When I realized How Much I Really Owe my Dad.

June 27th, 2013, 5am

If you’re lucky you grew up in a family where you had loving parents. If you had a dad he probably taught you things and did things for you. He probably taught you things like how to ride a bike, how to tie your skates properly, or maybe he taught you how to stand up for yourself. My dad taught me all three, but he also did something that made me owe him in so many ways I can’t even count.

Whenever a child is born with medical problems or anything that requires extra attention and care, the parents always have to change their vision for what they expected. For some, they can’t alter their thinking and they give the child up. For others, those with the big hearts, they change their entire lives to focus on a child who requires more than diaper changes and 2 am feedings. I got lucky, my parents did whatever they could to help me, which resulted in my mother being wound very tight because she was so stressed with how much effort it was to keep me alive and living a life worth living. My dad had to learn as much as possible about my medical condition. He became my at home doctor, respiratory therapist, physiotherapist, and nurse.

He learned how to change my trach and g-tube, he learned how to sterilize all my equipment, and troubleshoot my equipment. He could repair things that most people never see. He has come up with very creative uses for super glue and medical tape.

I always knew this, but it never occurred to me until one night in the ER. I had been admitted and put on IV antibiotics, there was no room upstairs so I had to spend the night in the ER. I woke up at some point and I rolled over to see my dad asleep in the chair. It was not a chair that was meant to be slept in and he looked so uncomfortable, but he stayed for me. Right then, I decided that if my dad was ever where I was, I would sit there in the uncomfortable chair for him.

I remember this other time, I was in the hospital and they wanted to admit me for IV antibiotics. My dad wouldn’t let them. He wanted to take me home because he can take better care of me at home, and there aren’t any foreign infections flying around my house. They said ok, but I still needed IV antibiotics. So my dad picked up the syringe and said: “show me.” They showed us and we were out of there in an hour. So every six hours my dad would pull a syringe full on antibiotics and flush it through my IV. So at 2pm, 8pm, 8am, & 2pm my dad would take 20 minutes, unwrap my IV flush medication through it watch me shut my eyes because it hurt when he flushed it through. I must’ve complained but I can’t remember. It’s all blended into one event, sometimes I would complain, others I wouldn’t. At the end of the round, he took the IV out himself.

He patched me up after I had an IV removed and got to excited and bent my arm and the blood ran down my white shirt. He did it with glee and he laughed at me. I was too excited to be free that I forgot about blood clotting so the blood went everywhere.

My dad never taught me how to ride a bike. He tried but I was never physically capable of doing it. So he adapted. He called a friend at a bike shop that he worked at in high school to see if they could tweak a bike so I could ride it. $500 later I had a custom order bike and it’s my most cherished possession.

My dad is rarely a man who bends, but he bent for me because I’m his daughter. He bent so far, he became someone he never meant to be. That’s what family does. We bend for each other.

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Mariah Hillis

History buff living with chronic health problems. Lives life to the fullest, and dreams the biggest dreams, despite not being able to breathe in her sleep.

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