Staring out the window in the waiting room, waiting to sit with my dad getting chemo.
Only one person is allowed at a time, but we’ll see if the two of us can squeeze in.
Code red on the 9th floor. We’re on the 8th.
The alarm is deafening. We sit in the stairwell for a while to escape the auditory assault.
We finally get to go in. (They let us both sit with him…small grateful victory).
He’s cranky. Angry. Gets upset at the slightest inconvenience.
His skin is paper thin and translucent. His dark blue veins on the back of his hands: the center of my attention.
Seeing my dad this tiny and this fragile is heartbreaking. He’s skin and bones. When he took off his shirt to let the nurse adjust the tube attached to his chest, I thought something was wrong, his sternum protruded in the middle of his chest like a broken bone.
I try to be light. I make some jokes which miraculously lighten the mood.
I give him the funnies and sports section from the newspaper I brought, which makes him happy. (The lady across the hall from me in my apartment gives me the paper to read after she and her husband are done with it. She leaves this paper in a bag attached to my doorknob. Initially, the paper belonged to the third-floor tenant, who has since passed away. No one has canceled the subscription yet).
My dad shoos us out when the palliative doctor comes in to talk about MAID. His wife gets kicked out of the room too. She cries in the hallway, and I rub her back.
My sister and I grab takeout. A big fat burger and fries and we head back to my house to devour it.
We take the dog out around the block, and she heads home.
I spend the rest of the day on the couch, in and out of sleep.