Some weeks are harder than others. We wake up the same. We brush our teeth the same. And we go to work the same way we have all our lives. Only this time, something different happens. When we look at our work we stare blankly into it, as if we hoped it would vanish. Somewhere in the back of our minds, we feel storm clouds race over and we feel lost. Somewhere in the middle of this last week, I began to feel like a part of me was missing. No part of me felt like doing days of thankfulness. I knew why this part of me felt missing, but it didn’t help. My dad found himself in a hospital bed, unable to move, shaking in his core. It turned out, after several rounds of antibiotics, mostly ineffective, my dad had a UTI. If it had only been a UTI, I would have been thankful.
But then it turned out to be more. The first thing they scanned determined he had an enlarged prostate. Whether this caused the kidney infection, or the kidney infection caused the growth, they could not say. They knew they would need to do a biopsy to determine. But then came the real kicker. When they got back the blood test results they noticed he had all the markers for having a heart attack. Hearing that news, my heart sunk. It’s hard to be thankful for a heart attack.
They didn’t know anything for sure. They needed to do an angiogram. But could they do that? No. They couldn’t because they couldn’t get my dad’s infection to go down. It turned out the only thing that helped was intravenous antibiotics and not the oral kind. Thankfully, they were able to get the infection to subside enough to do the test. This resulted in the following finding: 100 percent blockage in one artery, 90 percent blockage in another, and 95 percent blockage in a third. No stent could take care of this problem. My dad was a walking, talking, heart attack waiting to happen. And then they sent him home.
I know what you are thinking. Who in their right mind would send a patient home like that under those conditions? I bet if I gave you the hint that it began with an “I” and ended with an “ance,” you would know. Hospitals may exist to save people, but insurance exists to make a profit. This does not mean that Hospitals wouldn’t also like to turn a profit. It just means, at the very least, they have mixed motives. I found it hard to be thankful again.
And then, trying to keep my daughter from having to deal with hospital stays and constant visits, I took her out last night. We watched a movie trying to clear our minds. Although, going to watch Happy Death Day may not have been the best idea in clearing out minds about death. Although, being a horror version of “Groundhog Day,” I suppose we could pretend death never happened. What did I really know?
And at long last, Sunday night, I sat down on the couch, watching some TV and trying to ignore the bad things in my life. I knew I needed to finish my 70 Days of Thankfulness post as I stared blankly at the computer screen. The line on the bar kept flashing at me letting me know that nothing was getting typed. And then my daughter turned around.
“Daddy, have you done your blog post?”
“What blog post are you talking about?”
“70 Days of Thankfulness, Daddy.”
Ugh, there it was. I had a blog post I needed to do about being thankful, and I didn’t know what to do other than stare at a blank screen. And then she spoke some more.
“Have you been thankful for Oreo, daddy?”
“Not specifically, but I was thankful for pets in general.”
“Have you been thankful for hospitals, daddy?”
“No, I don’t believe I have.”
“What about medicine, daddy?”
“No, I don’t think I said that either.”
“What about freedom?”
“Yes, I am pretty sure I said something about that.”
The conversation continued for the next several minutes. And here was my daughter, helping me out with the things that I am thankful for, even in the most difficult of circumstances. It’s so easy to be pulled off track and not remember that there are things one can be thankful for. At this moment, I became thankful for my daughter, even if she had already been mentioned on the list. She reminded me that thankfulness can occur even when you don’t feel like it. And sometimes, those awful times make thankfulness all the more important.
So with that in mind, I started to think about what I was going to say in earnest. And for those of you who want to know, I used many of the things my daughter was thankful for in the list. We get inspiration from all kinds of sources. And this week’s list of 70 Days of Thankfulness, my daughter inspired. So sit back, read a little more, and remember seven more things you are thankful for this week as the Guide presents, 70 Days of Thankfulness, Week 8.
70 Days Of Thankfulness: Week Eight
52) I am thankful for hospitals.
Maybe this is strictly an American thing, but all hospitals in the United States are required to take care of patients in the case of an Emergency. We were having insurance issues. (I suppose this can be a recurring theme.) And the doctor couldn’t take my dad while the insurance issues had not resolved themselves. So after much cajoling, I convinced my mother to take my dad to a hospital. It turns out he was practically ready to have a heart attack. The fact that they provide service in times of crisis means a lot.
53) I am thankful for doctors.
Yes, this goes hand in hand. But doctors help us make our day to day medical decisions about important things in our lives. They can tell when we are ill and can help prepare us for what may come in the future. We can make changes in our lives because they can inform us what is happening in our bodies. They have to go through years of study just to be able to help me out in those time of crisis. I cannot imagine going through the education, sleepless nights, and incredibly taxing and emotional work to be able to help people out. Without a doubt this makes me thankful they put themselves through this torture to help out people they do not know.
54) I am thankful for medicine.
I know with this I am exploring a theme. But, can you blame me? I am definitely thankful for all of the different medications they have invented over time. Whether vaccines or antibiotics, medicine has improved our lives in so many various different ways than we can count. Yes, you do not want to abuse the drugs created for a particular purpose. And yes, some drugs come with higher risks than others for addiction. (Someday I may explain my experience with Dilaudid.)
But these drugs make our life better. They have enabled me to handle the pain of kidney stones, taken away my daughter’s kidney infections, and prolonged my dad’s life. We don’t think about how amazing the world we live in truly is. Go back even a hundred years and I think you might compare a doctor to a butcher if you saw them practice. (Whoever thought leaches were a good thing should be shot.) So I have a lot to be thankful for here.
55) I am thankful for Hippocrates.
When it comes to the father of Western medicine, no figure stands as tall as he. While not necessarily creating all the things himself, Hippocrates and his students invented the Hippocratic oath, which basically states that a Doctor will do no intentional harm. They were also among the first to describe different diseases and medical conditions. They also began the method of categorizing ailments as chronic, acute or otherwise. So much of modern medicine is based on the understandings that were developed by these ancient Greeks. And for that I am grateful.
56) I am thankful for Advanced Directives.
Honestly, I have mixed emotions about this one. You try to sit down with your 22-year-old brother-in-law and get him to talk about what kinds of medical circumstances he would want treatment for, and which he would rather die from. This conversation hurt. Although having this conversation with my dad hurt so much worse. I admit that for my brother-in-law the pain as it hurt my ex-wife and family probably exceeded what I should feel for my dad. But my dad is my dad. I have loved this man, even though we did not always see eye to eye, for the last 44 years of my life. Losing him will hurt.
But the advanced directive will take away much of the decision-making process I might have to go through. I cannot imagine having to decide in a moment’s notice whether my father should live or die, or what kind of medical treatments he should have. Knowing his wishes does give comfort to some degree, even if I know he may die as a result. Whoever came up with these legal documents deserves a reward, even if it feels like a gut punch should I have to do one.
57) I am thankful for Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen.
Science takes funny paths. While looking to discover the truth behind one particular subject, often we find out some amazing discovery about something else. What Rontgen discovered would revolutionize the field of medicine. He and several colleagues tested rays and were trying to determine their effects on many different things. In the process of the testing, He noticed some other property created with a ray of unknown origin. This ray he classified as X-ray, which in mathematics “x” represented an unknown quantity. And in testing that ray, he realized that his bones were being projected onto a screen. Hence the X-ray was born. He first tested it out on his wife. And eventually, all of the medicine would take him up on this marvelous invention, seeing ways to examine the skeletal structure they never could before.
58) I am thankful for nurses.
While doctors are those who go in and have to deal with the difficult diseases and have to make the big calls about things, the nurses we have made the experience of going to the doctors better. Not unlike therapists, they listen to our problems, do a preliminary check and can help shape the solutions that we get for whatever ailment we may have. They have to entertain us when we are sad or in pain. They work their magic when they have to inject us with foreign objects. Doctors may save lives, but nurses make going to the doctors or the hospital experience bearable. Without nurses, doctors would not have jobs for too long. They would be thought of as quacks or they would be run out of medicine with malpractice lawsuits. I can guarantee you that a good or bad hospital experience will be rated 10 percent about the doctor and 90 percent about the nurse. Nurses make all the difference.
Continue The Conversation –
So what things were you thankful for this week? And what has your experience with hospitals and life or death issues been like? I admit that I have probably been in them far too often for my own experience. But I would love to hear from you and what you think about all of them.
Like / Follow Me –
As always, if you liked this post, please check out some of my other Days of Thankfulness posts, and like and comment down at the bottom. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the Guide. Subscribers will get access to the Dad rules, ten rules every day should follow. Sorry if things have “been off” this last week. A lot has been on my mind. But thank you for stopping by once again. A little less than two more weeks to Thanksgiving. Let’s finish this list and being thankful off strong. I look forward to seeing you and hearing from you as always.
Until next time, this is me signing off.