Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My dear father in law

I have been grateful for my in laws many a time. The tradition comedic image of terrifying in laws just never applied to me and mine. They have been wonderful to me and it has been a pleasure to love them.

My father in law has had a lot of struggles. Eleven years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, a disease that averages ten years from diagnosis to death. Two years ago he was diagnosed with cancer, then in the middle of radiation treatment, he fell down the stairs in their home and broke his neck. He partially severed his spinal cord...millimeters from total paralysis. He worked through recovery and therapy to gain some use of his arms and legs...every movement was a hard fought gain. He still is mostly paralysed. Between the Parkinson's and his neck injury we tease him that he is like Michael J Fox and Christopher Reeve...in other words "He's short, but he can fly!" A more practical application is, his card playing skills aren't what they used to be. He still plays, with the unique box cut card holder creation, but its different than the cut throat competitive experience of old.

Along with all those things as a part of his regular care he has had recurring UTIs which have resulted in hospitalizations resulting from sepsis. The infection in his blood has now reached the lining in his heart. The Internet describes these as vegetative growths, the Dr. in all of his wisdom identified them as goobers. The practical prognosis..two months to live.

There are treatments for endocarditis, the official name for infected heart lining goobers, are difficult. There are antibiotics..or a microbiotic, that can help if the infection is not advanced. Dad's infection is advanced. The other option is open heart surgery. Dad is just not a good candidate for that...we all agree.

So where does that leave us? With a two months (or less as the Dr. reminds us-if the goober breaks off and causes a stroke!) to love and care for dad and mom. Two months to take pictures and make memories. Two months.

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