coughing and coughing

So the month of December has been a month of illness for me. I tell you, it is rare that I am sick, but when I am, boy do I really get sick. The month started out with me recovering from gallbladder surgery. That has gone well overall. I’m still a little sore and weak, but I’m sure I’ll be fine in time. Then last week, I think I had a brief case of the flu. I woke up last Tuesday morning with a horribly sore throat and my head felt like it was going to explode. That lasted for about three days then I started to feel better. Just in time for all the holiday festivities. Then late on Christmas night my throat started feeling scratchy and I began to cough, and cough, and cough some more… and I’m still coughing today.

But all this sickness has given me some time to think and reflect. I’ve thought about my family, my friends, really all the people in my life. I’ve thought about where I am now after having several difficult years. I’m praying that 2008 will be a banner year for my family. A year filled with happiness, joy, and blessings.

In 1988 my father had his first heart attack – it was massive, he was only 38. At eight years old, I became familiar with the terms angioplasty, hospital, sick, and death. Over the next 18 years my father would undergo 3 major bypass surgeries, countless angioplasties, stents, and catheterizations, 2 hernia surgeries, and an operation on one of his carotid arteries. As his body deteriorated he was also diagnosed with diabetes, early stages of glaucoma, and sleep apnea.

He was also a workaholic and the day in 1998 that the company gave him an ultimatum to leave on disability or they would let him go… well, I think he felt it was the most humiliating day of his life. He was always a tough man, and when he felt out of control it would make him crazy. He would take those frustrations out on those closest to him. For several years after the retirement he was lost, angry, and the most vulnerable I’d ever seen him. Those were hard years.

From 2000 – 2002, we spent a lot of time at the hospital with Dad. He was always the worst patient. I always had complex feelings visiting him. He was my dad and I loved him so I wanted to be there to support him, but he would make it so difficult to do just that sometimes. Some days, I just wished he’d fall asleep and I could slip out of the room and come back another day.

2003 was a tough year as we were all challenged by a major transitioning change in the family. Details I will not go into now but it was filled with events that hurt us terribly and damaged the very foundation my mother worked so hard to build.

In 2004 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy and the treatment carried over into 2005. Shortly after mom completed her treatment, Dad was back in the hospital two more times for two major surgeries.

2006 started out alright, Dad had mellowed a little and the family seemed to be getting along better. But on May 31, 2006 my father passed away. Since then my family has been faced with grief, getting his estate in order, and trying to fight a losing battle against the company my dad worked for for 34 years. His retirement account had disappeared with the company’s bankruptcy filing. So my mother had to return to work.

So that brings us to 2007. As if fighting the retirement battle, and trying to manage my mother’s financial situation weren’t enough, she fell at work and broke her hip. This required a total hip replacement and three months out of work. The only fortunate thing to come out of that was that she fell at work and so worker’s compensation has taken care of most of the medical bills. Then as I stated earlier, I required a surgery to remove my gallbladder and have been sick ever since. Fortunately not sick from the surgery, just sick in general.

After this long explanation (which actually is the short version), I’m getting to my point – and my point is that the people in my life deserve some peace. My mother needs a quiet year, one where no one is in a hospital, hopefully we are all getting along alright, and where finances are finally figured out. So that’s what I’m praying for. A year full of happiness, joy and blessings for my mother in 2008.

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