This Article is About
social security disability
state of shock
strong woman
major surgery
iodine
workman
13 years
Worlds Strongest Man
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The very first day I met this man was the day that I was born, though I didn’t know him or his abilities at the time. I soon found these out later on in my life. Everything was a normal way of life, till I was about 13 years old. My dad got injured at work, got some workman’s compensation and was constantly going back and forth from our family doctor.

One day he got bad news about his injury. His doctor was blunt with him not sugar coating an ounce. The doctor said “Well Bill, your back is shot, not entirely, but it will not get better….only worse.” So for the next 12-13yrs he has fought with the government of getting Social Security Disability. During his constant battle and struggle with that, our family continued to face a lot of life changing obstacles.

My grandpa got ill. He ended up having to go to Shady Side hospital in Pittsburgh for a Quadruple Heart Bypass Surgery. He pulled through, but was hooked up to machines for the time being. Our family, when we entered his room, went into a state of shock at the sight of the machines with the tubes, smaller ones hooked into his IV, bags, everything that was necessary for him to live.

We even saw the Iodine that was applied to his chest, where his hospital gown didn’t cover fully, but we did not see the surgical wound itself. My grandma was almost hysterical at the sight but she held it together. She was a strong woman. Just everything about her was strong. My dad was also so incredibly strong. He held us together; even his mom needed his comfort and strength.

After a while of being in the hospital, my grandpa was well enough to come home after his major surgery. Everything was fine till he was checked on by a family member and his face was white. We called 911 and had him rushed to the hospital and found out that his aneurism in his stomach ruptured and he is bleeding internally. The doctors did immediate surgery and said that there’s a small chance that he might not survive due to his age.

My dad stayed with him practically every day, along with my mom by his side supporting him. He had surgery on April 6th, lived on April 7th which was my 13th birthday, then died on April 8th. I was in 6th grade at the time and when I heard that he died I lost it. I cried, I did everything that a normal grandchild would do who just lost their grandpa. My dad had to make a choice that day on the 8th. The hardest choice he ever had to make.

To pull the plug on him or continue to let him be supported by machines. My dad couldn’t bear the thought of having his dad being kept alive by machines and also it seemed unethical. My dad made the choice. He pulled the plug. They say grown men don’t cry but I tell them that they do because my dad did. They say men who cry are weak, sissy, babied…but they aren’t. Real men aren’t.

My dad is a real man he didn’t have it easy, he was strong, yes he was the baby of the three children and babied some, but not to the point that it was disturbing. A real man’s strength to me defines a man along with his pride. My dad had and still has his strength. He supported us after my grandpa died, helped with the funeral arrangements, burial everything. My grandma grieved her loss of her long loved partner for over 50 yrs. of marriage.

We got our feet back under us and in 2000 my grandma became ill. Again, my dad had to see another one of his dear and very close loved one, now his mom, become ill. She was rushed to our local hospital and then taken down to Pittsburgh for further treatment. She was not doing well. She would swell up with fluid so bad that if you would gently touch her skin fluid would run out in a stream. The doctors were baffled by this, they said she had scoliosis of the liver, which normally occurs with drinking, but in fact we learned that Tylenol, the over the counter drug, can cause that.

She too was soon on machines keeping her alive while dad held us up again with his strength. Telling us “she’s going to be ok now, she’s going up to be with your pop (us grandkids always called our grandpa Pop and our grandma Nan), he will watch over her. God is with her. When he wants her he will take her.” The next thing we know the doctor comes in and says “her heart rate is slowing down” he looked over at my dad “do you want to pull the plug?” again he heard that same phrase and again he made the same heart wrenching decision to go ahead and pull the plug.

The doctor then shuts off the monitor saying “you don’t need to see this, this alone is too much and enough on the family” he gave us his wishes and condolences and left the room so we could all be there when she took her last breath and left this world and went to heaven. We all grieved heavily in our loss of a wonderful woman and the great man that went before her. My dad held us up again, being strong for the family, while in his own time, grieving for himself.

A couple years later we got back up on our feet yet again as my dad continued to fight for his rights as a man who deserves SSID, in other words disability. He fought and fought and fought then a month before his 50th birthday he got a letter from the Social Security Office saying he was going to get disability on his 50th birthday that year. We were all very happy for him. 13 yrs. for the government to finally realize this man couldn’t work. Years after years he was told by our family doctor “bill you’re getting worse, there’s no way you can work and that’s my honest, professional and medical opinion.”

His MRI’s showed that his back and neck were literally destroyed. There were no more disks, just bone on bone and the vertebrae’s were blown out, ruptured everything. He would walk and fall because of his back, his neck literally collapsed on him many times even after a surgery. He was and still is in constant pain 24/7 pain, every day, every minute, every second of his now past 16yrs of his life he lived in shear and utter pain.

The doctors were amazed that he was able to still walk, tinker with things, talk, everything that a normal person would take for granted. He often said that his pain was so unbearable at times that he just wanted to die. The pain was that intense but he fought through it. Everyone says “never judge a book by its cover” or “never judge a man till you walked a mile in his shoes” to this day I’m a strong believer in those quotes. Until you can say that you’ve been experiencing the most incredible pain your entire life, when it’s just something as simple as not getting what you want or think you have it rough or you’re whining because of a migraine.

I want you to take a second or a few minutes and just think. This man has been through severe emotional, psychological, and physical pain for most of his life and he kept the strength and strong belief that he will get through it. You try living most of your life in chronic severe pain when no type of medications would help it. When even a vibrating massager on low kills you and aggravate the nerves and bones that ends up making them shift and pinch his spinal cord therefore leaving numbness, pain, endless headaches, temporarily loss of movement in your limbs.

Then you can say that you had it rough, you’re in pain, you’re this and you’re that. Just take a look at that man and say...”I don’t know how he did that for so long...” I’ll tell you how he did it...he did it with his strength and faith.

We always coin our parents as super heroes that they never get hurt, they never die, and they never get ill. They do. They are just like us. They just put on a high pedal stole to “ooo” and “ahhh” over but a lot of people forget that. When something happens to them we say why? Why him? Why did he get hurt? Again because he is human.

My dad is human in every way imaginable but because of his amazing strength, he was able to be leaned on for his support even through incredibly rough times with the death of his parents, his back and neck blowing out on him, his medical condition never getting better, and the fear of losing his wife. That man kept his strength up. That’s why I call him World’s Strongest Man.


Street Talk

Lesley H  

hey Jenna, I know you wrote this a while ago, but I just now read it. Great story, right from your heart.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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