Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Warrior Waging A Noble Fight, Fueled By Chocolate Ice Cream

I took this picture of Eddie at the $50,000 Silver Dollar gift shop in Haugan, Montana. Ed has a face for hats and can transform his look in a matter of seconds. He's a chameleon and every I.D. he has looks different. If you were to find his wallet, you'd think he was on the lam, using multiple identities.

Seeing him in this helmet made me think that "warrior" is the perfect word for my stepfather. He's been home since his two-day stint in the hospital and has been essentially bedridden. He wants to get up, but he's really weak and it isn't really suggested by the nurses. He has such incredible will, though. He's a fighter. And very determined.

Each night, we put him to bed, tuck him in, give him his meds (and a sleeping pill as recommended by the nurses) and bid him goodnight. Two mornings in a row now, we've been awakened at five in the morning with him halfway out of the bed. He pulled the oxygen tube from his nose, unbuttoned his pajama top, threw back the covers, and pulled his legs over the side of the bed, determined to get out. This morning, one foot was firmly planted on the floor, and the other had just the toes touching. It must have taken him quite some time to get to that point since he doesn't move very fast, to begin with. What the hell?? I keep asking him where he thinks he's going and he says he's "bored" just lying there in bed.

He's physically declining, but his mind is extremely active and he's talking a lot. Ed said to him, "Frank, I've known you for almost eight years now and this is the most I've ever heard you talk." Frank laughed heartily at that.

Every morning, when Frank wakes up, he asks for Ed (slowly and deliberately forming the words...Where. Is. Edoardo?). Freakin' Ed, man. Everyone asks for Ed - my nephews, my parents, my friends. WTF?? My mother and I are the ones feeding Frank, giving him his meds, making sure he's drinking enough fluids, adjusting his blankets, listening to his stories, playing music for him, etc. and the only person he's asking for is Ed! Sonofabitch!

It's really amazing though, to watch how he fights to "get back to normal", as he keeps saying. But what is normal at almost ninety years old? He was doing seven miles on the treadmill just a few years ago. Daily. I haven't walked seven miles total in the last year. I think he expects to still be doing that, but it's just not going to happen. He's extremely lucid and his memory is outstanding; we looked at a video slideshow recently that had photos in it that were over sixty years old and he was able to identify everyone in them.

When he's groggy, he sees family members who have already passed; his mother, his sister-in-law Anita (at a buffet, no less!), and his three brothers. Some things I've read say seeing dead people is a sign that the person is dying. Could be, but I don't completely believe it. Right now I'm listening to him have a lengthy conversation with my mother. His voice is strong and he's talking about when we went to Las Vegas in the early eighties.  We stayed at The Dunes and ate at Sultan's Table, the fanciest restaurant in the hotel. We even pulled out the photo of the four of us from that night. It seemed to support his memory.

There were a few minutes of silence before he spoke again.

He took a deep breath and slowly said, "Where's my ice cream? I asked for it more than twenty minutes ago."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Ragazzo dell’Ombrello
2 YEARS AGO: Eddie It’s Not Even Halloween Yet Friday
3 YEARS AGO: Not So Different, Are We?
4 YEARS AGO: Quite Uneducated If You Ask Me
5 YEARS AGO: Sometimes Identity Theft Can SAVE You Money
6 YEARS AGO: Mina In Fifty Years


Belledog said...

Glad that you can be there with that extraordinary stepfather. You are all in my thoughts.

ELH said...

Ed looks like he should be in one of those old Charleston Heston movies, as a proud roman warrior..