My 78-year-old father has been living with Multiple Sclerosis for over 38 years.
Two decades ago, he had a pulmonary embolism that almost killed him. He walked.. no, he was wheeled out of the hospital – never to walk again. At the time he might not have been able to walk, stand, tie his shoes or brush his teeth but he could dial the phone, talk, think, argue about politics just like any other old geezer and read, read and read.
My 72-year-old mom has been caring for my dad for nearly four decades now. Not only has she helped him brush his teeth, dress and go through the motions of daily life, she also took control of the family finances, general house maintenance and the needs of her five daughters.
As the years passed, my father’s MS progressed and the simple things were gone forever: no more dialing the phone, going to the bathroom on his own and no more reading a book.
My mom couldn’t manage it all; the simple things that my dad lost were also the things that got pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Holding a book for my father wasn’t as important as balancing a checkbook, scheduling a neurologist appointment or making sure that the home health aide would arrive on time.
My father hasn’t read a book in over 15 years.
This past summer on our family’s annual vacation, my sisters and I gave my father his birthday present…an iPad.
Embracing the iPad and the technology like a teenager, my father started to read a novel.
What was once lost was now found.
Within 30 minutes, my dad called me over. I leaned in and he said:
“Deanna, I don’t know how to thank you.”
I cried my eyes out.
Thank you, Steve Jobs.