Sunday, May 31, 2020

Making Decisions: A Lesson From Dad

The topic of "decisions" has been on my mind lately and I now realize why. 

Dad died ten years ago today and he made his own decisions about treatment for his kidney failure (deciding against it). It was not the decision I would have made for him but, strangely enough, I have to make a similar decision about my puppy, Taz (he's 7 but always my puppy). Taz doesn't have cancer but he has a parathyroid tumor causing hypercalcemia, requiring surgery. Without it, Taz could eventually go in to kidney failure.

Taz is the most temperamental dog (or cat for that matter) that I've ever had. He's picky about his food, doesn't like to be disturbed when he's asleep (but loves to hog the bed), gets grumpy with other dogs when his tummy hurts and absolutely refuses to take medication. Both our vet and dog walker said he is the original social distancer but if you're in his tribe (or eventually lets you in to his tribe), he adores you, cuddles with you and makes you feel like you’re his favorite person in the whole world!

The surgery requires a several day stay in the doggie ICU after surgery and, quite possibly,
medication for life.

I honestly don't know that I want to put my little sensitive guy through all that.

For a long time, I was upset with Dad for choosing not to investigate the cause of his kidney failure (most likely, his cancer had returned) much less treat it. I have come to realize that was the best choice for him.

We all have to make our own decisions.

We haven't decided about Taz yet but I am enjoying each day with him while I mull over the options.

As for Dad, he was an avid individualist full of contradictions which was both maddening and fascinating. He would never listen to reason but he was one of those people who would light up a room with his presence. He adored his kids and grandkids but was married and divorced more than a couple of times. He made and lost a boatload of money and then made it again (and lost it). He didn’t have a lot of friends but people loved to be around him!

He had the bluest eyes I've ever seen and a mischievous grin that he flashed not only throughout his life but at his granddaughter, Rachel, as he was dying.

I used to get so mad at him for a million different things (all absolutely legit, believe me) but I also recognize that I have wonderful memories of him and wouldn’t be the person I am today without his influence (whether it was negative or positive).

Of one thing I am sure and Rachel reminded me of this today: I was his favorite daughter.

(As his only daughter, it was a fun little running joke we had my entire life.)

Make the decisions that are right for you. Enjoy every moment with the people (and animals) in your life and every now and then, flash a mischievous grin – just for the heck of it.

Miss you, Dad. Don't cause too much trouble up there.