn't made better with the other one there.

We hope he can come home shortly, and that his recovery is steady and smooth. And whatever we've gone through in the past month has been worth it; because he's still here.

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