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When parents get old

Dad asked me to take this photo last week for posterity

Dad asked me to take this photo last week for posterity

Dad is 81.  He was diagnosed with invasive bladder cancer last year.  He had a 50/50 chance that the treatment would work and guess what…. it did.

The treatment also nearly killed him several times due to infections and being unable to eat or drink as he was too weak.

He has several falls a week at the moment because his legs have no muscle to hold him up.

Dad has had type two diabetes for twenty years, the side effects from this cause him a few problems like loss of sensation in his feet and few sugar crashes which has been scary to watch.

“Eat your greens dad.”

“Don’t eat so much sugar dad.”

“Stay off the red wine dad.”

“Drink more water and less diet coke, dad.”

” Try to get some more exercise dad.”

Dad mainly tells us to leave him alone when we are “lecturing” him on his diet and health. I think I would say the same to the boys in 40 years if they start telling me not to drink red wine.

He tells us that he’s coped fine for 81 years and that he used to change our nappies, so what would we know.

The thing is that he’s not fine now. He’s currently in rehabilitation after his most recent fall whilst they try to help with physio. His sugary diet and lack of exercise in the last few years has certainly contributed to this but in the end it was the cancer treatment that has started this ricochet of events, hospital admissions, falls, infections, broken bones and frustration.

His mind is there, thank goodness. Sometimes it makes it worse as its now his body that is failing him.

As children we all four call him on the phone everyday. We try to visit whenever we can. We’ve stopped nagging him about the diet coke and exercise and now know that we must let him do as he pleases. Its his life and the best thing that we can do as children is not try to parent him but to simply love him unconditionally.

My dad is 81, a father of 4, a grandfather of 10 and we all adore him. He’s one of the kindest people that I know and has a fantastic sense of humour. 

Our current name for dad, is “the phoenix” because he literally keeps on rising out of the ashes.

I saw him yesterday and he was in top form. Luckily for us, we get to keep him a little longer.

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