Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leaning in...

Its been an unusual week. Its either a fluke, or a new normal evolving. I'm not sure which.

I woke up early Monday morning vomiting. I had felt my stomach churning on and off throughout the night and I tried to ignore it. The relief was almost instant when I finally succumbed to the contents of my stomach.  I had no doubt my dinner hadn't agreed with me the night prior. But I still felt queasy. Upright on my feet for most of the day was not an option. I decided to lean into it.

Actually, I caved.  I crawled in bed with tea and rested.  And then I decided to Get Lucky... this... Get Lucky, by Katherine Center.

I read, I laughed, I dozed, and I'd wake up wondering what new adventure was waiting around the corner for Sarah.  I devoured this book in one day.  I loved turning the page never fully knowing what to expect, but delighting in each new character that came along.

Tuesday, feeling much more like myself, I dug into the day hoping to catch up.  In one day I could not believe how much of a disaster the house could become.  On a whim I called and invited both my dh and my dd (dear dad) for lunch.  Praying my stomach was ready for some "real" food we picked up dad and went to a diner.  My stomach fared okay.  My dad, however, did not.  He is not one to complain and would never pass on an opportunity to go somewhere, but he was not feeling well.

He struggled to walk more than a few feet without completely running out of breath.  He ate some of his meal and then pushed it aside in a move that was perhaps the most telling.  Dad, to my knowledge, has never left a scrap of food on his plate.

When he struggled walking again back a few feet to the car, I decided to talk with him while we were still in the parking lot.  Sometimes, he just needs for us to gently encourage his next move.  This time, he didn't wait for me to say anything, he just asked.  "Do you have some time you could take me in to the er?  I would feel better getting checked out."

So I just decided to lean in again.

We dropped Rick off, picked up my mom, and spent the afternoon in the er.  I could not have conjured up a more compassionate doctor.  He spent time listening to my dad.  He ran all the usual tests- x-rays, blood work, ekg, etc.  And while we waited for the results, he read dad's history.  I am not kidding when I say he sat at the nurse's station reading the entire 1 1/2 hours we waited.

The tests came back reporting all of the usual underlying conditions. The doctor reassured my dad that he felt all the medications were the right ones, and that the dosages were all correct.  He thought my dad's doctor was on top of his care and doing everything in a reasonable manner.  It was just clear, dad's congestive heart failure is progressing.  It was what we had expected to hear.

I think we were all okay with the news.  I felt reassured.  I felt heard. I felt like I could continue on. Sometimes, you just have to lean in.

Do you ever just lean in?


  1. I find leaning in to be so hard. If I lean in to myself I feel guilty (though that doesn't stop me, believe me). And when I lean in for someone else I feel I'm not doing enough - I need to rattle cages and MAKE things happen. It sounds like you had a great doctor who didn't need any rattling and I'm really glad for that. And leaning also involves patience so I can see where another struggle is for me. I needed to hear the lesson here this morning that you so beautifully and gently taught.

    I AM so sorry you're father is declining. I know it must be terribly painful to consider losing a wonderful man like your dad. I'm glad he has the Lord and those he loves to lean into. This is very tough, Vicky. I'll be praying.

  2. Thinking of you, this is a difficult and sad and frustrating time... one foot in front of the other, and as you are doing...just be there and listen and soothe.

  3. My Mom, brother and I had to learn to lean in this past January when my Dad was found to have a tumor on his lung. My Mom and my brother have been the ones who are there to help my dad to doctor appointments, etc. And me, I do as much research as I can and pass along relevant information, as I live clear across the country. We have accepted the diagnosis and feel upbeat with the progress he is making. Yes, we too are learning to lean in.

    I'll keep your Dad in my prayers, Vicky.

  4. I've been leaning in a lot lately. I'm not one to be in bed more than on the couch... I know that sounds stupid, but being on the couch just makes me feel more like I'm up and going, even though I don't move or go.

    But I've given in lately... sometimes we just have to accept what we don't like. I love you, friend. And I'm sorry about your dad. I wish I could sit on the couch with you [or sit on the bed with you] and just be. Because it would remind you that in all of this, you're not going through it alone.

  5. Leaning in is good and being there for him is good.Talking is good.Holding a precious hand is good.Praying is good.
    Preparing oneself for the inevitable is good.
    It is good when people have time to say all they need to say knowing something is in the wind. No one knows just when and there is nothing anyone can do.I lived with my Mom when she was at her worst. She couldn't talk and we could not have said all we wanted to say but her presence was calming to me. Parents don't need to talk. Just being there is fine and appreciated.At least it was for me.When the expected day arrived it didn't hurt as much because we knew she addressed the world and made all the amends she needed and was free now to go forward to continue her journey.
    Life is a never ending journey. My Mom went for a trip and one day we will see each other again.:)

  6. Such a good suggestion - though not always easy. Why does ageing have to be so difficult? Wouldn't it be nice if our parents could just peacefully drift away with no suffering ...

  7. Leaning in ... leaning on ... a hard thing to do most times.

  8. I think you and I had the same kind of day. I'm glad you could actually be there with your dad. I felt bad because all my communication today was handled by cell phone!

    I hope your dad is feeling better.

  9. I'm so sorry, Vicky. While you know it's coming, it is still so very, very hard...But you are such a wise woman...leaning in...going with the flow...taking it step by'll never regret that! You are in my thoughts! Love you, Janine XO

  10. Hi Vicky

    you do well...leaning or not...

    My thoughts are with you in regards to your Dad...mine weakens everyday but it still hanging in there...

    Happy days

  11. My Dad is slowly fading away form Alzheimer's and I have done a lot of "leaning in" over the last seven years.

    It has truly been a trial of faith, guilt, anger and finally acceptance and trust, that beyond what the Alzheimer's steals, my dad is still there, still loved and know by God, even if dad himself has forgotten his own name.

    May you find a blessing in the leaning in.

  12. "Leaning in" is such a great way to describe your actions of late. I'm sympathizing with you and your dad's condition. My mom has congestive heart failure. She's 96. She's had it FOR YEARS. It's hard to watch.

  13. "Leaning in"? My temptation, personality kick, that kicks my tail often, is to fight, fight and fight some more. And then, when I'm finally worn out, sDO lean in ... to my Lord's arms and cuddle to His chest. After all these years, you'd think I'd have the impulse to go there FIRST instead of LAST. Oh, well...

  14. Vicky....I held my breath as I read...sigh. I wish I lived closer to you. You know that I feel as if I know your Dad. I bought his card is sitting right here on my desk in front of me. I'll mail it to him tomorrow. Please, give him a hug for me. I love him through you...

  15. I've just been reading about Leaning in...not called that but the same idea. Don't struggle so that you get pulled under the quicksand. You described it perfectly.

  16. I lean in lately a lot. I find that a bit of acceptance can give me greater strength to push forward. Vicky, I'm praying for you and your Dad. You're a great support for your family. I know they appreciate all that you do to keep everyone going. Hugs...

  17. Congestive heart failure is progressing!? Oh dear. Can nothing correct it? I am so sorry. Though I can't do anything, I will most definitely pray he feels good more often than not.

    I pray God gives you all the strength you need to deal with this. You're doing your best already. Loads of love Vicky. Take care and a hug to your dad from me :)

  18. Vicky lean in all yo need. I'd say all your dad wants is time with his family and the people he loves. May every moment count. This is the precious time you can never get back.

    Some people miss this opportunity and I know you have the special ability to make the most of the time your dad has left with his family.

    Sending you love and strength.


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