Friday, August 06, 2010

Sitting With My Father in the Hospital

My father lies in a fetal position on the hospital bed. His skin is yellow and translucent, his hair and frame thin. He shivers. He moans sporadically, endlessly. Every few minutes, there is a problem: His chest hurts. The drip has stopped. The needle is leaking. His kippah has fallen off. Where is his siddur?

For the last few months, he's eaten less and less. Now he eats almost nothing. He is emaciated like a survivor.

When they thought he might have colon cancer, they took out his colon. Then they knew he had liver cancer, too metastasized to remove or replace. Or maybe he is just too old. That was two years ago.

I've been planning for my parents' 50th anniversary, which will be, God willing, on September 4. A dinner with the children, his sister, maybe grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. I want to make a reservation at a restaurant. Everyone says: let's see how he's doing a few days before.

Now I'm sitting with my father in the hospital, not allowed to say or write what everyone already knows.
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