I’ve been using this thing as a platform for bitching about being in that obscure no-man’s-land called “Lower-Middle Class”. We are completely in the middle. We fall between being able to get food stamps and being able to eat. Our rent is supposedly too high to get any assistance, but any cheaper would be risking our safety (Even though neighbor disputes in this so-called “better” neighborhood often result in home invasions.) And honestly, I’m getting pissed.
I’ve repeatedly explained about why we need our car back. But I can deal with that, hopefully we’ll get it back eventually.
I’m pissed that I’ve had to tell my girls that there will be no Christmas. No tree, no presents, no nothing.
But ok, we get a tax return. I can fix that later too.
But what’s really got me tied up right now…
They are my dad’s favorite and I want to send him a dozen homemade cookies.
Not for Christmas, for his lung cancer.
My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year. Thank the gods for the VA, and for my younger sister, because this past January, when he came down with a lingering cough, my sister made him go to the hospital in case it was pneumonia.
My dad is a Vietnam Era Vet, so he was diagnosed and treated through the VA hospital. Those people are saints who don’t get near enough credit for working in the conditions they are forced, through limited funding, to work in.
This past week he finished his first round of Chemo.
Right before New Year’s he goes in for surgery to see if they can remove the now shrunken tumor.
After that, more Chemo.
Right now my dad is unemployed with a BA in Business Management. His age, and the fact that he had a labor based job his whole life, has kept him out of the job market. Well that, and the fact that he looks like every old hippy guy you’ve ever seen. He lives with my sister in New York.
My dad and I’s relationship is what many would consider weird. We’re both INJT personalities. We’re not huggy, touchy, types.
My dad was living with me when he had a heart attack. I think we made the nurses and doctor uncomfortable. After they told me that he had a heart attack (Dad and I both knew that, he was training to be a Corpsman while he was in the Navy, heart attack is one of the basic lessons) and they were taking him in to have a shunt put in one of the arteries in his heart.
My dad looked scared, it scared me. My dad never showed fear. He hides all of his emotions behind smart-ass humor. Now he looked scared, and that scared me.
As they were wheeling him into the room where they were going to shove the wire into his femoral artery to open his heart valve thingies, the nurse turns to me and say “Give your daddy a hug before we take him in.”
If I had a thousand years I could still not sufficiently explain how quickly this sent both my father and I into a level of absolute stark terror!
My dad and I hug at only two times; when we say hello and when we say goodbye.
At that moment they were taking him AWAY from me, this would be a “good-bye” hug. I wasn’t going to give him a good-bye hug right before something that might mean I wasn’t going to be able to give him another hug.
The look on my dad’s face said he agreed with me. He would absolutely NOT let me give him a hug right then either.
NO! NO! NO!
We would not say good-bye.
So the nurses and doctor looked at us funny when I held his hand and told him I’d be waiting for him, and he nodded in return.
When he came out of surgery we shared a hug as big, and as full of sincere joy, as the ones he gave me when I was little.
It was a “hello” hug.
It was ok.
This is why, right after he was diagnosed with lung cancer, my sister actually had to threaten both of us to start talking to each other on the phone. We make witty quips back and forth on Facebook, but calling each other isn’t something we do.
For starters, we both hate talking on the phone anyway. We save it for things of great importance. Like hugging, it’s something only do in certain situations. Calling would mean admitting that this was important, and that something was actually wrong. By changing things it would jinx things.
But my younger sister has always been able to bully both of us. That’s the biggest reason my sister asked him to move up there after his heart attack. With me he could always come up with an excuse not to go to his appointments, with her he just does it without question.
Now he has this scary thing happening to him. He’s still making witty comments about it on Facebook, but I know he’s scared.
We don’t hug.
So all I want is to send him something as simple as a box of his favorite homemade cookies and I can’t even do that.
How fucked is that?