How is your dad doing?

So, I’m getting a lot of people asking the same question.  “How is your dad doing?”  You want to hear something crazy?  That’s a loaded question and actually very hard to answer.

The first question I have is “what do you mean?”  Do you mean today?  How is he doing today?  Because he has good days and bad days.  He’ll have a day where he is really strong and can walk pretty far, and he doesn’t seem to be in any pain, and then the next day, he is wiped out and sits and sleeps all day.

If you want to go on a week by week basis, then this week seems to be better than last week.  When I left for Nashville, I was afraid I was headed to a funeral.  When he started running a fever last week, I wasn’t sure that was very far in the future.  This week, I don’t know.  He seems to be okay.

But if you go on a month to month basis, things start changing.  He is most assuredly a lot weaker than when I saw him in the spring.

How about a year to year comparison?  The man sitting in the recliner is not the dad I remember from my childhood. 

Don’t misunderstand me.  He’s still my daddy, and I still love him, but he is much changed. 

And it hurts.  It hurts to see him so sick and weak and unable to do some of the very basic things he needs to do.  In some ways, it’s almost like taking care of a young child.  Only he’s not my child.  He’s my dad.

But I am here.  I will help however I can.  After all, he is my father, and he raised me.  It’s the least I can do.

But how is my dad doing?  I don’t know how to answer that anymore.