olive juice, my lovelies. olive juice...
Have I ever told you that my Dad was one of the first people to ever encourage me to write? Yep. While talking to him on the phone during what I then considered to be another traumatic day of my freshman year of college (Oh, to have such trauma now! I WISH my only problems were having a weird roommate!)(Wait...ha ha, universe. Now you've apparently given me three!), I slid down the wall in a dramatic, tear-filled moment, landed in a lump (Freshman Fifteen, y'all!)(Um, probably a month after school started) on the tile floor, and lamented to him that I just didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.
After tossing out a few ideas, Dad, being a good Dad, said I seemed to have a flair for the dramatic. "I can't act!" I yelled into the phone. And perhaps tossed the back of my hand, quite diva-like, to my forehead, then turned for my best angle when a girl who lived down the hall from me walked by.
"You could try writing," he interrupted. "Your English teachers always liked the things you wrote."
I sighed again, just as dramatically as an Oscar-winning actress, and wondered how I could make a career writing papers about my thoughts on Romeo and Juliet, but, when we hung up, I gave it some serious thought. Aside from my high school English teachers, my Dad - up until that phone conversation - had been the only other person who had ever read the things I'd write. Later that week, I switched my major from education (where I no doubt would be reading papers about Romeo and Juliet written by my inspired high school students) and tackled journalism. Four years later, I was writing for a weekly newspaper, where several hundred people joined my Dad in reading the words I cranked out.
After my Dad had his stroke, he could no longer read the newspaper I had eventually become the editor of. A few years after that, I quit writing completely. Even more years after that, I kind of thought I missed writing and starting doing this. My Dad has never read my blog, but yesterday, many hours after his lengthy surgery, I sat by his bed in the ICU and told him that many people had read something I wrote about the day we'd just had, and that they were sending out positive thoughts his way.
First I had to explain what a blog was, then I had to assure him that all of you were very nice and not trying to take advantage of me, and finally I had to ask him not to tell my Mom I have a a blog.
In between all that, my Dad - exhausted, coursing with morphine, and stitched from the top of his left ear to the bottom of his chin - whispered a request that I thank all of you. I assured him I was absolutely going to do that.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Oh, and thank you! All of you who read, all of you who shared a kind thought, just all of you, thank you!
Surgery took a couple hours longer than expected, but his surgeon was happy to find the mass growing in my dad's neck hadn't spread. We'll hopefully know if we're dealing with anything beyond yesterday's task sometime next week, and after a night in ICU, Dad will be checked again later this afternoon to see how his healing is going. The doctor hinted yesterday that, if things looked good, he could actually go home today, but healing is a delicate work in progress, so we'll see.
We're very optimistic that this is one of those all is well that ends well situations, and say what you may, I, for one, believe that you really can feel the support of people who have offered up a prayer or positive thought for you. It helped tremendously yesterday, especially as my Mom and I putzed around the hospital, wondering why things were taking so long. If you have a few more prayers or positive thoughts to share from time to time, I'd appreciate if you'd toss them up for me. Remember how I said in my last post that we have a running checklist of things we keep after my Dad about? Well, yesterday, as nurses prepped him for surgery, they asked me to come look at a large lesion on Dad's back, and suggested I ask the surgeon to remove it while he was under because it really (really) didn't look good. In his own way, my Dad pointed to his ankle and said, "You think that one's bad, you should see this one down here." I rolled my eyes at him, pulled out a notebook, jotted down the word dermatologist, and asked him what he thought I was going to do about him.
Long story short (did someone say I used to be an editor?!), when I finished that long-ago phone call with my Dad, we closed things by saying what we'd habitually said to the other for years. "Olive juice," I said. "Olive juice, too," he replied. When I left him last night, we said the same thing.
And I olive juice all of you, too.
With my Dad's blessing, I am going out this evening with a friend for Mexican food (which I do not like, unless it's nachos, and then I wonder if that's just stretching the definition of Mexican food a wee bit), margaritas (which I've never had), and a movie (which she's going to regret when I suggest seeing the Jonas Brothers 3D). It's been that kind of week.
Tequila, everyone. Tequila.