Sunday, August 08, 2004

Chernobyl Ass

My old man handles fear with humor. I think that makes it easier for him to tackle heavy subjects, laughing at them first. Those of you who have been around awhile remember my post about 6 weeks ago when his biopsy came back. His cancer was in stage II meaning it was centrally located in the prostate only, had not metastasized into the surrounding nodes or organs, and was large enough to be palpable. A few weeks ago he had a radical prostatectomy and received internal radiation therapy. By the way, Seeker, I realized after the fact I told you chemo, but I meant radiation. Chemo is for stage IV. My mind was elsewhere.

The morning he went in for surgery he was quiet. I asked him where he kept his life insurance policy, just in case. He laughed and I was glad to see it. When they came in to prep him I told him, “They’re gonna give you girly nuts.” He silently held up his index finger. I knew what it meant, but didn’t give a damn. What was he going to do? Some nurse was about to shave his package. He had other things to worry about.

This past week after pathology had time to examine the tumor he went in again for the radiation. The implant was only in place two days before it was removed. While it was implanted we were told my old man would be emitting a very low dose of radioactive waves. Oh, I had fun with this. When I drove dad home he started riding my ass about missing my entrance ramp. “I’m trying, Dad! I can’t think straight. Your ass is fucking with my brain waves.” That’s when he held up two fingers, not a word spoken. Psht. Whatever.

One of the side effects of the prostatectomy is possible impotence. So when Jazz and I brought Dad some supper last night I asked him if he wanted a drink. “Might be the last stiff one you see for a while.” This time I got all three fingers. Strike three. He didn’t speak a word, but I know my old man. It’s coming. Like I care. He’s got nothing on me. Afterwards, we sat down in the living room together while dad spent some time getting to know Jasmine a little better. That’s when he did it.

“Did Jay ever tell you he broke his arm when he was a boy?”

I froze in mid sip, the glass of scotch hovering just inches from my mouth. Don’t do it, old man.

“No!” Jasmine turned to me, her amazing eyes wide with concern as if it just happened. Damn, she’s good to me.

“Dad, nobody cares about that.”

“He fell out of tree.” This is when he leaned forward to whisper to Jasmine, as if I couldn’t hear him sitting right next to her. “He was hiding from a bully that had been picking on him--”

“Dad, seriously. Nobody gives a damn what happened over 20 years ago. How’s your ass, is it burning? Any stinging in your package from a radiation leak?”

The man had an uncanny way of ignoring everything around him when he focused on something. Drove my mom nuts. “Boy, what was that kid’s name? The one you used to be so scared of?”

Both of them stared at me, awaiting a name. Forget it. No way. Not going there. Ten seconds went by, they continued to stare. Shit! I’ll get him for this.

With all the pride I could muster, I rolled my eyes and took my medicine.

“Rachel Foster.”