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Not so fast there amigo!
Patty Leon new

There’s been a lot of chatter about me lately. Many of you had seen a Facebook post by my brother saying I was moving to Chattanooga to help care for my dad and mom. Dad fell on Dec. 18, requiring surgery to the femur bone right where it inserts into the pelvic bone. The surgery was rough and then he had a few setbacks including a bout with pneumonia.

That meant dad, 91, was in the hospital and mom, 90, was home alone. Not entirely alone as my brother lives here in Chattanooga as well.

I did drop everything I was doing and came up to be with him post-surgery. He has since been moved to an inpatient rehabilitation facility. I came home for a bit, took care of business and came right back up. I am able to do a fair amount of work remotely. In fact I am typing this up as dad is doing his morning exercises.

I have no idea what the long term outcome will be. Right now all of us are taking things a day at a time and the newspaper machine is still running. So for a few of you that had already started doing a Patty is gone dance – SIT DOWN. I ain’t done yet!

I’m still writing stories, investigating things being brought to my attention, managing personnel and budgets, attending meetings, updating the website, overseeing the production of our magazines, managing our social media and so forth.

There are many of you who have offered kind words of support and encouragement. That means a lot to me and I am truly humbled and grateful.

I’m optimistic. Dad is a strong man and the longevity that runs on his side of the family is amazing. My dad’s mother (grandma) lived to 102. My great uncle died last year at 97. My dad’s sister is 94 tomorrow (and now she will be on the phone to my mom within an hour saying how I told the whole world her age. Don’t worry Tia, Liberty and Long Counties are small-ish).

But being 91 and trying to recover from a pretty serious surgery has slowed my old man down. He tires easily, although he is eating much better and fully recovered from the pneumonia. 

Thankfully he has not lost his sense of humor.

“Dad what are those?” I asked.

“Adult diapers,” he replied in Spanish. “I have to wear them right now. Sometimes I am able to call for the nurse on time but sometimes I have an accident.”

“Umm-hmmm and sometimes he just forgets to press the button to call the nurse until it’s too late,” the nurse said.

“Dad you have to at least try and call the nurse so you can practice using the walker or the wheelchair to get to the bathroom in time,” I said. “What about when you get home? Wouldn’t you be embarrassed if I was the one changing your diaper?”

“I’m too old for that crap, huh,” he said.

“What too old to be wearing adult diapers?” I asked.

“No, too old to be embarrassed about the whole thing. So start learning,” he said chuckling.

He also told several nurses (who all seem to love him and yes, they all call him Paco) that the secret to his longevity is two shots of whiskey and a glass of red wine each day, “And you guys don’t have none of that stuff here so hurry up and send me home.”

Of course he misses being with mom and being in the comfort of his own home and bed. There are certain exercise and step goals he must reach before they let him come home.

My brother has been a rock throughout this whole ordeal. While I was back in Hinesville, he took extra days off from work. He and my mom would visit with dad every day. He would drive mom home, make sure she had her lunch and whatever else she needed. Then later in the evening he would go back to sit with dad.

We are a tight family and we will work through this. Strong families come together in times of crisis, it’s what you do. Families are irreplaceable and should always come first.

I’ll be back in the office in a day or so. There are meetings to attend, events to plan and newspapers to publish….and apparently adult diapers to buy.

“And baby wipes,” dad added with a smile.

If and when the day comes for me to bow out, I will be the first to let you all know. In the meantime the rollercoaster ride is still a wild one.

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