I have been very quiet lately. 3 months ago I had surgery, 2 weeks later I was back in the hospital with a bad infection and sepsis. A week later I was back after a life flight to the hospital. Another two weeks and I was back in the hospital again with another bad, but not as bad as the last time, infection. Yesterday I went to Dollywood (no rides, but still I am really close to normal). In a few weeks I should be back on roller coasters with my grandkids. And pretty soon my blog should wake up for real as well.
But today is Father’s Day. The annual day we honor fathers and father figures in our lives. I have largely forgotten most details about my dad. I have very few pictures of him, and do not remember his rather strong and scary (at times) voice. He died in 1996, just before the olympics which he had worked on at the Ocoee River for the whitewater venue. He died of septic shock from a bad infection/pneumonia he picked up working there. This year one thing that his passing taught me really hit home. Take care of yourself, physically.
We weren’t that close, but he was a good, if sometimes, very strict dad. We never played sports since he could only see out of one eye at a time and depth perception is important when a ball whizzes at your head. Whatever lessons he was trying to teach me with copious chores barely grazed my brain.
The last time I talked to him was when he was really sick at home for Father’s Day. He finally broke down and went to the doctor after being very sick for several days. The doctor gave him the same speech as I received in the emergency room. “You are a very sick person”. He had waited several days beyond where I was, and the night before I went to the hospital I spent the night feeling cold as the inside of an ice chest filled with ice in the Bering Straits covered up with a pile of blankets. We both were septic.
He had progressed (or would progress very soon) to septic shock (https://www.google.com/search?q=septic+shock). I fortunately got bags (and bags) of newer antibiotics (and they eventually figured out the bacteria killing me, not his).
All this to say, my dad’s influence, reminding me of what he went through and what may have been, had he been seen earlier (along with lots of other things, many of them unspoken and even more unpleasant at the time of imparting), continues 25 years later. So be a good dad if you can, and be a good surrogate dad to as many as you can. The influence never ends.