Saturday, 3 November 2012

Beginning from an End

It's amazing how four words can so abruptly change your life. I was sitting in the car, just about to leave for the casino, when I got the call. It was about 8:00 PM, on a Wednesday. I pick up my cell and answer it. It was mom.

"His kidneys have stopped."

The ride to the hospital is a blur. I remember that it was a clear night, but for some reason it was hard to see the road. I hopped out of the car before it had finished moving, and got to the fourth floor as fast as I could. When I finally got to see him, he was unconscious, but still in quite obvious pain. This is the point where I knew I'd never see him back to his old self. There was no recovering at this point.

I'm going to miss you, dad.

 He'd had a long history of health problems. Severe arthritis had kept him in constant pain since his early 20's, not to mention the only medication that worked for him also greatly reduced his immune systems strength. In March, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. June was the surgery, where he had just over thirty percent of his right lung removed. After living with a tube coming out his back for a month, his lung still hadn't healed. After a couple more tests and failed treatments in the hospital, he went under the knife again, for a procedure that I never learned the name of. I believe the technical term is '7 inch wide sucking chest wound so air can leave the lung'.

At least, that's the simplified version of it.

Migratory flesh eating disease. Staff infection. Loss of motor skills. Progressive dementia. All between August and October. Not to mention the inability to use the only medication he'd ever found that eased his arthritic pain. They never quite found the reason he kept deteriorating, but they are pretty sure it was his lung cancer moving to the brain. We had the service for him two days ago.

He was only 61.

He never showed weakness. He didn't want to trouble, or worry others. His constitution was incomprehensible. He was polite, intelligent, kind, and a gentleman of the highest caliber. He lived in the same area his entire life, and I've never met anyone that had a single negative word about him.

He was, in short, the greatest man I've ever met.

I have nothing but respect for the old guy, and if I can ever be half the man he was, I will consider my life successful. If I learned anything from this, it's that life is something to enjoy while you can. So I sat back for a while, and contemplated what i enjoy the most. It took a while before it dawned on me: improving myself. So over the next week, I'll be building myself a list, of everything I want to improve about myself. Everything I do, I want to do better. Everything I can't do, I want to learn how. For me, and for him.

I'll be seeing you eventually pops, but I've got a couple more things to do down here first.


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