My Dad Needs Us

Hello everyone.

For those who do not know, my dad has become very ill over the past year in Poland.  I have created this campaign because unfortunately, I cannot help him without the help of others. Thank you in advance for reading our story…

For the past seven years, Dad has lived on the north coast of Poland in a town called Kolobrzeg with his girlfriend. During this time, my once very active dad developed a debilitating lung condition, making it difficult to be physically active at all. His health declined steadily over the last few years and has taken a nose-dive over the past several months, which is the reason for this campaign.

In June of this year, Dad was diagnosed with his second bout of prostate cancer. This time around, he was scared and spoke to me as if he was going to die. I tried to continue to be positive for him, but it is not an easy task to convince him that everything was going to be OK by phone from across the Atlantic. Nevertheless, Dad began radiation treatment at the end of the summer, in which he was traveling an hour each way by bus daily.

On the first day of September, during Dad’s daily commute for treatment, he suffered a stroke on the bus. He was admitted to a nearby hospital that same day, a Friday afternoon.  He did not receive any tests or major medical attention though until the following Monday. Apparently, in Poland, doctors only work on weekends for life-threatening cases, and my dad’s condition was not considered as such.

The next week we received an update that my dad may have permanent brain damage as a result of the stroke. His mental capacity had greatly diminished and was having difficulty recognizing his family. He became extremely paranoid and thought the hospital was a prison. He became very aggressive towards anyone and everyone that came near him, even family.

After a couple of weeks in the hospital, they could no longer keep him there, stating that there was nothing more that they could do for him.  We had to scramble to find a nursing home to transfer him to continue his care. We knew that he could not return to his home, or even to the area where he lived, because there was no one living anywhere near to visit or care for him in his condition. The only person he had there, up until this point was his girlfriend, who has since left him.

Thanks to the great help of my aunt (my dad’s sister who lives in Poland), a nursing home was identified, located in the same area where she and another uncle each live. To assist in the transport of our father, my brother, Chris, traveled to Poland and together, they took a 10-hour ambulance ride from the hospital to the nursing home.  Chris stayed for about a week to help him get settled into his room, until he had to return back to the States. I then went to Poland a week later to see for myself how he was doing and to be with him. I also went with hopes of identifying a way to bring my father home, to the United States, so that he can be near us.

When I first arrived in Poland and saw my father, I was uplifted. Despite the facts that the nursing home itself is small and crowded, smells like a bathroom, and the windows are frosted so he cannot see outside, I found him to be in much better condition than I expected. He recognized me. He was walking on his own again, and he even wanted to go out with me for lunch the following day. We even had a great discussion about the possibility of him coming back to the U.S., which he seemed receptive to. I was thrilled and relieved to see my dad in such a better state. Things immediately were turning for the better.

The following day; however, presented a completely different reality. I returned that day to the nursing home to take my dad to lunch as we had discussed, and I witnessed a complete turnaround in his condition. I didn’t understand. After talking with him, I noticed that he was experiencing extreme pain from his hip area whenever he would try to sit up or lie down. He mentioned that he fell the night before a couple of times. I feared he had broken his hip and immediately sought after a nurse. In broken-Polish, I alerted them about his fall and his pain and asked that he be sent to the hospital for x-rays. My concerns were dismissed, and they claimed that he was lying, blaming his complaints on his cancer. Despite my continued pleas, he was not sent to the hospital and they decided to simply see how he was doing the following morning. I felt powerless. I even had to plead with them to get him stronger pain medicine which didn’t seem to help.

Later that evening, after bruising had developed and seeing the pain that my dad was in, the nurses finally recognized my father’s need for medical attention and they agreed he should be transported to the hospital. The next day he finally made it to the hospital and x-rays were taken, which confirmed that he had a break near his hip and that surgery would be required. However, yet again, because it is Friday, he is unable to receive surgery until the following Monday, and was left in a hospital bed with extreme discomfort.

As a result of the trauma, along with the pain and the medicine he was on, my dad’s mental state had severely—and even more so—deteriorated. He constantly tried to get out of bed, even though he couldn’t walk. When halted in his attempts, he would become extremely mad at whoever prevented his movement, especially me. He eventually had to be strapped down, and as you can imagine, it made his condition even worse.

I extended my travels to be with Dad until after his surgery. His surgery went well, but his mental state remained the same and he now had to be strapped down perpetually until he would be able to stand again (which ended being weeks after I left). Soon it came time for me to leave and return home to the states, which was incredibly hard to do, to say the least. I had to leave my dad—the man that gave me life, knowledge, and continuous love and support—behind in Poland, as he was in the worst state of his life.

As I am now back in New Jersey, Dad is now back in the nursing home. Isolated with minimal family to visit him. His mental state is somewhat better since he does not have to be strapped down so much and since his pain has now subsided since the surgery. Regardless, it is apparent that the level of care he is receiving in Poland is minimal at best. Additionally, he still has not resumed his cancer treatments, which has now been over 2 months since his last treatment.

I need to bring my father back to the United States once he is fit to travel. Unfortunately, in his current state, he is incapable of enduring the long flight.  Until that days comes, I know that he needs support and human interaction from the people who love him. He needs his family and he needs his sons.  He needs the mental stimulation to help get his mind to a stable place. We want and need to be there for him, as we both know he’d be here for us.

This leads me to the reason for this campaign, which I have created, despite the wishes of my pride. I cannot afford to travel to Poland regularly. Not only do I not have the available time off from work, I don’t have enough money saved to do so. It really makes me feel helpless, and it makes me feel like a terrible son that I cannot be there. The purpose of this campaign is to raise enough money so that I or my brother can travel freely to Poland to be by our Dad’s side for the next couple of months and to also help bring him back to the United States when the time comes. I also have to engage a lawyer to obtain Power of Attorney in case my dad is not able to make decisions on his own when need be. It is very hard for me to ask for this kind of help, but in this time of hopelessness, and for the sake of my father’s well-being, I must put my discomfort aside.

I understand if you are unable to contribute, but I greatly appreciate any and all considerations and contributions. Thank you so much!

Humbly & Sincerely,

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Darius L Rybinski 
Aberdeen, NJ
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