patch.com

(Illustration by Adriana Heldiz/Voice of San Diego) January 11, 2021 My 85-year-old father loved people, and he waved hello to everyone as he tooled around his Escondido assisted-living facility in his tricked-out electric wheelchair. He couldn’t resist talking to a neighbor at his doorway when the building went off pandemic lockdown a few weeks ago. They couldn’t hear each other, so they pulled off their masks for a quick chat. How-are-ya, fine-thanks. What a year! Maybe that was the moment the germs slipped into his chest. Perhaps one of the caregivers brought the coronavirus into his apartment from the outside. Or he could have been infected when he visited the hospital for a vascular test. We’ll never know for sure. It is clear, however, that COVID-19 found its way to my father and took his life. But not before a long, complicated and agonizing cascade of medical complications that left him exhausted, alone and afraid. Novelist Philip Roth wrote that “old age is a massacre.” It’s got nothing on the horrible effects of a new deadly combo – isolation, hospitalization and the coronavirus. Unfortunately, thanks to our national and local failures, more San Diegans are destined to die like my dad. The Rock of Our Family Gets a Positive Test The story of how my parents met is literally a tall tale. In the late 1960s, Ralph Dotinga – the son of Dutch immigrant dairy farmers – was a 6-foot-6 teacher at a Chula Vista elementary school. The ladies […]