November 2000

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November 22, 2000:  "So, where am I spending Thanksgiving?" Dad asked yesterday? Heheheh, unreal. In summary, he's still hanging in there, is comfortable, and in pretty good spririts.  I tell ya, life can be a bit crazy sometimes....

This Turkey Day, I'll be spending it with Rob and Susan Walker, Justin and a few others over in Atherton.  I'm looking forward to Susan's great cooking, and I'm sure it will be a socially fun and interesting time.  Certainly a nice break from this week!

On Saturday/Sunday, I'll be making the big move and schleping my stuff from Fremont to Dublin.  I've got a new apartment which is only 1 mile away from work!!  HAHAH, good-bye commute!  Needless to say, I'm psyched.  Yep, I'll be riding my bike or walking to work each day.  Hopefully, that will be good for my belly :)

Next week, I'm going to fly back East from Tuesday to the following Monday to visit Dad and my family.  This will probably be my last trip out there this year.

All in all, life is good.

I wish you the very best during this Thanksgiving Day holiday.  Remember, you have more to be thankful for than you can possible imagine.  Take a moment and reflect on who you have in your life that you cherish and love, and then reach out to them and tell them.  You can give no greater gift during this holiday season.

All the best,

Penz

November 15, 2000:  Ok, well, the latest update on Dad is pretty much status quo, which in itself, is medically a bit strange.  His condition is kinda good, which is a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, it's good, because we like having Dad around, on the other hand it looks like this whole process is going to take a bit longer than we expected and waiting for someone to die... sucks.

In summary, here's a snapshot of his health over the past week 

- He continues to urinate approximately twice a day
- His is not retaining any fluids (no adema).
- His breathing is good
- His color is good
- He is lucid/speach is good
- His is eating 2-3 meals a day
- He is comfortable

Yesterday, under the advice of my friend Ray who has worked in a dialysis unit for a while,  I asked his doctor to run a blood urine analysis to find out if the toxins are building up in his body.  Today, the results came back and the answer is yes.  They are 3 times their normal level.  Eventually, what will happen is that the toxins will reach such a high level that his brain and his body, will shut down and he will die.  This is the result of a lack of dialysis.

Today, Dad seemed a bit weaker and he didn't eat as much.  He still urinated, but it's a little less than before.  It looks like he's starting to get worse.

My family and I are doing pretty well, though we are very tired and drained.  The waiting is taking it's toll on us, and putting our lives 'on hold' for 2.5 weeks is taking it's toll.  I've slowly begun to go back to work and as of now, I plan to be back in CA this coming Saturday....  I'll make the final decision on Friday.... 

So, for now, that's all.  Again, I thank all of you who have been so kind to me and my family over the past few weeks.   It has been much appreciated :)

All the best,

Penz

November 10, 2000:  Well, thanks again to all of you who have been calling and writing in with your good wishes for Dad.  His condition is status quo.  He is still comfortable, conscious and lucid  For some strange reasons, his kidneys are still working and processing his blood.  Now, this is a little weird, because the reason he was on dialysis is because his kidneys had failed!  <sigh>  Now, from what I've been told so far, this is kinda normal.... but it seems kinda weird.  They say he is still going to get sick, and soon..... but he seems to be doing kinda good..... well, Hospice warned us of the roller coaster rides towards the end, and I guess no matter what, you ride him....

Well, he's eating well...  my 2 aunts have been cooking non-stop and Tim and I have been brining in food from some of the better local restaurants.  hehehehe, at least he's eating well.... :-)

So, for the mean time, we stay by his side.  He's been sleeping all night and now most of the day (only up for about 4 hours during the day on/off), but he's not in any pain, which is really good!

On the bright side, my brother, sister and I are really enjoying the opportunity to hang out and be with each other.  That's really cool!

Well, I'm getting ready to hit the hay.  More updates soon....

Love,

Penz

November 5, 2000:  It's Sunday night around 6:30 PM ET and things are going OK.  Dad is still hanging in there.  His mind is clear and he can still communicate with us very well.  He's definitely get a bit weaker, but this is to be expected.

I'd like to thank all of my friends who have contacted me and has provided their kind thoughts and wishes to me and my family.  We really do appreciate them.  Hello and thank you to Hummer, Bill & Kathy, Tucker & Andy, Becky & Lisa, Laura & David, Paul, Eric, Porky, Kevin, the Barnes Family, Penny, and Mate.  Your kindness, love, and support are wonderful gifts during this difficult time.

It has been amazing to watch my family come together over the past 2 weeks.  Like most, we have a pretty crazy family and we all haven't been as close as we'd like to have been over the years.  Over the past 2 weeks, everyone has come out of the woodworks and pulled together to be a loving, caring and supportive unit.

My aunt's Bernice & Susan (Dad's sisters) have been amazing.  Though tired and worn out, they continue to help keep everything and everyone together.  They have amazing amounts of stamina and energy that they have been sharing with everyone and we're thankful for it.   My brother and sister have been strong and loving as we struggle to keep ourselves together.  I am so lucky to have them in my life.  My mother and her husband Walter have been so wonderful and supportive during this time.  They are truly sweet pe.  My poor grandmother, Noni.... I have no idea how she has been able to make it through this.  Outliving your children is the worst nightmare a parent can face, and though emotionally battered and beaten, she has kept herself together; once again showing just how amazing of a woman she is.  Everyone from my cousin David to Dad's cousin Ed have been very supportive.  Thank you.

So, that's about it for now.  I'm pretty tired and am going to hit the hay.

With love,

Penz

November 3, 2000:  I'm out out in MA right now.  I got a call from my brother at 5:00 am on Monday morning, informing me that Dad has decided to stop taking dialysis.  He had decided that he was just too tired to carry on with this battle (going on 6 years now, since he originally had his stroke) and that he just wants some peace.  Based upon this, I immediately planned a trip back East and got here Wednesday evening.

After landing, at Manchester, I had a nice surprise when I found Tab waiting for me as I stepped off the plane.  I was so happy to see him, since I wasn't expecting anyone to be there waiting for me.  After picking up the rental car and making the obligatory 30 phone calls to alert everyone that I'm in the area (or arrived safely) we went over to his house and chilled out for a bit.  Afterwards, we met up with Porky, Junior and Alex for dinner and a couple of drinks and after that, I headed over the Dustin and Alex's place and crashed out.

Thursday morning, I picked up my sister from college and we headed out to The Berkshires.  At 10:30, we arrived and went to see Dad.  My brother Tim was already there, and soon there after, my Noni and Aunt's Susan and Bernice showed up.  At 1:00, we were met by the Hospice nurse who helped conduct a heart to heart session with all of us, including Dad, to make sure that were able to voice our concerns about Dad's decision.  Let's just say that is was a very emotional scene and though everyone was understanding and respective of Dad's choice, it is hurting his family very much.  We all, very selfishly, want him to be here forever and none of us want him to give up his battle for life, at the same time, none of us truly know what type of pain and suffering he is going through on a daily basis and can't imagine what it must be like to fight to live each day.

A few hours later, we all left, so that Dad could get some rest (he tires easily).  Though emotionally drained and exhausted, it was really good that we all had the opportunity to open up and let him know just how we feel. 

That night, we headed back to my Aunt Bernice's house to relax, but not before Tim, Gini and I stopped off at the local Outlet's to spend about an hour shopping.  <chuckle>  My brother can out shop any woman on this planet and he loves it.  It was a fun distraction after a long day.

Today, Tim, Gini and I are heading over to spend the day with Dad and then we're heading back up to Boston/New Hampshire respectively for the night. We'll all be back on Sunday & Monday to spend some more time with him.

So.... the big question on most of your minds is probably "Penz, how the hell are you doing?" Well, I'm hanging in there, but it's tough.  I really love my father a lot, and it really is a painful thing watching him slowly slip away.  Once of my best friends went through this a few years ago with his mother, and I now I truly have an idea of how he must have felt.  It's horrible... but I'm surrounded by a truly incredible group of friends and family who are helping me get through this ordeal.  Though the next couple of weeks are going to be tough, I know that me and my family will survive and get through this.

So, with that said, I'm logging off for now.  Thanks to all of you who have called or written me.  I really appreciate your thoughts and wishes for peace.  Know that I carry each of you in my heart.

All the best,

~Penz


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