Monday, November 15, 2010

Parents

I know this is going to sound very cliche, but I'm so very thankful for my parents.  Especially considering today is my Dad's 72nd birthday.
Growing up they let me get into, and out of, all kinds of things by myself.  Yes, there were many messes along the way.  There were many tears and triumphs as well.  They exposed me to so many things and supported me in whatever I chose to try, no matter their doubts.
As a little girl I wanted to be a ballerina (you can stop snickering now... I know I had way more enthusiasm than talent...).  So, my parents signed me up for classes, bought me leotards, tights and shoes and carted me halfway across the city it seemed every week to go to class.  I enjoyed it for many years, until my studio closed and I had to change.  The new studio was for "serious" students, and I was anything but.  I hung up my shoes for good when we moved to PA.  My parents even took me on a "date" when I was 7 or 8 to see "The Nutcracker" downtown, including dinner at a very fancy restaurant.
When I showed interest in photography at an early age, they put a camera in my hands and taught me what they know and let me experiment.  We would talk about art and photographs and critique each other's work.  We'd go to the art gallery several times a year and all kinds of craft or art shows just to see what we could see.
When I threw myself into Girl Scouts Mom was there by my side.  And for those trying Intermediate School years when I'd think about quitting at the beginning of each year, but decide to go to a few meetings anyhow, Mom stood by my side then too, no matter my decision.
Are my parents perfect?  Of course not.  They are the greatest gift I could have, and I hope that Gak and I can be equally good parents to our son, even if we do some things a bit differently than they do.
What makes me even more thankful this year is all the recent issues with Dad's health.  He's had issues of one kind or another as long as I can remember.  This year has been especially trying though.
This is another one of those things I've been sitting on all summer, not sure what to say or how.
Today I have good news, but it isn't all roses.
For the last few years Dad's memory has been getting worse and worse and very flaky.  Earlier this summer he was given the diagnosis of dementia, with pre or early Alzheimer's symptoms.
Yeah, that was a blow.
Anyhow, he's actually been having memory issues of one kind or another for years, but only recently has it gotten extremely bad.  At one point a few years back we'd heard something about Lipitor possibly causing memory problems.  Our family doctor brushed it off at the time.  Well, there's been more research recently, or at least more evidence.  Dad's three major complaints of late has been his quickly fading memory, the ringing in his ears and the aches in his legs.  Mom has a friend who's a pharmacist and had recently heard about some research or information about just this.  So, Mom had her present the information to Dad and after talking with our doctor (I think), Mom and Dad decided to wean him off the Lipitor.  Before he was even totally off the medication, things really started to improve.  The ringing in his ears has all but gone away.  He has stopped complaining about his legs and the best of all, his memory seems to be back to where it was a year or more ago.  He's told mom that he's got his mind back.
So, yes, that's happy news.  Of course, there is the potential problem of his high cholesterol.  And the looming specter of future memory loss since everything wasn't caused by the Lipitor, and it really is Alzheimer's.  But that's a question for another day.  I'll just take having my dad back, as he was really becoming quite sullen and withdrawn.  He's not the most social or sociable person, but the spark was fading, and fast.  I didn't like it and I'm sure Mom hated it even more.  But for now we can push that to the back burner.  We've got to keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't boil over or burn, but we don't have to give it our full attention right now.
And for that I am thankful.

Peace to all and may you have family to be thankful for and many years with them.

2 comments:

Grumpy Joe said...

Sweet! And, wonderful news about your dad. We are going through this with Cindy's folks. It's very very hard and I feel for you. I hope your dad's mind continues to improve. Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Joe

Addey said...

Thanks Joe. I know it'll get worse again, but hopefully we can put it off for a long time to come. (Yes, I'm sticking my head back in the sand with this, but I'm OK with that.)