I thought that I should update everyone on what’s been happening in Vietnam. I should tell you that the original honeymoon plans have been shelved for the moment. Ha and I are still in Hanoi, but very much enjoying the time we’re spending together. Why we haven’t embarked to Southern destinations has something to do with my Dad’s seemingly miraculous improvements in his health.
A friend told me that everyone would be taking care of his or her parents sooner or later. The time came sooner than later for me. My Dad’s health issues have directly impacted my life for several years. This has caused my family to make some tough decisions to best accommodate my Dad’s increasing health needs. The decisions for my Dad’s care would become more difficult to make now that I’m married. About the only thing that would keep my family and myself out of ever increasing hardship is a miracle, and it appears that miracle might be happening.
Some of you know that my Dad suffers from several health complications, which are related to his tour of duty in Vietnam. The American medical system, and especially the Veteran’s Administration have done a pretty good job at helping him, but have fallen short in properly treating him. It seems like the solution to health problems in America is to take a pill for it, and that has caused more harm than good for my Dad.
Perhaps my Dad’s worst ailment is Parkinson’s disease. His body is riddled with this disease so bad that he can barely walk at times. He hardly goes out in public because his hands and legs always twitch uncontrollably. Sometimes the problems are so bad that he can’t get out of bed. The Parkinson’s and his other health problems have been my family’s biggest concerns for several years. This certainly raised serious doubt if he would be able to travel. Somehow, my Dad put himself together well enough to make the trip and see his Son get married.
We heard of successful medical treatments in Vietnam for ailments similar to my Dad’s, and my wedding in Vietnam gave the opportunity for him to undergo such treatments. The treatment is a combination of acupuncture; massage therapy and large doses of vitamins and ginkgo biloba. The treatment may seem mystical to Western healthcare, but is very common practice in this part of the world. You cannot receive this kind of medical treatment in America, because the AMA won’t approve it. I had my own strong doubts that it would work, and I regularly have acupuncture treatment. I quickly changed my mind when I seen dramatic improvements in my Dad’s health after just a couple days.
My Dad started going to a health spa here in Hanoi, which was a part of the acupuncture school. The spa almost immediately started to improve my Dad’s health. He was examined for acupuncture treatment between the spa visits, and started therapy a couple days before my wedding. The doctors indicated that two weeks of treatment would be required to see if there would be any effect on my Dad’s advanced ailments. It didn’t take that long, because improvements could be seen in just a couple days.
At this time, my Dad’s health issues appear to have rolled back four to six years. His Parkinson’s shaking has diminished considerably, while his strength and energy has increased. His speech is strong and clear, where it was very difficult to hear him just a few days before. An important effect from the treatment is my Dad being more aware of his own health issues. This is important, because he can better access if or when he needs his medication and can take care of himself again. Long story short, my family is watching a medical miracle happen right in front of us.
His health could improve enough that he would become completely ambulatory, and would not need the constant care that he has had for several years. This would allow Ha and I to start our lives together without the burden of taking care of my Dad right away. That in mind, it’s worth postponing our honeymoon a couple weeks to accommodate for my Dad’s improving health conditions.
Although Ha and I aren’t where we would like to be for our honeymoon right now, we’ve made the best of the situation. Even though our honeymoon has so far been spending time in our bedroom, I believe the situation has worked out to be beneficial for us. We’re both learning that our time together is more important than where we spend the time. There is so much that both of us need to learn about each other.
We’re finding out that we will encounter problems like any married couples would, and we need to find new ways to deal with problems now that we’re married. One of the big problems we’ve been having is communications, but our communication problems are not what you might be thinking. There are times when we literally don’t understand each other. Ha’s English and my Vietnamese can often fall short, and we often misunderstand each other. The problems from this are comical most of the time, but there have been some situations where the problems were more serious. Other than that, life has been wonderful.
We’ve been practically inseparable since I arrived, and constantly being together seems to make time itself slow down. I hardly realize that it’s been a little more than a month that I’ve been here. The down side is I will eventually leave for America, and we both know that day will be the saddest day of our lives. We both try not to think about it for now, and enjoy the time we have together.
There are dozens of other events that have happened, which I will provide more detail in other blog posts. I will close this for now, so I can enjoy a quiet night with my wife.
Dan Harley, Jr.