July 29th, 2012 By Pedro Fernandez
IMMINENT DEATH IS A HAUNTING EXPERIENCE
San Francisco, CA- I’m not writing about boxing or MMA today, it just isn’t in me. Although my uncle Palamento Fernandez, a US Army veteran who was sterilized by exposure to Nuclear weaponry more than six decades ago wasn’t college educated, he made a lot of money in the hair business and had all of his faculties until about 3 1/2 years ago. Then he started to forget things, holler when it wasn’t remotely appropriate, and slowly but surely fell apart mentally and then physically.
HAVE NO IDEA WHAT COMPELLED ME TO WRITE THIS, BUT I HAD TO!
Although most of you take talking to your loved ones for granted, my uncle, never much of a talker became almost mute. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and later Stomach Cancer. That being said, while I try to see him every other day, if not at least twice a week, it is emotionally draining to watch this one-time king of Machismo, a playboy of sorts wither away day by day. The reason why I am broaching this subject is not that I seek pity for myself of my family, it’s because if you’re not in my position, chances are you will be at one time in your lifetime.
BEING POWERLESS TO MAKE CHANGE IS DAUNTING
If uncle Pal’s situation wasn’t enough, my Godfather (and uncle) Lobe Fernandez, a widower now for four years, is dying in another room of the same house. Money can’t help my uncles. Prayer, while to some of you is a way out, hasn’t worked. I really don’t know where I’m trying to take this, but I can tell you that growing old isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Today was a good day for both uncles, as I talked with Lobe before going into to see Palamento. He recognized me as my late father, seeing we were virtual twins, and told me he loved me, which brought me to tears as do most visits to his home.
DISCUSSED THIS WITH MY MD A WHILE BACK!
When I told my Dr. of the dire straights that both Lobe and Pal are in, he tried to be consoling, and at the same time tried keeping it real. “Pedro” he said, “the fact that people are living longer nowadays is a contributing factor to getting Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or terminal Cancer. While modern medicine has come a long way in many regards, the medical world is probably 50 or so years away from eliminating most forms of Cancer. As for Alzheimer’s, we have yet to see any real productive treatment in thwarting the disease. We can diagnose it early and can slow it down, but haven’t figured out how to stop it and frankly, I don’t know if we ever will.”
LAST RELATIVE ON MY MOTHER’S SIDE HAS PARKINSON’S DISEASE!
Since my mother died in 2006, the lone surviving member of her family is my aunt Julie Lutz. Known for her award winning baking, auntie Julie who has had medical issues since birth is ill to the point where I can see life is draining out of her day by day. One MD said it was Parkinson’s Disease, another said it wasn’t. But her memory fades, at times imagines things that aren’t really there, and after breaking her hip a couple of years ago has been regressing physically as well. It is heartbreaking to watch her try and do things she normally did sans any difficulty, like baking and walking for instance, this is so painful to watch that putting it into words is a trying experience itself.
MY LATE MENTOR PASSED DUE TO HIS BEING CHEAP!
Most of you have read the name “Jack Fiske” in my columns. Not only was he my journalistic mentor, a man I named my only child after, the Hall of Fame scribe was a product of the Great Depression who used to take day old newspapers out of people’s trash cans to satisfy his quest to read and learn as a child. When diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, Jack who had plenty of money, refused to buy a $600 machine that would have alleviated the Sleep Apnea which led to Clinical Depression because of his inability to get a good nights sleep. What I’m trying to say is that in all of my years, I’ve never seen an armored car full of cash follow a hearse to the cemetery. If you haven’t gotten the gist of what I’m trying to say, you can’t take it with you when you go!
WHEN PEOPLE TELL YOU TO LIVE EACH DAYS LIKE IT’S THE LAST….
You need to heed the advice. Living a normal life, or even living at all can be changed by disease, an automobile, industrial, even an accident in your home. Or in the case of 12 moviegoers a couple of weeks ago, death can come via a random act of violence and mayhem. In closing, you, or the persons you take for granted today might not be here tomorrow. Appreciate your loved ones. Because as sh**ty a hand that you think that you’ve been dealt in life, I’ve come to learn that the end is always nearer than you think. That being said, try and make it as good for you, your loved ones and good friends as you can until that day comes!