Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Ray of Hope?

A few days ago, I hesitated to post my earlier entry about my Dad being on his deathbed, because now several days later, he "ain't gone YET!"

I just now spoke on the phone with my brother Buzz, who said that Dad was transferred to the hospital yesterday after being in a "skilled nurse facility", and is actually hanging in there. The doctors have stabilized Dad's heart (apparently he'd had a heart attack somewhere in the past several days!) and are now getting a grip on his ongoing pneumonia infection.

Buzz and my oldest brother Chris conferred with the doctors today, who suggested that there's an option of a more "aggressive" treatment of IVs that could be tried.

My brothers don't want this to happen, and I absolutely agree; this should NOT be done. Dad is ninety years old and has already suffered so much in the past few weeks; he doesn't need more needles stuck in him now! The doctors are already pursuing a reasonable, non-invasive course of treatment.

The next 24 to 48 hours will be the determining factor, which way Dad's condition will go. If it deteriorates, my brothers and I agree that there should be no more "feeding tubes". We all know that Dad would not want this. Let the man die with dignity if he chooses to check out!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hooters byline on their website: "Delightfully tacky, YET UNREFINED"

I don't believe it -- James, Ricklen and I just went to HOOTERS for lunch!

This could have been an episode from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy".

None of us had ever been to this Bastion Of Straightdom before, and James and I always been curious "what the big deal" is about this chain of advertised buxom, revealing smorgasbord of delights.

Now we KNOW. There IS no big deal -- at least at this far-flung Hooters location in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Hopefully it's more cloying in more exotic locations, for you straight guys. Here, they weren't very responsive, interested, or stimulated by the female employees in the Breadbasket of Amurrrika.

The food was definitely below-average, and the waitresses were attractive enough -- but they sure didn't look like the strippers as I had expected from the advertising.

What fun is that? These young women just looked freezing cold in their scanty short pants and low-cut blouses. Oh well, I guess a girl's gotta make a living!

Our waitress was a slim mulatto girl with frizzy, burnt reddish hair. She introduced herself as "Tyke". (As in...like little kid?)

She seductively smoothled down a post-it note with "Tyke" and a happy face on our table after our drink order, to make sure we'd remember her.

Mission accomplished!

It was two o'clock on a Monday afternoon so the place wasn't very crowded. However, there was a boisterous table behind us with two guys and a gal, busily playing a video machine which involved firing with a gun. They were whoopin' and hollerin' at top volume during most of our lunch. Woo-hoo!

Then there were the four guys at a neighboring table, subconsciously begging for makeovers. (If they only knew. Hey guy, please lose the Bill Cosby multi-colored, bulky sweater and beige chinos!)

Our waitress "Tyke" sat herself down companionably at our table (is this a Hooter-ism? Anyway it was a "first") and breathily asked what we'd like to drink. I glanced at her low-cut blouse, when she gently wagged her chest back and forth as she stared soulfully into my eyes, huskily whispering the drink menu.

Again...a girl's gotta make a living. I bet she has some interesting stories to tell about this job!

The menu did not include Vodka, or any hard alcohol. Just beer and wine. But we could "walk on the wild side" with sangria. (UH-oh! Were we detected??)

I went for a wheat beer on tap. Ricklen had a half-bottle of white whine. James had a Pepsi.

When the four guys arrived at the next table, I couldn't stop thinking about that show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" who might/could work wonders with them. There was LOTS of material to work with: bad haircuts all around; rumpled shirts which didn't even remotely go with the pants, the Bill Cosby multi-colored sweater...it reminded me of kids at their first day of Kindergarten, dressed haphazardly without their mommy paying attention.

Sorry guys....there's nothing really wrong with your outfits....it was just sort of a shock to be jolted into this emphatically straight world.

This was wake-up call to Mainstream America, which James and I usually don't participate in. I appreciate it, actually -- it provides a perspective.

Wow -- I guess we're really weird. And that's okay.

At the end of our visit, to wrap it all up, "Tyke" sat back down at our table and asked if everything was okay. Yes, my dear, it was fine. Thanks for joining us.

What a different world. Fascinating and informative.

But not to be repeated anytime soon.

Oooohhhh...I can hardly wait to GO HOME!!!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

My dad is "checking out"

I just got a call from my brother Buzz who said that my dad is getting quite a bit weaker, and isn't expected to live long. He's been in the rehab facility for a couple of weeks, and his body systems are shutting down -- he's not eating or drinking, and hasn't spoken in several days. Apparently he can still hear. Buzz and my other brother Chris are talking to him a lot.

Dad hasn't been able to recover after his bout with pneumonia last month, which is not surprising for a ninety-year-old person.

Buzz is now having a meeting with the doctors, and hopes that Dad can spend his last moments at home -- maybe rent a hospital bed. I sure hope that this can happen, so Dad can be in a warm, familiar environment, surrounded by his family. Except for me, of course....

I'm struggling with this situation, wondering if I should fly home now.

But basically Dad & I don't have any unfinished business. The last time I spoke with him on the phone a few weeks ago (while I was in Toledo), I told him how much I love him, and he said, "I love you too, Cam".

I don't know if my presence would make much of a difference at this point, for Dad or for the rest of the family. Is this weird of me to think?

I've always been the odd man out, and am on a different wavelength than the rest of my family. I don't know if they could accept the kind of comfort and perspectives that I could offer now, anyway.

It's like....no-one is suggesting that I come home. They know I'm on the road with Phantom. When my mother died nearly two years ago, I was in Boston playing the show. As a theatre person herself, Mom wouldn't have wanted me to "make a fuss" and come home as she was dying. I can hear her in my mind's eye: "Cam, you have a job to do. So DO it!"

I'm thinking that my dad understands this, too, and that his pragmatic side would agree that there would be no point for me to come home now. He's "checking out", no question. My coming home won't change that, and although my presence wouldn't be unwelcome, I'm thinking now that it wouldn't make much difference.

Such a dilemma.

So now I await updates on Dad's condition.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I am SOOO tired of being cold!

This frigid weather is ridiculous. I've never been as cold as I have been here in Des Moines for the past two weeks. In my entire life!

The temperature has not once risen above 14 degrees, and it's dropped as low as -11. I'd say that the thermometer has stayed in the 5-degree range pretty much the whole time.

A small blessing: it has been mostly sunny, and our hotel window faces southwest, so we're getting decent light.

My body is not only rebelling against this bitter cold, it is also reacting adversely to all the chemicals and salt thrown on the roads to de-ice them. I'm coughing and my chest feels congested, but it's not really a cold. I really believe that it's because of the road chemicals.

James and I have visited the nearby shopping mall a few times to get some exercise, "doing our laps" around and around both bottom and top floors. Other people have the same idea. It's just too cold for us, at least, to exercise outdoors.

I have a blogging friend who jogs in this kind of weather (you know who you are!) and I admire her for being able to cope with it. But I cannot. Being a native Californian, it's just not in my blood. I've never been able to get used to really cold weather.

Good thing I live in Arizona, and will be going back there soon!