Today I would like to share with you some details about my Dad, Colin.
There is a lot I could say but the key points are, he is a strong, proud man. Not to mention stubborn. This is a key attribute that comes up often.
Having worked in numerous jobs his whole life (at one point helping to make the DeLorean (something I was immensely excited by)) he was forced to retire because of his illness not too long ago. Just before he should have retired naturally any way.
His job was a dangerous one and not something I will go in to too much detail of, but suffice to say, I thought the job would be his biggest issue in life; not this.
The trickiest job he had however was most probably raising me. I was a difficult kid. I had a knack for getting myself into trouble and my Dad would make sure I bloody well learned from it. He was a Belfast man and I was never in any doubt of that when I'd cocked up.
Despite my insistence on getting into all sorts of shenanigans, he still ensured (forced) I worked on my education. For 2 years prior to my school entrance exams (11+) he had me working on practice papers. Funny old thing, I did well. Really well. Academic Boy 1996 I'll have you know. My teacher Mrs McClurgh however almost took the thing off me when I asked what Academic meant. I'm still asking stupid questions to this day.
The teen years came around and with my new found intelligence I found even more innovative ways of getting in to trouble. My Dad's way of dealing with this however, had not. Grounding, pocket-money, extra work etc, etc. Great.
The point of that drivel? He never stopped working to put me on the right path. He kept me going in the right direction and he is one of the main reasons I am where I am today. I have a pretty decent job and a beautiful wife, who he finally got to meet last month. Bizarrely I think he actually likes her too.
But it was all of the little things about him, that made him brilliant. When he went to work each morning, I had cheesy toast and tea beside my bed. On the weekends, I had to dodge an ever expanding array of water based traps to watch the TV. The motorbike I was given at 16 to give me independence (though I think that was more because he was getting sick of me). He always had a plan. Some controversial at times and certainly pushing my limits but it was always done for a reason. 9 times out of 10 it was as a vital lesson for me.
Back to the present. I said that my Dad is a stubborn man. He is. Very. Coupled with him being proud he has gotten himself into more shenanigans and trouble in the recent months than I can remember. With MSA as the systems start to shut down, it can be hard to stay standing due to low blood-pressure. My Dad being my Dad, he did not want to let this go and as a result he would fall. Subsequently he would then visit the hospital, normally due to banging his head. With someone there with him this could be managed but as he is on his own, this presented numerous issues. With this, he is now assisted everywhere by his care team in an attempt to keep him safe.
This has presented its own issues. In his garden is a Koi pond with some beautiful fish. The only way he can currently see them is through an outdoor camera. At this point he is not allowed the use of a wheelchair in case he passes out. That said, my Dad doesn't care what they think and he is trying to find his own, much to the frustration of the care team. They are just about to reach an agreement were they will put him in the chair during the morning and back out again in the afternoon. He always gets his way.
Right now it is the simple pleasures in life my Dad craves, but he also doesn't want to let go of what he had. He still has his car. He had a motorbike until recently even though it wasn't used and he refused to move in to a downstairs bedroom despite the safety concerns on the team. I told you he was stubborn.
Thank God he's stubborn (other Deities are available). I know because of this he has more time left. He could easily have given up and accepted what this brings, but he hasn't. As is being championed across the U.S. right now, he has said Fuck MSA! And I'm with him on this one. Fuck you MSA!