Today is my dad’s 71st birthday.
In two weeks it will be two years since the fateful day that changed his life forever…the day he had a stroke.
The last two years have been quite the roller coaster for my family. Last year my parents went back to Thailand to be closer to family. Plus, caring for my dad was starting to wear out my mom. Not to mention the cost and quality of care in Thailand is waaaaaay better than here in the states.
My dad is now well looked after at a rehabilitation hospital in Bangkok. When my mom came back stateside to check on their house and attend to other matters, my dad’s nursing assistant would FaceTime my mom so he could “see” and talk to her while she was away. Pretty impressive if you ask me.
How is he doing? Well, the stroke impaired a lot of his fine motor skills and balance. Everyday tasks like eating, dressing, bathing, walking – he needs complete hands on assistance. Earlier this year he came down with pneumonia, which is common in stroke patients (due to being sedentary and impaired ability to swallow). Now he has a feeding tube which delivers calories to his stomach to avoid the potential of food particles and liquids entering his respiratory tract. I say calories because what he is given I wouldn’t consider food (Ensure-like protein drink). That’s just so he can try to keep weight on.
Is he going to get “better”? Most likely no. At this point his care involves occasional physical therapy, managing the occasional illness (cold, flu, etc.), and keeping him comfortable so what quality of life he has left doesn’t deteriorate at a rapid rate. Definitely not ideal, but it’s the hand he was dealt.
Last night (this morning in Thailand), my mom was at the hospital visiting my dad and I took the opportunity to FaceTime her and sing Happy Birthday to him.
Happy Birthday Daddy. Hope today brings you many moments of joy to carry you through your next trip around the sun. See you in December. Miss you and love you tons.