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Friday, April 23, 2010

The Ultimate Role Reversal




Today didn't really start for me until this afternoon. I still did not feel like driving so my father who is 72 came and picked me up and drove me. My parents divorced about 4 years ago after being married 49 years. Sounds weird, but it was a good thing. So ever since then I have spent a lot of time with him and we have really got a chance to know each other. He was living in a cheap motel in Oklahoma after the divorce. They did not have much, but what they did have, he gave to her. All the furniture and their one car they shared. I could not stand the thought of my father walking with his cane to the bank, grocery store, etc with his bad leg (he needed a knee replacement). So I talked my dad into moving in with us and I put him to work at the salon 3 days a week. He spent his time sweeping, doing towels, cleaning brushes and most of all telling jokes, and flirting with all the women...both young and old. He became a staple at The Yellow Brick Salon. Everyone expected seeing him when they came in, especially the older ladies that came in every week. I know they miss him since I sold the salon. But most of all, he misses the interaction. He still comes in on Saturdays and sanitizes brushes. But he is no longer working for the salon. We got him set up with a good used truck and a new apartment. Now he is completely on his feet and we have been on several trips together. My dad has been on a mad dash to have a life....a life that he feels he missed out on during his very dysfunctional marriage to my mother. He also feels like he is in a race against the clock. He spent the last year making sure I knew everything to do when he died. ...which I think he truly believes could be next week; (even though he is in pretty good health and most people think he looks in his late 50's or early 60's). He has told me all about his life insurance, the funeral, the grave, oh and don't forget about the hole. "They are going to charge you to dig the hole". We got his will, his medical power of attorney, and all the evil necessities finished. He had thought of me as someone that would take care of him and all that needed to be done at the time of his death. I dreaded telling him that I had cancer. I knew what he would think. It would blow him away. But I had to do it. I told him, and he cried, choking back his tears. So today he picked me up and drove me in for the shot. We walked together holding hands as we went into the building. This is something we always do. Except usually I am taking HIM to the doctor for something. We laughed about the irony of this role reversal as we walked through the glass doors of the building.

I had to go in to what they call the infusion room (chemo room) and get the $7000+ shot. Yes one shot that cost at least $7000, but I have heard as much as $10000. It depends on the prenegotiated price that your insurance company has established. Come on, just what possible mountain on this earth do you have to climb to get the plant or whatever to make this shot. And what about the people who don't have insurance? I am sure that they still get it. It raises the white blood cell count by stimulating the bone marrow. The main side effects are bone pain. But since I have lived with bone and joint pain for a while, I think I did better with it than most people.

So this guy ( I don't know his name) is apparently the shot guy in the infusion room. I sit in a chair and after a while he asked me "Ms. Penny do you want your shot warmed up or do you care." It apparently is refrigerated. Then I remembered last time him handing it to me and telling me to roll the syringe between the palms of my hand and he would be back. So anyways, my response to him was "for $7000.00... it had better feel like warm honey flowing through my veins!" There were two elderly women to the right side of me. There jaws dropped and they looked at me as if they were waiting for a punch line or something. And I said no...it is true... $7000... or more. So Joe (we'll just call him that) comes over and hands me the little syringe. I put it between my palms and start rolling, and all of a sudden I started having these criminal thoughts. Somewhat similar to the typical thief mind. I thought "I could just get up and run....run and escape...I could sell it on EBAY or CRAIGSLIST. I could probably get $5000 for it. Or maybe they would let me take the shots home and "do them myself". I mean if my white blood cells weren't up to par for the next time, maybe they would just get me another. And then I remembered my dear old dad. I mean, I am pretty slow... especially these days. But I would never make it out of the building with him. I would definitely have to leave him behind. So Dad, you saved me from being imprisoned...but then again, if I were in prison...all this would be FREE! So I battled the dark side of my mind, and decided to be an upstanding, law-abiding citizen. Don't get me wrong....if any thing is a crime....it is charging $7000 for a shot needed by cancer patients. THAT, my friends, is a crime!

My dad and I finished our time together at MI PUEBLOS. This is our favorite restaurant. When he was working with me, we would usually have a date every Friday and Saturday after work. Sometimes we would sit and talk for a long time about everything, and sometimes we would say very little. Whichever the case, I think we both knew that we were thankful for the minutes we shared, making up for tainted time. I love you Daddy, and I will beat this. I will beat this.



P.S. It is day 14 since first chemo. I still have hair.

3 comments:

MOM AND GRAMMIE said...

THIS IS AMAZING. THANK YOU FOR SHARING WITH US. MY THOUGHTS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. GOD BE WITH YOU ALL.

Sandi said...

I've spent quite a long time looking through your blog. You have been quite regular about posting! I particularly enjoyed this entry about your dad. Shows a big heart! It's a sweet story.

Sandi said...

I've spent quite a long time looking through your blog. You have been quite regular in your posts throughout your journey - that's great! I chose this particular entry to comment on because I enjoyed it so much. I'm glad you and your dad had some special time together, what a great memory you both created! Your TN-pink sister, Sandi