My brother E_____ went to visit "Pops", as he calls Dad, yesterday. He found him eating lunch in the cafeteria. As he approached, Dad looked up stopped eating and said, "E____! It is so good to see you!!! He reached for my brother and they embraced in a big hug.
Dad resumed shoveling his lunch of turkey, mashed potatoes, jello, ice cream (which looked like he had eaten first, which Dad does like to do) a can of Ensure, milk and coffee. My brother is very conscious of not doing anything to make Dad feel any less a man, so he sat and watched Dad feed himself, helping Dad casually only if he needed it.
My brother noted Dad's right eye is closed in a permanent wink but did not seem to be in any discomfort what so ever. He also noticed Dad's big toe sticking out of his bandages and noted the big toe nail was very long so he took a picture and sent it to me. This way I can call the nursing home and have them schedule Dad for a Podiatrist appointment...
After Dad finished his meal, Doctor-Doctor came over carrying a huge fruit plate and greeted the both of them. She asked if Dad wanted his fruit plate and surprisingly Dad told her he was full!!
"This is my son." Dad told her proudly... Doctor-Doctor nodded and told E___ hello, but she has met my brother before. E____ was surprised and thrilled Dad not only remembered who he was but was cognisant enough to introduce him. Doctor-Doctor told Dad she would bring it back to him after his nap.
All of us are finding it more and more difficult to visit Dad. E____ owns his own business and travels a lot, but he used to visit Dad once or twice a month...now he finds himself coming every couple of months. On his last several visits Dad was asleep or seemed he was in a fog.
Visiting Dad when he is having a good day is always a genuine blessing...so E____ pulled out his iPad and showed Dad some pictures of his dogs. Dad used to feed his dogs when he was away and gave all of us his love for animals. Dad laughed and really enjoyed the pictures.
"Dad? You feel like going out on the patio?"
"Is it cold?" .
"It's about seventy degrees...do you want to sit in the sun or the shade?"
"The sun," Dad replied.
E____ parked Dad's wheel chair so the sun was on his back, which Dad always loves...
"Oh that sun feels so good on my back!"
The two of them chatted for awhile. E____ always likes to ask Dad questions to gauge how Dad is doing and if he remembers the stories we are all so familiar with. E_____ asked Dad about his Marine days...and about Dad's old gun he use to call "the lemon squeezer"... Dad looked confused and did not recall anything about the gun and struggled with discussing the military...so E_____ changed the topic of conversation...
E____ told Dad he was going to Mammoth in a few weeks on a fishing trip...
"I love to swim and fish...I am a very strong swimmer...maybe I will go with you?"
Laughing, E______ complimented Dad and told him he remembers what a strong swimmer Dad is. Dad used to take us to the beach and the community pool. Dad swam in the ocean like a fish. "Sounds good Pops...we'll have to do that...".
E____ was concerned the sun may burn Dad's arm and hands or make him start to itch, so he asked Dad if he wanted to return to have his "siesta".
Dad started to rise out of his wheel chair, "We can walk back..."
E____ chuckled and put his hand on Dad's shoulder and told Dad he'd get him in trouble if he did not bring Dad back in the wheel chair... so Dad sat down...
"I'm stronger than I used to be, you know..."
"I know Dad...you always gave us a run for our money..."