Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 2010 Update

I got rid of my NYC apartment once my first year of film school ended on May 8th and on May 9th, I flew to Europe. Spent two weeks at the Cannes Film Festival, then traveled for 2 weeks in Italy and the french riviera. While I was there I partied with (next to) Lindsay Lohan, lost my ATM card and washed dishes for food in St Tropez, walked in the snow in the Alps, ate snails, tanned myself on fabulous beaches, and got back together with my boyfriend Adam over email. My dad picked me up from the airport on Tuesday June 8th. I made dinner for my family with a special soup mix that has been discontinued in the US but I found it in Switzerland and bought 9 packages. My dutch mom used to make this soup all the time so it was a missed taste of childhood. The next day I spent time with my parents at home. Dad was going on and on about politics and I told him to cut it out. He was also making renovations on the house and moving lots of things around. I said I love you and drove into the city to meet Adam for Brooke's birthday at Tine's apartment in the Danish House. The Danish House is a house for Danish artists living in America and Tine is a classmate of mine in film school.

I met Adam at the Outback steakhouse where I was having a beer. We walked over together and were enjoying drinks and potluck food. I was excited to see everyone and share stories from the trip.

At 8:30pm my mom and dad sat down to dinner and a movie and my dad had a strange look in his eyes and my mom knew something was wrong. She asked my sister to call 911 while she tried to attend to my dad. My sister called 911, and my mom and sister thought dad was having a heart attack. My sister followed my parents in the ambulance and called me at 9pm. My dad had a stroke due to his high blood pressure. I lost it and was hysterically upset and confused. They said my dad had a stroke and Adam and I took a cab to my car which I parked in Williamsburg, and he drove me to the hospital.

He was operated on immediately. The hospital was impressive. It was the night before my 29th birthday and I was in the hospital where I was born. The grand piano, water fountain, marble, and nice landscaping made us all feel like he was in the right hands. They operated immediately, and my dad was paralyzed on the right side of his body and could not speak. He was very out of it and confused and nothing was clear. We did not know the extent of the brain damage.

After about 6 days he was moved to a rehabilitation center which is only 5 miles away from my family house. He could now be out of bed in a wheelchair, and will be in daily therapy to learn to walk and speak again. We do not know if it will take months or years, but he has a lot of good signs that it will happen. He understands most of what's going on, he just can't communicate back to us yet beyond gestures and facial expressions. Every day he makes some kind of progress. He's very strong and extremely motivated to rehabilitate. The rehab center allows visitors, has decent food, and an outdoor area he can go to. He eats in a dining room with other people instead of at his bed. He is being rehabilitated to do every little thing for himself again. It's not going to happen quickly. It will take time, patience, hard work, and positive attitude. Soon my family will learn more about how we can help him too.

When I came home from europe, I didn't have a lease to worry about or a summer job. At least for the summer, I am taking over my dad's responsibilities, and spending the day with him at the hospital while my mom is at work.

My life for now involves spending the day with dad at the rehab center, and readjusting to suburban life. I'll be playing detective work figuring out how to pay the bills, how to garden, how to take out the trash, go food shopping, do the dishes, maintain the cars. I took the car for an oil change today. Just that simple thing is something that a city slicker like me hasn't done in a DECADE! I sat with dad at lunch and chatted with the other patients at his table. Dad is the youngest one there at 67, and he looks even younger because he's such a health nut. An 81 year old woman named Marge had a stroke too and she was very chatty. She loved the food there and was happy not to have to make it herself. Marge is feisty with a sense of humor and I think I'll enjoy having lunches with her at the table. Another couple asked if I was my dad's wife. I don't think they could see very well, the man thought my dad was about 45. This was a compliment to dad, who had shaved off his mustache 2 weeks ago for the first time in my entire life because he decided it would make him look younger.

I'm currently trying to figure out the damn remote control for the Dish Network system that my parents recently switched to because it's cheaper than cable and they barely watch tv anyways. I'd really like to find my camera battery charger so I can share photos from Europe. I'm also doing lots of healthy cooking for mom and me. Today it was grilled portobellos and yesterday there was baked chicken with apples, and I figured out a really tasty yogurt salad dressing: plain fat free yogurt, lemon juice, mustard, plus herbs (chives and parsley, but any are good).

And my neck hurts.

From now on I'll be visiting with dad during the day, and playing dad around the house during the weekdays. On weekends I'll be visiting NYC and friends elsewhere. There will be a lot of time in the car and a lot of driving, though I much prefer the subway.
If someone asks "How is your Dad doing?" The true answer is bad. This really sucks and it's sad and really really difficult. But how he's doing doesn't matter. The fact that there's a lot of love in my family matters, and the fact that he will do better and he will rehabilitate matters but he's not there YET. So he's not doing well just yet. There are plenty of little blessings like the fact that he can swallow and has a very strong left half of his body, seems to remember and understand, and laughs and has a sense of humor.

My time away from home with friends also matters a lot. I need to keep my soul healthy and happy and keep growing as always. I want that and of course dad and mom want that too.

Soon I'll spend some time on my films this summer, getting them out to festivals, shooting new shorts AND I intend to keep up with standup, who knows a place to perform in Morris County? Eventually things will need to be hilarious. Like this:

Morning Prayer with Skott and Behr - Black Francis from Tim and Eric on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

switched to dish because it was cheaper?! WRONG! Check out Animal Planet, TCM, etc etc etc...oh wait, you don't have those channels do you?! It's cheaper because it sucks heather.

Ken said...

Glad to hear all seems okay with your Dad. I miss you as well. It's Ken from, still blogging, but in new digs. peace.