My father was diagnosed about 4 years ago. His little brother, my favorite uncle passed away quickly from cancer the year before that, and we were still realing. The two brothers, plus one more were what i grew up to consider the inner circle....three hard drinking, hard partying chicanos out of Visalia California. For about 10 years i had the pleasure of being accepted as a junior member.
The first indication that something was wrong with my father was slurred speach. He'd call me up in the morning and i'd say "are you fu*ked up already?" It was probably the first and last joke i made regarding this. I vaguely remember about a year of frustrating doctor apts where things were ruled out but peace of mind was in short order.
After one of these apts i came over to bbq and i'll never forget the look on my folks face. I was 29. "you better sit down for this" my father said, and as i sit, he slid an ice cold budweiser my way. Then he slid a packet of paper my way, and i looked down and read the words ALS and i swear it took forever to look back up, and i dont know if i ever looked pop in his eyes that night at all. I got drunk, i swallowed the lump in my throat, bbqed and cried all night until i snuck out at 5am and drove back down to san jose(from san fran)--It's been 3 years and ive cried so long, im crying tonite. My father is now in what appears to be the final stages. He's been in bed for 5 months now, in and out of the hospital, infection after infection. He is at my mother's house, 5 miles away with two shifts of aids, and hospice in waiting. He has always been an atheist, but is now communicating that he believes in god and wants to prey. He is so terrified, he cries so much....I just left him with my mom, i cant even look at him and keep it together. He barely has one hand to use, so he slowly spells out words with an alphabet i have. He is asking what he's going to do? ? i cry. He says "im going to be leaving" i say "not yet" he says "soon" i cry. i cry i cry....this cannot be helpful. thanks for listening.