My Dad Has More Facebook Friends Than I Do, and That’s OK (GeekDad Weekly Rewind)

Internet People

My dad, John Barron, circa 1964-65

I admit it: I’m not a fan of Facebook. This week, with the emergence of Google+, I’ve been starry-eyed at the possibility of a new social media delivery system that allows me to do all the stuff I wanted to but couldn’t on Facebook. And while I’d like to talk about Google+, that’s just not what this post is about.

Nope. This is about my dad, Facebook and healing in the age of social media.

In brief: My dad was born in 1952. He first heard the opening riff of the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine” over a little battery-operated radio sometime in 1964, and soon after picked up a guitar and adopted a mop-top. He’s never been the same.

In a nutshell: My dad’s a musician, a devoted Christian, an avid fisherman, an amateur lepidopterist and an amazing father. He’s been ill for the better part of my life with a disease called hypersensitivity vasculitis, plus rheumatoid arthritis for good measure. And then there’s the major heart problems.

Starting around his 30th birthday, Dad fell ill with a series of odd symptoms, from painful joints to burning rashes. For years his doctors tried to find an answer. He’s tried every regimen and medicine known to man and has managed. As with many diseases — this one striking roughly one in a million — doctors aren’t exactly scrambling to make advances or spend grants on research.

He’s been able to keep his worst symptoms at bay with a cocktail of medicine. He takes around 175 pills a week including prednisone and methotrexate, both of which have side effects and risks. But he’s had a slew of other problems.

Eight years ago, when I graduated from college — literally the week I graduated — he had emergency open heart surgery to have two valves replaced and a double bypass. He survived, even with the odds stacked against him. Then, in 2004, a week before my wedding — I have great timing — he fell ill with a staph infection that nearly killed him. For a while there we weren’t sure if we’d have a wedding or a funeral. Again, he defied the odds and survived an illness that kills some people in their prime.

[Please read the rest of Natania Barron’s article, originally published on Thursday. Please leave any comments you may have on the original.]

Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!