Dad fought the biggest fight of his life and today he was finally captured by this awful disease. The love and support from the friends has been heartwarming. The kind words so refreshing.
Last night his breathing was fast and shallow and it carried on to this morning. His hemoglobin was at 1 and he was suffering from alkalosis. The doctors (all 8 of them) said they had never seen anyone alive with a blood count that low. What they found even more impressive is that not only was he alive, but he was coherent and in absolutely no pain. The hours before he left for the hospital were intense and such a whirlwind of emotions. Dad was always afraid to go to the hospital. He said that if he went there he knew they would kill him, and for this same reason he didn't want chemotherapy. The problem is we weren't given any other alternatives except for him to waiver in his beliefs and accept the blood transfusions in order to receive the chemotherapy. In fact, doctors wouldn't even treat dad unless he accepted the transfusions, they said there was no alternative and as a result 35 doctors at MD Anderson refused to take him as a patient.
Needless to say, dad put up a fight! He was so strong willed that even up until the hour before we called the ambulance he got out of bed and walked on his own to use the restroom. And he did, successfully, without even a hint of passing out. Despite the fact that he had been in and out of awareness over the last 24 hours, he was talking the whole time. Jay and him had a little ritual "Walk and talk, walk and talk." And dad would chant it along as he used all if his energies every time he got up to use the restroom. The amazing thing this time, was that dad actually held a conversation, and for one last time his humor came out saying that he needed ex-lax and too bad he didn't have an ex-lax button. I'm sure this was just another invention in his head, being that dad was always inventing things. (Before back up sensors were even available on vehicles, dad rigged one up on the back of his little white Toyota truck, so he wouldn't run over me or my bike. And that was just one if the many inventions he came up with.)
The angels were with him during his last hours. He regained consciousness and told us that he was ready for the hospital. He gave us directions, "Call the liaison committee, wait a couple hours and then call the ambulance." Clear as day, with the same emphasis and hand gestures that he always spoke with. He asked for all of us to be in the room. And after following his instructions we called 911. Dad was aware of everything as we reassured him that he would be alright and walked him through what was going on. He could always hear us, even when he couldn't respond and his hearing and vision worsened. Through it all he maintained his sense of humor and earned the name Goldie Locks or G Locks. Words can't describe this anguish and gut wrenching feeling. So intense it makes you want to vomit. So unfair you can't help but to wish it was someone else. So angry because we did all that we could do and still nothing worked. So lost because dad is the glue that kept everyone together. He's the mediator, the eye of the storm, the voice of reason, the first one to spaz and yet always the first to say sorry in an argument.
I always admired the way my parents argued, voicing their opinion one minute, and then hugging and kissing the next. He is such a loving husband, a wonderful father, an understanding brother, an admirable son, a calm and wonderful teacher, a great best friend, a kind boss, an extremely hard worker, and such a faithful servant of Jehovah. To say that he will be missed is an understatement. He will be mourned, pined after, admired, and always remembered by our family, friends and coworkers. It sounds so cliche to say he touched so many people's lives and hearts, but I can positively say that those who knew him only have good memories of dad, as he was always compassionate, understanding, unbiased and unlimited in love. He is written down in the book of life and soon Jehovah "will call." And dad "will answer." "Then we'll come to see all that life can be: Paradise eternally."