Tuesday, November 14, 2006

An Explanation For My Absence

I've had a number of good folks from the blogosphere asking where I've been lately, and I suppose a long overdue explanation is in order. I will attempt to explain it here while at the same time preserving the privacy of my family as much as possible:

My father has Parkinson's disease and a good while back he fell in his backyard while trying to do some yard work. The initial diagnosis was a "deep bruise" that would likely heal on its own. You know, the old garden variety, take two aspirin and call me in the morning type injury.

The initial diagnosis was, to put it mildly, a complete misdiagnosis.

My father actually fractured a vertabrae in his lower back and has also required extensive surgery to rebuild and fuse together the bones with metal in his neck. Please forgive me for my inability to explain the medical terminology involved, but the doctors described it as "building a cage" around his neck not only to repair and stabilize it, but also to help protect it from further injury.

As you might imagine, having Parkinson's Disease presents a whole multitude of challenges. The best way I can describe the challenge is to compare it to the part of Newton's first law that states, "An object in motion tends to stay in motion". The doctors had to figure out how to work around his dyskinesia not only to get a good picture on an MRI, but also how to control it enough to safely work near his spinal cord. In other words, they had to figure out how to make an object in constant motion become an object at complete rest for at least long enough to make a proper diagnosis and perform the surgeries required to correct the problem. It appears they have been largely successful to this point.

Although the major surgeries are over now, the recovery appears to be far from over. We have been assured that he will recover, but it will take a multitude of baby steps instead of giant leaps.

As of right now, he is still in the hospital and I am devoting my spare time to being with him and helping him as much as I possibly can. There will also be a period of pretty intense physical therapy, the timeframe of which I am uncertain.

Ironically, my father was scheduled to undergo Deep Brain Stimulation surgery to help control his Parkinson's symptoms on October 31st, but fell and injured himself before he could have the surgery. The fall turned out to not only be ironic, but also an unexpected blessing at the same time.

The fall not only revealed that he had chronic osteoporosis that no doubt contributed to the severity of the neck and back injuries, but it also made the doctors aware of a problem they had not previously known existed. If the surgery had been done without this knowledge, he could have been paralyzed or worse by the very surgery that was intended to improve his life. So I guess in the final analysis, my father's fall was a blessing although it sure hasn't felt like it for the better part of the last couple of months.

As to whether I will be coming back, the simple answer is I don't know, but I certainly hope so. Right now, my family needs every spare minute I have and I intend to give it to them.

As things improve, I hope to get back in the game and offer an opinion or two from time to time. For now, my father and the doctors working to help him could use all of the prayer the good folks of the blogosphere can muster. If I could ask only one thing of my visitors, that would be it. I've seen the blogosphere work wonders and prayer work miracles and we could use a little of both right now.

I can't thank you enough for your concern and I hope this very belated explanation helps to clear things up a bit. As always, thanks for stopping by!

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