Pops is OK

My dad (who lives in San Diego) underwent cancer surgery Feb. 24, during which his bladder, prostate and a pelvic lymph node were removed. He’s doing well–he came out retaining the natural ruddy color in his face, and alert and conversational, if a bit stoned on the anti-pain drip.

He’s basically been downgraded from intensive care, though as of this posting he hasn’t been actually moved out of the ICU due to a shortage of rooms in the step-down unit, a by-product, I guess, of dealing with a high-volume managed-care org like Kaiser Permanente.

Although the pathology report on his lymph node won’t be finished until next week, his very responsive urologist told me that he’s 99% sure that it’s been touched by the tumor. So, an oncologist will likely recommend further treatment.

In the initial hours and days after treatment, my brother Guy (who also lives in San Diego, close to our dad) and I visited him numerous times. We kept him company, quenching his thirst and moistening his lips, mouth and throat–parched by tubes and drugs–with disposable sponge swabs. My NYC-based brother Ariel has provided excellent phone support and great advice as to how to handle this. I’m very proud of both my bros.

It’s been a bit of a trial, as you’d guess. Guy, along with his wife Lola, has stepped up fantastically to help my dad out in many ways during various life-change and medical episodes over many years. The old man would have a hugely difficult time of it without him.

Despite having seen my dad in a hospital bed a few times at this point, I sense that Guy’s a bit more affected by this time than the previous ones. Like me and Ariel, he’s dealing with the fact that it was cancer that took our mom. He and his family are also countervailing the shadow of disease with the Valentine’s Day birth of their third child, the beautiful Lena Louise. This is what life’s about.

For me, it’s a reality-check to see my pops–however temporarily–on his back, floating in and out of consciousness, and dependent for his basic needs. Like most responsible fathers who’s built lives for his kids, he’s been the man–a replete example to his three sons of patient power, ineffable durability and hope. He’s expressed to me, and likely to my brothers, that he’s in for the fight here, and I’ve no doubt that we all believe him. Yeah, I finally got my damn yellow wristband on, and I’ll hopefully have the honor of slipping one on my dad’s wrist shortly.


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