My dad has not been dealt the best cards when it comes to health. He has a genetic kidney disease. He has been on dialysis since I was in high school. He had received kidney transplant but later rejected it, causing him to go back on dialysis. He was diagnosed with tongue cancer and underwent a resection and graft of his tongue. He had his aortic valve replaced in his heart along with bypass surgery. He has had numerous other surgeries and hospital admissions. This year alone, he's been admitted to the hospital eight times. EIGHT!! He fights every day to continue to live life as full as he can. He loves my mom so much and makes sure she takes care of herself, even while she's trying her best to take care of him. His nephrologist (kidney doctor) told him the other day that with his condition, the only way he's still living is because of his fighting and good attitude.
I can't imagine enduring all that he has gone through. I would have given up, thrown in the towel, just quit. It's been so frustrating to him lately because his hospital admissions and health setbacks have been almost minor, but have affected his daily life so much. Through it all, he keeps working hard, trying to get better - for his wife, his kids, his grandkids, and for himself.
I treasured the time spent with him talking about the Cardinals, what football team to pick for my fantasy football league (another story, another time), the grandkids, how I'm not washing my hair, Big S's career, my career, nurses, doctors, my little family's vacation coming up, the holidays, and so much more. I walked laps with him around his floor, proud to be his daughter, because he was the only patient (that I had seen) who was up and walking like instructed.
While I love where I live, I hate that I am not able to be more present through this fight for life that my dad lives. I hate that I cannot be more of a resource and comfort to my mom when she needs a break from her caregiver role. I am so thankful that my brother is there with them. I am thankful for their church family who provide so much support for them in their presence and their prayers.
The day before we drove over, Big S, Little S, our friend Matt, and I, participated in the PKD Foundation's Walk for PKD which raises money for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) research to find a cure. We didn't raise any money this year, but maybe next year, we can help the foundation get one step closer to finding a cure so that others don't have to go through what my dad has endured.
If you want more information on PKD or how you can help visit, http://www.pkdcure.org