(Thank you all for the support and comments. It is really heartwarming. I know that I am a lucky girl and hope that I am doing a good job. I love hanging out with him and hope that whatever right I do by him will make up for any of the wrongs I have done in my life.)
The first time that he got sick was March 17, 2001. He was working in the backyard and decided to move a rock (read boulder). Mama and I were in the house talking and she said I have not heard from your father in a while. Maybe you should go check on him. The next thing I know my next door neighbor was in the backyard. Pop had been working outside and tried to move the rock (read boulder) and it hurt. He passed out and couldn't stand up so he crawled to the backdoor and knocked.
We ran to the hospital and he had a massive heart attack and needed by-pass surgery. That was on Sunday. On Wednesday they opened him up and did a quadruple by-pass. I actually tried to go sit in on the surgery. I thought it would be fun. When my friend suggested that may not be a good idea since he was 82 I didn't understand why. He literally had to say Dorothy, he could die.
Oh don't worry about that. He is going to die in a car accident. He has been telling me that since I was four. And that made perfect sense to me.
On Wednesday March 20th he had quadruple by-pass, on Friday he had a pacemaker put in and on Monday I brought him home. I spent the next couple of months following him around the house with the heart shaped pillow they gave him at the hospital so that when he coughed he could squeeze the pillow and it wouldn't hurt so much. I also tried to make him eat so that he would gain weight “ he was down to 125 pounds. And three times a week he would drive to the hospital to see his nurses and exercise with them. When it was time for him to graduate, he took me to the hospital with him for the ceremony. He wore my college cap and gown.
At the time of his heart attack he was still driving, still owned and did the majority of maintenance on his student apartments in Denton, and still traveled once every six weeks for his actual job. Mama was still working full time and I think that this is the incident that made me the de facto caregiver. I took this job willingly and even knowing what I know now I would do it all over again but, at the time, I never expected I would be doing the same thing with him 10 years later but without my Mama.