For a long time I have accepted the fact my father was going to die.
He had heart trouble, is an alcoholic, overweight, and hadn’t been to a doctor for years. He eats for shit and is always coughing up guck. No matter what I or my mom have tried, he wouldn’t go to the doctor. A few years ago my uncle who is similiarly stubborn, one Sunday after church threw his head back and had a fatal heart attack. He was dead within minutes. When that happened I knew that eventually that fate would find my dad. I prepared myself for it, as much as you can. You can’t save someone else; you can’t even really help someone else if they don’t want it. It is awful feeling, so helpless but one of the things we must accept in life. Nothing would bring my father to the doctor except what brought my uncle. Until..
My father has a bit of OCD; he likes things neat. Its kind of obnoxious actually. He even likes his garbage neat. It was this desire that led my father to attempt to combine the several tomato cans into one. Whilst doing this, he cut himself severely on the can. He, of course, slinked into the bathroom to try and fix it himself. But his finger just kept bleeding. He was forced to seek help from the rest of us. We told him he had to go to the ER, which he barked at. My grandmother out of desperation called for a family friend who happens to be a nurse. Her medical expertise and gentle urgings finally made my dad do something I thought he’d ever do: he went to the hospital. As he left he said, “I’m afraid once they get me in there, I’ll never leave.”
I arrived sometime later, just in time to see his blood pressure was 213/116. But there was something different in the man: there was fear, and vulnerability, and acceptance. He kept saying how stupid he had been, but I don’t think he meant the cut. He realized he didn’t want to die. He kept putting his hands up in a sort of surrender, saying alright alright I know, I’m stupid. For the first time in over ten years my dad went and saw his primary doctor this afternoon. He has tests all through the next couple of weeks. He has sample medication. He has a chance.