Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hey Dad

With death comes reflection. I know guys, it's a serious one.

I'm mostly reflecting for my mom-in-law who has lost both a brother and a mom very recently. I am not sure how she still functions. I guess with the hope we have it's understandable. But it's still so hard.

So then I get to thinking about losing my own dad. I don't know why, but I feel this sort of entitlement from losing him. As if I understand what it's like for someone else to lose their own parent when really I have no idea. But I think what I get, is the sadness. Regardless of expected or not, it's still super duper hard.

Tonight Jackson was watching a show called Mighty Machines. It's kind of a neat show. The episodes are full of big moving things in different capacities. There's boats, and fire trucks and tractors and diggers and backhoes and all those things I don't know the names of. We happened to be watching one on snow plows and such. Jackson LOVES this show which is a little odd only because it's not something I would expect a 4 year old to like. David said, "He is definitely your dads grandson." And then I thought for a few moments about that.

How it would be if my dad were still here. How he would probably LOVE to sit on the couch and watch that show with Jackson. Because my dad loved his kids and he loved his grand baby (the only at the time was Emilee). It kind of makes me sad.

So this post is my sadness post. Usually I remain really positive about it all. Because I know deep down that my dad is SO much better off where he is now. We went through his stuff after he died and there were MANY  medical notes from doctors explaining his need for a wheelchair. I never saw him in one. It was as if he were trying to keep it a secret that he was in so much pain. But he did write in his journal about how it was hard for him to do even the most simple of things.

I opened my dad box today. The shirt still smells like him. I open it very rarely to preserve that very smell.

There is a letter I'd like to share. My dad tried for many many years unsuccessfully to apply for disability. The fact that I still have this letter says something too. (I've shortened it. It's 4 pages long!)

To Whom it May Concern:

Please be advised that I am writing to certify to you that Ron Schultz is permanently and completely disabled from performance of any of the most sedentary tasks because of the following severe and serious conditions. I will detail clinical means, which enable me to reach these conclusions.

The patient has a number of severe orthopedic concerns.

Bilateral feet; the patient was born with severe bilateral club feet for which he has undergone a number of procedures including 6 surgical procedures on his right foot and seven on his left foot.

Although he has had significant procedures on his feet he has not been relieved of constant disabling foot pain. This pain is bilateral. This is aggravated by even the shortest of walking or standing. He has numerous scars and significant deformity of both feet.

A second orthopedic issue is his right hip, which has had a total hip replacement. He underwent right total hip arthroplasty in 1998 at the age of 43. This was done secondary to severe degenerative changes in his right hip. Although the procedure was performed technically well Ron continues to complain of right hip pain and inability to ambulate significant distances. The hip combined with the feet provides Ron very little ambulatory capacity.

A third orthopedic issues is his lumbar spine. He has had chronic pain for a number of years. It progressed to the point of intolerable discomfort. He has had significant treatment with conservative care including medication, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy on several different occasions, home exercises, water hydrotherapy and a lumbar stabilization program. He has undergone lumbar discogram showing concordant pain concordant with his MRI of degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine. He has had the inability to perform even menial tasks secondary to his lumbar pain.

A fourth orthopedic issue in his right shoulder. The advanced osteoarthritic changes have produced bone on bone x-ray images. He has undergone subacromial decompression with mild improvement initially but eventual degenerative symptomatic changes. He recently had a significant hematoma evacuated by his right shoulder. This was in August of 2002. He continues to have significant shoulder complaints and problems. Range of motion is reduced and motion causes significant pain.

A fifth issue although not orthopedic is his cardiac status. He has had a mitral valve replacements. In conjunction with this, he also underwent pectis repair with placement of rods and eventual removal of his chest rods. Significant surgical scars are evident on his chest. He takes Cumadin currently for his cardiac status.

The last issue is bilateral knee degenerative changes. He has undergone several arthroscopic debridgement of both knees and told by his orthopedic arthroscopist that bone on bone conditions exist in both knees and that he will eventually have to undergo bilateral total knee arthroscopy.

Because of the above-mentioned serious conditions, which are totally supported by, accepted clinical methods I conclude that Ron Schultz is totally and permanently disabled and unable to return to gainful employment even in the most sedentary type of conditions. His condition if he tries to work can realistically be to result in increased further incapacity. Safe time factors for sitting and standing should be kept under 15 minutes. The same restrictions also pertain to standing and walking. Certainly no activity involving lifting and climbing, walking should be undertaken.

Sincerely,

The Doctor

What surprises me most about this (or maybe not) is that my dad didn't not want to work. He loved construction work. He MORE than loved it. It was his passion. So he did it even though it's probably what caused so many issues for him. I think it got to the point for him though, that he just couldn't do it anymore. And finally, after years and years and years of constant pain he applied for disability, was turned down many times, and go it eventually. Just before he died. Sad.

Anyway, this post is mostly for posterity. I just want to remember all these things and keep them in my heart (and on this blog).

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