Day 3: Something you have to forgive yourself for

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Back on day one, I talked about things I hate about myself and it’s the fact that I dwell on things. One of the things I dwell on sometimes is an argument I had with my father about a year before he died.

At the time, my grandmother (mom’s mother) was ill and she was fighting tooth and nail to survive. She was an insulin dependent diabetic and was slowly going into kidney failure. Over the course of about 2 years, she was in and out of the hospital, in and out of doctor’s offices and I had called 911 on more than one occasion when she was lapsing into heart failure because of a build up of fluids in and around her heart (see kidney failure).

My dad on the other hand, was a diabetic and it was more or less under control but he had some foot issues that needed addressing. Diabetics can have a terrible time with their feet if they aren’t careful and my dad had had one thing after another for about 5 years.

In some diabetics, blood sugars can react dramatically to stress and sickness. A diabetic who uses diet alone can get a terrible cold and end up in a diabetic coma because the illness aggravates the glucose levels. My dad was one of those people. As long as we watched over his feet and he stayed healthy, his blood sugar was great.

But that’s the problem: we’d get his feet healed up and then he’d wear a new pair of shoes and end up with a blister. A blister that when not treated or monitored would turn into an ulcer and then we were back at the hospital, back at the wound care clinic, back on meds to control his sugar. But here’s the thing: he wouldn’t check his feet daily, so by the time he noticed that there’s a gaping, oozing hole on the bottom of his foot, he’s running a 104 fever and wondering why he’s sick.

So Mom and I had to take on watching over his feet daily. He just wouldn’t do it. If I were home when he took off his shoes, I’d have to literally go into the living room where he’s watching tv and check his feet. Mom would do it when I was away or working late.

On one such evening, I noticed a spot, applied the ointment prescribed by the doctor and told him to make an appointment to see the doctor.

Next day, he said he forgot, so I made the appointment. He skipped out on the appointment. Etc etc etc. This went on for about 3 weeks – meanwhile, this spot is turning into an ulcer and I am treating it to the best of my ability and scheduling and rescheduling his appointments right, left, and sideways.

What ultimately happened was that he ended up losing his leg right below the knee. YES IT WAS THAT SERIOUS!!!

Could they have saved it if he’d gone in earlier? I don’t know. I only know that at that moment, I was angry with him. Angrier than I have ever been with anyone in my whole life.

And during a conversation where he was feeling sorry for himself, I said the thing that haunts me to this day.

I said: “It’s like you asked for this. You didn’t do anything to help me save your foot. You deserve it.”

I wasn’t immediately sorry that I said it. I had to let the anger burn a little more before I could apologize to him and even then it had done it’s damage and had seriously damaged my relationship with him.

When he died a few months later, those were the words that burned in my brain at his service. Not the memories I had of being daddy’s girl or the fun we had when I was a kid. It was one angry, careless moment.

There’s not much else in my life that I regret , but this is a biggie.