06 October 2007

A visit to Dad

My sister, Laura, gave me a call. She told me about Dad's kidney problems and said I need to come out. I called Dad. He didn't want me to come out in a few weeks because he might be spending time doing medical tests. In other words, he didn't want me out when he might be having trouble and needed support. He wanted me out when he was feeling good and could do stuff. That's my dad ..

I left Friday afternoon and stopped at a rest area West of Des Moines around midnight. I tossed my sleeping bag out close to the adjacent corn field. (When will I grow up? Most 49 year olds would just sleep in a hotel.) Sleep didn't come easily though. I kept dreaming someone would walk up and steal my prosthesis. That would really blow - stuck in the middle of Iowa without my leg.

Dad & Mom looked the same as last year. After a tour of the garden, Dad had rhododendrons to plant. My job was to do a bit of digging, bust up the dirt clods and mix in the mulch. I was going to help more but as I watched Dad, I realized I was watching a master gardener. He had picked a location with just the right amount of winter sun and summer sun. Planting was his joy. I didn't want to intrude too much.

We went for a walk the next day on a trail next to the Illinois & Michigan canal. This canal was a link in a water route from the East Coast to the Gulf of Mexico. The trail was a hiking and bike path. The canal is canoeable also. We had a nice walk. Seeing a group of Egrets was a bonus.

The Dr. has not nailed down the kidney problem yet. I think Dad is still finding his boundaries with the problem. My appearance prompted more activity and different food than Dad was used to. By Wednesday he wasn't feeling good and the Dr. said go to the ER. Of course, Dad had to have breakfast first ... An hour later, he was getting dressed - still. Mom said he's a slow dresser .. It's good that Laura is a nurse at Silver Cross hospital. She could walk down to be with us. After testing and an increase in lasix, to reduce fluid retention, Dad was discharged.

Dad & Mom have a number of decisions ahead but Dad is stable for now. I drove back to Colorado in one 16 hour haul, including stops. I could never have done it without the U.S. history cds. It was even fun.

Here's a few more pictures of the family AND the Illinois & Michigan canal.

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