In a Paternal Vein
Earlier today, my father went and consulted a surgeon for his varicose veins. They’re nothing life threatening (I wish), just veins that have become a little sluggish and start retaining blood. I went with him the first time he went in for a consultation, because I wanted to check out the vascular surgery dept. at the hospital out of professional curiosity. Very bad idea. The next week was an endless tirade of ‘Don’t you know any better? You say you’re a doctor, right?’ So yes. My crime is that I am a doctor in a house where my father is threatened by my very existence as a person with independent functioning thought. At this point, he could have a bypass surgery and I wouldn’t bother showing up to show the surgeons that I was right and he never really did have a heart anyway. Anyhoodles, the surgeon told him that it only takes a minor surgery to fix tiny varicose veins using laser application, and he could do it tomorrow. The only thing was that dad would have to stay in overnight.
Seems simple enough right? Get checked into a hospital for the night and have a minor procedure, then come back home? I mean, simple for us normal folk. Dad had other ideas.
He came home and told us the ‘big’ news, and conveniently forgot to mention that it wasn’t exactly overnight. Truth be told, I think he forgot about the part where he was supposed to report by four pm, but again, admitting that he forgot would mean that he’s admitting to being human, right? Halfway through a big lecture session at lunch, the hospital started calling us on all the numbers provided. Turns out they were frantically searching for their missing patient. Lunch was subsequently abandoned, and the process of preparations started. It went something like this.
First, dad refused all offers of an overnight bag or a change of clothes, ranting that he could take care of himself and didn’t need anyone or anything except a t shirt and a phone charger. Okay, okay- we backed off. Then I was called in to hand wash a specific T shirt and dry it by ironing it ( don’t ask me why that one. He probably didn’t even have a rational reason, just that mad fixation. He has four closets full of clothes, but that T shirt was oxygen at the moment, so that shirt). Into a plastic bag went the shirt, along with the charger, and he scuttled off to the hospital sniping about how no one cleaned his shoes.
Twenty minutes after leaving, he calls me and tells me that I need to send over a couple of his meds with the driver. I send the driver off and ten minutes later, he calls again. This time I’m instructed to call the driver back home. Then go to the sink, send the driver out to buy another tube of toothpaste exactly the same size as the one on the sink, and then send that to the hospital too. He’ll use it tonight and then take it with him when he flies overseas next week. The poor driver is called back and relayed, but another fifteen minutes later, dad calls again. This time I have to pull an old leather bag out from on top a long forgotten shelf. Clean it, pack pajamas and a towel, and send it again. Okay, now I’m a little beyond patience.
I do as directed, and the poor driver is launched yet again to the hospital. It’s been two hours and eighteen phone calls, and I’m ready to tear my hair out. I’m just looking forward to the fact that I might have a nag free, chore free night, and then, of course, the next call comes in-
‘Make some snacks and refreshments. My friends are coming over for dinner, and I’m coming back home.’