There was an incident, officially documented and filed. As a hazmat team was involved, it couldn't not be. Last week, an overzealous orderly transporting my father to his first physiotherapy appointment somehow snagged his chemo bag onto something and it tore open pouring onto my father's bald noggin and hairy back. Hospital staff were less concerned with his wellbeing (he is after all, injecting these toxins directly into his veins) than they were everyone else who may come into contact with it. As a precaution, my father is now banned from leaving the ward through no fault of his own.
There was another incident, not documented but mentally filed by myself. While watching World Cup highlights with my father late at night, one of his many nurses - distinguished from the others by streaks of liberal bright blue highlights in her poker straight brunette mane - interrupted to bring him his final medications for the day. As he has been on this schedule for two weeks, he is now well versed with the colour, size and even texture of different pills. Immediately he inquired what the "new, white big ones" were. This was met with an embarrassed, awkward half-acknolwedgement that she presented him with the wrong medication.
"I don't trust the people in here", my father has whispered to me on several occasions.
I don't know much about football, although I have harboured an intense crush on David Beckham since I was 16-years-old. My World Cup viewing habits thus involve cheering for countries that: a) I've visited and enjoyed (go France and Japan!); and, b) have the best-looking players (go Brazil and Spain!). I think I enjoy the fans and spectacle of the event more than anything else though.
As I observe the national pride and festivity on display, I'm also reminded of all of the grand adventures my father and I have experienced while touring this planet. In recent years, he's talked about backpacking across India, specifically wishing to visit Varanasi after being enthralled with the history and culture of this holy city on the Ganges. I've joked this would be the trip that would kill him. Now I'm trying to figure out how to do it by myself. And I will, even though I'm not as sober and rational a person as my father is or as sober and rational as one needs to be when visiting the kaleidoscope of humanity that I imagine India to be.
It's very difficult planning a life without this man involved in it. Part of me wants to honour him and part of me still needs him terribly. I'm ill-prepared. I don't even know how to put air in the tires of my vehicle for fucksakes. I always relied on him to do it. Vacations, holidays (Hallmark and otherwise)…I try not to think about the impending emptiness that I'm about to face but catch myself at various times during the day obsessing over it and falling into darkness yet again. All of the recent incessant Father's Day advertisements annoyed me; I'm sure the onslaught of Christmas marketing in the coming months (né end of August) will drive me to become even more of a hermit as well.
And then there's July 13. Less than a month away. It will mark my father's 64th birthday. "Will you still need me, will you still feed me?" Yes. Always. But this date will never bother me as much as the others…the ones we are forced socially (and financially) to celebrate. Because this date truly is special and I already have ideas for it now and in the future. I've informed my father of my plans for this date next year and he just smirked at me. He knows me well. I may not always be a calm, sensible person but I am an ambitious one. Adventure is calling.