Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Many of you know my dad entered the hospital in early April. Three surgeries, four ICU stays, a life flight to Kansas City (followed by an ambulance ride back to Hays), and several weeks in rehab later, he was released Friday after 70 days.

Through the incredible prayers of many people, the indefatigable support of my mom, and his indomitable positive spirit, he's alive today, with something still to prove.

There were many ups and downs during his hospitalization. One 24 hour period stands out.

On Mother's Day, I headed to Hays when he returned to ICU with a blood clot in his lung. The ICU doctor pulled me aside and asked if I understood how serious Dad's condition was. I assured him I did. And even though it was ostensibly her day, I don't think I wished my mom Happy Mother's Day until 9 o'clock Sunday night.

Back at home, I laid in bed, making myself cry for the emotional release needed for the days ahead. I thought about what I'd learned from my dad and all the things he'd been and done in his life. And I got the idea for the piece below.

As I've told a number of people, when I went back to the hospital the next morning at 8 a.m., Dad was unconscious and on a ventilator; I feared the worst. At the 10 a.m. visit, he was alert and nearly squeezed my hand off; suddenly my tears from the night before turned to tears of joy. By the 8 p.m. visit, he was off the ventilator and watching "Dancing with the Stars."
That's my dad, and I'm so glad he's out of the hospital for Father's Day to be able to read this post.

I love you Mom and Dad!

My Dad

My dad is my dad.
He's a son, a husband, and a big brother to many - whether or not he's older or even a sibling.
He's a Kansan.
He's a friend.
He's a partner with Jesus.
He is loved by so many people.

My dad is a barber. He's a salesman, broadcaster, TV celebrity, and announcer. He's a chef and restaurateur. He's a board member and advisor.

My dad is an electrician, plumber, mechanic, gardener, carpenter, house painter, collector, comedian, impressionist, and artist.
I've seen him fix all kinds of things for people.
For those in genuine need, he's a bank, a financier, and investor.
Hard working and strategic; a solver and critic.
He has a distinctive personality. He's a learner and advice giver.
My dad is tech savvy, following me into blogging and tweeting.
He's incredibly proud of his son.

My dad's a positive thinker and struggling. He's sweet and rebellious.
A coach and cheerleader, with a cantankerous, opposing voice.
He loves sports; hates athletic ineptitude. That's why he's a frustrated golfer and Kansas City sports fan.
He's demanding and a loving, supportive man; big hearted and skeptical.
He's a confidant who is inquisitive (at times nosy), and doesn't take any bullshit from anyone.
He is infirmed, and he looms large.

My dad is a rock, a fighter, and seemingly to me, invincible.
My dad is my dad.


Henie said...

Dear Mike's Dad:

All the wonderful things that you are in your son's heart is the very essence of him from you! He is a clear reflection of your values, strength and will!

Welcome home and Happy Father's Day!

Hugs,love and smiles always!

Leslie said...

What an awesome tribute to your dad! How wonderful that he's home and doing well.

Brenda said...

So happy that he is doing so well!
Blessings to all of you!

Chris Kuehl said...

Congrats to your Dad and to you. I lost my father in 1984 and know what that rock can mean in one's life. I am looking forward to the 2010 Father's Day note.

Anonymous said...

Bernie is THE MAN!

-don dinkel

Mike Brown said...

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and leave wishes for Dad. He's received a variety of comments via email too.

He's tired from all the exercising & physical therapy this week, but his voice is actually getting back to sounding like it always has.

He's restricted to the house because of home health care, but all things considered, it really feels like a miracle he's home.