Burger King and Alzheimer's

My dad has always been my idol. He was an orthopedic surgeon, and when I was growing up I wanted to be exactly like him (that's to this day I still what a Xiphoid Process is, seriously, google it, it's a thing). 

He was the smartest person I've ever met in my entire life. He had 3 post graduate degrees, and he would have earned a few more had he not had 6 sons to raise and a few dogs to raise. He was basically the biggest badass to ever wear a pocket protector. 

Being the youngest of the 6, I almost idolized my father. It was probably unhealthy, but what else was I supposed to do? Growing up was pretty normal, basketball games in the front yard (I always won, expect once. Seriously I was 38-1 against him), talking about girls and getting ready for college. Everything was great until my junior year in high school. 

We had gone on several college tours and I had decided I wanted to go to TCU. I was excited to become a horned frog. Until one spring day, everything changed. I had just gotten out of school and I was heading to Arby's, and my mom called. She said my Dad was in the hospital. Which didn't phase me at first because he was a doctor and he was always in the hospital. Then she informed me that he was not AT the hospital he was IN the hospital, and I needed to go get his pajamas. 

At this point I was confused, but I did as my mother told and got his pajamas. Once I arrived at the hospital I will never forget what I saw. My superhero father was laying in a hospital bed, shaking, struggling to breath, telling nurses what to do (I guess you can never remove the doctor from the man, right?). It was like I was in a movie, people were rushing around me as I just stood there, frozen.

I couldn't move. I wanted to move. I wanted to run over to him and grab his hand and tell him everything will be okay, but that would have been a lie, and I don't lie to my father.

He had a septic infection, which normally isn't a big deal, but in a 60+ year old man who works over a 100 hours a month, it's a really big deal. 

Every day for a month I went to visit him in the hospital and talk to him and bring him an Italian Chicken Sandwich from Burger King (it was seriously the only thing he wanted). After that month he was released from the hospital, and I thought everything was going to go back to normal. I was wrong. 

He came home physically, but his mind never returned. He couldn't remember things, he was glassy eyed at times and was never truly in the moment. It was different. 

Recently he was diagnosed with early onset alzheimer's. The death scare that changed my life seven years ago is going to continue to change my life over the next decade, until he doesn't remember who I am. 

I don't look forward to that day.

Nothing will ever be the same again.