Big John is makin' a comeback!
About a month ago I did a post (Priorities) on my father-in-law, John Engberg, who was gravely ill. When I left school in the middle of the day last January, I brought along my suit, because I assumed my stay in the Twin Cities would be capped off with his funeral. I'm writing this because I thought that anyone who had read that post might be interested in John's progress, and I'm happy to tell you that he's making a comeback.
Our hockey team had no games this weekend, so I was able to drive down to see John, who has now been moved to a care center. The last time I saw him, he was completely unresponsive, and he had more tubes coming out of his body than I'd care to count. To catch sight of him this weekend as I wandered around looking for the correct room on the second floor of that care center, sitting up in a wheel chair, hair nicely groomed, and waving to me was one of the most gratifying feelings I've ever had. Once I got into the room, he was full of questions about how my JV hockey team was doing and what I thought the chances were that our varsity would make it down for the state tournament. Unbelievable!
John has a cancer called multiple myeloma, and he's got a long way to go including a ton of physical therapy, but he sure seems to be off to a good start. The first major hurdle has been learning to swallow again, something he couldn't do at all when he first came out of his coma. He finally had his feeding tube taken out last week, and he's eating mashed up potatoes, mashed up peas, mashed up meatballs, and mashed up everything. It takes intense concentration for him for each swallow, but as he told my wife and me as we sat next to him, "If I want to live, I've got to eat!"