Months To Years Winter 2019 Months To Years Winter 2019 - Page 12

The Fiction of My Father’s Recuperation By Paul Dalmas My father spent his last birthday, his fifty-first, “He’s okay,” I told her. “It’s Thanksgiving and we in a hospital bed recovering from surgery that have a lot to be thankful for.” revealed liver cancer metastasized throughout his gut. It was also Thanksgiving Day. What I “Yes, we do,” she replied without a smile. remember most clearly is the young nurse who breezed into the room, wished my father a happy My father had 94 days to live. birthday and joked that the IV she inserted into his arm was flavored with turkey and stuffing. My memories of the fiction of my father’s recuperation are vague. I remember him lying for That year, 1959, I was 14, and because she loved long hours in bed or sitting on the couch in his me and wanted to protect me, my mother followed bathrobe watching television. He was usually too the doctor’s instructions to keep the truth a secret, tired to read. His suffering followed a predictable especially from my father and me. cycle. As days passed, the discomfort in his abdomen grew painful. He would move from “We’ll treat him with drugs,” the doctor told me. fatigue to distress to an unquenchable anger I had never seen before. Eventually the doctor “He’ll be fine.” would arrive with a huge hypodermic needle which he would insert into my father’s stomach to suck I turned to my mother. away the foul stuff that had collected there. Then my father would feel better for a few days until the process repeated. He was six feet tall, but I 12