This week off finds me visiting Chicago, which would be all fun and awesomeness if it wasn't for the fact that the main reason I'm out here is to see my dad going through the worst part of the chemo related to his stem cell transplant. See, my dad has been sick for the better part of the last decade. It's hard to describe exactly what he has, because it is so complicated and so rare. Basically, he has auto-immune problems. After years of different treatments, he's finally going through with a stem cell transplant. People I've told about this say 'how cool' it is to have this cutting-edge procedure. Cool? Well, I hope desperately that it works. Of course, cool is not the first thing that comes to mind as a I sit in a hospital room with a father who is half conscious and pumped up on painkillers. Cool is not having to wash my hands (twice!) every time I come to the 15th floor of the hospital to my dad's room, because he has about two white blood cells in his whole body. Cool is not watching my dad dry heave. When I first got to his room, I felt afraid to even breath.
Dad and I - pre stem cell transplant
So here I sit at the hospital half freaked out with what is going on and half wondering was tasty restaurant will be a good choice for dinner. Dad is on enough drugs that he's telling us about the dead people he saw (maybe in a dream?). His grandfather, his best friend, our old greyhound, and the kitten I had who got sick and died. They're all hanging out with him on the beach. Just chilling. Seems like everyone is having a good time.
Fortunately, every restaurant here in Chicago seems to be tasty, so that takes care of dinner. Too bad the hospital part isn't so easy to fix. And that's the crux of living with someone seriously and chronically ill. How does one live their life, and enjoy it, while someone they love is so sick? I refuse to not enjoy myself for the days/months/years he is sick, but it's difficult to find the balance. Whether it's leaving the hospital for dinner or just getting up everyday to go to work knowing he went to the ER last night. It's something I've wrestled with for years.