“Bring me two sequential invoices and some hard candy!” Those were the last words my dad said to me as his nurse began wheeling him off for a bronchoscopy.
Ever since my dad entered into the hospital rotation, right after Christmas 2011, I rapidly began training myself for the command chair at Pier Urethane. It seemed that I was the likely candidate to assume this role, as I spent the most time working with him over the years.
Coincidentally when the Pneumonia hit, the company fax machine started to spit out purchase orders. Companies my dad hadn’t heard from in years, all of a sudden needed parts. My schedule quickly filled up. The usual routine was to consult with my dad in the hospital and then go out and execute. Even up to the end, he still had to be a part of the day-to-day operation of Pier Urethane. It didn’t matter that I had filled out my fair share of invoices, he still felt the need to do it himself (while sitting in the Intensive Care Unit, with labored breathing and tubes coming out of his arms).
The Hard Candy
Over a four-month battle with a persistent cough, my dad dropped about 40+ pounds. This weight loss made him weak. I know I am stating the obvious here; however, what was interesting was where he became weak. Aside from the expected muscle atrophy, the mechanism in his throat that allowed for swallowing and breathing also became weak. As a result he began to aspirate liquids, which furthered the Pneumonia. When the medical staff at Hoag Hospital figured this out, he was immediately ordered off all food and drink. Nutrition was given intravenously. Well, apparently when one is not allowed to drink liquids, one’s mouth becomes very dry. My dad ordered me to bring him hard candy to help offset that problem (moisten the mouth by sucking on candy = problem solved). Before I had a chance to execute that order, they wheeled him out to be intubated and sedated for the bronchoscopy. He stayed that way for 10 days, slowly deteriorating, until my brother and I decided it was time to let him go. My dad died at 7:38PM on Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
Ever since the madness began, my brother and I became “The Decider” on all things related to our dad (Pier Urethane and his estate). That’s like combining a two-month concentrated course in medical, business and real estate with a treasure hunt. There was a lot of:
- What does that mean?
- HOW MUCH DOES HE OWE?!
- Where’s the mold for this job?
- FUCK, this sucks!
My dad was a complex person (I’m guessing all dads are). When everyone would go in one direction, he’d veer slightly off to a different direction.
He dad had the strength of Titans and the patience of Job.
He was a fan of sunsets and grandkids.
My dad enjoyed bellying up at Dukes.
Coors beer appointed him the Ambassador of Coors beer (ok, that’s a lie. He appointed himself that title).
He was a friend with many. He was also a cantankerous ass!
My dad taught me many things.
He was a good man.
I’ll miss him.
(We were a little sweaty from drinking beers in the jungle)