Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Birthday Bash and Lesson #3

I came back from this weekend in a funk.  It's lifting now. 

Social Lesson #3:  Even though things fail to unfold as I'd like, it doesn't mean I'm failing.

 aka  "Don't take their stuff personally"  Just keep loving.

I assure you, I didn't take Dad's fall personally.  Falls happen.  What made this past weekend special -  our family assembled for a BIG birthday celebration - his 103rd.   (Which really falls this weekend, except we couldn't get the whole family together then.)

I have to cut my father some slack.  Why shouldn't he take a shower at midnight, then fling the towel over the shower curtain bar?  He didn't plan to slip.  When he did, he did manage to crawl over to the button and press for help.  Of course, help took forever to arrive.  (Did not, but it seemed that way.)

With no bones broken, apparently, the staff concluded there was no need to send him off to ER or alarm all of us ahead of our arrival.   My brother knew in a timely manner, though, and had my Dad checked out pronto.  O.K.  Just badly bruised.  Then one hour before, when we'd arrived for the bash, Dad called his Birthday celebration off. ??? If he was O.K. the day before???

Somehow Dad had the idea that Ibuprofen or Tylenol was bad for the liver (right, but in large doses over time, Dad).  So this father of mine had taken no pain medication night before, only to awaken to pain that had jumped right over his very high threshold and left him stiff as a board.  My brother arrived.  Together he and the staff tipped him, head over toe, keeping him straight as a board, to full upright positon.  At this point, Dad bent in his middle and sat in one of those electric lift chairs.  Hallelujah.  Ornery but now contrite?  he took the Ibuprofen.  We waited for it to kick in.

The Birthday lunch bash was a somber affair, Dad upstairs and we kids downstairs.  But, the Ibuprofen worked its magic. 

For some dang reason, this video hasn't loaded.  Sorry.  It was so sweet!  Dad felt relaxed.  He got his Birthday cake, his Birthday cards, his Birthday gifts.  He loved it all!  The Genealogy Book Judy created for him was a huge hit.  This man comes from sturdy stock, for the most part.  We learned my father's R**** ancestors date back to 1520 in Norwich, England.  His Great Great Grandmother's lineage goes back to the time of Henry VIII in England.  The R****'s came over soon after the Mayflower did, settling in New England.  Moses R**** served in the Revolutionary Army.  Then came two doctor generations, moving from Vermont to Wisconsin.   His father, an only child, then moved to Seattle.  His mother's family, Norwegian, had come with the wave of Scandinavians mid-19th century, settling in Wisconsin.  She travelled from Wisconsin to Seattle, marrying the man she'd fallen in love with at the University of Wisconsin.  She bore a daughter who died in infancy and then bore a son.   When this son was 14 months old, his father died of TB.   On her own, she raised her son.

My Paternal Grandfather, 1908
My father, 1972
So his Birthday turned out well.  

Next day, we got the call.  Dad, stiff as a board again, was sent to the ER.  LONG story short, many x-rays later he returned home as ambulatory as the day before.  This is when my buttons got pushed; ER and the words "compression fractures" will do that.  While we now know for sure that this fellow is made of rubber and stubborn grit, we also know the staff will make sure  he takes his pain medication.  Meanwhile, this kid is feeling every bump and bruise like it was her own. 

So here's for two generations -

His Dad

My Dad
Feeling a little sad right now.  Happy Birthday, Dad.  Love you.


  1. Just like his ancestor's! He wouldn't have made it this far without grit and determination! 103? Falls can be lethal at that age--I hope he continues to heal. I love the idea he got up and took a shower all by himself. We don't need or like any of those snoopy nurses aides around! His whole life has been a wonder.

    1. He sets a high bar for his children, doesn't he? The staff adores him, and the feeling is mutual. Now he has a new shower schedule - with those snoopy nurses. LOL He might enjoy it; we shall see.

  2. I love that photo of your paternal grandfather. He looks like a character from the Grapes of Wrath movie.

    I love that your father at 103 still is spunky enough to want to do a shower all by himself because, by golly, it's still his life.

    I'm impressed at how much information Judy was able to find in such a short time! A very special gift to your whole family and I'll bet your dad will enjoy it for many hours.

    1. I wish I'd known my paternal grandfather. He looked so friendly and spirited, a natural leader. He was the State Secretary for the YMCA in Washington state, and helped run the YMCA camp. A real outdoors guy, just like my father and me.

      Oh, yes. I am impressed with Judy's work, too. She ties so many loose ends together. How she finds them is amazing to me. It's been such fun to work with her.

  3. That is an incredible story!!! You have great longevity genes, good for you. How many people came together for this momentous birthday? CONGRATS!!!

    And how wonderful that Judy got so much research done so quickly. She is an amazing

    1. He has all his faculties and personality, just slowed by age. He's taken next to no meds his entire life. Was on blood pressure medication a while back...but his Doctor pulled him off, after a short time. His high blood pressure ( 150/120 ) was evidently best for him, because while BP pills brought it down, they also took down Dad's energy level and mental quickness. Quality over quantity of life is what we're after, the Doctor said, and Dad agreed. Second judgement call - 30 years ago, Doc said any prostrate cancer of his would be very slow growing at his age (85), and treatment would be hard on someone his age. Again, quality over quantity.

      Looks like Dad has both - Quality AND quantity!!!

  4. An amazing researcher ... and becoming a real friend! She is now working on my history!!!

    1. Super!!! Can't wait to hear what she finds out!

  5. I'm here from Judy's blog. It was very interesting to read about the lineage in your family as well as longevity. My maternal grandmother lived to 104 1/2 and the only medical problem she had was twisting her knee. My second oldest uncle lived to 105 1/2. It looks as though my cousin, his son, will do so as well. He's almost 90 now. Something about those farmers, eating healthy and never still. I wish I'd been able to know our maternal grandfather, and paternal grandparents but it wasn't to be.

    Excuse me sneaking in here! :)

    1. Sally, you're welcome to sneak in here anytime. Welcome!

      You have great longevity in your family. I hope it extends to you. (As long as the only thing we have ailing us is twisted knees - hah!)