Saturday, December 17, 2005

DAD will always be known for his champion dahlias

Meet my very active father who is 82 years old. When I was a kid, living in Michigan, he would shovel the snow for all the neighbors and he also did the whole street for about 3-4 houses long. He raked everyone's leaves and went and buried them in his multiple flower beds, and then in the spring, after nurturing hundreds of dahlia bulbs all winter long, he'd plant them all in small tubs and start toting them in and out of the garage on the sporadic warms days a Michigan spring brings. As soon as he felt it warmed up enough with a low risk of frost he'd start planting them. This took a few weeks as he didn't just plunk them in the soil. And he would watch the weather like a hawk and if there was a chance of a frost that night all the planted dahlias had to be covered.

But look at those dahlias will you? He has 3 acres of land stuck in the middle of the Detroit area with a small creek running along the back of it. When he first bought that property he laboriously dug those beds out and replaced the dirt with compost and rich soil. And you can see by the picture above the rewards of his labor.

And then the developers have been hounding my parents for years wanting their land so they can build mini mansions on lots not even a 1/4 acre in size. All house and no land, that's what you're going to be getting. And they've bought the property to my father's left and built a road and houses along it. And then they bought the property to my parents right and are renting it out -- waiting. Vultures!

Now my father was recently diagnosed with late stage prostate cancer. Unfortunately for him, he had Polymyalgia Rheumatica back in the 70's and when he started getting all this leg pain and having such a difficult time it was thought that the PR had come out of remission. And after being treated with prednisone and then it wasn't helping, the rheumatogist started looking in a different direction.

After several tests it was off to the urologist, and after further testing it was determined that yes, indeed, he had prostate cancer and what a shame he'd had the PR because it delayed his diagnosis. Sorry.

Four years ago my dad had a PSA test and it was slightly elevated and they were told they were just going to keep on eye on it. Four years, and four changes of primary care physicians later it was found that they never ran another one and when my father was getting blood work done on his annual visits my mother assumed they were also running the PSA test. But they weren't. Here is a prime example of getting lost in the shuffle of the health care system.

But that's another story.
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