BREATHING IS FOREVER

Posted on April 21, 2016 by http://www.mydadiscrazierthanyourdad.com

“You know what Aimie told me? She told me that I’m gonna be on oxygen the rest of my life! I don’t know where she’s getting this, I never heard that from the doctor. I don’t know why she’s saying this.” He’s actually upset.

I explained that the doctor has been telling him that he should be wearing oxygen ALL THE TIME for a few years now. I reminded him that he and mom used to argue over him wearing his oxygen.

He doesn’t believe it. He’s going to wear it just until he feels better, and then he’s going to get rid of this GD, SOB, death contraption. “These tubes and this machine are gonna kill me! I get stuck on everything, it’s a pain in the ass to drag this thing around!”

Yesterday I showed him some new carrying cases. He decided he didn’t want a new one. We rigged his current carrying case to go around his waist – one of the options his current case offers. He likes it. For now. But still says he’ll be getting rid of this oxygen soon, as soon as he’s better.

dad

Hearing

Dad can’t hear his phone when it’s on silent. Just thought I’d start with that nugget. Had to reach him in a somewhat emergent situation this weekend, and he was out of touch for a while. When I finally did reach him, he was very angry because…”There’s something wrong with this phone, when I turn it on silent I can’t hear it!”

Speaking of him not hearing…he’s still convinced that we are not telling him everything he NEEDS TO KNOW.

Dad likes to play Colombo with me. He tells me he doesn’t know anything about the schedule for the day, then gets mad at me because I tell him something that he didn’t already know. It’s a game we’ve probably played our whole lives come to think of it, but in his older years – less oxygenated years, more confused years…it’s incredibly annoying. He acts like he’s trying to get information out of me by playing dumb. Then the information that he’s gathered becomes ammunition against me in the “no one told me that, why are you not telling me?!” game.

For example, this weekend Teresa was in the hospital for an emergent Appendectomy. Very stressful, scary event that lead to her being in the ICU with septic shock as a matter of fact. So I’ll give him some grace on the confusion. Some. Because it’s not like this only occurs during stressful situations.

Stan was trying to arrange for someone to come to the hospital. Stan told me that both dad and Teresa’s dad had offered to come. I did not know who had chosen to come – but figured he had it covered.

Dad called me –by the way WHILE HE WAS SITTING IN CHURCH. I could hear the preaching in the background! I bet the people in the pews close to him were very happy to hear this conversation. So he calls me (during church) and tells me, “I don’t know what’s going on with Stan. I don’t know if he wants me to come up there or not. I don’t know what to do.” He is a bit agitated.

“Dad, don’t do anything until you hear from Stan. If he needs you he’ll call you. He will tell you what to do, just be on call. And, Dad – is that praying in the background?? Are you in service? Maybe you should step out and talk.” What the??

“Yeah I’m in church, if they don’t want to hear me they don’t have to listen! I just don’t know if I’m going down to the hospital or not – he needs a ride, I don’t know how he’s getting home.” He’s not even trying to keep his voice down.

“Dad, hang up and call me when you get out of church!” I won’t be a part of this conversation.

I did speak to Stan again, and he informed me that he HAD TOLD DAD TO COME TO THE HOSPITAL right before dad called me to say “I don’t know if he wants me to come or not.” So I texted dad and said, “call me as soon as you’re out of church” so I could tell him – you know WHAT STAN HAD ALREADY TOLD HIM.

Then, neither Stan nor I could reach him for about 2 hours. (remember – he can’t hear it when it’s on silent) When he finally called me he was angry with me because “I was supposed to go to the hospital, but you told me not to! You told me that Stan didn’t need me!”

Hearing. Important skill to have. God help ME to hear better!!

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Battery Life of Church

Another Sunday under my belt. I wonder how long it takes to lose that “this isn’t my church” feeling? When will I stop looking around to notice every difference? Chairs not pews. The stage is smaller, but very modern. New building, very clean and fresh. The worship leader wears a stocking cap – young. People are very friendly, but not overly cheesy. They seem genuine. Free coffee and hot tea in the lobby. I’ve taken to the tea. Weird. I’m a coffee drinker.
The last few weeks they have announced new member meetings. I’m not there yet, maybe I should check out a few other churches before I decide to stay here? Something keeps drawing me back though, something is drawing me to want to go deeper here. The messages are good, thought provoking, that’s what keeps bringing me back. And that’s why you attend church right? To worship corporately – to be in a community of believers – and to hear a message that builds you up, keeps you engaged, teaches you something about God and our relationship with Him. A message that charges my battery, like dad and his oxygen.
This church has re-charged something in me. I’m chewing on the message well into the week. That’s good. That’s very good.
So what is it that makes me feel like it’s not “my church”. Is it the break-up of the long term relationship I had with my church. (Still, “my church” is the one I’m not attending.)
For now, I stay with the one that charges my battery. The one that has me talking to God more regularly again, the one that feels comfortable, the one that seems happy and fresh and like a community that I may want to call home some day, and the one that Katie & Jordan bring my grandchildren to (bonus!).

I pray that God will move in all churches, that members are planted where they will grow, that God will speak to all of his followers through the vessel that preaches. We all need something different I guess. God knows what He’s doing.

I See

I went to the eye doctor yesterday for my annual check up. Such a weird experience.
The lighting is kept low, I am made to take out my contacts so that I’m legally blind, then I have my eyes dilated. So I am wandering the halls, following the technician, hardly able to make out any of my surroundings, just following the orb in the white lab coat that is in front of me. After being settled into the chair, I am asked to wait for the doctor. I wait, listening but not seeing very well. It felt lonely.
Exam finished – I can put my contacts back in – woo hoo! All is well with my eyes.
Eyes are still dilated, still hard to focus. Sun is blinding! Hard to drive home.

Why do I have to have my vision so “messed up” in order to tell that my sight is fine?

Do we have to experience the MESS of life to fully appreciate that it is fine?

Battery Life of Oxygen

I thought we were doing so well yesterday with the Oxygen conversation. I thought he was okay with the 24/7 oxygen addiction. I thought we’d finally broken through to an understanding.

And then there was this morning’s conversation:

“I’m done with this oxygen! It’s not working, I’d rather be dead!” My good morning conversation has begun.

“What’s wrong dad? You said that you’re feeling better than you have in years.” That IS what he said 24 hours ago.

“Well yeah! Yesterday I did, but I keep getting this damn thing stuck on the cabinet door and I have a sore under my nose and it about strangles me! So I’ll die of strangulation but I’ll have good oxygen in my blood when I do!! It’s not working I’m telling you NOW.”

Side note: I think Death by strangulation = lack of oxygen. But we’re not exactly trying to make sense of this conversation, just understand why he’s agitated.

I try to explain that we can get a different carrying case, maybe a backpack or we can MacGyver the one he has into something less cumbersome (I have plenty of paperclips and rubber bands). We can treat the sore under his nose, but he’ll have to develop a tolerance for the nasal cannula. I try to get him back to the appreciation of oxygen that he had yesterday. But he’s on a rant –

“I got up this morning and tested my blood oxygen (we purchased him a pulse oximeter to monitor his levels…maybe in hindsight not the greatest gift) and you know what it said?! It said 84% when I didn’t have my oxygen on and then 97% when I had the oxygen on! You see, the oxygen isn’t working.”

Let that sink in. So how do I respond? Slowly.

“Dad. I think that means that the oxygen IS actually working. The oxygen in your blood goes UP when you wear oxygen, as evidenced by the numbers going UP.” Try not to sound like a smart-aleck Kim.

“Well….no. I was only wearing one liter.”

Then he took about five minutes rambling – describing the numbers to me. 2.5 liters at night through the big machine, 2 liters on the portable machine, 1 liter when I test myself, percentages all over the place, trying to wean myself, I can probably do another month if I have to, bottom line he’d rather die than wear oxygen the rest of his life. Then quickly he changes to talking about Aimie and the boys and Hannah and then we get to the weather and the laundry.

After hanging up and digesting the conversation – I think I get it. He thinks that wearing oxygen is going to “fix his lungs” so that eventually he doesn’t have to wear oxygen. Wearing oxygen is just recharging his lungs I guess – like a battery. Holy crap! Am I starting to actually understand his logic???

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Oxygen

Dad went to see the doctor a few weeks ago. He’s having trouble breathing. I could write an entire Chapter on this fact, but let’s just celebrate the fact that he has finally decided that it’s okay to be addicted to oxygen.
He’s wearing oxygen 24/7 now. He told me today that he is breathing better than he has in years, he’s sleeping better, he’s staying up later and he’s more active. He thinks he’ll keep the oxygen.
My comment, “It’s amazing how different life is when you can breath, huh?”
There are still a few issues we’re dealing with related to his lungs, but I think we are on the right track.

Priorities. Breathing is right up there at the top.

Sometimes I have to remind myself to “just breathe” too. More metaphorical than physical, but just as important I think.

Nothing I Can Do

Sunday. New church, new people to sit by, new songs – that I don’t know or sing yet (hate this the most), but the same ol’ me. The same issues that I’ve been trying to work through for 4 years. Why is Bob still sick, why is life still hard, why do I still feel sad?
Then the message is preached – and it’s like a light in the darkness. What do I do when there’s nothing I can do?
God knows. God cares. God isn’t absent in the quietness. God isn’t angry with me for struggling. God isn’t apathetic toward my plight. God loves me. God is big enough to handle my doubts. I will be blessed if I do not mis-interpret Him during this time.
I’ve prayed, I’ve believed, I’ve cried and turned away. I’ve been confused, angry and I’ve been apathetic toward Him. I’ve tried everything. And guess what? Sometimes, it’s not about what I can do or what I can say or how I can feel. I’ve done it all, all that I can do. The situation remains.
“Pray – God will fix it!” Not fixed yet. “Fast – you’re not praying ‘good enough’.” Not fixed yet. “Sometimes God wants this so you have the ‘thorn in your side’ to remind you.” That doesn’t help at all.
There is just nothing I can do. Control-freak me is still wondering, “Is there REALLY nothing I can do here??”.

So what I can control is ME.
I need to focus on the fact that God loves me, He understands me and what I’m going through, and I cannot stumble/mis-interpret HIM during this time.
Conflict remains – I still believe that if I PRAY & BELIEVE – anything I ask for….
BUT now I’m submitting to – there is nothing I can do, that I haven’t already done. So chill.
Life is hard. God is still good.
And at least I’m starting to hear Him again.