Posts Tagged ‘Dad’

Don’t Puppydog It

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I have been putting this off. Every day since Pop died, I have thought about the fact that I haven’t written about it, and I have put it off another day. It has kept me up at night. Some nights it has almost made me sick. I know that it is normal to have some kind of delayed reaction to grief, and for grief to come to me in phases is normal. But I don’t think that is the problem.

Don’t Puppydog It.

That’s what Pop used to say to me when I was learning to hammer nails. Don’t Puppydog It. It meant that you needed to aim true, hit the nail on the head, not miss and hit the wood around the nail, causing indentations where the hammer head hit. A few indentations around the nail gives the appearance of a dog’s footprint. Don’t Puppydog it means “take pride in your work.” You didn’t want to Puppy Dog it when Pop was watching. You didn’t want to hear, “You’re puppydoggin’ it!” in an exasperated voice.

And I think the reason that I haven’t wanted to write this is that I don’t want to PuppyDog it. But I also know that fear of failure is almost always worse than the doing of that thing. So here goes.

I’ve written quite a lot about Pop here on Dogwood Girl.

I wrote about him and Matilda and their bonding and his strange depression-era ways. I wrote about him reading a post I wrote on his 90th birthday. My Mom printed it out so he could read it, and he thought it was his obituary. I wrote about my heavy-hearted drive down to Warner Robins the day before Pop died. And on the day that died, this is all I could muster.

But there is more to say. I loved Pop, and as a child, I probably respected him more than my other Grandparents. I think I thought he was perfect back then. Of course, we grow up, and we learn that people are not perfect and that sometimes the people who seem perfect are the ones that are trying the hardest to cover up that they aren’t perfect. Pop wasn’t perfect. He was vain and stingy. He desperately wanted people to like him, I see now, but most people just thought he was the nicest old man they had ever met. But he could be hardest on those closest to him. He would sometimes share with friends and neighbors what he never would have shared with his own family. In later years, when I had children (and the new perspective that children bring to life), I still vacillated between anger at his disapproval, his inability to show pride and approval to my father, his tight-fistedness, and forgiveness for his ways; After all, he had never had a mother and father to teach him about right and wrong and trusting others, and to demonstrate love. He had an Uncle who beat him, and an Aunt who surely loved him, but had a son of her own and two other nephews to care for also, in a time when women were surely not able to speak up about things like unfairness to an orphaned child taken into the family.

Words of kindness from my Grandfather carried more weight with my family than those from other folks. As a child, when I left my Grandparents’ house, my Grandfather would stand rigid when I threw my arms around him for a hug. I would hug him. He would uncomfortably pat me on the back or head. He would say, “Stay off Dope” instead of “I love you.” I still remember the first time he wrote “Love, Pops,” instead of just “Pops,” on a card.

There were good things, though – he was not all cold and thrifty. He and Grandma gave us Hope Chests. I think that these used to be for a girl to keep things she made or was given, to take with her when she got married: Linens, china, silver, etc. I am not sure, because all I ever kept in mine was junk from childhood – Dead flowers from high school boys, my diploma and cap and gown, my Varsity letter, adoption dolls and Madame Alexander dolls, class photos, costume jewelry, and the blue and white blanket my grandmother crocheted for me. Very little of this would actually be useful in a marriage, and I am sure Todd thanks his lucky stars that I brought this trunk full of junk to our holy union; Every man needs a wife who keeps her baby Snoopy stuffed animal from second grade, her childhood diary, and every note ever written to her by stupid schoolgirls from 7th through 10th grade.

One year, Pop gave us a doll case. It was a handmade, wooden case, painted blue, with quilted material inside in a floral pattern. Tiller has it now and it still spills out the Barbies of my childhood. (My sister and I still want to ditch the kids one Friday night, open a bottle of wine, and play Barbies.) Another gift was a girly gilt mirrored tray, with matching brush and hand mirror. I did not keep mine, but kind of wish I had, despite the fact that I can imagine exactly what Todd’s face would look like if I brought it into my house today.

One Christmas in Alpharetta, my sister and I got a Barbie Dream House. I remember Pop and Daddy trying to put the damn thing together, and I was telling them how to do that. I did that a lot. One of their favorite stories is of me, at about age five, telling them how they should cut down the fallen pine trees on our house and porch, after the 1978 ice storm. I think of that every time one of my children tries to direct me or Todd in a task today. Kids are funny – they really do think they know how to do everything!

My other memories of Grandma and Pop were mostly of their house or the Lake. We would be at the lake for a weekend and after breakfast on a Saturday morning, Grandma would get dressed to “Go to town.” This involved putting together a well-matched ensemble of pantsuit, fancy polyester dress shirt of some sort, with corresponding matching jewelry: A necklace, “earbobs,” and a pin (she said it kind of like “peon”) which was a brooch. She would put on her lipstick and her powder and then we girls (her and Lisa and Me and sometimes Mom) would go to the Milledgeville or Houston Mall, where we would walk around and look at stuff, usually in Belk’s. By the time we got home, i would be rarin’ to go outside and hang out with Dad and Pop.

In my mind’s eye, it is cool, maybe Fall. I am wearing a navy windbreaker, with Garanimals, probably the pants are plaid, and a solid red or blue ribbed turtleneck. I am pony-tailed, and wearing Zips. I am tagging along with my dad and Pop. I am maybe six. I am the Gofer. “Mouse, fetch that bowsaw,” Dad would say. Or Phillips screwdiver. Or awl. Move that sawhorse. Get that level. Hold this piece of wood. One time, I was holding wood while Pop sawed it. The saw skipped and caught me across the finger. I was bleeding. Pop told me to hold the wood while he finished cutting and then we would go in and get Grandma to look at it. That’s how Pop was sometimes – Unsympathetic. Cold. When I catch myself being this way with my kids, telling them to “suck it up,” I try to remember that it’s okay to teach your kids to be tough, and to stick things out, but not to be unfeeling about it.

But I loved being a kid and hanging out with them, and learning to mix cement, or measure wood, or build stairs. And sometimes, after we worked, we fished, and I remember learning to clean fish with him and Dad. Or we would walk around the yard, surveying our day’s work, and Pop would point out little things for me to do, like trimming a shrub, or digging up a stump, or deadheading something, or digging up potatoes. Pop never sat still. Even when he did sit, I can remember him sitting in the middle of the grass, pulling weeds, using a pocket knife to get the stubborn ones. He would always have a pocket-knife in his pocket, for pulling weeds, or cutting electrical tape, or sharpening a pencil, or paring a pear, or cutting up meat for the dog, or cleaning dirt out from under his nails. I have his old Case pocket-knife now, and I used it a few weeks after he died to cut a piece of carpet, and then I cried. That’s the only time I’ve cried over Pop. I was like that when both Grandmas died, too. I cried over Grandma Smith when I found bottles of Early Times in her closet at Mom and Dad’s house.

I used to love to walk around the yard with Pop, him pointing out the names of plants and shrubs and trees. I owe my love of growing things to Pop. I think of him, wearing his pants and long sleeve shirts even in the dead of Summer, every time I walk around and look at the things growing in my yard. I think of being in the yard at the lake one weekend during college, wearing his old flannel work shirt, and a pair of cut-off jeans with tights and Doc Martens. He laughed in a kids-these-days way, and shook his head and told me, “We never cut up our dungarees like that.” He eyed my boots. “Those look like sturdy brogans.”

Pop started slowing down a lot in the last ten years. He didn’t go to the lake anymore. He stopped saving bread for the birds. (He still saved leftovers mom and dad brought for him in styrofoam takeout containers on the stove. There was a learning curve for Todd and the kids, where they had to learn that if pop offered you food, you probably shouldn’t take it unless it was pre-packaged. Fried chicken on the stove could have been there for a week or more.) He got to where he would only eat certain things. Canned baked beans (cold), Vienna sausages from the Dollar Store, a cereal bar, homemade pimento cheese, and some diet soda. (Generic store brand, of course, like Big K.) I am not kidding – he almost lived off this stuff for the last five years of his life.

He also got to where he would tell the same stories, over and over. Even todd could recite them: When forgetful, he would say that he “needed to download new software.” He thought it was funny when I yawned and made a loud yawning noise. He would say, “Well, you don’t have to holler!” after my yawn. He would tell a story about him telling Grandma that he was going to write a book one day when he got to be an old man. She would retort: “You’re an old man now!” He thought that was the funniest thing. He would say, “meer” instead of “come here” to the dog. He called Grandma “Ezlynn” instead of Evelyn sometimes. And she called him “The Goat Man.” “Ooooweeee! You look like the goat man, she’d say to us, when we came in muddy or dirty.” Pop and Aunt Lena Mae, his sister, and i were the three Goat men. We were the ones who always got the messiest, although sometimes Aunt Lessie was a goat man, too. Or my Daddy. I think people think Lisa and I are nuts when we use the term Goat man, but it is forever part of my vocabulary. I got my Goatmanishness from my Pop.

We knew Pop was dying. It was slow. He went from the hospital to the hospice. He was there a couple of weeks. They were about to send him home, because he wouldn’t eat, and he wouldn’t rouse, but he wouldn’t die either. Mom and Dad were freaking out about how they would care for him. And then he seemed to take a turn for the worse, almost as if he knew that going home would cost a pretty penny for his family, and he wasn’t going to waste that money on extra dying time!

On the 4th of July, Todd and I took the kids to fireworks at Chamblee. I remember looking up at them, looking over at the wonder on my children’s faces at the fireworks, remembering another time – one of my most precious memories of my Grandma Palmer – that I watched fireworks with her on Tybee, tears rolling down her cheeks. She had alzheimer’s by then, and I thought she was crying over the beauty of the fireworks. And she was, but when they were over, she turned to me, still crying tears of happiness, and said, “I haven’t ever seen fireworks before!” Of course, she had, but she didn’t remember that.

I sat on the blanket at Chamblee, and I realized tears were rolling down my own cheeks. Partly for the love of my children and their sense of wonder and the thought of their whole lives ahead of them. Partly knowing that an era in my life was gone, a whole generation was dying with the coming death of my grandfather. I was not long for the world as a girl with Grandparents. I was becoming more a mother, and a daughter, and a wife. In the big picture, the passing of my last grandparent signaled that the next generation was my own Mother and Father. It signaled that I was taking my parents’ place in the world. I was 37 years old, watching fireworks, and i was not a child myself, no matter how much i still felt like one.

I drove down that Sunday, July 5th. I went to Hospice in Perry, GA. My father, still recovering from heart surgery, could not stay. My sister and I spent the night with my grandfather, and we all thought that he would go that night. He didn’t. His breathing came shallow, but it marched on through the night.

In the morning, Lisa went home to mom and dad’s to take a shower. I stayed with Pop. I held his hand and read a book. I don’t know if he knew i was there.

Mom and Lisa came back late morning. Mom went outside and Lisa read aloud to Pop from the bible. She went outside with Mom

I was alone with Pop.

I had read in the literature that hospice gives to families that sometimes people who are dying will “hang on” out of some sort of obligation to their family, and that they need to be told it is okay to let go. It almost seemed that was what was going on with Pop. Or maybe, as we had joked a million times, he really didn’t want to leave his savings behind.

But to tell someone that it is okay to let go? He had been on this earth for 93 years. Almost a century. I had been here barely over a third of that time. Who was I to tell him how to die, if it was okay to let go? It just felt so . . . presumptuous. But I knew that it had to be said. Somehow I knew that was what he was waiting for. He was a complete control freak in life, and he needed to know that he could relinquish control.

I am a person who spends too much time thinking. Too much time typing and writing. I do not tend to voice my feelings aloud. I will tell you what I think of YOUR problem, or if I don’t like someone, i will say so. But I rarely say the big things, the heavy things, the things that will really hurt someone I care about. Spoken words have so much power for things that are so impermanent. You speak a word, and it disappears at once into the ether, but the echo of it carries on in your head after it is spoken. I have always struggled with voicing the difficult things aloud.

I sat in that room with my Grandfather, and I talked to him. I told him I loved him. I told him he had lived a good life and that he should be proud of all the things that he accomplished in his life. I told him that if his parents had lived to see him become a man, they would have been so proud of him. I told him that he was a good husband, and a good father. I told him he was a wonderful Grandfather and that I loved learning about plants and work from him, and that the moments I spent traipsing around the yard with him, getting dirty, were invaluable to me, and that one day i hoped to do the same with my own grandchildren, and that I would tell them all about him.

I told him that it was okay for him to go, that when he got to heaven, he would get to see Grandma again, and all of his siblings who passed before him, and that he would finally get to be with his parents again. I told him that Princess and Tiny, his dogs, would be there, too and would be so happy to see him, and Princess would run in wide circles around him like she did as a puppy.

I told him that we would meet him there some day, too. I don’t know if we will meet him there, but i said it anyway. Excepting possibly saying “I do” on my wedding day, or the first time I said my children’s names aloud while gazing into their brand new faces, these were the most important and heavy words that I have ever said to another person.

I sensed the peace that came over him, that came into the room. Or maybe it just came over me. I sat with him in silence after that, holding his hand, until mom, Dad, and Lisa came back in.

I left to go home and change, and get some lunch with Dad. Dad had left and “said goodbye” to Pop, and he did not want to go back to the hospital. We knew it would not be long, though, and I could tell that Dad was torn – part of him did not want to be with Pop when he died. Part of him felt he should be there. He grappled with it all during lunch. I finally told him that I was going back, and that I wanted to be there, and that everyone understood if he didn’t want to be there. He looked almost like a child as he struggled with whether or not he should go. I could tell that he wanted someone to tell him what to do, but I knew that I couldn’t tell him, and he had to decide himself.

I told him i was going and could drop him off at the house, or he could go back to Perry with me. He decided to go.

When we got there, it was apparent that Pop was letting go. We sat with him, watching his breathing, in and out, like a terrible ticking clock. Then, the nurses needed to check on Pop, and we all moved to the family waiting room, which is so nice, it’s like a parlor – Couches and a television, coffee tables with magazine and flowers, and clean bathrooms with brass fixtures.

The nurses came in and said that we better come back in. Dad went in, and he was near to losing it, I could tell, as if he was an animal trapped in a snare and he was starting to panic. In the end, he could not stay till the end. He had to leave. I thought of that scene in Steel Magnolias where the men just can’t take it and have to leave the room while Julia kicks it.

In the end, it was me, and lisa, each of us sitting with Pop. Mom was in the room, sitting on the couch, and leaving the hand-holding to us. I sat on his right, and held his right hand. Lisa stood on his left. We talked him out of this world, whispering that we loved him, stroking his head, holding his hands. It seemed that he was not in any pain when he went. He was peaceful. And somehow I felt at peace, too.

I kissed his forehead. I said goodbye.

Afterwards, we collected his things, things with an owner no more. A person can be dead and still have shoes, and you look at the shoes like they are out of place, and all the while, those shoes are screaming, “I am Walter’s shoes!” Lisa and mom got some papers and things, and i sat out on the picnic table and looked up at the sunny sky, a sky over a world with no more Pop in it.

That was back in June. I started writing this in July or August and just couldn’t quite finish it. I would work on it, and then get to missing Pop, and missing the feeling that I had a grandparent still with me, and I would put it away to finish later.

But I knew I had to finish it this year, that I owed it to Pop, and to myself, to get it all down, so that I would remember it all. Pop, I hope I got this right.

I hope I didn’t puppydog it.

And some photos of Pop’s life:

He never met him, but Pop’s grandfather, Hartwell Hamby Palmer served in the Civil War for North Carolina. What a strange link to what seems so far in the past.

And Pop’s mother’s father, John Thomas Knowles, served too, with Pop’s great-grandfather, Benager Birdsong Knowles. They served for Georgia. John Thomas Knowles is pictured below, with Pop’s grandmother, Sarah Patience Hood Knowles.
Sarah died when Pop was a teen, and I asked Pop if he remembered her, but his memory was gone by that time, and he couldn’t. If you still have grandparents around, ask them everything they can remember about the old folks who were around when they were children. I wish I had asked so many more questions of my grandparents!

This was Pop’s father, John Lewis Palmer.

And his mother, Ludie Margaret Knowles Palmer:

And Pop with his siblings at their home in Broxton, Coffee County, GA.
Palmer Children, About 1918
Pop is the baby. Not pictured is the youngest sibling, Carl, or their older half-siblings, Leta Estelle Palmer and Curtis Lee Palmer. This was not long before Pop’s parents died. A relative told Dad that someone bought this old house and is renovating it.

Pop, probably around the time of his high school graduation, Martha Berry School for Boys, Rome, Georgia. 1930s. Pop left the home of his Aunt and Uncle, Wiley Byrd, and Bettie Knowles Byrd, for Berry at age 11. He took the train from Jeff Davis County, Georgia, to Rome to go to school there and stayed until his graduation. He heard about the school from a traveling preacher who visited the farm in Jeff Davis.

Pop and a friend, playing in the snow at North Georgia Military College, Dahlonega, Georgia. 1930s.

Pop, his brother Carl, and a friend, hopping a train. I doubt they were really riding the trains, but the picture makes me laugh at its playfulness. 1930s.
1930s_WalterWoodrowPalmer 002
Pop and Grandma on their honeymoon.

Pop and Dad. Savannah, Georgia, about 1943.

Pop and Grandma at Mom and Dad’s wedding. June 21, 1969.

My mom with her mom, Vivian Dunstan Smith, and Pop and Grandma. 1969, the year my parents married.


Pop, Grandma, and Grandma’s sister, Aunt Lessie (center), cleaning fish in FL. c. 1973

Pop, with beard. 1976. He grew it out as part of the Mason’s celebrating the Bicentennial.
Bicentennial Man, 1976

Pop with Me, Lisa, Dad, and Grandma. Christmas, 1980s.
Don’t hate me because I had a pink E.T. shirt and you didn’t.

Me and Pop, sitting on the couch in Roswell. Christmas, some time in the early 90s. I didn’t just post this because it shows you that I used to be a waif, but also because you get a good glimpse of Pop giving me the “Kids these days” look. And I was a waif. Not sure what i was doing with my hair here. Must have gotten crazy and chopped it off and died it black.

Pop with me and the kids. God, I forgot how cute Rollie was at this age! Pretty special to have so many pictures of them with their great-grandfather. I hope that they will remember him, but i doubt it.
Pop, Me, and the Kids

I think this was my longest post ever. Hope you don’t feel like you wasted your time if you got this far. Thanks for reading.

I still love you, Pops!

Torn and Shattered

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

So, this is going to be a big ole diarrhea of the mouth, pity party of a post.

Our world is fucked. The automobile and the plane have made it possible to stray so far from home that we never go back. Modern medicine has made it so that we live forever, eternally burdening our families with caring for us, when by all laws of nature, we should have been dead years ago, and not in a long-drawn-out manner. Maybe we were meant to keel over with heart attacks in the front yard, or die a sleepy diabetic coma death. Our families suffer for the way that our modern world has attempted to fix things.

Families are not meant to live in different cities, where they cannot take care of one another and shoulder burdens for one another and carry the loads together. I should be able to take the four hours my husband will be home today and use that time to dump the kids on him and go check on my Daddy, and my Mama, and my Pop. It is not natural to have to drive an hour and a half just to get there. My sick mother should have me and my sister helping take shifts to watch Daddy. When the doctor yesterday told her she should go straight to the ER for the infection, she should have gone, knowing that we would be around to watch Daddy. If i lived in a town with her (God, no. Not Warner Robins. That is not what I am saying!), she would have had the peace of mind to know that we would be able to cover for her. There would always be someone to spend a night with the kids, or take my Pop to the ER, which is what my mom is doing this morning, even though last night, the doctors wanted her to go herself. There would always be someone to let the Goddamn dogs out. Woof Woof Woof.

What is wrong with us? This is so wrong, so unnatural. How do other people do this? Do they just not care that their relatives are suffering? Do they suffer themselves, in silence, pushing down the fact that they can’t be in two places at once? Is that healthy? Is my family really that freakishly close, some anomaly, just because I want to be there and care for them when they are sick? Do other people feel this torn and shattered all the time?

What the fuck is wrong with us?

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Thank God. We are home as of about an hour ago. I feel like I am on tour with Allman Brothers in the 70’s or something. “On the Road Again” has been stuck in my head for days. I put over 700 miles on the car this week. Went down to meet mom and Dad at the hospital in Macon on Tuesday. Drove to Warner Robins that night. Spent the night. Wednesday, drove to the hospital to see Dad then drove back to Atlanta to pack some clothes, pick up the dog, and check on the kids and my Mother-in-law. (Oh, and kiss my husband before he left for Anchorage the following morning.) Drove back to Warner Robins Wednesday night. Went to bed at 11. Got up at 4 a.m., in time to go with mom and lisa to hospital in Macon before Dad’s surgery at 6 a.m. Sat around hospital all that day til they put him in ICU and said he wasn’t gonna die in the next couple of hours. Left Lisa at the hospital and drove my mom back to Warner Robins. Turned around and drove back to macon to be with sis. Saw Dad. Went back to WR with Lisa for dinner, a glass of wine, Xanax, and bed. (Hotel Virginia is awesome: Before bed, everyone got a glass of wine, a Xanax and a hot bath before putting on jammies and retiring to our respective bedrooms, with our dogs lying by our sides and each of us reading books til we fall asleep.)
Got up, went to hospital in Macon. Stayed with Dad for a while, then went on a search for men’s pajamas for Daddy, button front (NOT drawstring) and with matching top. They evidently do not make those anymore – Just the PJs bottoms with drawstrings, and coordinating t-shirts. I went three places. No dice. Gave up and went to bookstore and bought whole Sookie Stackhouse box set instead. Went home, and went to bed. Next morning, got up and packed all three dogs (Quint, Emily, and Malex) and took them to the lake, because i thought their wrestling in the house and the constant barking might give Mom the big one. Drove over to Milledgeville.

Got to the lake and realized how very bad Dad must have been feeling before his surgery; the weeds up by the road and the grass around the house were knee-high. I have never in my life seen that yard not mowed weekly, sometimes more during warm weather. I mowed and cut back some shrubbery that was getting out of control.

Let the dogs go free the weekend, romping in the water, rolling around in dead fish, playing with the country dogs always coming by to see us. At one point, I had eight dogs running around the front yard and in the lake: Our three, two chocolate labs (Josie and Choco – v. original), one unnamed poodle, two yellow labs, one of which they call Lego, but whose name is Legolas (v.literary for Milledgeville) and a pug named Lulu. Oh, that’s nine. Anyway, it was mayhem and it made me happy. It poured down in the afternoon and i sat on the porch and read my vampire book.

Lisa and Dash came down the next morning. I finished the last of the lawn, then we took the boat and the Seadoo out. It was relaxing to get out on the water and cut up on the seadoo and i knew Dad wished he could be there. V. few Memorial Days have I spent with neither my Dad or my husband. Definitely the first one i have ever spent with just my sister and my nephew.

Packed up yesterday morning. Drove to Macon, then to Columbus. If I ever bitch about how boring 16 is, just tell me to shut up and remember the poor people who have to drive from Macon to Columbus. I defy anyone to come up with a more boring drive. From Columbus, cut over to Opelika, then Dadeville to get the kids at my in-laws’. Spent the night over there (decided against driving back to Atlanta for two hours, in what would surely have turned into an 85-roadwork+Memorial-Day-Traffic clusterfuck of monumental proportion). I did get to hang out with my brother-in-law and my niece, Luci, who is cute as can be, and was so fun to watch with Rollie and tiller. They are all old enough now to play with each other and she and Tiller even got into a few arguments with one another. Good times!

Drove back this morning. Had fun discussion with Rollie in car:

R: “Mama, I want to move to Alabama, so that I can go to Sunday School.”
Me: [Laughing out loud.] “Baby, they have Sunday School in Georgia, too. What did y’all talk about in Sunday School.”
R: “We learned about this guy, his name starts with a D.”
Me: “David? Daniel?”
R: “There were three guys and they didn’t like the guy with the D name, so they tried to kill him.”
Me: “Um, okay, can you tell me more? Who else was there?”
R: “Knights and guys on horses.”
Me: “And what happened?”
R: “Well, the d guy, he had a plan. Also, the other two guys had a plan also. God was going to save them from being killed.”

This went on and on for about ten minutes, me trying to figure out what the heck bible story they had taught him, and him getting frustrated because I kept asking questions. Still haven’t figured this one out. Also haven’t decided if all the learning about people being killed is so great either.

Got back home. My garden is growing like gangbusters.

Oh, and Dad went home yesterday. He is driving me crazy, calling every few hours to check on us, tell us things that need to be done (wash the dog, mow the lawn, how is my garden? Don’t forget to fertilize it) and then waiting until we are midsentence in reply, and saying, “bye bye!” and click, he hangs up on us.

Love, Happy to be Home Dogwood

Another Cecil Update

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

This just in from my sister: “Just talked to Cecil on the phone. He said, “My nurse is a Porto Rican” (said just like that). front of the nurse who I heard say “Phillipino” and then Dad says “Oh, he’s a Phillipino MALE nurse”. Because men can’t be nurses. Glad to know Big C is feeling like himself again.”

Dad Update

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

When Dad came out of surgery, he went to ICU. They wouldn’t let us see him for a couple of hours, but finally we were called from the ICU waiting area (not a happy place) back to see him. When they got there, the curtain was pulled and Dad was in ICU until yesterday, when they moved him to a new room.

Now he is off the oxygen, no more catheter, taking percocet by mouth instead of the morphine. They got him up and walked him about 100 yards today. He is definitely feeling better, because he called me three times this afternoon to see what I was doing at the Lake. I was mowing. He actually told me how to crank the lawn mower. I have been mowing the lawn since about 5th grade. I was so scared that he would die last week and thankful he didn’t that i actually listened and acted like i was learning something I didn’t know. Supreme willpower not to be snarky.

Mom is doing well – she is exhausted from worrying so much. I think she is nervous about Dad coming home and having to help him. My sister is with her until at least tomorrow. Lisa and Dash might come up and stay at the lake with me tomorrow. Pretty weird to have Memorial Day weekend pretty much by myself. Todd is having fun in Alaska and I am so thankful that he got to go on his trip – he totally deserves the break. The kids are being spoiled rotten in Auburn with the in-laws. All the family dogs (Quint, Emily, and Malex) are with me at the lake, which is where they are happiest: Swimming in the lake, running loose, eating sticks, and showing up at the back door smelling like dead fish.

I know I said it before, but I am so thankful to have such wonderful friends, family, and neighbors. We had a shitty week, but it was also the most loved i have felt in years.*

*Don’t worry – Dogwood Girl will be back to her old snarkastic ways in no time. This emotional shit is exhausting. . .

p.s. Macon pretty much sucks ass.

Cecil Off Bypass

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Thank god. They had to do two grafts (bypasses) and they said they were finishing up and would be done in about 30 minutes. Doctor is supposed to come talk to us.

Did I mention that the Doctor is Lebanese? Cecil did his usual slight accent when he talked to the doctor Tuesday. He doesn’t realize he is doing this, but he picks up and mimics the accents of people he talks to. It is really funny and also embarrassing.

10:00 am update

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Dad is in the bypass portion. Meaning his heart isn’t beating right now. Which is scary as fuck. They are doing the grafts, and not sure if they will do two or three.

Also, as is my usual reaction to larger chatty groups, I pretty much want to fucking punch about three people in here: chatty, bawdy redneck girl, the tinkling laugh girl, and the kid that knocked the Mountain Dew over, perilously close to my belongings. Get a babysitter for heart surgery, people.

Cecil Update

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Nurse just called. He is out cold, and the surgeon just started. This portion should take about 2 hours. Sigh.

Also, there is an Amber and better yet, a Tiara. Not kidding.

Oh, The Humanity!

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Hospital waiting room in Macon is much like Wal-Mart in Milledgeville. The people-watching is stellar. Awesome accents. No yankees. Interesting assortment of rednecks toting massive amounts of Mountain Dew, which is interesting to me since I watched that Diane Sawyer special about Appalachia.

Dad Update

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Dad’s gone into surgery. Will probably take a long time. I will try to post on here and/or Facebook. (You can be my Facebook friend if you follow the link to the right there.)

I am wavering between coffee jitters, moments of complete calm, and episodes of borderline panic.