Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I remember clearly that as a child I really wanted to own a good pair of sneakers. I wanted brand name shoes (i.e. Nike, Reebok, Fila), but all I got was Pro-Wings. It was all my parents could afford at that time. They had 3 other kids to shop for as well. Pro-Wings were gym shoes from Payless. Back then in the days, late 80's-early 90's, the selection of shoes at Payless was not as cute as they are today.
I remember one day in particular in 4th or 5th grade, can't remember exactly, my teacher was trying to make a point about something and asked us all to show her our shoes. So, one by one each of us showed her what we wore. I was mortified because I had Pro-Wings and my classmates made fun of the kids with Pro-Wings. Luckily, since my last name starts with a U, thank the lord for alphabetical seating, I was skipped because by this time my teacher had made her point. I was so relieved because my secret was still safe. After this incident, I pestered my parents nonstop for some cool, brand name shoes. And, to make matters worse, we lived right next door to a shoe store (kind of like a Footlocker). Everyday I would look at the shoes they had and I pictured myself with some of those cool shoes. So, finally in the 8th grade I got my first pair of brand name gym shoes. They were Nike, black with white, and I think they were boy shoes. But I didn't care as long as I could finally say that I owned a pair of Nikes. They were also dad paid $85 for them.
I did get compliments on my Nikes but I really didn't like them. They made my feet look huge. I just wanted them to show them off. I realized that I had made my dad buy me those expensive shoes and I really did not care for them. I couldn't tell him that of course.
It took my dad about 3 years (since 4th or 5th grade) to buy me some 'good' shoes. Three years of saving up money to be able to afford name brand shoes for his oldest child.
Thanks dad...

Monday, April 25, 2011

21 Days

My dad is a typical Mexican-American man....he would deny he was in any pain no matter how much pain he was in. He was an alcoholic for about 30 yrs. This excessive drinking caused major damage to his liver but the symptoms of this damage went unnoticed until it was too late.
We noticed my dad was getting yellow (jaundiced) on his face, eyes and chest. We wanted to take him to his doctor's office for a check-up and he declined this offer. We begged and pleaded with him to get a check-up since his last check-up had been about 12 years ago. My dad finally agreed to go to the check-up in the summer of 2005. 
 He was diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. He had to check his blood glucose levels on a daily basis, monitor and balance his meals, and Oh yeah...his liver was in bad shape. The doctor said his liver was 90% damaged from all those years of drinking. Both, dad and I were sad to learn this. The doctor also said that the liver was an amazing organ because it could regenerate itself and my dad could live a long healthy life with the good 10% of his liver IF he 1.managed his diabetes and 2. stopped drinking.
He did good for about 8 months and then he decided to drink just one beer. That quickly became 12 cans of beer. He justified it by saying that he had managed to stop drinking for 8 months and that he could stop whenever he wanted to.
 Needless to say, he dismissed what his doctor told him and stopped monitoring his blood glucose and continued drinking. Which brings my story to December 13th 2010, when we brought my dad in to his doctor's office because for a whole week prior to the 13th my dad was acting 'weird'. He did not want to eat, he spent all his time exhausted and in bed. He couldn't raise his arms above his head nor did he have any strength in them. His walk was unsteady and he had difficulty swallowing. His doctor informed us that we were to take him to the emergency room because my dad had hepatic encephalopathy. The toxins in his body had not been secreted by his liver, because the good 10% he had 5 years ago was now damaged as well, and since they were not secreted they had built up in his body. The toxins were affecting his brain and this in turn affected his speech, gait, and memory.
The rest after that visit to the ER is history....he spent 21 days  hospitalized before he passed away.


Why didn't my dad just stop  drinking.? Why was he so damn selfish and think only about his needs? Why the hell didn't he stop drinking when his doctor told him to? Why didn't he listen to me when I pleaded for him to stop drinking? Why? I feel like screaming loudly.

 I feel like crying but mainly like screaming as hard and as loud as I possibly can.

It's just not fair to lose a parent this way. He caused his own death. There I said it.

So here I am sitting at home, typing away. I miss my dad. It pains me to say this but he really did cause his own demise.

He was sober for about 8-9 months straight. I was so proud of him. He was proud of himself. But in the end,
his need to drink was too strong. He started drinking again. Drank himself to death.

All his major organ systems failed because his liver was severely damaged due to his chronic alcoholism.

I feel so much anger at times. Anger at my dad for being an alcoholic.

 Anger at my inability to help him. Anger at my mom for drinking with him.

Anger at his family for not supporting him as he supported them in their time of need.

Anger at god for taking him away.

I had a hard time writing this because I hate feeling this way but this is my venue to vent, so here I am venting away.