Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Last Christmas?

My dad couldn't catch his breath, slumped over the walker that my mother was using instead... he had to sit, hold his head; smiling at my son and I, trying to hide the fear.

I hate this.

I hate watching this man whom I've adored my entire life slip away in front of me.  I hate watching him suffer and shake.  I hate watching him lose his balance and if I were not there to steady him, he would have fallen.  I hate that he is ... dying.  I hate it.

Christmas.  The season of peace and hope... and yet in my own world, with my dad, there is none.  He is struggling.  For life.  To be 50 again and able to meander to Florida and put his feet in the Gulf. I don't know that he is able to fly... and surely, he can't be in a car for the drive.

Trying to find a reason to celebrate today and instead finding solace in the MCAT prep until I see him again this afternoon... where I steady myself for what could be, the last Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


First time I heard this song, I was driving to work and almost pulled over... eyes watered up, tears streaming down my face, chest heaving in pain ...

Then I came home and pulled up the video.  More tears, bigger throat lump.

My dad.

I talk about him often on here.  As his health withers and his mental ability to remember or think slips, I'm so thankful that he IS my dad.

Growing up my mother was a tyrant.  She still is.  I moved 1500 miles away to get away from her and her alone.

The beatings I took on a daily basis with ping pong paddles, spatulas, metal serrated spoons coupled with harsh words that I was worthless, spoiled, nasty...

I was 5 and it did not stop until I was 17.

But my dad, who was gone Monday through Friday, always came home and obviously, was oblivious to what she did to me.  He still is.

In his own way, he made me unbreakable.  He cheered my successes, took me to ice cream when I was grounded (every week, replete with being beaten), he stood up for me when my life was a shambles.  I was 5... and he never stopped.

He still hasn't stopped.  As I watch his life slip away, I can only look up and say a quiet thank you to whatever power is above for having him in my life.

And today as I wonder if I can actually be ready for the MCAT on the 15th, I quietly hear my dad saying, "GO PJ, you can do this!!!"

Yes, Dad, I will keep trying.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


We fly in Tuesday night and leave late Christmas day.

Two days in Minnesota.

Last year, we spent 10 days there in early to mid-December as we waited for my dad to pass.  It was gut wrenching to be sure for the first few days... cardiac ICU at Mayo, however, apparently was going to give me the best present ever...

My dad lived.

And still does.

We are not telling him.  Please don't tell him either :D

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Small things, really.


Support... gentle nudging.

Because sometimes, I just don't know ;)

Small things.  Emails from professors who know the stories - all of them - and encourage you.

But I do know.  I just have to keep putting one foot, one pencil, one mark on the page and continue plugging along.

T - 6

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yes, This Is A Difficult Journey

And yes, it is very unlikely I will ever see an invitation to join a matriculating class.

At 50, I'm running - or have run - out of time.

My energy is the same as my younger brethren, my mental agility just as solid but the calendar says I should be planning to use my AARP membership now instead of laughing in its face and moving to studying.

I AM studying.  Just covered the kidney with all it's osmolarity (gen chem) and ions with acids and bases (gen chem) and mechanisms (ochem), membrane transport (physiology) and hormones (biochem and physics).  As questions spun through the live on-line session of Kaplan, I answered 10 of 12 questions right...

One, I disagree on the answer choice because direct means A --> B, B --- > C, not A ---B and C... anyway, I digress.

10/12 is 83% which is not good enough for med school... and that was on a comfy laptop, at home, in the comfort of my sweats and diet coke.

83% will not get me into med school coupled with my age... I know that.

But I am not giving up, though that would make my life easier.

Tomorrow I plug back into physics and draw biology.  Th it will be gen chem - though I think I'm doing alright there - mastery of the equations ... and then AAMC full lengths from 12/15 to test day.

Never thought this would be easy and I'm not complaining.  I chose to step my toe back into the pond fully aware the odds are heavily stacked against me.

I was telling my dad last night as we discussed events occurring around the country.

Life is not fair.  Bad things happen to good people.  Good people doing the right thing get trampled.

I'm one of those people.  Every time the ... I got stomped.  But in getting stomped I had a choice:

I could be a thug


I could be the one who continued to fight for what was right and take the high road.

I will never be a thug.  Ever... even if life is not fair.