Warning: This is very long and not a feel good story. It is a vent more than anything
A long time ago in a land far far away... high school. My dad got something called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. That is when his lungs started to develop scar tissue around the essential alveoli which gets oxygen into your body and CO2 out. It was diagnosed when I was about 14. By my 16th he had to carry around an oxygen pack cranked up to maximum and walking up a set of stairs was like running a mile. People would often say nasty things or give him nasty stares which I was incredibly defensive about.
So he got onto the lung transplant list. There was only one doctor in the world that had ever done one "successfully" by that time. Perhaps a couple of months survival. But there was a moratorium on them so we lobbied hard until they accepted him. Probably due to a combination of him being desperate, them thinking that they had a solution, and him being a renowned scientist who had read all of the literature. Knowing he had an almost zero percent chance of surviving. And then we just had to wait for a donor match. [Please sign your donor cards people. Please.]
So I delayed going away for university so I could be around. I was a "tiny bit" of a wild child but still my parents always knew where I was, even in the time before cell phones. And my friends and their parents always knew the situation too so I was always on alert.
The day I graduated high school I did not let them know where I was going. I went to a party "out at the river" and got ripped smoking weed and drinking.
While I was doing that, my dad got called in. Wasn't the first time and there had been many false matches, but this was the one. But for the first time in years they had no way to contact me. Everyone that had a land line knew and people were out searching for me. Eventually I went to my girlfriend's house for dinner and as soon as we pulled in the drive her Mom came running out and I knew exactly what was going on.
So I punched it out of there. Pedal to the metal. In my Honda Civic. I got pulled over on the first highway I got on and I begged and pleaded and they let me go on the condition that I only drive the speed limit. No problem! So I pulled away slowly and gunned it around the next corner. Next major highway (the 401, the busiest highway in the world) I blew the engine. Threw a piston. Pulled over and started to run to the next exit. (Never saw that car again.) Tripped trying to jump over some debris and broke my wrist. Got to the next exit and called a cab. $250 later I was at the hospital and I was too late as my dad had already gone into surgery.
So I went down to Emergency and had my arm casted.
He woke up three days later and progressed really well. I think he was out of there in three weeks. The first time I saw him when he was lucid I asked why he did not have a TV and he replied: "Why would I have a TV when I am on heroin? All I have to do is look at the wall." hahaha Then he described to me what he saw. It was a battle among galleons with all kinds if other nonsensical things thrown in. (Heroin was apparently the world's best cough suppressant and pain killer combo.)
He felt great. I remember us going out and doing donuts in a dirt parking lot that summer. Going to see some baseball games. Visiting some archaeological sites. It was a great summer.
So I moved away to university. Fall was great as well. And right before Xmas exams started my Dad woke up one morning and his finger and toe nails had fallen out. That was the beginning of the end. He was rejecting. So I ditched my exams and went to be with him.
He was in very bad shape very quickly. His immune system completely shut down. They put him on a hitherto unknown drug called AZT, later called the AIDS miracle drug, that was not even approved at that time. So he died like an AIDS sufferer. In 1987.
The final day I ever spoke to him was Xmas Eve, 1986. He was suffering alot of pain from sepsis. Total organ and cellular breakdown. Alot. And did not really want to speak throughout the day. I brought him his dinner which he did not want so I ate it. And drank the chocolate milk.
About six o'clock I asked him how he was feeling and without opening his eyes he said he did not want to talk anymore. So I gave his hand a squeeze, which made him wince, and I walked out without saying goodbye. I drove 2 hours and started drinking and smoking pot, but not out by the river.
Next morning I drove back and he was in a coma from which he would never recover. January 8 I had him unplugged.
And that is why I hate Xmas Eve.