May 2019 25

God’s really mailing it in these days. #repent#graffiti #Toronto #curb

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May 2019 24

“Well, Dad. How do you want to die? If you could choose?”

My father got some bad news yesterday. And although I could keep it private out of respect to him, I’m a writer, dammit. I write to process. And he’s not on the internet anyhow. In the future, I may want to refer back to this time in my life and remember how I was feeling.

Dear diary – My dad is dying. For the fourth time.

But he may be out of aces up his sleeve this time.

So I ask you, how would you choose to die?

I mean, if you could choose. None of us really can though, can we? You can try to choose how you live up until that moment, I suppose. But writing the ideal scenario for how you leave this world is wishful thinking, isn’t it?

My father has a choice to make.

His heart problem is a lot worse than the doctors were hoping for. He has three options. Two of them involve risky surgery for his age. So far, more than one surgeon has passed on the challenge. Even if he lives through the procedures,(a big if) he’d be facing a lot of hospital recovery time, which would certainly kill his spirit before turning its dark sights on whatever was left of his body. Infection. Blood clots. Pneumonia. Bed sores. Choking on a grape from the hospital meals. Hospitals are truly Darwinism survival of the luckiest.

His third option is do nothing. Go home with some new drugs and continue on. But it will kill him. A matter of time.

As he lies in his hospital bed, occassionally feeling some chest pain, he’s thinking it over.

“What do you think, Andrew?”

“I think you’re a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. And we can’t see the timer.”

“Ya. Shit. And get better? For what? To still be an old man huffing and puffing out of breath?”

No operation will make him 70 again. Or 80. Shit, I bet he’d take 85 right now.

“Well, Dad. How would you choose to die if you could choose? Out of the realistic scenarios you have in front of you. Not on a tropical island, surrounded by women in coconut bras or anything. On an operating table, going for it?”

“Not in a hospital. I’d rather be walking down the street and just collapse.”

He’ll stay in hospital a few more days until he decides on the surgery or not. But this may be his choice.

The third option.

Go home and live as best as he can, and wait for it. But live like he’s not waiting for it.

Which I suppose is how we should all be choosing to live, isn’t it?

 

 

May 2019 22

#ChefBoyardee #Parkdale #graffiti
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May 2019 22

#Raptors #priorities Turns out my father didn’t just beat pneumonia in March. He did it with significant blockage in parts of his heart. Mild heart attack. Angioplasty scheduled later this week. They like his chances. Reminder: suspect a #heartattack = aspirin Probably saved his life. Again. #impressive #nobigdeal #nonagenarian
Instagram @henrysperson

May 2019 20

Systolic

Posted In Blog,The world

I’ve enjoyed being quiet lately. A lot can happen underground before the chutes pop up through the soil. 

It’s the time between beats that we need to appreciate the most. Rest may not be dramatic or sexy, but it’s needed. This is the period I’ve been living in the last while. I’ve been relishing feeling my blood oxygenate from bruised plum to a rosy flushed red.

Then my phone rings early in the morning yesterday and I see it’s my father’s Senior’s Home calling. So I prepare myself.

“Whatever it is,” I tell myself. “I can handle it.”

For those of you who followed his ordeal in February, he’s been home for six weeks after surviving pneumonia. He’s 90. Yah, that’s right. He’s 90 and against the odds, he lived. He gets tired easily right now (no shit, pneumonia) but he went for a walk on his own on Saturday. Said he got about a block and had to sit down and rest. Anyhow, his recovery has been remarkable but you just never know what’s coming when you’re that age. The warranty expired long ago.

Right, so yesterday morning. Phone rings. I answered. Cause that’s what you do. I got oxygenated blood, motherfuckers! Come at me.

“Your father’s on his way to the hospital. He had some chest pains and his blood pressure was dangerously high so we called an ambulance.”

Gear up. Like a fireman, you just get prepared and go. You focus. Emotion gets put in a drawer. You can’t control whatever is going on in the ambulance. So you don’t think about it.

I get dressed quickly, but appropriately for whatever is to come – meeting doctors or worse – grab a phone charger, a book, and an apple, and hop in an Uber. On the way I make some calls and emails in case I suddenly disappear into our healthcare system (again) for a few days.

I arrive at Emergency and start looking around. I get there just as they call his name ‘Bradley’ and I spot his unmistakable feet at the end of a stretcher  – come on, you know your parents’ feet. You know you do. – He’s surrounded by paramedics and I expect the worse.

I walk up to them and say I’m his son. And I see him.

He’s not dead.

He smiles.

“Oh, hey!” he says, very nonchalantly. He’s not pale. He doesn’t have a mask over his face. He’s sitting up.

He looks very non-heart-attack-ish.

And then I accept it. He can’t be killed. He is immortal. Or this is an intervention, which would piss me off immensely.

“Um, I thought I was arriving dramatically to your demise and we were going to have some last moments together, but clearly I’m wrong.”

The paramedic tells me “We suspect he had a heart attack but we treated him in the ambulance and his blood pressure is back to normal.”

“Are you in pain, Dad?” I ask.

“No. Not anymore.”

“Um, what did you treat him with?” – My dad is a strict ‘do not resuscitate by the way.

“We gave him … two aspirin.”

“I feel bad you came all this way,” he says.

“Jesus, Dad. You’re hilarious.”

So, yes. He did have a heart attack. Turns out he woke up feeling pain in his chest so he casually got dressed on his own, and went down to the nurses floor (in his seniors apartment), strolled in casually without his cane (!) and told them. They went into WTF mode, even though he didn’t.

Something will eventually kill this man. But I don’t know what it will be.

Will it be this week? I don’t know.

There’s a plan of attack to clear his blockage in the next few days. The doctors like his chances.

This afternoon I watched him inhale a hospital-meal tuna sandwich platter as I read him the Raptors post-game newspaper coverage.

I fear I am being lulled into a false sense of security regarding his health.

I have to forget that he survived pneumonia recently – he’s 90 and he had a heart attack. This is supposed to be serious, isn’t it? Yes.

A nurse walked by.

“Hello Bert!” she said.

“Hi Doris.” my dad answered back.

He’s been here 24 hours and he knows the Emergency Ward staff already. Who is this man? Can he stop bullets?

“That’s Doris,” he says to me. “I like her. She likes the Raptors.”

The diastolic was a nice phase to visit for awhile.

 

 

 

 

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