Friday, August 26, 2005

Father Blues

My dad went to see his doctor Monday morning. The day before he had complained of feeling full and constipated. He also felt a bit feverish Sunday night.

When I heard the news, I flashed back to Thanksgiving 2003 when he spent two weeks in the hospital for an infection in his intestines. He had lost nearly 30 pounds during that time period and had to be on antibiotics that time.

Since he didn't have an appointment Monday, he was taking a chance that he may have had to wait a bit before being seen. Luckily his doctor happened to have an open slot within a half-hour to see him.

They wanted to do a Cat Scan on my dad but he mentioned that it would have to be in another couple days. Luck was on my dad's side again when an opening came up for the cat scan right around the same time. So after an hour wait, he got the procedure.

He got the call Wednesday morning that he needed to proceed to emergency. At the time, my dad was out taking care of another urgent matter. He had gotten a letter from the IRS saying that he owed $15,000 in back taxes. I spoke to my dad briefly about this and he mentioned that he did a transfer of funds from one mutual fund to another but wasn't aware that doing so would incur capital gains (or loss). Even so, though, it doesn't seem like that would cause him to owe that much. He had his taxes done last year by a tax service so he headed over there to get things straightened out. Unfortunately they weren't able to straighten it out then and there, but they would have to look into it further.

My mom called me around noon yesterday in a panic. She had no way of reaching my dad to tell him that he needed to go to emergency. She also received a letter about the $15,000 and started freaking out about that too. She grumbled that she has no clue what's going on financially since my dad handles all the finances. I did my best to calm her down and tell her things would be okay.

It's times like these that I feel the frustration of being away from home. I definitely want to be there to help out but distance forces me to take a back seat. I prayed that things would be okay for my dad. I called home around 7:00 PM but got no answer. It wasn't until 9:30 PM that I finally got a hold of my younger sister "Trina". She gave me the 411. My dad was admitted to the hospital that afternoon and is currently hooked on an IV with antibiotics for his infection, a mild case of diverticulitus. The disease is actually pretty common among adults over 60. She assured me that he was fine and would likely be released from the hospital Thursday.

While talking to her on my cell, my regular phone rang with a call from my mom. I said my goodbyes to Trina and picked up the phone. My mom sounded a lot calmer than earlier, which was a relief to me. She pretty much confirmed what Trina said and then gave me my dad's room number. We chatted some more for a few minutes more before hanging up.

I immediately called my dad. He sounded really good, which was definitely a positive. He mentioned that he wasn't allowed to eat anything for the night. I asked if he felt hungry and he said he felt fine. For entertainment, he was listening to classical music on CBC radio. We talked a bit more before I let him go to bed.

I called him the next morning on route to work and he sounded well. He said, though, that he didn't get much sleep. I think being in a hospital bed isn't the most fun place to be. He seemed pleased with the service received, though he was a bit disappointed that he still hadn't eaten yet. He was waiting to see his doctor to give him a prognosis. We shot the breeze until I arrived at work.

Work really dragged today as I was anxious to hear news on my dad. Soon as I left work, I decided to call home. My hope was that he would've gotten good news today and be released as promised. I got the voicemail. My heart sank. I was prepared to leave a message when the phone picked up. It was my dad. I was joyful.

He confirmed that the doctors spoke to him and said that the antibiotics were working as expected and that he could go home. One thing my dad will need to do is include even more fiber in his diet. That means more veggies, metamucil, the works. Needless to say, I was relieved.

My dad's health issues made me think about the inevitable, meaning death. We all eventually do have to meet our maker. I honestly have no idea what my parent's last wishes are. It's a subject that nobody wants to talk about but I do realize you need a plan. Otherwise when the worst happen, you're in a vulnerable state and can easily be taken advantage of by the system. I wonder if my folks want to be buried in Detroit or if they want to sent back to their native island. Do they want to be cremated? How about assets? How will they be split between the surviving members? I would hate to have to fight with my sisters over stuff like that. I've heard the horror stories.

Hell, what do I want happening to me if I die? Should I bury myself in Chicago somewhere? Go back to Detroit? I mean, I still don't know if Chicago is my final destination in life. How about my property? What will happen to that? How should I divide my possessions out?

It's questions that I definitely hate to deal with but something that should be discussed. How do you take that step, though? Any ideas out there? Anyone care? *LOL*.



Blogger The Foxybrown Show said...

Hey Eric,

Haven't been to this blog in sometime. Be sure to stop by the show...

7:05 AM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger Tim said...

Hey man...

Ironically my moms and I were talking about last wishes the other day. You right, it's not an issue one wants to talk about but it's something that needs to be addressed.

There's a program you can get for your computer that will create wills based on your wishes. I forget the name of the program but I'm buying it for her - so the family won't be fighting years from now.

9:18 AM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger Stone said...

its so sweet you have a such a good relationship with both your parents. I wish my dad was around but i love my mother body heart and soul

1:35 PM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger Clay said...

sorry to hear your dad is going thru so much - but it makes all of us realize that we have to prepare - we prepare for college, our career, relationships - but not death, which is the one thing we KNOW is going to happen.

2:18 PM, August 26, 2005  
Blogger E said...

Thanks everyone. Your comments mean a lot to me. I'm definitely going to look into the will software. As gruesome as it sounds, I remember that my grandma had purchased plots ages back for her husband and herself years back so when she passed, we knew her final resting place. Of course, that didn't stop her nutty niece (on the husband's side) from coming around trying to cause unnecessary drama. I wonder if you make such a purchase these days if you can transfer it somewhere else in the event your wishes change. That would go a long way towards making such gruesome planning easier.

1:06 AM, August 27, 2005  
Blogger Marz said...

I'm glad your father is alright, and that he continues to get better.

My family is HUGE on preparing for death. They have burial plots,wills, and everything else. (It also causes drama when someone wants to get a certain person's will redrafted to get the silverware.) But my parents are very lax about it, I'm always on them about it, but they say I'm being morbid.


10:24 PM, February 18, 2006  

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