Today I talk about the worst day of my life (or definitely in the top 5).
It started out as a wonderful day. I had a great day at church, I stopped by Play it Again Sports and found a BRAND NEW Total Gym, and not one of the those cheap ones that you find at department stores. This was THE Total Gym, and it was normally 1,200 and this one was $300. A quick call to the nurse and we decided this was my Christmas present. My Christmas shopping was done, it was a warm and sunny day for November. I drove home to Cleveland, and thought to myself, “What is this feeling????”
The Nurse and I had actually put together a few good weeks. We were at least headed in the right direction.
I was going to have money for Christmas thanks to my job.
I had a great wife, and fabulous kids.
Life was good. Praise God. What was that feeling… oh I remember this. I think I was happy.
I took the total gym down and put it on the bed.
Life can change in the blink of an eye. The last two episodes show how I had been having issues with my wife. I have “pulled back the curtain” to show my warts to show you, to BEG you to get counseling before it gets to a point like what we affectionately call “November 28th” at the Jackson house.
I don't want to spoil the ending. I will tell you that this is just the beginning of the “Crap Cannon” of 2010,” and I'm not looking for a pity party. I'm looking for you to learn, please learn, from my mistakes.
Today I'm going to do something stupid and talk about my family on my podcast. This involves moving my father to a long term health care. I live an hour north west of my father and brother. Instead of going with the location I found that was about half way between the two of us, I went with a location that was an additional 30 minutes in the wrong direction. This means that if I want to see my father I have to drive an hour and a half.
He called on Wednesday and asked for my opinion on moving Dad 90 minutes away from my house, and I said “that will not work, you are going in the wrong direction.” There are tons of places that are between the two of us, or worst case scenario, it if was by his house (that would be an hour away). So on Wednesday I explained how this was absolutely not going to work, and on Friday my brother (having power of attorney) moved him there anyway. This is not only further away from me, its further away from everyone in the city where my Dad lives. I'm not sure how I'm not supposed to be offended. I'm not sure how I'm not supposed to feel invisible, small, and insignificant. So for probably the first time in 30 years, I'm mad at my brother.
When I visited the “wonderful” site my Dad was moved to. It's a very nice place, but not that really different from the place that was 40 minutes from my house. The biggest difference was paint. It didn't look so much like a hospital. It had hospital beds, people in nurses uniforms, wheelchairs, etc, but the walls were beige and green instead of white. So I'm driving an additional 50 minutes for a fashion choice. Don't get me wrong, its a great facility with a talented loving staff – that just so happens to be 90 minutes from my house.
It's hard to stay mad at my brother (and I won't). You see:
My brother was the person was running behind balancing the bike the first time I rode without training wheels
My brother was the person who taught me the immortal phrase “lets go piss” which my mother did not find amusing coming from her four year old.
My brother showed how to play some cords on the guitar.
He was the person who helped me fix my first car.
Took me to my first concert
Bought me my first baseball glove
Was the person who insisted I move in with him when I got divorced/bankrupt
Said it was ok to continue living in his house while I got my second degree.
My brother stood by me at both my weddings
Is the only person on the planet who knows what its like to have Dad as a dad, and my sister as a sister.
He is the person who helped me when I got my first house, first car, first guitar, first girlfriend, first……
So I've learned my brother isn't perfect and he made a bad decision. Its partially my family's fault. When my Dad went into the hospital we should've been looking for a place for him to rehab, but we waited instead 9so we didn't have the luxury of time to find other alternatives).
So I've been here. I'm mad at my brother. So this is what it feels like? OK. Time to put it down. I will… eventually.
It's funny when you have young kids. How do they get your attention when they are hungry? They scream and cry. You can shake keys at them, put on Barney (or whatever the latest kid tv is), bounce them on your knee and NOTHING matters unless you solve their one problem: THEY'RE HUNGRY.
This week my father was disgnosed with Colon cancer. It's a scary place to be and a scary situation to live through. The first night in the hospital, my father had gone through a few tests and he thought they had removed his giant tumor. They hadn't. What happened was they did a biopsy, and we needed to wait till the next day to get the results.
I had been telling my wife how you can't tell me Dad what to do. At 80 years old he knows everything, and nothing will get in his way. He once walked 3 miles to the grocery store. Luckily a friend saw him at the store and gave him a ride home (he hadn't thought throw how he was going to carry the groceries home).
After visiting him at the hospital that first night, we only made it to the parking lot before Dad had removed his IV, and was preparing to “break out” of the hospital. I turned to my wife and said, “Welcome to the world of my Dad.”
We went back to the hospital, and tried to explain to Dad that there was a tumor still inside him. Thankfully my wife still had her nurses uniform on, and she talked some sense into him. He just wanted to eat. He wanted food, and was not going to stop until he got some.
So there I was with the roles reversed, with a better grip on the “big picture” than my Dad did. I was explaining what to do, and why these actions were what was best for him. Much like a teenager, he thinks he knows everything.
He goes in for surgery on Tuesday, and the road after that will be long and hard. There is no manual for this (except the bible), and it's going to be tough. No human likes change, and nobody likes getting older, or hearing that they “Can't” do (insert task here) anymore.
Luckily my wife has lived through this (she onced worked at a nursing home, and obsviously deals with all sorts of situations being a nurse) so she has already been a huge help, but none the less this role reversal will be like a new pair of shoes. They may fit, but they're not comfortable and will take some breaking in?????