Well, he died.

As I wrote on February 4, 2004, my father was on a respirator after his second stroke. He improved somewhat but then complications set in and they put him on antibiotics. Some time yesterday evening he died. I only found out a few hours ago.

Nothing prepares you for the experience of losing your father. I am so confused, I don’t know what to think or feel. I want to be of support to my mother, help her through this huge change. I just feel like an idiot, helpless and fumbling.

Who the hell am I?

Running Update


I'm in double digit time: 10 minutes. The 35 degree temperature was perfect for running.

Yesterday (Sunday) I hiked Signal Knob, a historical ridge in the Shenandoah Valley used for communications in the United States Civil War in the 1860s. The walk was ten miles and took 5 1/2 hours. The trail was a mixture of dirt, rock, snow, and ice, so the footing wasn't sure. My left knee ached the last few hours of the hike, probably due to a bit of arthritis. It was good to be outdoors in the brisk mountain air.

When I arrived him I ran the requisite 9 minutes (see the running schedule in Training for a marathon), since I didn't get the running out of the way in the morning. The running could have been gruesome, since the left knee was throbbing from the hike. Surprisingly, however, the run felt good. The running seemed to loosen up kinks and knots developed during the long walk.

Running shoes are lightweight compared to hiking boots. My hiking boots are ancient: Vasque mountain climbing boots, the old style boots with the leather uppers, leather interiors, steel shank, and heavy waffled Vibram soles. They're 30 years old - older than most E2 readers - and they weigh about 2 lb apiece. When I changed into running shoes and began running, I felt as if I had wings. The light running shoes made running so much easier compared to the boots. It was as if I had trained with ankle weights and then ran without them.

I may add a post-hike run to the weekday hiking regimen, as yesterday's results were quite satisfactory.

The Sunday evening air was cold and crisp. Overhead, a million stars gleamed, and the almost-full moon was so perfectly bright it looked like a man-made object. No one was out, so I ran alone. Everyone else was inside their warm homes watching television and winding down their weekends, so I had the streets to myself.

Health wise, my breathing's gotten slightly better, although this bronchial wheezing is still persistent. I still feel far too full around the middle. I started this marathon training around 230 lb. Today the weight is 220 lb., but my weight fluctuates fairly wildly, so this is within a normal standard deviation of my weekly weight. The real weight loss and health improvements will begin when the daily running time is over half an hour. That's when nirvana begins. All this is prelude.

I don't know how to edit daylogs to add forward links, but I can give you some recent links to previous running writeups:

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Yet another tragic death today

No one saw it coming. My favorite teacher, and close friend of the family Mrs. Curry passed away Sunday morning.

Nobody knows what happened. Nothing was wrong with her, not even a flu. She just died.

It hit me very hard. I just don't know what to think, it was all so sudden. We are all waiting for report of the autopsy.

She was a good soul. A credit to all who knew her. Her passing is a great loss to everyone.

Driving up Kedzie just after the sun had come up, working on about an hour worth of sleep. The traffic starting to build up for rush hour, children on their way to school sleepy eyed. The car is freezing, and at a different time and place it might have bothered me. Instead, I’m looking through the small semi-circle of clear glass that the defroster has carved into the ice. I might be hyperventilating, it is hard for me to tell.

I’m coming unglued. ”She’s in he hospital,” I heard myself saying to no one. In order to drive it home I say it again, this time with feeling, “My wife is in the hospital.”

At two in the morning, I was shaken awake from a dead sleep. The situation was so much like before, but this time so much worse. The dull ache that she patiently tolerated for the last few weeks was stabbing her in the gut, and it was time to go. I somehow managed to find the insurance book, locate the nearest hospital that the bastards will let us go to. I stumbled around, trying to think of everything we’re going to need for the next few hours: Insurance card, book to read, a little bit of change, cell phone. I worked myself up into a nervous froth, trying to both predict the future and take care of my wife.

I don’t remember driving there, but I must have. She was in no condition to manipulate the car over icy streets. Instead, I must have been behind the wheel, trying not to kill us as I try to find the perfect speed between safe and fucking get there. But, like I said, I don’t remember this. I already had my memories of all the disastrous hospital experiences I had acquired in twenty-five-some-odd years. Bad IV drips killing my grandmother. My own mother, almost a year before with exactly the same problem, bleeding internally because some fucknut skipped sewing class. Psychologists telling me it wasn’t my fault my ex-girlfriend had taken all those pills. This is the first time that medical emergency has played out across our marriage, and I’m taking it much worse than I imagined.

If my hair was any longer, I would have tried tearing it out. I spent an hour pacing in the waiting room, trying and failing to get myself to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. I phoned into work, knowing that the 3:30am time stamp will tell them that I am not fucking around. Eventually, the doctors let me see my wife, and the condition was the same. Even the Demerol wasn’t knocking the pain out of her body, and she tells me this by the gritting of her teeth. The stones were all lined up in there, and the doctors want to cut her up. She mentioned the things she had been reading about olive oil and Epsom salts, and that she wanted to try that first. The doctor tells her that she is flat out wrong, and she has to go under the knife. After a short discussion about hospital policy, they submerged her in paperwork and admitted her to the hospital.

Out her hospital room window, the sky was just starting to turn brighter. I want to burst into tears as I watch her fighting to get some sleep. More than anything in the world I want to make everything better for her. I want to take away her pain and take her back home, where there are no menacing looking tubes to stick out of her arm, so nurses coming and going, no doctors asking her questions when she’s obviously in pain. I want all of this to pass as quickly as it can, so I don’t have to sit here and worry about the future of the world anymore. Eventually, she spies me silently melting down, and kicks me out of he room, home to get some sleep. I don't know how either one of us is supposed to sleep like this.

And so here I am, driving up Kedzie, back frozen to the seat I don’t want to be in, driving the car in the opposite direction from where my wife lays. None of this feels right. I’m trying not to think about calling her mother and explaining everything. I’m trying not to think about calling my own mother and causing a panic. More importantly, I’m struggling to drive the car properly through my tears.


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