So Very Sorry…

…but I’ve been very busy since my dad’s initial stroke around September 28. I had him moved up to a rehab facility closer to me and he was doing well in his therapies. He got back up to 50% of his ADLs, but was still having trouble walking and following instructions from the rehab staff. Coco and I were there every, single day by his side, cheering him on and spending time with him while he was in rehab and the hospital. He was doing great…he was confused sometimes, but he was doing great.

Then, last Wednesday, October 16, he had another small stroke and was sent to Einstein Hospital where he spent two days in the neurology wing. When he was stable again, he went back to the rehab center while I searched around for a skilled nursing facility for him as he would need round-the-clock care for the rest of his life. He was doing well in rehab again until…unfortunately, he suffered yet another, more serious stroke around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 23, as I was en route to hang out with him.

When I went to Einstein Hospital, where he was moved, to spend the day with him on Thursday (as I stayed with him all day on Wednesday, too), I was told that the doctors and staff had exhausted their efforts and I was asked what he would like to do since he would never have a decent quality of life ever again. The doctors stated that it was really only a matter of time before another stroke, or cardiac arrest, would take him away from us. I made the difficult decision to make him DNR and put him on hospice care.

Shortly thereafter, I called his siblings and everyone came to sit with him, hold his hands, and get him to relax as he was aware of everything that was happening, but he could no longer communicate with us. My sister flew up from Georgia again Thursday night and we were going to head out early to sit with our dad on Friday morning and wait for the priest to come give him his Last Rites.

Around 5:51 a.m. on Friday, I woke up with to a racing heart and what felt like a panic attack. I laid there wondering if I’d made the correct decision for my dad’s life and I kept saying, “Daddy, tell me I made the right decision for you” over and over again. At 6:00 a.m., my alarm went off and I got up and looked at my emails on my phone. Then, there was a call from an unknown number and it was the hospital, calling to say that my dad passed away, peacefully, from brachycardia at 6:00 a.m.

These last few days have been a clustercuss of prepping his things for the funeral and trying, desperately, to find the funds to have his burial on Saturday. He didn’t have life insurance and his accounts were a mess. We suspect he may have had several mini-strokes prior to the first one on September 28 and his cognition must’ve been askew since bills were unpaid and he’d given a lot of money away to relatives.

I’ve bumped into all kinds of horrible things this last month and almost every one of them stems from my dad’s obesity. There are things you’d never even imagine could happen just because you’re obese and it’s terrifying me. I couldn’t find a nursing home that’d take him…or a hospice unit either…a regular wheelchair couldn’t support his weight…he required a bigger hospital bed…he couldn’t fit into an MRI machine…his cemetery plot was too narrow (we opted for cremation then)…and his cremation cost extra because it takes longer for an obese person to turn to ash…all because he let himself get to weigh over 400 pounds. My dad was an AMAZING man and his weight has screwed over a lot of his dignity and comfort and it’s taken him away from us and I hate that. The world is a lonelier, scarier place without him here and his death could have been delayed had he ate better and left his apartment for exercise…even a small walk outside. (Turns out, he wasn’t leaving to even get his mail anymore.)

I ask any of you who are over 300 pounds to get absolutely serious about your health. I have been through hell these past few weeks and it’s all obesity-related. I implore you all to eat healthier and get exercise and don’t do what my dad did. Get help from a professional if you must, but please…don’t just give up and give in. Someone you know loves you so much and doesn’t want to see you suffer and, most certainly, doesn’t want to have to go through what I’m going through and what I’ve gone through all month.

I don’t know when I’ll be back to blogging since there are more things I have to deal with over the next few weeks and I’m extremely busy juggling everything right now, but I promise that I’ll be back sooner or later. One of my new goals is to help at least one person or one family from going through this.

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36 thoughts on “So Very Sorry…

  1. My condolences on your loss – you envisioned this day coming sooner than anyone would want and you did all you could to try and help your dad help himself. He is lucky to have had you as a daughter! You and your family are in my thoughts – thank goodness you have your guys to support you through all this. Hang in there!

  2. So sorry for your loss. Very glad your dad’s suffering was not prolonged. Sorry you have such a mess to clean up with his affairs. Death paperwork is hard enough under the best of circumstances. And you have very tough mess.

  3. I’m so, so sorry to hear this. I’m glad that your dad went peacefully at the end, and that all of his family got to see him. I hope you know that you did the absolute best you could for him – and that he knows it, too. Take care and know that you are in my thoughts. <>

  4. I’ve lurked and listened and read for such a long time, but I wanted to offer condolences at this sad, awful time. You and Mister McGee seem like such wonderful people, I hope your little family can get through this period stronger than ever.

  5. A normally quiet reader here… just wanted to say that I’m so, so sorry to hear about your dad. I think you’re a wonderful daughter who did her best to help him in whatever ways you could, and I think you’re an amazing mom and wife who goes to incredible lengths to see that her family is healthy and happy. Best wishes to you…

  6. I am so sorry girl. My dad died from the same obesity related issues, though I guess I was “lucky” in that a heart attack came quickly and it wasn’t a series of strokes…but at 57, 4 months before he was to walk me down the aisle, it was way too soon. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers as you have to deal with the sadness of your loss, and the mess of cleaning up his things and finances. I’m so sorry 😦

  7. What on earth are you apologizing for?!?!? You have been through a terrible ordeal (both you & your poor dad). Deepest sympathy to you & yours, my dear.

  8. My condolences to you and your beautiful family. So very very sorry for everything. You have amazing strength and love…You have made and are making such a difference. Stay the course…

  9. Very sorry for your loss. Sending good thoughts your way. I hope the good memories you shared with your father help you get through the tough times ahead. My own father passed away suddenly almost a year ago and dealing with all the paperwork, finances, taxes, and taking care of the loose ends he left behind has not been easy. Take things one day at a time.
    PS Very wise words to those who are obese. It may seem harsh to some, but that is the reality of that situation.

  10. I am so so extremely sorry to hear about your father. Sending lots of love and prayers your way. If there’s anything I can do to help please let me know-I would be glad to help out in any way necessary.

  11. This is so sad and my heart goes out to you. My Dad passed away three years ago plus one day (Oct 29, 2010). He was not obese. So there are things you have had to deal with that we didn’t. But he was still my Dad and it was still hard. Please be extra good to yourself. Allow yourself time to feel the grief, and to embrace it. Yes, if you do that, you can come out the other side. Just don’t deny yourself all the emotions that you are having now. It’s okay to cry, to rant, to wish it was someone else, anything….. Eventually it doesn’t hurt so much. You always will feel the loss but the edges aren’t so sharp. And eventually you will find the memories are happy, the good times are what you will remember and they will be a comfort to you. But for right now, just wallow in the grief, I promise that doing that now will help you later.

  12. I realize I’m fairly unknown on here, though I’ve followed your blog for a while now. Just wanted you to know that people are thinking of you, and of your family. Holidays, especially the first, without someone you love are poignant, precious, and impossible.

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