My father had a significant back surgery yesterday. He is currently in the I.C.U. and, since I woke up thinking about him in the middle of the night, I wanted to share a quick glimpse into why he’s the greatest man alive.
Dad hustled to earn money for our big family more than any person I’ve ever seen. He worked for the state as a toll collector and was at the bridge for overnight, holiday or overtime to bring in extra money. He also worked extra jobs from dishwasher at the C.I.A. (where he would bring leftover “day old” rolls home for us to have) to repo man (and the stories he could tell after a long night looking for cars). Now, even though he is retired, he works summers up at Goose Pond Camp running their trading post, which has a pretty cool spot called “Dean’s Bargain Table” with odd items spotlighted in a way that only Dad could do.
Dad’s always liked to be around the kids. He – with huge help from Mom – raised six sometimes bratty little kids into warm and loving people who come together with not only in times of crisis but also celebration. He has four grandkids too and wants desperately to be able to play more with them (hence, the surgery).
Kids have always been a big part of his life. When I was a kid, I remember talking to him about why he had such a big family. He told me that he couldn’t imagine life without even one of his kids. That resonated with me and I can’t think of life without one of my siblings.
Between all the work, Dad always made time for the kids. When I was in elementary school, I went away to Girl Scout Camp for a weekend with my Dad. I remember this vividly because he took a whole weekend to spend with me (no working – a rarity!). We danced at a Father/Daughter square dance and ate in the dining hall. It was just a weekend but something I hold dear in my heart.
Plus, Dad’s got an awesome sense of humor. He’s been losing his hair for ages and yet, he lets us call him “Baldy” and “Mr. Clean” and rub his bald spot for luck because he knows we rib him with love.
Yesterday, I saw my Dad in a recovery bed in extreme pain after his back surgery. He’s been at pain level 10 (out of 10) for the past few years and desperately needed this surgery. Following an eight hour operation and some prep/recover time, my Mom, oldest brother and I were able to see him in the I.C.U. I’m not sure he recognized us as he was in serious pain (even with the pain relievers). It was hard to see him like that. But I just realized that this is Dad’s rebirth. He was given a second chance to live an active life. He’s just beginning to be strong again.
Right now, he’s at the ICU. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. And thank you in advance for those positive thoughts and prayers.