Thursday, December 01, 2005

Be Still.
Well today has been a day of sorts. I'm not even quite sure where to begin or if I even want to begin. Perhaps since I can't really participate in Half Nekkid Thursday I'll bare a different kind of skin.
I used to pride myself on the fact that I knew my troubled father better than anyone else...even himself. I guess you could have called me a daddy's girl back in the day. There are many facets to my many that I just can't type it all out. But to put it lightly, he's irresponsible and lazy. He is morbidly obese and has been so for many years. I have repeatedly tried to help him in his weight-loss efforts, but always failed. I've been there for him through thick and thin because that is what our relationship has always been. I've been there for him financially (many times), I've nursed him back to stable health during bad health conditions (I've seen more infectious disease on one body than I've ever wanted to), and most importantly I've been there for him emotionally and for moral support. Why would I do all of that for a grown man that should be able to fend for himself? I ask myself that very question every day and I come up with the same answer...because he's my dad and if he can't take care of himself than someone must, and that's me because I love him.
My father is very ignorant when it comes to his health. His max weight has been 500 lbs. He has to walk with a cane becuase the weight has caused a severe curvature in his spine and also a hairline fracture which result in him being hunched foreward. He is 51 years old and can't sleep at night because of the pain in his joints (specifically his hips). He won't admit to the fact that it is a result of his weight. He is a very stubborn man. He has been in the hospital for all of the following; blood poisoning, deep muscle staff infections in his leg, bleeding ulcer, heart murmer, sleep apnia...
Up until today I have not talked to my dad in almost 6 months. A rift tore our relationship apart and for a long time I didn't think it could ever be repaired. I was angry for that whole 6 months. I was angry because I could bare my soul to my father and did and it didn't get through to him that he needs to change his lifestyle. Change the lifestyle that will kill him. I was angry because I was tired of being the parent in our relationship and desperately wanted to act like a child for once. I was angry that I couldn't hate him because as stubborn as he is, I love him more than life itself.
Today my dad called me, and he couldn't say my name without breaking down into sobs. He told me that he is sick. He can't walk very much anymore. So bad that he can barely get in and out of his car. Whe he goes to the gym they have to bring him in with a wheelchair. The doctors think its some form of muscular dystrophy; a neuromuscular disorder that takes over your body. They haven't pin pointed exactly what it is, but they're fairly certain of it.
My dad is scared. He's scared that after 25 years of being morbidly obese that his chance to get his health in order has passed him by. For the first time he sees his health in the same light that I see it and everyone else that loves him, the light that sees death right around the corner. I'm scared for him..... and for myself. Is that selfish?
He wants our relationship back. He wants the one person that can see through his many tricks and lies back in his life to help him try to get healthy. He wants me to offer the one thing he lacks...will-power. A part of me is angry, angry at what he did that caused the rift, but another chunk of me can't turn down his plea for help. What if my cold shoulder is what kills him? What if I become his crutch once again and he still fails? What does that say?
Before our rift my biggest fear was losing him. Today my fear is that I'll lose him to anything and not have him know how much I love him or that despite any differences we have I'm still daddy's little girl at heart.
I know I'm over-reacting, but it's all I know how to do.


Lydia said...


You know you can call me if you need to talk. I love you and you take on way more than you should ever have to! Call me bizatch...

-Love, your big Sister!

Ms. Adventures said...

Woza, that's a real pickle. I can understand how you feel, but it's not up to you to "save" your father. He is a grown man. You can be supportive, but ultimately it's up to him to help himself. If you decided to turn a cold shoulder, and something happened to him, it wouldn't be your fault either, it'd be his. He's the one who feeds himself, he's the one who won't take ownership, not you. You can't force someone to own their own problem.
Ownership is something that many people have a very hard time with. They don't wan't to own their problems, they want to make them yours. They won't take responsibility for their actions, wrong doing, etc. People are always pointing the finger somewhere else, when they should be pointing at themselves. I learned how to take responsibility for myself at about age 20, after that I was set, but some people just never learn.

FRITZ said...

What a beautiful tribute to your father, in a manner of speaking. You have made some excellent observations amongst all of this. One, it IS rational for you to want to be the child and not the parnet, but if your father has relied on you to be the parent for all this time, it is only natural to want to care for him.

Your father is teaching you one of life's greatest lessons...time does take its toll on the body. It is NOT selfish to think of yourself in this. It is WISE. It is a lesson for everyone who reads this blog.

In the end, there is one truth your father must know. You love him. You will always be his little girl. And now, for the sake of your mental health, I would encourage you to help your father with limitations. Your spirit is one that has been molded to care for others. You cannot deny this spirit. But what you CAN do is know when enough is enough.

Just love your father. Important as well,love yourself.

Michaela said...

Wonder Woman you say all the things that the rational voice in my head says. Like that voice, you're absolutely right. It's just hard because it's 19 years of doing one thing and trying to change to something completely different.

Fritz, there are no words....your advice is indescribable. Thank you so much.

Rowan said...

ok, I'm going to share with you what I wouldn't with a lot of people. My dad sounds a lot like yours. I don't want to guilt you into anything, so please don't take it that way, but I'd like tos hare my experiences from one daughter of a pig-headed man to another. My dad was the most aggravating man I've ever known of. That said, everyone liked him that I knew, and the ones that didn't, really didn't. My in=laws had no use for him for example, but then, they are of a different ilk to begin with.

Question: does your father have diabetes? that could be a cause of the atrophy, my father also had this problem, his legs no longer had feeling in them, and in the last ocuple years, he'd fallen and broken his nose and that was only the second time in my life that I ever saw my dad with any shred of sadness aobut him. Not due to the pain, but the humiliation because he's never depended on no one before and iddn't plan to.

My father died of a heart attack in 2002 just after my husband's birthday, in his sleep, after I'd shut off his blasting tv at a rediculous volume waking hte house and bid him goodnight.

My father wouldn't go to the hospital when he was ill, he was in a coma for 16 weeks after a bout of pneumonia in 1997 that led ot his contraction of SARS in hospital. The doctors all felt it a miricle that he got another chance with his full recovery. Did he take it as a blessing and change his ways? no. he did not. my mother died in april of 1998 and after that, he was extremely depressed and allowed his weight to balloon again and told everyone besides his girls that he felt he was on "borrowed time". My father gave me away in 2001 with a cane and his 350-400lbs self nearly pulling me over with his hobbling and my cathedral length train, but he was there! he died 9 months later. I am thankful forever that I got to have that with him. he was my mc at my wedding, and I listen to it often via videotape to remember him. I cannot forget him. he is the one person who offered me the most hurt thruout my life and yet, he is the one person I miss most and probably haveever felt I needed and loved more than any other. I hate myself for it.

That said, you are the duaghter I could never be. Instead of offering help, I gave up and shouted obscenities at him and his childish ways. he was an opiniionated man, but he did feel I married the right one. we butted heads about eveyrthing.

Michaela? if I can ask this of you, the fact that he's reaching out to you is a chance I only wished I could have had. I've felt so empty since my daddy has been gone, no one batting for me and myself against the world (don't all dad's offer some sort of protection even emotionallly for their daughter's in the world?).

I can only hope youhelp him. my dad was only 57 years old when he left our world. My mom? 43. I don't want to think your dad will befall the same as mine. my dad even went so far as to deem himself cured of diabetes...why? he stopped taking insulin which is how his legs atrophied. smart huh? he always claimed he wanted to live without excercize, injections, pills, and enjy whatever time he had left. Your dad sounds more responsible than mine. remember, it can always be worse.

my best thoughts are with you thru this dillema, I know how hard it is to decide whether to drag yourself thru it or not. Whatever you decide. If you need an ear, I'm here.

Crystal said...

Michaela, I can really relate to your post. Especially this paragraph:

I was angry because I could bare my soul to my father and did and it didn't get through to him that he needs to change his lifestyle. Change the lifestyle that will kill him. I was angry because I was tired of being the parent in our relationship and desperately wanted to act like a child for once. I was angry that I couldn't hate him because as stubborn as he is, I love him more than life itself.

My Dad wasn't obese but he was a drug addict and alcoholic. After my step-mom left him and took my brother & sister he got really bad. I was basically alone. I had insomnia. I came home from school one day and all of my bedroom furniture was gone - he'd pawned it for money to buy drugs. He started sleeping with a married woman from his office at home - not caring that I could hear them. He came and went at all hours leaving me alone. Finally, I left. I came to live with my maternal grandparents. He didn't even ask me to stay. Thru the years I watched him slowly kill himself even as I begged him to stop. He suffered a severe stroke that left him unable to speak, no use of his left arm and dragging his left leg. Still, he used drugs and alcohol. The last time I saw him I almost didn't recognize him. He died alone in a motel room at the age of 48.

Obesity is similiar in that it is an addiction just like drugs and alcohol. Addiction carries with it, depression. And if there is one thing I have learned - an addict cannot get better until they want to. You can support him as long as he is helping himself. Just be clear to him how you feel.

My mother is also an addict and has been clean & sober for 4½ years now. I've attended many NA (narcotics anonymous) meetings with her and seen the powers of the 12 step program for someone who is willing to work them correctly. I would suggest that your Dad go to a OA (Overeater's Anonymous) meeting. They work the same 12 step program. It is INCREDIBLE to sit with other people who feel like you feel and just lay their heart right out there on that table - open for discussion.

IM me any time. MSN Messenger:

Michaela said...

Rowan: I'm sorry to hear about your father, and it is strange how similar the situation seems to be. I've decided to help him, but not like all the times before, I told him that I will not be a crutch for his illness but rather more moral support than anything else. I don't want to regret not helping him, as foolish as that sounds. Thank you for your insight, and I know I will come to you in the future!

Crystal: Thank you thank you thank you. You see it thru the eyes of brilliance (which you all are!). Unfortunately my dad once went to a OA meeting, and it worked for 20 minutes, then it was on to the next fad fix. The problem with my dad is that he wants there to be a magic pill or button that will instantly solve the problem without putting in the hard work. My fear is that even if he realizes it now, it may be too late... We must talk sometime, I'll IM you soon!

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