Sunday, June 5, 2016

Life's but a walking shadow

Hello dear visitors. It has been around two months since I have posted or bothered to check in here. I am sorry for what is now my new record for disappearance. As I do not wish to rename this blog "the museum of grief" or something similar I shall reluctantly explain (as briefly as I can) what has been going on for me. Needless to say all I want is to share exquisite sounds and thoughts with all of you.

On April 15th my parents, my sister and her husband and kids left for a weeklong trip to Maui. My father has been undergoing chemotherapy for a rare (yet highly treatable) type of bone cancer for the last 8 months. This has left him exhausted and weak most of the time. Chemo as you likely know compromises the immune system significantly. The day my family was leaving for Maui I was visiting them, and whilst everyone else was scurrying around doing last minute checks for their essential items my father sat at the kitchen table with his hands over his face, his arms literally holding his head up from otherwise hitting the countertop. Everyone assumed this was just exhaustion, but my sister and I wasted no time trying to talk my father out of going to Maui and staying home. Not wanting to "disappoint everyone" he decided to go anyhow. It turns out that he already had pneumonia, but no one realized this. After the first night on the island, he was weak and only slept. He had mental confusion, symptoms that seemed viral and then his breathing became a constant wheeze. A trip to urgent care only resulted in a misdiagnosis of the flu and prescribed Tamiflu pills.

On the 17th my father was barely breathing and was taken to the M.M. Hospital and put in the ICU.
The pneumonia had lead to severe sepsis, and by the time he entered the hospital is was septic shock. An infection had spread throughout his blood and was effecting almost all his organs, leading to further acute infection and kidney failure. He was put on life support as he was not breathing at all and few functions were being regulated by his body at this point. He had several surgical procedures and only narrowly escaped having to have several ribs sawed in order to reach an extremely difficult "pocket" of infection within his already full lungs. And - there were too many other complications to attempt to list). My family told me I was fortunate not to have witnessed all of the pipes going down his throat, the endless machines, and the wires and IVs embedded in his skin. Due to timing I avoided 50% of this sad sight. 

After being stuck in my head and alone on the East coast, I flew down to Maui (14 hours, on 2 flights) on the 22nd. The doctors were saying that he had a 20% chance of survival. My brother-in-law had to leave, taking my 3 yr old niece with him, and after we discussed it, my sister decided to stay on to continue to offer support to our mother and in the hope that having both of his children present could play a role in any possible recovery. It didn't help that my 6 month old niece stayed in Maui with us, and I spent many a hours sitting in the car or driving around with her waiting to switch with my sister.
(And if you want to have a good time by the way - try taking two flights in one day holding a 6 month old. Thank god my sister and I kept swapping, it was stressful going an hour without pretzels and plastic cups of soda)

So, when I first saw my father he was breathing with the assistance of an oxygen tank and face mask - a major improvement as his lungs although full of pus were working. There were so many ups and downs and nightmares during the following week that I cannot list them, the "ups" were mostly fleeting - at least for a while.

This is getting awfully long, so I will fast-fwd quite a bit and let you know - and I almost believe in miracles at this point - that my father not only survived but was able to make the flight from Maui after being in hospital beds for 23 days followed by local physical therapy. The therapy is ongoing, and he is walking, although only short distances as he remains weak and breathing is still an issue from any exertion. 

These days I spend as much time with him as I can, outside of working. Still he sleeps much of the day.


I was finally feeling that I could return to the blog/the 'net with a bit of enthusiasm, and enjoy myself.
Then on May 15th I learned that one of my dearest friends had died in her sleep the night before. Truly too much to bear, I resisted a breakdown and continued to focus of my family and being a better son, brother, and human. There is a Yiddish word, "tsuris" which means grief or distress. Truly this is what I need a vacation from!

-Your Tzadik


Anonymous said...

Amigo, no se que decir,
lo mejor es quedarse callado,ese es mi caso,
siento su dolor y congoja,y me gustaria darle
un poco de alivio,por lo que humildemente le
cedo la palabra a la Escritura:Isaiah 65:17,40:31.
Ojalá su padre se recupere.
Un saludo y ánimo.

Tzadik said...

Estimado Juanito, te doy gracias por sus amables palabras. Voy a seguir para tratar y curar, y para mantener una actitud positiva - y aprecio su consejo para dar vuelta a las palabras habladas no, pero por escrito.

su Tzadik

Audentity said...

Thanks for the update Tzadik. Too much stress for one human?
Indeed, life is but a fleeting flicker of light...

Tzadik said...

And thank you for responding Audentity - it is much appreciated. It has also been a pleasure to find some recent comments from you, feel free to keep it up my friend :)


Pia said...

How nice to have you back - and your blog, the best.

Stay strong, Tzadik

Art Rock said...

I was going to post "All's well that ends well" until I came to the end of the post. Still, that's life. Best wishes for a full recovery of your father, and it's good to see you back.

Eric said...

Oy vey.

Johannes R. Becher said...

It's been this very morning that I've realised you had resumed your posting. Glad to know you're alive and kicking, and sad to see misfortune still keeps on stalking you. Best wishes.

coppinsuk said...

Hi Tz,

Thanks for sharing all your trials with us - do hope that it has expunged some of your angst by sharing it.

All the very best in your return to "normality" and that all your woes will be overcome.

Thanks for finding the time to correspond and to upload.

Take care,

Douglas (UK)

cjvinthechair said...

Bloody hell, Mr. T - 2016's going down as one lousy year for you & yours !

Best solution - you've found it; come back to the wonders of music, & some fairly cheerful 'pals' from around the world to share them with.
No 'tsuris' allowed on this I'm off to see what magic you've uploaded in the last few days.
See you further up the page !

nhac giaohuong said...

Welcome back, dear friend, miss you much !!!

Marcelo Lasta said...

Bendiciones,amigo mío,toda mi fuerza espiritual,la Música,nuestra amada Musik,nunca dejará de vibrar en nuestros astrocitos y de allí,al más allá.Siempre.Un abrazo de sólido Tapirhuman...

Scraps said...

My god, I'm so sorry, having to go through all this. Some of this I very much know, and feel for you; my beloved wife dying in the last two years, some of which my family went though a awful lot of familiar stuff that your family went through, even specifically that I wince. And just in the last six weeks I went through a misdiagnosis that they wanted to sent me home, until they finally found a fracture in my hip! I'm still going through rehab, and will be until at least another month, when I maybe will try to get back home.

Anyway. Music is my constant relief, which I suspect is yours. I hope so. I hope that your life will start to look up. Like, right now.


theoddvark said...

So sorry to hear about your father's troubles. I lost my wife of almost 48 years in early April and can understand you worry. Music is a solution. Keep on going!
The Oddvark

nhac giaohuong said...

I hope I'll meet you once in my life

Best wishes to you !

Tzadik said...

Thank you Pia, it is appreciated :)


Tzadik said...

Hi Art Rock, thank you for your words. It's life indeed. This was a very close friend, but I don't have enough room in my head to simply ruminate, collapse, grieve... I am grieving but with a different perspective on things after what my father went through.



Tzadik said...

@ Eric

Exactly. If someone "wished" A shvarts yor on me they certainly succeeded.


Tzadik said...

Hi Johannes

Thank you for your wishes, it is appreciated. It's nice to be back, however I have little energy lately. Hopefully I will get to more posting before the weekend comes.



Tzadik said...

Hello Douglas, it is nice to hear from you my friend. Yes, I find that I am exceptionally well equipped when it comes to complaining, so it has done me well indeed ;-)

I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things around here, I have a ridiculously large mental list of things to post, things I have wanted to post for a while now. All I need is too much coffee and time.



Tzadik said...

Cjv I have just about had it with 2016 indeed. Unless I win some sort of lottery (life changing that is, not 'sixpence' or a handful of small bills) before January it will be remembered as the most consistently troubling and difficult year I have known. But you said it - the magic of music never leaves, and there are several fine chaps 'round here that make blogging worth it. In fact there's one dandy in particular who is so overwhelmed by his music collection that he never leaves his chair ;)


Tzadik said...

nhac, thank you for your lovely words and friendship :) It is nice to be back. How is life in Vietnam these days?

your Tzadik

Tzadik said...

Estimado Marcello gracias por las amables palabras, y todos los de su espíritu-energía. Usted es un gran amigo a tener, y aunque por ahora es sólo a modo de escribir en este blog que significa mucho para mí :-)

Si no me gusta facebook tanto que me gustaría "conocerlo" allí; Sólo que no se va de allí, que han pasado unos cuantos años ya. Algún día voy a tomar un vuelo y la música que podrán disfrutar y hablar en persona!

tu hermano Tz

Tzadik said...

Hello my good man Scraps. Thank you for all of your kind words and support. You have been through hell and back as is said, and I wish we didn't both have grief to share - it should only be music, beauty, the good stuff... alas that's not what being a mortal offers full-time. I find it to be rather part-time, but then music itself can be a near constant relief, to varying degrees.

I remember the photo of you and your wife, how lovely a person she seemed to be - it was something I could feel with my eyes alone. I don't know much about the rest of your family but I hope the circumstances have not been as tough for them as I am imagining - you have enough to worry about with your health and for quite some time I do realize.

So you are at the rehab center exclusively then - and for another whole month? :( My father had phystherapy rehab at a local place for 1 week and now someone comes to the house. My mother is lovingly his full-time nurse.

I take it you have your computer or laptop with you... if you have any special requests, something you have wanted to listen to that I can (hopefully) provide...please let me know. I'd be happy to get any tunes to you :)


Tzadik said...

Oddvark oh my how awful to learn of the passing of your wife.. And edging towards 50 years. My parents have been together for about the same amount of time. I know hearing sorry from a 'stranger' doesn't do much but truly I am sorry for your loss.

And I will keep going, that's all we can do - it's about filling this fragile 'canvas' with as much good, as much color as is possible while we still can!