"Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others. By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves." - Gordon B. Hinckley
Such a wise man. 



The other day I was driving with my mom and we were talking about TV shows or something and then about my dad and that's when it hit me - we need TV to be real. Specifically, the show House. Because Dr. House can solve anything. He can figure out what's wrong with any patient. Even if he can't cure it. I've never realized what a huge comfort it would be in knowing what is wrong with someone, even if there's no easy fix.

Today I went to pick up my mom and run down the road to the Home Depot by my parents house to pick up some paint brushes. When we got back, we found my dad laying face first on the floor, completely passed out. To say I was completely freaked out, sadly, would not be 100% true since this has happened so many times before. I guess I'm getting used to it. Or numb to it. So here's the problem, Dr. House:

There's something really, really wrong with my dad and no one can figure out what it is.

I think the hardest part is not knowing. Okay, no. The hardest part is standing next to my dad in an ER room after he was admitted for the 3rd time in two weeks after having seizure-like symptoms, holding his hand and seeing him suddenly realize who I am, and watching as tears fall down his shaking face - a face that breaks my heart over and over again whenever I think about it, because all I can see is my sweet, caring, amazingly strong dad who is at that moment completely terrified about what is happening to him. And then the nurse comes in, making me feel like I should leave and start to move away, but my dad just holds desperately on to my fingers because he's afraid and he doesn't want to be alone.

These are my wonderful parents. I just took this photo this past New Year's. 

Growing up, my dad was my hero and has been ever since. But not for all your normal hero-defining reasons, like because he could fix everything (which he probably could) or because he was super smart and strong (which he definitely was) but because he taught me, more than anything or anyone in my entire life, what it means to love. 

And he taught everyone around him the same thing. He is respected and admired by everyone who has known him. In fact, several months ago he received a letter from a co-worker of his who wrote to tell him how much he had been touched by knowing him and that he and his wife had named their newborn son Miles, after my dad. He is that type of person - so selfless, kind, charitable and loving that you would hope and pray with all your might that your child would grow up to be like him and live up to his name.

About 3 years ago, he started forgetting things. Short-term things and not super often. And he started to get really depressed. He decided to take a disability leave from work to try and figure out what was going on. Then slowly over those few years, things have gotten worse and worse. Yet everything has been so abnormal and inconsistent. A few months ago was one of the worst times. He was severely depressed, sleeping a lot, waking up confused not knowing what day it was and what had happened the day before - or the week before. Sometimes his personality would change a lot and he acted very silly and loud in public and saying things he would never say (which if you know my dad, you know he is shy and quiet around most people). He started falling a lot and cutting his ear and chin and arm on things (hence multiple ER visits to get stitched up). He woke up one day not able to see out of one eye and feeling numb and tingly over half his body. My mom took him to the ER again... and they sent him home, again.

He's been to two neurologists and both of them say they have run every test they can think of, many of them twice. 

For the past month, he has been much more alert and himself personality-wise. But he sleeps nearly all day and has to use a walker full-time because he is so shaky and has a lot of dizzy spells where he will pass out if he doesn't sit down. Sometimes we've gone over to help him when he's fallen and he literally cannot move a muscle no matter how hard he tries. If he walks around the house a bit it completely wipes him out and he has to lay down again. And he never knows what day it is. He forgets what happened if it was more than two days before.

Obviously, it's really hard on my self-proclaimed naturally impatient mom who has been so strong and supportive through everything. She just doesn't give up on him and is always encouraging him to keep trying. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to see my best friend go through so much, never knowing what they'll remember...

Anyway, I don't really know why I wrote this post. Maybe partly on the slight chance that anyone out there reading it can help lead us to the magical diagnosis that - if it doesn't fix everything - will at least help us know how to deal with it. It is getting worse and every stage seems to be something almost completely new... we just never know what will happen next. 

A few days ago, though, Chase shared something that I thought was a powerful revelation. In church on Sunday they talked about how many of the early Mormon pioneers crossing the plains in the winter were starving and had run out of food. At one point they resorted to eating leather hides because that was literally all they had left. So they prayed that God would make it so their stomachs would digest the hides. They didn't pray for a bison to walk past them or bread to suddenly appear before them. They accepted the situation they were in and asked only to be able to bear it and to make it through. I keep praying and hoping and asking that my dad's doctors will just be able to find out what's wrong, that they'll magically remember some rare test to try next. But Chase taught me that maybe what we all need to be praying for is just to be comforted and have the strength we need to get through whatever trial we are facing. 

So Dr. House, if you do feel like filling us in on what is going on, we would really appreciate it. But if you just can't figure it out, it's okay. We will be okay. My dad will be okay. Even if okay means just knowing he is loved and cared for and will never, ever be alone.


A little update...

I don't know where to start, but I'm updating my blog so that's a big step anyway.

My birthday was in February and my mother and father-in-law came down to visit us. It was so much fun and so nice to have them here. They are such amazingly giving, selfless people. And they're funny. And they're caring. And my mother-in-law is adorable and dresses cuter than I do. Basically, I have the best in-law's in the world. They make even strangers want to be around them.

We went to the zoo while they were here and ate lots of yummy food and we even got my father-in-law to play cards (he HATES games) and he kicked our trash. :)

For my birthday Chase got me a new straightener to replace the one I have had since Jr. High. And my in-laws got me a new lens for our camera! Well, in a round-about way they did. I'm still learning to use it but I love it already. I just love that we can take photos inside now without having to use flash!

In other news, Finn got a big boy haircut. He really likes haircuts. Almost as much as getting shots.

He was quite thrilled.

And I think this next photo may be my favorite picture ever so far. Or at least it makes me melt every time I see it. :)

This little boy is really a toddler now. He's doing so many new things every day!
  • He dances as well as his mama: he bends his knees and pops his bum up and down to the beat of whatever song is playing, but his torso and arms just stay completely straight and don't move. It's hilarious.
  • It's so fun to see him actually understanding things: he knows dog and loves to say "DAH!" whenever we see a dog or hear one bark. He knows duck, or "DECK!" and when you say drink, he runs to the fridge. When you say let's go outside, he runs to the door. When you say bath, he runs to the bathroom. When you say shoes, he grabs them and brings them to you. It's fun. :)
  • He loves his blanket. Anytime he's in his room and I hear him start to cry, sure enough when I go in there he's frustrated to tears that he can't pull his blanket through the slats of his crib. When I get it for him he immediately puts it to his face and collapses onto the floor with it.
  • He is always getting hurt. Scrapes turn into huge scabs no matter how little damage is done. Poor buddy. But you can't keep this kid down. He will not sit on your lap unless he's really ridiculously tired. At church he is the most active kid in our ward. 
  • He really is crazy, but he's also charming and knows how to get people to smile. That's what I love most about him - he seems to know just how to cheer people up. A lady in our ward came up to me at the end of church and said that her teenage son had been having such a bad morning and was so grumpy until the sat behind us and Finn grinned at him. She said it was the first time he smiled all day. I love that even though Finn is so active to the point of driving us nuts, he's so sweet and just wants everyone to smile and be happy. I hope that he stays that way forever.