Saturday, August 22, 2009

That Great Big Plumber in the Sky

Gonna recommend you to the spirit in the sky
That's where you're gonna go when you die
When you die and they lay you to rest
You're gonna go to the place that's the best

Norman Greenbaum
Written/recorded 1969
No. 333 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

My mother and father for their church picture just a few years ago. You can see the beginning of my father's illness in his face and in the way he is standing.

My Dad had a really bad day on Thursday. I think some new medicine we gave him to help him sleep better had the residual effect of making him more depressed during the day. You have to watch your patient's medicine all the time for side effects.

Anyway, something was troubling him that day. He cried and said his life was all but over and we should all forget about him. I tried to talk him out of it, but that didn't work and I couldn't bear it for long, so I had to just hold his hand for a while, and then I had to leave.

The next day, Friday, after we laid off the sleeping medicine, he was feeling brighter. That afternoon the family's long-time pastor came by for a visit. I had been there in the morning, and I was doing paperwork for the family trust in the afternoon, so I didn't see him. He comes by about once a month, a wonderful thing for him to do since he is now retired and almost as old as my father. He was my pastor when I was confirmed into the Lutheran church lo those many years ago.

Today, my Dad told me a funny story. He said they had been having a "tie up" or a "clog" in their lines (they did not have this, but I listened on) and that our Pastor H told my Dad they should pray about it. And my Dad said they did pray about it and ... the clog went away! "It was amazing," my Dad said. "I'll bet the Plumber's Union would have been mad if they knew." We laughed together.

His brain was speaking to me metaphorically I think. He knows there is something wrong with him and I think he and the pastor prayed that he might be better, and barring that, that he might have the strength to endure it. Suddenly my Dad felt better: the pastorial Drain-o had done its job and my Dad transformed his problem into a plumbing issue, something an engineer like my Dad could understand.

And he was much happier today and we were singing again. Always a really good sign.

The Pastor might be surprised if he knew the plumbing story my Dad is telling. But maybe he would tell me that a Higher Plumber had actually done all the work.

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Florida Beach Basics said...

nice story - good to see that your decision to move close to them was the right one. marge

Jack and Joann said...

I discovered your very interesting blog when I was checking my google analytics for where people were coming from to visit my blog. I think it was you who came to visit my blog by looking for Ie Shima, an Okinawa offshore island. I had been writing about teaching on Okinawa from 1968-1970. I did ten posts on Okinawa Mmemories and one was about the Battle of Okinawa and Ernie Pyle getting killed on Ie Shima.

So I came over and checked out your blog. Very nicely done. I enjoyed my visit. Then I discovered that you are dealing with the unfortunate situation of your elderly father and Alzheimers disease. That is rough. Should you put your father in a nursing home to avoid falls? I don't know. But let me relate that the elderly can have falls in a nursing home too. This spring a dear freind of ours lost her 92 year old father in a nursing home in a bizarre accident. Her father was taking his daily walk down the hall of the secure area of the home when another gentleman in a wheelchair grabbed his arm to speak to him. The result: the man pulled my friend's father over, he lost his balance, the wheelchair and other gentleman then fell on top of him. The result: my friend's father broke three ribs. When my friend arrived later that day the old gentleman asked what had happen because he also had started having short term memory lost. They had to explain that he had been in a traffic accident in the nursing home. Bizarre, huh!Within days he died from complications from the fall in the nursing home.

Also, does your father have acute leukemia (quick death timeline) or chronic leukemia (slower death timeline)? That would be a factor too.

Would love to hear back from you if you have the time.

Robin Chapman said...

It isn't a guarantee that Dad would do better in skilled nursing care. It's just that we are coming to the point that, no matter how he'll do in skilled nursing, he'll do worse at home. I just had to throw out a pound of hamburger in the refrigerator that my mom was defrosting. I thought someone had died in the house, but it was the meat. It had an April expiration date on it!