One thing about my dad was he made all his time with us meaningful. Sundays were family outing days. I can still smell the elephants from those trips to the zoo and taste the ice cream from Carvel. The Friday night fireworks we watched from the outskirts of Freedomland still light up my thoughts. And, no matter how tired he was, he always managed to take me to the distant library when I needed to go or to carry those prized hula hoops on the subway during rush hour.
My dad retired from his first job right before my son was born. They have the same birthday. He always says that boy (man now) is the greatest gift he ever got, even when he was stuck changing dirty diapers during weekly babysitting duty.
When my mom got sick, dad retired from the job he loved to take care of her. He never worried about his own comfort as he ran from doctor to doctor, held her hand while she cried during the innumerable blood transfusion, cleaned her incontinence and everything else. He cared and took care, never complaining, until the bitter end.
After mom died, dad lost his will to live. I worried that I would soon be parentless, something I didn't want to deal with and couldn't deal with, but slowly, after years of tears, he regained his will to live. He is stubborn, set in his ways and a general pain in the ass now, but I cherish every minute I have with him. Life without him is impossible to imagine.
Over the past few years he has had several health scares. He beat cancer. He survived a bad fall, although it did age him many years. Last week he fell several times (luckily he did not get hurt). His aide called and we ended up in the emergency room at Einstein Hospital in the Bronx. I won't go into it here, but the ER treatment left much to be desired. After many hours he was transferred to the 9th floor (room 938) where he got the most terrific, unbelievably good treatment ever. I can't say enough good things about Mrs. Hall, the head nurse, Macrina, his nurse, and especially Venetta, the unit secretary and everyone else on the floor. Dad was delusional and unstable, but they gently cared for him and helped him come back. It was heartbreaking to see this once strong, vibrant man suffering and psychotic. Dad is home now, with Effie, his wonderful companion and care giver and doing better.
Sorry for the rambling. Father's Day is here and I pray my dad will be around for many, many more. He will be 89 in a few weeks. I know dad doesn't read this blog, but I still want to say it here. Happy Father's Day to one of the best. I love you.
(Pictured above is dad with his health aide Effie and Jessie, the man assigned to watch him in the hospital.)
Tribute to the fine people who cared for him in the hope of it getting back to the people in charge at the hospital)