Thursday, May 28, 2015

Chapter 9: Grandfather of the Bride

“If you have an argument with an older person, you should listen to them. It doesn’t mean they’re right. It means their wrongness is rooted in more information than you have.”
       Louis C.K. Oh My God!

“Benjamin: Hey Rosie, am I doing anything right?
  Rosie: You're handsomer than the other dads. Lots of them don't have hair. So that's good.”
Matt Damon and Maggie Elizabeth Jones. We Bought a Zoo.

“Susi: Dad, there’s an old man down here who wants to sell us an 84 carat stone.
  Doug the Head: Where does he come from?
  Susi: I don’t know. Hard to tell. He’s got a thick Russian accent.”
               Tina Collins and Mike Reid. Snatch.

The Autobiography of Ben and Bob
Chapter 9: Grandfather of the Bride

My parents just arrived last night for a visit - in preparation for my daughter’s wedding next month. A "visit" from the old country, in this case, qualifies for a minimum one month stay given the trials and tribulations of cross-continental travel for two septuagenarian cancer survivors.

It became immediately obvious that my father had suffered a stroke about a year ago – and that all of his many doctors had failed to diagnose this. Even his simplest statements were clear indications of the symptoms commonly associated with strokes: "The left half of my body has had no feeling since the accident" and "I don't remember what happened. Suddenly I was on the ground with a big gash on my forehead that required several stitches."

Okay, so right now you’re thinking this is a story about bad medical practitioners in third world countries. But, as originally promised, this is actually a story about the virtues and pitfalls of stubbornness, the full extent of which will become obvious soon:

-       Dad, how could all these doctors possibly not recognize your symptoms?
-       I agree… They’re useless.
-       Did you tell anyone that the left half of your body had no feeling?
-       No, not exactly. Now that you mention it, I don’t think I ever told the doctors about that.

Having forcibly removed my jaw from the floor where it was now resting, I tried to explain to the old man that he had to actually inform the doctors about his symptoms if he expected to hold them accountable for the diagnosis. The concept seemed foreign to him. For the rest of the day, I kept hearing the TV commercials constantly reminding you to “tell your doctor about all your symptoms. Tell your doctor about all the medications you’re taking”.

But wait a minute, dad. We've been talking on the phone every week. I keep asking you if you've been to the doctor and whether everything is okay.  And you keep telling me you're in excellent shape, no problems, etc. How is that possible if you had this massive stroke and multiple stitches and hospital stays and …?

"It’s not a big deal. I just fell down in the street, broke my arm, and required several stitches to my forehead. We didn't want you to worry, so we said everything was okay.”


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