Saturday, April 7, 2007

the significance of 4/7/47

My father was born 4/7/47. When he became ill...

back up a minute to elaborate...

Dad was drafted into the VietNam War. It was at his physical they found that he suffered from amyotrophic lateral schlerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig's Disease. His father died way too young of "paralysis" as did many other men in the family, going way way back. He was labeled 4F and did not serve time in the war. That's a very good thing. Dad was often a violently tempered person, especially when he had been drinking, though terrified of firearms of any sort. I remember one time he screamed like a woman in an old B terror movie when a family friend had a handgun in his truck. Okay, so he had ALS, and the death sentence that comes with it.

He was also gay and so self-centered that even though he was married (in spirit if not on paper) to a wonderful man, it wasn't beyond him to give freely of himself to whomever it pleased him to do so. Like far too many other gay men in the 80's, he contracted HIV which soon exploded into full blown AIDS.

During a medical trial in which he participated, it had been discovered that dextromethorphan (cough syrup) not only stopped the progression of his symptoms of ALS but also made them go away. Apparently there weren't enough people who had this benefit from taking the medication, and it was never an approved treatment, though Dad continued to take it until he began AIDS treatments many years later. Stopping the dm, ALS quickly progressed, eventually affecting not only his speech and motor skills, but his heart as well.

He was a very sick man by the age of 46 when he passed away. From the time Mom left him up to the end, I spoke with him nearly every Saturday morning on the phone. It had been an ongoing subject of conversation between us that 47 was a magic number for him, and if he could hang on until his 47th birthday, he would beat the disease(s) plaguing him. He didn't quite make it.

3 comments:

gledwood said...

"He was also gay and so self-centered that even though he was married (in spirit if not on paper) to a wonderful man, it wasn't beyond him to give freely of himself to whomever it pleased him to do so. Like so many gay men in the 80's, he contracted HIV ..."

It is supposedly politically incorrect to say that gay men are more promiscuous than straights but I have found it to be true so I don't know what else to say.

I'm sorry to hear about your Dad's story. I'm lucky both my parents are alive, also they never made any big mistakes that I had to live with: I am the one who's made the whoppers in my life!

I keep a blog too: it's at gledwood2.blogspot.com. It's very different to yours but hopefully you will find it entertaining. You're most welcome to drop by. See you there!

All the v best 2u
from
Gledwood

stacy said...

thanks for your comment! Your quote caught me in my constant editing of my posts! I do want to make it very clear, though, that my father's promiscuity had nothing to do with him being gay, but with the way his mind worked and how he lacked sympathy and didn't care how his actions made the people who loved him feel. It was his lack of compassion for others that I feel was his one only character flaw.

Anam_Kihaku said...

wow - i didnt know any of this. in a way you must be pleased you had 2 girls. ALS is such a tough desiesce without putting hiv/aids on top of it.

**hugs** to you. I love my dad very much too and so can undertsand how you are feeling a little right now.