If you’ve been around here awhile, or saw the recent video put out by 2eNews, then you know that I post three good things about my day nearly every night. I say nearly because I miss maybe one night out of every 45 or so, and I’m enough of a stickler for honest accuracy that I have to add that qualifier.
It started a gazillion years ago in internet time, when a friend challenged me to find something good about the day. You can read all about that here, and how I felt about it after a month. I’ve kept it up since, with the exception of several weeks after the 2016 election, when I just couldn’t muster up the will.
I work my ass off to reframe the day, to find the good, to laugh at the chaos.
Even when you don’t think it’s possible to find the good, the blessed, the positive.
My dad has Parkinson’s. It’s a big reason why we moved back to Illinois from Colorado in 2011. He’s been doing well, and then the last several months stood up and made themselves known. A stretch of doing well, followed by a neurological slide, then a plateau. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Long story short, he was rushed to the ER on Saturday and has remained in the hospital since; Parkinson’s is a bastard, and I may write more about it later. As an aside, I have two generations of Parkinson’s on one side of my family tree, and raging Alzheimer’s on the other. I happily work with the neurological center every year to keep track of my brain, because I’m at the bottom of a very concerning V of medical history.
Today I spent the better part of the day at the hospital, sitting with my mom and meeting with doctors and physical therapists and starting to work out a plan for future care. At one point my dad knew I was his daughter but was blanking on my name. I’m actually okay with that, I know it’s not him but the Parkinson’s poking him in the brain. For crying out loud, most of my life he had a hard time remembering my birthday, so a few moments of struggling to find my name in his head doesn’t bother me. What broke my heart was watching his brilliant mind try to outwit and out-think the Parkinson’s, to try harder, to focus harder, to win.
So how in hell was I going to find three good things for today? I could just quietly not post anything, but I really try to avoid that at all costs. Skipping a day is a cop-out, and my three things is self-care at its most personal. So, by god, I was going to find something.
1. I saw love today. Deep, unwavering, long-term love. My parents have been married for 53 years, through the good and bad, the ups and downs, for better and for worse. My mom was 19 when they married. I cannot imagine one without the other, any more than I can imagine my left foot without my right. Skipping the detail, the love my mom shows my dad in the midst of the shitshow that is Parkinson’s and the hallucinations that can accompany it is breathtaking and something I hope to to have in my life.
2. The deeply personal care provided by nurses is to be respected and admired. Those in the caring professions (nursing, childcare, eldercare, teaching) tend to be the least paid and the least respected. Why is that? What does society gain by diminishing those who provide the most? The caregivers I’ve witnessed at the hospital have been kind, loving, funny (thank GOD), open, and engaged with their patients and families. When you’re frightened, overwhelmed, and exhausted, caring medial professionals make such a difference. We had such professionals today.
3. I came home after a long day of teaching and sitting in a hospital room, stunned and saddened by my dad’s condition. My husband had dinner ready and a glass of Malbec on the table for me. Words cannot express how much that meant. The wine joined me in the bathroom, as I showered off the hospital and the fears that festered as I sat in traffic driving home. I’m so grateful for the man with whom I share my life; I don’t deserve him. It’s not all sunshine and roses here…far from it…but we’re there for each other when it counts, and that means so much.
So there we go. Somehow I found three things for which I’m grateful today, on a day when I could easily have found nothing but pain and fear and uncertainty. Tomorrow I’ll return to the hospital, and probably visit a few skilled nursing centers; he cannot return home until he’s stronger and his meds have been properly adjusted.
But today? Today brought pain and love, fear and love, uncertainty and love. There is always love, if you look for it, and there is always something good about the day.