Seeing a parent in the hospital is a profoundly disturbing, deeply upsetting experience. Even if they're there for something minor, the combination of the flimsy gown, the sense of mortality and the odor of industrial cleaner hits you right in the gut. Or at least it hits me there, especially when the parent in question is my dad. Dads are meant to be pillars of strength, banishers of closet monsters, mowers of lawns and a permanent set of shoulders on which to ride. They're not supposed to be pale and wan in a hospital bed with a drain coming out of their side.
My dad's surgery went well. His doctors won't know for another few days whether the cancer spread beyond his prostate, but so far they're optimistic. When I saw him yesterday, only a few hours after he'd shaken off the anaesthetic, he was pestering the floor nurses for ice chips and pain meds, and insisting that he had to get up and walk around.
For the record, three phrases I never want to hear from my dad: Kegel exercises, catheter bag and bowel function. From the doctor, maybe, but not from him. TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
They're sending him home tomorrow so he can stop bossing the nurses around (or at least that's my theory). He's determined to make sure he doesn't have to utter the word "cancer" again, and I can only hope he's right.