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By Tina Portelli


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My father is retired. He now occupies his time doing what he loves most,
woodworking. He is good at what he does. He is wonderfully creative and
skillful, but unfortunately he is possessed by his skill. His hands do
not stop working until his eyelids can no longer support his eyes.
Working eighteen hours straight, nothing can pull him away from an
unfinished project. He will stop only when he blurs and must get some

I fight with him about this all the time. It is not a healthy or safe way
to live. I worry that he might hurt himself, fall asleep with a tool in
hand or fall to the floor from lack of sleep.

Last week at 4:pm, his usual dinnertime, he finished eating, cleaned up
the dishes and took a sitting break before going back to his work. It took
moments before this over tired man fell asleep at the kitchen table. He
awoke an hour and a half later, at 5:30 PM. He proceeded to make
breakfast, eat, again, take his pills, again, feed the dog, again, give the
dog his daily medication, again. He thought he had slept through the night
and was waking up as he had so many times before, sitting at the table,
after hours of working on a project.

When the sun did not rise at seven, he realized it was nighttime, not
morning. It was then that he realized he had eaten dinner and breakfast
within the scope of an hour and a half and had medicated himself and the
dog twice.

When he bravely told me of this episode, I asked him, "Didn't you see you
were dressed when you woke up not wearing pajamas? "I often sleep in my
clothes, too tired to change."

I scolded him for this happenstance, while reminding him the dangers of
double dose medicine for both he and the dog. All he could say was "The
dog didn't seem to mind, he never said a word".

Outwardly, I wanted to kill him; inwardly I was laughing my head off.

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