I lost a nearly lifelong friend a couple of weeks ago. My buddy Lee has had a rough go of it for about 10 years, and he has real peace now.
I met him when I was 18 years old. Back then he used to love nunchucks. and he was always swinging those things around out at the park a bunch of us youngsters used to hang out at. That's where one of my two nicknames for him came from...Lee Wong Foo. The other one was LeeDog. He named me su lu. I use that spelling and lower case letters because that's how he has texted me in these recent years. "what's up su lu?" I will miss his texts.
I took my very first "adult" vacation in the 80's when he lived in Florida for awhile. Got on a plane all by myself and had a great time! Then in the 90's, my kids started appearing, and LWF and I kept in touch frequently and saw each other every once in awhile. He was in a relationship throughout the 90's and into the 2000's and was busy working and such. He never hesitated, though, coming to help me out if ever I needed anything. In about 2001 or so, he came to my house and replaced a bathroom floor for me. Like I said, anything I ever needed.
His health started acting up somewhere around then. He got a blood clot in a leg and was hospitalized. I'm pretty sure he had to take blood thinners after that. I know he had to wear thigh high compression hose. Or he was supposed to, at least. Not sure how long he stuck with that! Sometime close to when I moved to Michigan, he had to have that leg amputated below the knee. I came home for a visit the year after I moved to MI, and he was doing well. He had a prosthesis and was able to walk on it. He was still driving, and working on a limited basis.
Next stop in time, 2015 when I moved back home. I hadn't talked to LWF too much in awhile, and come to find out, he had to have his other leg amputated above the knee. THEN, not long after that, he was trying to get up on his prosthetics, fell, and broke a hip. That ordeal landed him in a nursing home for awhile (he had told me that before I returned from MI, his girlfriend of decades had kicked him out because "you can't work without legs so you're no good to me").
Post nursing home, he got an accessible apartment and a personal assistant who was paid by the state to care for him 30 hours a week. He was able to get himself in and out of bed from his wheelchair, so didn't need 24 hour care. This chick that got paid to cook, clean, and do some personal care was HIDEOUS. In healthcare, we call it "misappropriation". Basically stealing from a disabled or elderly person. She used his food stamps to feed herself and her kids, she smoked his cigarettes, she "borrowed" money from him frequently (never paid it back), she smoked his weed (being a double amputee, it greatly helped his phantom pain), and she definitely did not clean his apartment. It was filthy. I tried so hard to get him to get rid of her, but he wouldn't do it. She had the poor guy brainwashed. She also showed up when she felt like it. She made him conform to what schedule she wanted to be on. I feel just horrible that the last few years of his life were spent supporting someone who was supposed to be taking good care of him.
His strong will got taken from him somewhere around that second amputation. He just wasn't the same. In the old days, he would have fired a lazy worker lickity split. I was able to go to his apartment many times in the past year and hang out with him. I brought him out to my house last summer for a day and that was great. I just wish I could have done more. And of course, I feel bad that I didn't do more, in retrospect.
He had just turned 56 when he passed away. He apparently had unchecked lung cancer which spread to his brain causing a massive, sudden stroke. He passed 3 days later.
I've not felt much like blogging, but I'll be trying to keep up with it! Thank you all for visiting my site and following along with my journey.