Highlight of his day

The Highlights of His Day

When my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, there was a tacit understanding that these next few years, however long they may be, will amount to the final chapter of his life. I thought maybe he’d have 10… 20 years? I didn’t know. Michael J Fox was diagnosed more than 30 years ago in 1991 and he still seems to be chugging along.

But it’s only been five years. He can barely walk. He has trouble opening his eyes. His cholesterol and blood pressure medicine make life hell for him. He spends most of his days sitting in his couch. He has trouble making it to the bathroom in time. The slightest bit of physical activity puts him out for several days.

So it’s up to me, as the only one he trusts with the strength and intelligence, to wheel him around town for an adventure every couple of weeks. In this instance, I took him on a road trip to Canberra to see the annual Floriade. He hadn’t been in six years.

For those couple of days in Canberra, he was happy. He normally spends his days whingeing and moaning to my mother about every minor annoyance; but for me, he puts on a good show, telling me about all the things that have changed since he was last there, the friends he met while he was last there, and how he wishes he could see them again. I’m not sure if he’s trying to be brave in front of his son, but I’ll take it. .

30 years ago, he did the same for his own wheelchair-bound father in Hong Kong, and I’d dutifully help where I could. I vowed I would never become my father, yet here I am doing it all over, showing my son how to look after the elderly. And he’s more like my father than I’d care to admit.

The doctors say his Parkinson’s is very mild and he shouldn’t be this bad, but they don’t exactly have any answers or solutions to offer. So all they do is run tests.

On the morning we were to leave for home, I caught him performing his daily ritual of consuming a plate of fruit. I captured it in this photo. I know that eating fruit, picking the right fruit, knowing where to find it – it’s one of his life’s joys. This must be the best part of his day.

I kept the fruit in colour while rendering the rest of the image in black and white. It’s such a tiny patch of colour, as I imagine this joy to be for him as a contrast to the rest of his day. The photo only works if it’s blown up large and framed against a wall, otherwise it’s very easy to miss the fruit. That said, I don’t think I’ll ever print this image, large or otherwise.


One thought on “Highlight of his day

  1. It’s, never easy, watching those we love dearly, suffer with, these, illnesses of, old age, because, these illnesses makes our loved one, less, and less than they had been, and there’s nothing we can do, to, reverse this process, we can, only, stay close by them, to accompany them, to cate for them, the best we, can.

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