|My dad, me, and barely one month old Baby Noah!|
You don't need to be a long-time reader to know that my father's health has been a cause of great concern over the last few years. After a heart attack nearly ten years ago, he has struggled with heart disease, diabetes (and, later, neuropathy), and kidney failure. For a very long time, he didn't take proper care of himself, and the situation grew increasingly worse. He takes a lot of medications and goes to dialysis three times a week. I've written extensively about how it has affected me emotionally, as well as how it has motivated me to want to be healthier.
About nine months ago, just a few days after giving birth to my adorable baby niece, my sister and her husband bought a house. They had been looking for one for a while, with a long list of needs: it had to be affordable, of course, but they also needed to live close to where my brother-in-law works. And it needed to have enough bedrooms for them, their new baby, and for our father.
My dad was living with his sister, which is an incredibly touchy subject in our family to begin with, even without addressing the concerns of his health (long story short, she just really, really is not a nice person). With all of his health issues, he needs to be on an incredibly regimented diet - there are three separate lists of restrictions for his heart, his kidneys, and the diabetes. And his sister just didn't care, and would make things like spaghetti or lasagna, which are supremely bad for all three lists.
He was in and out of the hospital all the time. In April/May, he got sick - really sick - and after a long hospital stay, he had to go live in a rehab facility for a while. We would video-chat with him all the time, and he sounded very upset, very frustrated, and very lonely.
My dad had mobility issues, and needed a motorized scooter to get in, out, and around the house. So after my sister and her husband closed on the house, they were able to move in, but my dad had to wait until a ramp was built for his scooter. Once that was built, though, he was in there, and under my sister's rule.
My sister Lisa is an incredible woman. We have always had our differences, and still do, but I think in the last few years, as we've matured and grown into our adult lives, we've grown closer. Something I've always admired about her is how she doesn't put up with anything - me, I stay quiet, then I run away. But if she doesn't like something, she vocalizes it. If something bothers her, she does something about it. And she absolutely didn't like the way my dad wasn't taking care of himself, so as soon as he was in her house and under her care, she started to crack the whip, so to speak.
Lisa made sure he took his medicine regularly, and she monitored his food very closely. Other than rare exceptions, anything that wasn't on one of the three lists wasn't allowed. He jokingly referred to her as The Warden, knowing that as tough as it was, it was for his own good. He did as many of the exercises that he learned at the rehab facility while he was at dialysis - toe touches, leg raises.
And wouldn't you know, he started to get better.
After a little while, the doctors reduced his insulin from 50 cc twice a day to 25 cc twice a day. Now they've reduced it to 15 cc, and it's entirely possible that someday soon, he won't need insulin at all.
And on top of being able to stand more and longer, he's lost over 70 pounds.
Unbelievable, right?! I'm so amazingly proud, not to mention completely inspired by all the progress he's been making.