Archive for June, 2007


Well, I feel like Frank and I have been sprinting since last Saturday night. In addition to going to the hospital to see Dad, we have been trying to help Mom manage their business. I just sorted through all of Dad’s numerous spreadsheets to put together end of month billing. I have to say, even though I love excel, I found that I didn’t know 1/2 as much as he does. Some of the formulas were amazing! And the sheer number of sheets he can put into a single workbook – it’s a work of art! He is the Excel Picasso.

Unfortunately, the great artists of the world can be tricky, if not impossible to replicate. After several failed attempts to figure out what he was doing, I finally figured it out. My dad’s excel was complicated to look at, but once I spent some time with it, it was amazing in its simplicity.

Anyway, I feel a tremendous amount of accomplishment with getting his billing squared away because at some points, I felt like it was going to be darn near impossible. To reward myself, I went for a nice 3 mile-ish run.

My parents live in the same neighborhood that I grew up in. I like running through the neighborhood because it helps me remember things and it puts things into perspective. I used to think the houses were so big and that the neighborhood was so expansive, but now that I’m older, the houses seem normal and the neighborhood is not that big.

I went down the old bike path and came upon an area of the path where a creek that winds through the neighborhood empties into two small ponds on either side of the path. A lot of plants are filling in the water, but it still resembled one of our favorite places to hang out. Sometimes we would create make-shift fishing poles and try to fish with cheese. I remember JP, our neighbor, sitting on the concrete tunnel that connected the two ponds under the path. He would usually have a can of coke and he looked as though he hadn’t been properly bathed in at least 1 week. Wiping one arm under his perpetually runny nose, he would pull some hot dog bits out of his pocket and put it on his hook. Caitlin and I saw JP at our favorite bar a few months ago and he has grown up, but not much has changed (well, I don’t think he had a hotdog in his pocket).

Anyway, it’s interesting to be back home for this long of a time.

Update on Dad: They moved him to a rehab facility and I think he is happy to be out of the hospital. Now the hard work begins. Please continue praying for my dad, especially for his attitude.

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My dad:
– born in St. Francis Hospital in Peoria
– born on August 17, 1954
– family birth order is boy, girl, girl, boy
– both of his parents were born in October

My mom:
– born in St. Francis Hospital in Evanston
– born on August 18, 1954
– family birth order is boy, girl, girl, boy
– both of her parents were born in January

And with all of those things lined up, I guess it’s not too surprising that they were both born with holes in their hearts that weren’t discovered until they each suffered a stroke.

The four of us kids are all going to get our hearts checked out (starting with Caitlin).

Update on Dad: He is doing a little better. He has some more facial expression than he had previously. His brain was swelling last night and my mom misunderstood the doctors and thought it was a major issue that couldn’t be helped. Turns out most stroke victims have some brain swelling a few days after the stroke, so it was normal (although painful).

Thanks to everyone who has offered their prayers – it makes a big difference!

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prayer for dad

As a lot of you might know, my dad had a stroke last night. This stroke was completely unexpected and shocking, and as you can imagine, my family is wrestling with this situation (myself included).

My dad is only 52, he doesn’t smoke, he drinks once in a while (no more than a glass of wine, etc), he eats well and he exercises 3x / week. His regular physician was shocked that this happened to him because he was the picture of a middle aged man in good health. On a personal note, the regular physician was quite scared for himself as he is the same age as my dad.

Unfortunately, the stroke was quite serious and has left him paralyzed on the left side of his body. He did start to regain some broader movement this afternoon (moving his left leg, wiggling his toes slightly, lifting his shoulder), which is a huge blessing. This road to recovery is looking to be long, but I know my dad is a trooper and will approach it with the same ferverency that he approaches everything else.

For me, this whole situation has really hit quite close to home. My dad is my hero. Throughout the countless hours in the waiting room and sitting next to his bed in ICU, I have been thinking about all of my happy dad memories. A lot of those memories involve activities I did with my dad, and it makes me sad to think he might not be able to do those same things with our kids one day. You never think your parents will get old – especially when they are not old – and then one day, bam. Seeing him sitting in the hospital bed, in extreme pain and unable to move half of his body was shocking, to say the least. My dad is an excellent father, a fabulous husband and a good friend to anyone who knows him. He is tenacious and persistent, but always in a thoughtful, considerate way. I know this stroke will not keep him down, but to see him hurting, that is what really kills me. I have confidence in his ability to beat this the same way he does everything: he starts small with some kindling and small sticks, he gets a little fire going and feeds it and before you know it, he has a huge bonfire going.

You can’t help but look at this situation and think, “this is so unfair!” There are so many people that abuse their bodies and hurt other people. The question of why something like this would happen is not far from our minds. How could God let something like this happen to such a good person?

This afternoon I took a nap and a shower (both were much needed) and thought about this and prayed about this. I found myself angry at God for letting this happen to my dad. My prayers were angry, “God, You HAVE to fix this. You can’t let this happen. This can’t happen to MY dad.” And I found myself wondering why He would do this. And then, while I was 30% praying and 70% having a temper tantrum, it occurred to me that God is so much bigger than this. Who am I to demand from the creator of the universe an explanation? Who do I think I am that I think I have this all figured out -that I can figure out God? What an incredible amount of pride and ego I must have. One of my friends just wrote about putting God in her box and expecting God to live up to her expectations. Here I was, doing the exact same thing.

The fact of the matter is, bad things happen to good people all the time. The question is not WHY does this happen, but rather, what do I need to learn from this and how can I help? Why does anything happen? I’m not sure, but that isn’t my job. I will drive myself crazy wondering why my dad is suffering like this and nothing will improve, nothing will get better.

So anyway, that’s what I’m going through – that’s what my whole family is going through. I just want to thank everyone for all of their prayers during this time. When someone tells me that they are praying for my dad, my heart just rejoices because in my mind, I see all of these sparkling prayers flying up to heaven and it’s beautiful. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

As we say in my family: Tiwinot, mecca sicca, cacapoopoo.

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