Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wine, it's so medicinal.

My Dad has been sick for ages with all manner of very serious & mysterious illnesses & last week they finally stopped looking up his bum to say "Yep, thats a malignant tumor".


My Dad. My Dad. Has Cancer?? MY Dad?

I must be in denial, because I still don't think he has cancer, he just had a malignant tumor that needed to be removed. And now it has been. So there. Fuck off, Senor Cancer, you have no power here. Good bye, the end. Denial, me?

On Sunday I flew to Sydney where my sister Cheryl Ann picked me up & drove us both to Canberra, where Dad had already checked in to hospital to prepare for surgery.

Scary scary scary scary stuff.

It was an emotional time. Especially emotional was the day of the surgery. He was in surgery for almost 7 hours, & in recovery for almost the same amount of time. A long long day of being shit scared & not really knowing what was going on. A long day of trying not to inadvertantly revive all the long repressed dynamics of family behaviour.

Kissing Dad goodbye as he went into surgery was excrutiating, because it felt like kissing him goodbye for ever. Seeing him emerge at the other end was terrifying, because he looked like he might be close to death.

We read a stack of magazines, one of which contained a craft project that my mother wanted so badly, she bullied me into ripping it out of the magazine for her. And then told everyone, loudly, that I had ripped some pages out of a magazine. I adore glossy magazines, they are my passion. She's so mean. I'm calling her Fagin. She also harrassed me about pocketing some sachets of jam, but seemed happy enough to eat them on toast for breakfast the next morning. Hmmmmmmmm. Worry will do that to you.

We stayed at the troll run Hospital Residences, which is quite a rundown 10 story building full of bedsits, with a communal kitchen, bathroom, lounge & laundry on each floor. Stains on the carpet, holes in the wall. A bin outside every door. Passive Aggressive notices everywhere, written in Troll. Everything smelling faintly of ciggarette smoke - the sheets, the air. We couldn't close the window, which is lucky, because we couldn't turn the heater off.

And haunted! Sometimes in the moments between awake & unconcious I feel a hand on my forehead or hear my name being called, I've experienced this since childhood. In this room I felt a new hand on my forehead. It politely stopped when I told it to go away. I'm so glad I don't actually see ghosts, it would drive me nuts. Especially in a hospital. The She Troll at reception was quite aggravating enough.

In one sitting room a patient came in & sat down, invading our space & then filling up the awkward silence with prattle about himself. He claimed that the light bothered him so he needed to sit between my mother & I, so his back was to the window. He looked like the Wolf Man; giant fuzzy muttonchop whiskers with a bald chin, extremely long dirty finger nails & toe nails. No shoes. Maybe he was the Wolf Man, who knows? After a while Cheryl Ann got hysterical giggles & had to leave the room, so I left Fagin with the Wolf Man to make sure my sister was alright/giggle with her in the hall. Then cry because our father might be dying.

Hospitals are full of strange people. The 92 year old in the bed next to Dad's asked the asian docter what country he came from. "China origionaly, but I'm Dinky Di Aussie now!" he says with pride. The old guy snorts. "You dont look it" he says, clutching his space blanket.

Fagin complains to the woman working at Bitch Face Cafe "I just ordered a roast pork dinner & you didn't give me any crackling!" This is tantamount to assault with grievious bodily harm; Fagin adores crackling, even though she once broke a tooth on some. "Well you should have asked for it!" huffs Bitch Face. I am ordering sushi the next day. (same cafe, different Bitch Face) "Can I have that box there please? No. Not that box, that box" Bitch Face is annoyed. "They are all the same!" She snaps. No they fucking are not, lady.

We sit in one waiting room for so long that it starts to feel like home. While I leave to go to the toilet, a man sits in my chair but then gets up to go outside for a durry. (Look I didn't say they where bogans did I?) So when he returns I am sitting in 'his' chair. Cheryl Ann giggles nervously. "They are eyeballing you! They are going to fight you for that chair!" she says quietly. I turn to her & say loudly enough for them to hear "Bring it."

Later that night, after Dad has emerged from the bowels of the hospital extremely sore & tired but amazingly not beaten, we leave him to go out to dinner with some good friends of my parents, who have also driven down from Sydney. The Bitch Face Cafe has closed, & there is nothing available to eat within the hospital grounds. Fagin says she will have a cupasoup & toast in her room, but in all honesty its been an exhausting day & I need a proper dinner. Also I am diabetic, & can't actually go without dinner unless I want to have a hypo in the early hours of the morning. Still, Fagin resists. Finally, we go & find a thai restaurant that is open; it is surprisingly cheap, & very nice. We order. Cheryl starts coughing. Alot. She can't stop. I look up & she is crying. "I can't breathe." she says & runs outside into the rain. After breathing into a paper bag for awhile & then having a glass of wine, she is better.

Honestly, some people.

Worry & stress brings out the worst in people, especially familys, especially us. It's so nice to be home in the relative calm of chez Chaos, hugging my monkeys & Mr BC.


Mrs BC


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