Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lazarus Dad

I'm trying to wrap my brain around the latest turn of events. I had just started to accept that my dad was dying, and that he was lost to me.

But two days ago, I showed up at lunchtime and he was talking - albeit with some difficulty and mostly partial sentences. He sounded very much like himself, but for the 20 minutes I was there, he was talking about how there was "something screwy going on" there in the nursing home. He had a conspiracy theory going that everybody was in on except him and me. He was going to find out more before uncovering it all and revealing it to me. But he did let me know that it was financial, and was the reason behind his missing shoes. I reassured him that his shoes were at my apartment, but he told me to wait, that when they asked me for money to buy him shoes, that would only be the beginning. He was learning more about the therapy conspiracy on television, and by listening to whispers in the hall. He exhorted me to pretend that I wasn't aware, so that we wouldn't tip them off...

I left the nursing home with mixed feelings. Sure, it was nice to have dad no longer a vegetable, but is it better to replace that with angry, suspicious, senility?

I showed up last night after work about 8:45pm. I didn't know what to expect this time, but I figured it'd be a quick visit. Imagine my surprise when my dad - my REAL dad - greeted me.

He asked if they'd given me any trouble about visiting. "No, dad, I often get here this late."

"Well, what excuses have they given you?" he asked me.

"Excuses for what?"

"For not letting you see me all this time."

"Dad, I've been here every day since you got here, at least once a day, and often twice. No one's ever tried to prevent me from seeing you."

He had no recollection whatsoever.

He did recall his paranoia, and acknowledges now that he was hallucinating.

His 180-degree turnaround astounded me. He can read again, and his hands are not trembling nearly to the degree that they were. He has regained most of his clarity, even remembering several telephone numbers from my childhood. I asked him how many children he had.


"Good. What are their names?"

"Dum Dum and two girls."

Yep, that's my dad alright.

I'm guessing that maybe it's just taken these two weeks to detoxify his system after circumstanitally being forced into abstinence from alcohol and tobacco. Could that, coupled with dehydration, have accounted for his recent freefall towards death?

It's obviously much too early to be making any plans, and his medical problems are all still major issues.

But in spite of having to yet again adjust my entire life's paradigm for the third time in about a month, it was good to see my dad again. When I left, he shook my hand and told me he loved me. It was a powerful hand that held mine - a firm, authoritative grip. To this day, he's still got the best handshake of any man I've ever met.

Thanks for praying.


At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Encouraging stuff to hear. Prayer, Prayer & more prayer, even when ya dont get what ya want. That's what I hold on to & offer you bro.

Nuthing but love for ya

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a roller-coaster ride! Praying for your dad's continuing recovery and for healing with your relationship with him. He is so blessed to have you for a son!

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We will continue to keep you both in our prayers..We serve an awesome God who's plan for all of our lives is better than anything we could possibly conceive of and we know he has a wonderful plan for both you and your dad!Cherish your time together!!!

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God, who knows SO much more than we do! Though we don't envy the emotional rollercoaster you've been on, this is SUCH good news. Continuing to pray for you both...

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praise God! It's really good to hear he's made such a dramatic turn-around. I'm praying for both of you.

Brian Shearer


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