Heart Choices: 2018-07-01 -->

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Summer Fun with Dad

My dad called me long distance to tell me he was having trouble breathing. Why make a phone call all the way to Phoenix from Florida when you can't breathe? Because I'm a nurse. He ended up in the hospital with congestive heart failure. The following ten days or so included lots of phone calls, words of encouragement, nursing advice, and as much wisdom as I could muster long distance. Once Dad was discharged, it was a relief for my siblings and me.

But when you're 89 years old and living alone, it's not always smooth sailing. A fall in the bathroom and a bit of disorientation added to the mix. My husband, Greg insisted I purchase a plane ticket for the next day. He knew I would feel better spending time with my dad. I attempted to prepare a list of everything I needed to do to help him during my weeklong stay.

But on the plane, I read a book called Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff. I laughed. I had tears in my eyes at times. After all, I don't have all the answers.

"I used to want to fix people, but now I just want to be with them." Bob Goff

My dad and I have a special relationship. We used to laugh and say that I opened the month of February as my birthday is the 1st. My dad ended the month of February (most times) as he was born on the 28th. So many women missed out on a good relationship with their dad. Mine was far from perfect, but I never doubted his love for me. That is indeed a gift; love and acceptance.

I am staying with my father in his small place. Sleeping on the couch, I can hear his breathing in the bedroom. Each morning, an electronic voice reminds him to step on the scale for his weight and instructions to attach the BP cuff and oximeter to his finger. I am ready with pad and pen to record vitals. Technology has certainly advanced. Today, a home health nurse stopped by to visit. In a few days, I will accompany him to the cardiologist's office. I am glad I am here to navigate the healthcare system with him.

The list of fun things to do with my dad is out the window. What he needs right now is love, companionship, and a little bit of help. So, I remember Bob Goff's advice and spend time with him and love on him.

Blessings and love,

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