What if dad hadn't been so stubborn, would he still be alive today?
I feel deep in my heart that the answer to that question is an emphatic yes. He was still as mentally alert the day he died in 2009 at 87 as he ever was. His only health issue was severe peripheral neuropathy in the bottoms of both feet. Which made mobility very difficult. It also made getting around in his split-level three story house very difficult.
My sister Michele and I spent countless hours trying to get him to move into a one level condo or an assisted living facility. His answer was always the same, this is my home, I have lived here for half a century and I am going to die here!"
Talk about a self-fulfilling prophesy?
Susan and I were moving into our new condo in Duluth, Georgia in early summer of 2009 when I received a panicky sounding phone call from Michele. It turns out dad had taken a bad fall on the stairs and was lying there when my nephew Michael walked in the front door for a visit.
They rushed him to the emergency room while I made a beeline for the airport to get the first flight back to Boston. I arrived to find that this last fall was actually one of five he had taken that weekend.
By the time I got there, he was sitting in his wheelchair and to this untrained observer, seemed to be doing ok.
I could tell he was feeling better since he was being his usual flirtatious self with all the nurses (well the female ones anyway!) He even asked me to help him out of his chair so he could walk around a little.
I spent a couple of days with him and he seemed to be making enough progress that I felt comfortable going back home. I felt I needed to get back and help Susan with the unpacking.
The following Saturday afternoon I called to check on Dad's progress. Michele and I ended up having a conference call with dad's doctor and he was sufficiently pleased with his progress that he planned on moving dad to a rehab facility the following week. Unfortunately the progress was short lived as dad took a turn for the worse after contracting pneumonia that night.
Michele called Sunday morning weeping madly and said he was gone. So in less than 24 hours we went from planning to move him to rehab to planning Dad's funeral.
The more I look back on it, the more I am certain that if he weren't so stubborn and let us move him, he would still be with us today! However, I take comfort in knowing he had an amazing 87 years on this planet!
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