Tag Archives: father

Laughter

On my way into work this morning, I was listening to Joel Osteen on XM radio. He was speaking today on the benefits of laughter.  For those who know me…..I love to laugh! I love to laugh with friends, with coworkers, with family, really with anyone.  I love the “catch your breath” moment when I can’t stop laughing or when the tears are streaming down my face from laughing so hard. Everyone loves to laugh, right? I bet you can remember a time when you had a really good belly laugh!

The message today reminded me of when the girls and I were driving down to visit my father (I’ll give an update on him shortly) one day earlier this summer. On our drive, we played a game where we think of things we are hoping to see like llamas, a pink water tower or maybe a tractor driving alongside the road and if one of the things we listed is found, then the person scores points.  After accumulating a certain number of points, the person gets a prize. Most of the time, the girls get something from DQ and I get the girls agreeing to vacuum the house for a week. Win/win, right?  Well, this was the first time we were playing this game and I said brown cows thinking brown cows were not as common as black cows. To my disbelief, within 2 minutes we drove by a farm with at least 100 brown cows in the pasture.  Are you serious?  OMG!  I couldn’t believe it!  Who would have thought?

We broke out in hysterical laughter. I almost had to stop the car because we were laughing so hard.  It was awesome!  I think we smiled the entire way to Tyler and back after such a great, catch your breath, tears streaming laugh!  I share this story because I learned several things that day.  I learned “brown” cows are not rare, I learned a good laugh can make your day, your week or even your month more delightful and I learned the memory of that moment will bring so many more laughs for years to come!  Yes…we still laugh every time we drive by!

It’s these moments that make me cherish my life and make me so grateful for my girls, the laughter they give me and just the precious gift of laughter! I encourage you to laugh today.  A small, medium or big laugh will make your day and maybe even your week so much more joyful and happy! And I believe everyone can use a little happiness and joy in their lives!

As promised, my father is stable at this time.  His kidneys are functioning around 11% and his heart is working fiercely to keep up!  With 24×7 care and three solid meals a day, I think he is doing quite well! Thank you for you continued prayers and kind thoughts!

P.S. Don’t forget to laugh today! 🙂

Second Chance

Summer brings many storms, but there is something about watching the lightning spread across the night sky that makes me appreciate how powerful Mother Nature can be. I also appreciate how powerful prayers can be along with second chances. What started out as an ordinary weekend with a trip to Tyler to visit my father turned into a weekend of many prayers, tears and a second chance.

My daughters and I went down Friday afternoon to visit with my dad who was feeling pretty good after experiencing a couple of weeks of complications – from showing signs of a stroke to excessive water retention due to his failing kidneys. He was in great spirits when we left! However, when we returned Saturday morning, things had changed. He was experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath and nausea.  They moved him to the hospital for monitoring and testing. After a few tests they determined he had a mild heart attack sometime Friday evening and was continuing to aFib (irregular, rapid heart rate). By noon, the doctor came in and told my dad that he will likely go into cardiac arrest sometime within 5 to 48 hours. My dad has a ‘do not resuscitate’ order so if/when that happens the hospital will not do anything to stop it. The doctor did not believe my dad would survive much longer, yet the hospital would continue to give him medicine to slow his heart rate (140 bpm) and lower his blood pressure (170/140) to give him comfort along with morphine to ease his pain.

I made several phone calls to our family. At 4pm, the pastor from his church came to pray and give him his final communion, and talks of funeral arrangements were underway. I sat with my dad that afternoon saying my goodbyes.  I told him I did not want him to suffer, but I needed him here. I did not want to lose my biggest supporter, I did not want our daily check-ins to end, and I did not want to lose my dad. He told me to continue to fight for my health, to do what I can to be and feel healthy but he felt this was the end and told me to live a happy and good life but he needed to go now.

Then at 8pm something, I cannot explain, happened. A switch was flipped. My prayers were answered. A miracle occurred. My dad had been stabilized and the doctor believed he would pull through. By 9pm, my dad was sitting up, talking and eating. By Sunday morning, he was a different person. He said he hasn’t felt this good in months. I watched in disbelief. I sat there in shock at the sudden change of events. It really was like someone flipped a switch and he was fine.

I have not cried as hard as I did this weekend. I have not felt such heart ache as I did seeing my dad so close to death. And I have never witnessed a miracle as I did Saturday night. My dad was given a second chance. The doctor came into his room Sunday morning and said “Tom, it obviously wasn’t your time to go! I didn’t think you would survive beyond 7pm last night.” My mom also told my dad that God gave him a second chance; that his work wasn’t done here. She asked my dad if he knew why. He looked at me and said…. “she’s sitting right across from me!”

I cannot express the emotions I experienced this weekend. Such sadness and heart ache to shock, joy and gratitude for more time with my dad. I thank God for answering my prayers and for giving my dad the gift of more time…for giving him a second chance. I am also so grateful for my mom for coming at a moment’s notice, to Michelle for coming down to help with the girls, to Katie for making a trip down to bring me things from my house, to Diane for opening up your home to my mother and I and finally to all the family and friends who visited, sent messages, called or just said prayers for my dad. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

As I sit here this morning, I am filled with such great emotions and still remain in awe at the miracle I witnessed this weekend and am so very grateful and humbled at my dad’s second chance!  When I called him this morning the first thing he said was “It’s so great to hear your voice.”  I could not agree more, Dad!

Tough Lesson

Summer is unofficially here – my girls are almost done with school and road construction has started!  Enjoying the warmer weather makes my commute to and from work so much more satisfying when I can have the windows down and the sunroof open!

Update on my treatment:  I’m one month complete and have to report it’s been going much better than expected!  I definitely have my tough days, but overall, its been manageable.  I still need 1-2 naps a day (yes, sleeping in my car at work is not beneath me) yet feel my energy level is slightly improving.  Hoping round two this month brings even better results!

As some may gather from my book and this blog, I am a fighter.  I want to be healthy. I will do whatever I can to have a good quality of life, and ultimately, whatever I can do to improve my health.  I’ve learned that not everyone has this same attitude. I’ve learned some people, while they value health and life (and may have very different circumstances than I) are not willing to go the extra mile to maintain it, improve it or just keep it.  The hard part for me is I learned this recently from my father.  His health is failing. He has many problems including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure as well as not being able to get around without a wheelchair and has constant pain in his legs and feet.  This past week he was admitted to the hospital with kidney failure. He was given the option of dialysis, but he refused.  He has now been admitted to hospice. He has made the tough decision to not fight for his health, for his life.  I do understand his health isn’t good.  What’s so saddening for me is he has been my biggest cheerleader when it comes to my health, yet he feels so differently about his.  This is a tough lesson to learn especially when it comes directly from my father. I will have to accept his decision, because it is his to make, but I will reiterate that I believe yours (and his) health matters, and its worth fighting for!

Finally, please keep my dad, Tom, in your prayers for his continued comfort and peace.