When humor goes, there goes civilization. ~Erma Bombeck

September 2, 2009

Something That Has Been On My Mind

This is Phil, he's my dad. I have been wanting to tell you about him ever since I started blogging ,but I couldn't. I'm a smart Arss and don't like to get very heavy in bloggy land. Plus talking about Phil just gets me too choked up. I can't handle it. It means I am talking about his mortality and well who wants to chat that up. Today I met a woman named Teresa

she wrote a post about Invisible Illness. You know, you don't look sick so what's your problem kind of thing.

Well, that was my dad for many many years. Look at him and my mother here. The epitome of health or so he thought.

Pretty sexy right. He and mom are on their Honeymoon, yes they got married when they were 12. It's legal in Utah. ( no it's not! )

As you can see here the Honeymoon was over. That's me and my kid brother Kip having a snooze.

Still young and healthy.

He has always been a construction worker. An electrician. He was the Foreman electrician on the Church Office Building when it was being built in Salt Lake City. That's where he is in this picture.

Here he is with some muckadymucks. Our Gov. at the time and some of you may know Jake Garn.

He is on a ladder in the middle of this Creek. He is taking mine and Papa's pic for our wedding invitation. When I was a teenager we would go on vacation and women would always think he was Robert Redford. The horror. I would think these women were not only dumb but blind also.
Now that I am mature. I can see it. ( a little)

He loved to fish, water ski, swim, work, work and work all the time at one thing or another. This is him w/ my oldest son Jamie.

Me and dad. I think it was 1979.

Here he is w/ my brother Matt. I see pictures like this and it makes me sad. Dad can't walk anymore.

He was our Santa one year.

Here he is w/ my brother Matt's first child Sally. It was around this time in his life he started noticing something was off. When he walked his body would pull to one side. Like a drunk. He started having double vision. The earth seemed to move when he would be standing still. He would get terrible headaches. Yet he looks healthy as a horse.
He would go to work every day, come home driving up the street w/ one of his socks hung over one eye because covering one eye would stop the double vision.
He went to Dr. after Dr. after Dr. One Dr. told him that he felt dad was just trying to get disability. One told him to go see a shrink. So what did dad do, he kept going to work. Construction work. Big ladders, lots of high voltage wires that kind of thing.

He would try and go on the best he could and Never Never feel sorry for himself. Here he is w/ My nephew Kole.
He also kept trying to find a Dr. that would take him serious. Finally one diagnosed him w/ M.S. even though all the tests for that disease came back negative.
Papa and I built the home we currently live in in 1999. We built an apartment on the house. ( Another long story) Anyway dad and mom lived in a 3 story walk up Condo and dad couldn't do the stairs any longer. We told mom and dad to come live in the apartment at our house.
He found the right Dr. and was diagnosed with Spinocerebellar Ataxia.
He finally got disability. Thank Heavens and life went on.

My dads way of life that is. This is what a guy who is in a part time wheelchair does, right? Papa mentioned he wanted to put a hot tub off of the patio so the next day dad was out there with Jamie and Oby (our sons) building the slab it would eventually sit on.
Mind you dad could only work so long before he would have to lay down for awhile. When I say lay down I mean he would just lay where ever he was. He would lay in the bushes, the driveway, the grass, the porch, under the raspberry bushes.
One afternoon one of Oby's friends rushed in our house to tell us grandpa was dead. Grandpa was laying under our truck in the driveway. I can't imaging what our neighbors thought of us, letting that poor man work his guts out until he had to lay in the driveway, but could we get him to stop? NO!!!!!
He decided to paint the columns and porch railings around our house, so he tethered himself to one column at time so if he fell he wouldn't hit the ground. This was on our second story deck btw.

We begged him to stop. He even climbed in the attic one day.( He could not for the life of him wait until Papa got home to help him.) He was doing whatever, mom was at the kitchen table applying her daily make-up , dad lost his balance and his legs went through the ceiling. Really. Just like in the movies.
He would not stop. He would not give up. He did not want to sit in a chair, lay in a bed until he could absolutely do nothing else.
Two years ago was the last time dad gardened with me. He would crawl to help me. His arms would give out and he would do a face plant right in the dirt, pull himself up and start again.
Sometimes he couldn't crawl so he would sit or lay. It took him more than two hours to plant a four by four ft. plot of peas that year
I caught him in his jazzy (wheelchair) scooting up the driveway with his giant ladder under one arm that same year. I said "Where the hell do you think you are going?" ( He had already been told the ladders were off limits to him no discussion.) He said " I am going to wash the windows."
I took the ladder away.
We had already made him give up driving. ( That is a story for another day)
Telling your dad, a man who always demanded respect" no" is not an easy task. Even if he is in a wheelchair and can't chase you down.

Dad's body will slowly stop functioning. He sits in his window and watches me garden now. Listens to books on tape, sleeps.
Soon he won't be able to swallow, talk, eventually breathe.
This man has fallen down more times than any person I know. He has never complained. I know it's a bad day when he will say " this is the shits" I have only heard that a couple of times. His usual reply when you ask him how he is doing is "I've never felt better." That's it.

Here he is a few years ago at our 4th of July party. Sorry I couldn't get the pic to turn around right. We had a parade and he had to be in it.

You can't tell but we are holding him up in this picture.

Here is dad this past 4th of July. We are at my brothers house. It takes two men to get him up the stairs and into that chair.
It is an effort for him to speak or even hold up his head.
He still is trying.
He has been the best example of how to handle yourself in life to me, Hands Down.
My mom said to him a long time ago "Phil don't you get depressed?" His reply was "Would that make me better?" Seriously the guy will not complain.
So the next time you think you are having a bad day..... Try thinking of someone who has had a bad day for over 20 years and is still grateful for every one of them. He is as stubborn as they come and has a heart bigger than any I have seen.

My two little handicaps.

Remember to go by and say hi to Kidz


Bonnie the Boss said...

Okay, I cried! thanks for sharing, he is an amazing man! He is also lucky to have you.

TMI Tara said...

I love Grandpa Phil. Those are the only words I can find to explain how I feel. That's it. Love him.

Sera said...

I absolutely love Phil. He is a wonderful example of not letting life dictate our happiness! Tell him hi and sending my love from Denver.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Your story about your Dad made me hang my head and swear to never complain again...but I know I will. The difference is...I will remember your Dad and a few others I have known in my life with that sort of courage...
Your Dad is one of the wonderful ones! An example for us to live up to.
Thanks for sharing him with us!

Connie said...

I'm typing this with tears in my eyes. What a great example your dad is! Thanks for sharing his and your story! Something like this affects the whole family!

Jolene said...

Nana, your post brought tears to my eyes. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man. I hope he has more good days than bad in his future...

Anonymous said...

I came here by way of Mona/wsprsweetly cottages...

I'm glad that I did. My prayers go up for your dad and all those, like myself, who suffer with any disease. It's harder on those of us who's diseases you can't see but darn if we don't keep getting up into the fight everyday.

your dad, HE IS MY HERO. You know the wings in heaven have already been fitted for this man. He is blessing even in his physical state. you tell him okay, HE IS MY HERO!!


Anne Fannie said...

Your father sounds like a wonderful man. What a great inspiration he is, and you, you are a wonderful daughter.

Joycee said...

What a tribute to a giant of a man. So glad you shared the trials your Dad has faced and still he is positive and continues to live his life. There are so many examples of courage, both his and your family in this wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing.
Sending love and prayers,
joy c.

Kristina P. said...

This made me tear up! He sounds so amazing.

Yvonne said...

Thank you so much for your comment on my blog because I got to read this about your dad. What an amazing man--a wonderful example.

Also, Sweet Tooth Fairy is located at 1227 South University Avenue in Provo (near Sam's Club). Their website is thesweettoothfairy dot com

Kristi Veale said...

Ok I have tears too! It was hard to see him one year walking and the next year in the jazzy! I hate to see things get worse or people get old. It was one of the hardest things to have Jim away unexceptedly and not to mention on my 32 birthday. It will be one year on the 19th of this month. I didn't really think of that til just now. So make sure that your mom calls Sally on the 19th. I know that she would love to hear from her friends that day.

Deanna said...

You touched my soul with this post. After seeing my mom try to keep her dignity with alzheimers and dad not admitting to the ravages and pain of cancer until it was too late. There are many heroes in this world and your dad is one of them. My hat is off to him. No complaining from this little lady ever again. Now, I'll wipe my tears and move on. Thanks and hugs.

Kathy B! said...

Oh, Nana. I wish I put my mascara on AFTER I read this post. What a lovely, beautiful, exceptional, heartfelt, moving post.

Your father is truly a man among men.

Bless you both.

Valerie said...

What a wonderful man, what a wonderful story!
Thanks for going outside of your "comfort zone" and sharing :)

(A follower from Connie's blog)

Mandy said...

Nana what a great post!!!! I cried and cried, made me think of me own dad!! They kinda are the same in some ways. My dad was killed in a car accident almost 8 yrs ago and man I miss the hell out of him!!!
He sounds like a wonderful example and someone you can always look up to!!! THanks for sharing!!!

Cynthia said...

That story put tears in my eyes! What a blessing to have such an amazing Dad. What an incredible example he is to all around him.

If you are interested in working for a bit- go to ACS in Sandy TOMORROW- and get there before 9:00 am because it's a madhouse. The address is 510 West Parkland Dr. (I think). It will only last 2-5 weeks but I figure I can do anything for that length of time. It's a point of pride for me as a SAHM that *I* always pay for Christmas myself so this is how I'm doing it this year.

Grand Pooba said...

No wonder you get choked up talking about Phil! I don't understand how he can have such a positive attitude about life in his situation! It sounds like he just won't let anything bring him down. And look at him holding Chloe! So sweet! You've got an amazing father!

Andrea said...

Bless your father for all that he does (and tries to do). His story is amazing and it's people like him that make you stop twice and be thankful for everything that you have.

Thanks for stopping my blog today. I'm very glad to have come by and heard this story.

KelleyAnne said...

Should have a warning at the beginning of these posts....Kleenex box in hand. You so beautifully expressed your love and respect for your dad and the sadness you feel seeing his quality of life diminish as time goes by. MY brother had a spinal chord injury and although it wasn't gradual, it was painful. It is never fun to see someone you love suffer. Thanks for sharing this.♥ P.S. I'm back, FINALLY, missed ya!

Mimi Sue said...

How lucky your family is to have your dad as an example. Such a cruel disease for someone who loves to work. You're such a great daughter to support him. I know it's not easy. My mom came to live with us after she had a stroke. I'm so glad she did and wouldn't give up a single minute of it. Mimi

Bennett Bunch said...

We just love Grandpa Phil so much! It's so hard to watch his health decline so fast! When I first met Jamie he could walk with crutches, now...

Bennett Bunch said...

We just love Grandpa Phil so much! It's so hard to watch his health decline so fast! When I first met Jamie he could walk with crutches, now...

Debbie said...

What an incredible post. the love and admiration you have for him is palpable. Thank you for sharing this with us.

The Garden of Egan said...

Thanks so much for that beautiful story! What a handsome man!

bj said...

What an awesome man, your dad.
Thanks for sharing this story with us.
Not sure if I've been here before or not but....my name is bj and I'd love for you to come for a visit.
Now...gotta go read more of your blog and sign up to follow.:)

Emma said...

What a great story
sounds like a great man.

Jane In The Jungle said...

Oh Nana, you brought me to tears. What an amazing testimony to your father this post is. You are so blessed girl.

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