My Father — Chapter 4

IMG_3282While I was pregnant with my second daughter my father had what we all thought was a stroke. He was unable to stand on his own and ended up in the hospital. The tests failed to confirm that it was a stroke and my understanding is that they came to the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis by default. After hearing this, many things fell into place.

During the time that I was getting to know Bob I was working for a professor. He was a shy, gregarious guy, which is a hard combination to imagine, but once he felt comfortable with the people involved, he was great in groups. It was the getting to know you part that could set him off balance. Anyhow, this guy stepped in for a while as my father.

One thing that I know for sure is that whether or not you realize it, if you need something, the universe will give it to you. When I got engaged my father was estranged, more or less, so one became available. It had been quite a while since I had seen my father. My attempt to contact him after I left my mother’s place had been hurtful for me, so I really hadn’t bothered much after that.

I asked the professor if he would walk me down the aisle at my wedding. He was wonderful for this and remembered to ask me if I actually wanted to go through with it. I was certain, of course, that I wanted to get married. He provided a jovial and calming presence during my descent.

When my father arrived in town for my wedding, I made sure that I told him that someone else was walking me down the aisle and he looked surprisingly happy. He got up to dance with me at my wedding, but that was the only time that he got up to dance and we only danced the one song. I did not know at the time that he was probably unable to stand for much longer or walk all the way down the aisle.

My father was a proud man and his wife was a great cook. I suspect that he attributed his inability to walk to being heavier than he had ever been in his life and his total lack of exercise. Coming to this conclusion may have precluded the need to go to the doctor’s and have a checkup, but I am only guessing about this. I also knew that when he took his wife shopping, he would wait in the car for her. So, there is a good chance that he had been feeling the symptoms of this disease for a lot longer than he was letting on.

When I got called about the stroke, I went to the hospital to see him. I knew that I was pregnant with my second daughter at that time. He had been devastated when he had been alone after his separation and I’m sure that he was glad that I had reconciled with Bob.

So, after my second daughter was born, he visited me and we sat on the front porch. He loved the porch. The house was on a fairly busy street and he had fond memories of sitting on his front porch when he was young and how there was so much going on. His mother’s place was the one with the store on the one side, so there would have been people coming just to go to the store, when he was a boy.

He was a little uncomfortable about breast feeding and announced once while I was feeding the baby that he thought it was inappropriate for the family room. To be honest, I don’t think that he knew that I was doing it while we were having the discussion.

When you are having a baby at home, there is no one telling you to get out of the way, or that you can or cannot photograph anything, so we had a very extensive photographic account of the entire process. I had sorted the photos into general; share with everyone photos; those that had some redeeming qualities but were not for general viewing and the final pile that I needed to burn. I had set the burn pile aside so that they would not get passed around when people visited.

During my father’s stay, while we were discussing the birth in very general broad terms, my oldest daughter decided that this was her chance to share the photos with my father. She ran up to my room and grabbed photos and presented them to my dad. My father was a very conservative man that easily got squeamish and certainly did not want to view explicit photos of his daughter. You know which pile was handed to him.

I was sitting with the baby on my lap when my daughter handed him the photos and it took me a moment to realize what pile she likely gave to him. I jumped up and grabbed the pile out of his hands before he was forever traumatized.

My father was never strong enough to visit again. It was nice to have him come and see my place. It was also comforting for me to know that he liked the place and was happy with where I was in life.

The multiple sclerosis would come in waves. Each wave would knock him down and then he would not fully recover the strength and independence that he had before that particular bout. As each successive wave hit he found himself increasingly reliant on his wife to help him do the simplest tasks. Finally, she was unable to give him all of the support that he needed and he had to go into the hospital.

This must have been the ultimate insult to him as a person. My mother had always used her illnesses as a way to get attention and to make herself feel important. I know that my father resented this. He had told me that he hated playing cards with people that could not hold their cards properly or deal quickly. He said that it slowed the game down and made playing unpleasant. It was important to him to be strong and capable and his final days, weeks, months and years were the opposite of that.

 

Keep reading: The Best Defense is a Good Offense

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

 

 

No Leg to Stand On — Chapter 3

http://www.dairymoos.com/
http://www.dairymoos.com/

What was initially a great job with a lot of accomplishments and room for me to contribute positively to how the calves were raised and their general care had disintegrated into a political battle with a pseudo-veterinarian. This man had been masquerading as the go-to man with health care issues even though he did not have any formal training. I can hear half of the audience sighing.

Our popular media often glorifies the people that have learned by experience, that have hit the ground running and know so much more than the ‘educated’ people. This may apply in some instances but definitively did not apply to this individual. He saw me as a threat and often contradicted my advice to people.

There was one particularly unfortunate calf that bore the brunt of our disharmony. The calf had caught it’s leg while jumping out of a pen and had tore the nerves that served the leg. Nerves are important. Not only do they allow the animal to flex the muscles of the leg, a requirement of standing, but they are also there to help protect the leg. If an animal cannot feel pain in one of its limbs it will not take care of it.

I was called in early when the calf was discovered. I did a simple test to see if the nerves were intact. They were not. The calf could not feel anything in the leg. I recommended to the farmer that the calf be immediately sent to slaughter. There would be some loss because of bruising, but once you treat an animal with any kind of drug a withdrawal time must be respected before the animal can go to slaughter so it was best to do it right away.

The other fella pressured the farmer to keep the animal alive arguing that the animal was worth a fraction of what it would be worth when it was fully grown. The farmer followed the advice of the other guy and kept the calf alive. As the calf grew larger and larger it became apparent that it could not get up on its own. The farmer had to get into the pen and lift the animal up so that it could reach its food. It would lie on its leg and not recognize that it was cutting off all of the blood flow. Sores began to develop which meant that the calf needed to be put on antibiotics. While on antibiotics the calf cannot go to slaughter. The meat would get thrown out if it did. The calf never did go to slaughter and died a few weeks later from infections that began in the sores of its leg.

Watching this calf suffer, when I was there with the intention of making sure that these animals were well cared for and treated properly, was heartbreaking for me. This was only one example, but it did show that I had no power in this job and that made it unpleasant for me.

I had been actively applying to other jobs. On one particular day I got a call from a human resources person to set up a job interview. My daughter was in her crib upstairs when the call came in and Bob was in the house. During this conversation about the job and when I could set up an appointment to go in for an interview my daughter started to cry. Bob brought her down and stood right next to the phone so that the person that was booking the appointment was being drowned out by the crying.

Bob explained that he did not know how to calm her down and was holding her there to let me know that I needed to hurry up and get off of the phone. There is no question in my mind at all that “has a young baby” was written on my application. The truth was that this was the second time that he had purposely tried to interfere with my success. Let’s not forget that he left before I was able to finish veterinary medicine. Individually they both seemed unrelated but they became part of a pattern.

So, when my second pregnancy was difficult and my doctor said that if I did not take time off from work he was going to hospitalize me, I did not hesitate to quit my job. I was eligible for money from the government if I left because I was pregnant and I wanted to take some time to stay at home with this baby. I had learned the hard way with my first daughter that going right back to having a full time obligation was not ideal.

Did I mention that I got pregnant right away?

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Begin With a Move

www.wendypowell.ca

My Father — Chapter 4

While I was pregnant with my second daughter my father had what we all thought was a stroke. He was unable to stand on his own and ended up in the hospital. The tests failed to confirm that it was a stroke and my understanding is that they came to the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis by default. After hearing this, many things fell into place.

During the time that I was getting to know Bob I was working for a professor. He was a shy, gregarious guy, which is a hard combination to imagine, but once he felt comfortable with the people involved, he was great in groups. It was the getting to know you part that could set him off balance. Anyhow, this guy stepped in for a while as my father.

One thing that I know for sure is that whether or not you realize it, if you need something, the universe will give it to you. When I got engaged my father was estranged, more or less, so one became available. It had been quite a while since I had seen my father. My attempt to contact him after I left my mother’s place had been hurtful for me, so I really hadn’t bothered much after that.

I asked the professor if he would walk me down the aisle at my wedding. He was wonderful for this and remembered to ask me if I actually wanted to go through with it. I was certain, of course, that I wanted to get married. He provided a jovial and calming presence during my descent.

When my father arrived in town for my wedding, I made sure that I told him that someone else was walking me down the aisle and he looked surprisingly happy. He got up to dance with me at my wedding, but that was the only time that he got up to dance and we only danced the one song. I did not know at the time that he was probably unable to stand for much longer or walk all the way down the aisle.

My father was a proud man and his wife was a great cook. I suspect that he attributed his inability to walk to being heavier than he had ever been in his life and his total lack of exercise. Coming to this conclusion may have precluded the need to go to the doctor’s and have a checkup, but I am only guessing about this. I also knew that when he took his wife shopping, he would wait in the car for her. So, there is a good chance that he had been feeling the symptoms of this disease for a lot longer than he was letting on.

When I got called about the stroke, I went to the hospital to see him. I knew that I was pregnant with my second daughter at that time. He had been devastated when he had been alone after his separation and I’m sure that he was glad that I had reconciled with Bob.

So, after my second daughter was born, he visited me and we sat on the front porch. He loved the porch. The house was on a fairly busy street and he had fond memories of sitting on his front porch when he was young and how there was so much going on. His mother’s place was the one with the store on the one side, so there would have been people coming just to go to the store, when he was a boy.

He was a little uncomfortable about breast feeding and announced once while I was feeding the baby that he thought it was inappropriate for the family room. To be honest, I don’t think that he knew that I was doing it while we were having the discussion.

When you are having a baby at home, there is no one telling you to get out of the way, or that you can or cannot photograph anything, so we had a very extensive photographic account of the entire process. I had sorted the photos into general; share with everyone photos; those that had some redeeming qualities but were not for general viewing and the final pile that I needed to burn. I had set the burn pile aside so that they would not get passed around when people visited.

During my father’s stay, while we were discussing the birth in very general broad terms, my oldest daughter decided that this was her chance to share the photos with my father. She ran up to my room and grabbed photos and presented them to my dad. My father was a very conservative man that easily got squeamish and certainly did not want to view explicit photos of his daughter. You know which pile was handed to him.

I was sitting with the baby on my lap when my daughter handed him the photos and it took me a moment to realize what pile she likely gave to him. I jumped up and grabbed the pile out of his hands before he was forever traumatized.

My father was never strong enough to visit again. It was nice to have him come and see my place. It was also comforting for me to know that he liked the place and was happy with where I was in life.

The multiple sclerosis would come in waves. Each wave would knock him down and then he would not fully recover the strength and independence that he had before that particular bout. As each successive wave hit he found himself increasingly reliant on his wife to help him do the simplest tasks. Finally, she was unable to give him all of the support that he needed and he had to go into the hospital.

This must have been the ultimate insult to him as a person. My mother had always used her illnesses as a way to get attention and to make herself feel important. I know that my father resented this. He had told me that he hated playing cards with people that could not hold their cards properly or deal quickly. He said that it slowed the game down and made playing unpleasant. It was important to him to be strong and capable and his final days, weeks, months and years were the opposite of that.

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

www.wendypowell.ca

No Leg to Stand On — Chapter 3

http://www.dairymoos.com/
http://www.dairymoos.com/

What was initially a great job with a lot of accomplishments and room for me to contribute positively to how the calves were raised and their general care had disintegrated into a political battle with a pseudo-veterinarian. This man had been masquerading as the go-to man with health care issues even though he did not have any formal training. I can hear half of the audience sighing.

Our popular media often glorifies the people that have learned by experience, that have hit the ground running and know so much more than the ‘educated’ people. This may apply in some instances but definitively did not apply to this individual. He saw me as a threat and often contradicted my advice to people.

There was one particularly unfortunate calf that bore the brunt of our disharmony. The calf had caught it’s leg while jumping out of a pen and had tore the nerves that served the leg. Nerves are important. Not only do they allow the animal to flex the muscles of the leg, a requirement of standing, but they are also there to help protect the leg. If an animal cannot feel pain in one of its limbs it will not take care of it.

I was called in early when the calf was discovered. I did a simple test to see if the nerves were intact. They were not. The calf could not feel anything in the leg. I recommended to the farmer that the calf be immediately sent to slaughter. There would be some loss because of bruising, but once you treat an animal with any kind of drug a withdrawal time must be respected before the animal can go to slaughter so it was best to do it right away.

The other fella pressured the farmer to keep the animal alive arguing that the animal was worth a fraction of what it would be worth when it was fully grown. The farmer followed the advice of the other guy and kept the calf alive. As the calf grew larger and larger it became apparent that it could not get up on its own. The farmer had to get into the pen and lift the animal up so that it could reach its food. It would lie on its leg and not recognize that it was cutting off all of the blood flow. Sores began to develop which meant that the calf needed to be put on antibiotics. While on antibiotics the calf cannot go to slaughter. The meat would get thrown out if it did. The calf never did go to slaughter and died a few weeks later from infections that began in the sores of its leg.

Watching this calf suffer, when I was there with the intention of making sure that these animals were well cared for and treated properly, was heartbreaking for me. This was only one example, but it did show that I had no power in this job and that made it unpleasant for me.

I had been actively applying to other jobs. On one particular day I got a call from a human resources person to set up a job interview. My daughter was in her crib upstairs when the call came in and Bob was in the house. During this conversation about the job and when I could set up an appointment to go in for an interview my daughter started to cry. Bob brought her down and stood right next to the phone so that the person that was booking the appointment was being drowned out by the crying.

Bob explained that he did not know how to calm her down and was holding her there to let me know that I needed to hurry up and get off of the phone. There is no question in my mind at all that “has a young baby” was written on my application. The truth was that this was the second time that he had purposely tried to interfere with my success. Let’s not forget that he left before I was able to finish veterinary medicine. Individually they both seemed unrelated but they became part of a pattern.

So, when my second pregnancy was difficult and my doctor said that if I did not take time off from work he was going to hospitalize me, I did not hesitate to quit my job. I was eligible for money from the government if I left because I was pregnant and I wanted to take some time to stay at home with this baby. I had learned the hard way with my first daughter that going right back to having a full time obligation was not ideal.

Did I mention that I got pregnant right away?

Read the entire book, now available
Read the entire book, now available

Begin With a Move

www.wendypowell.ca