My Dad

Last week was a difficult one for my family. My dad had been complaining about a really, really bad headache that just wouldn’t seem to go away. His doctor checked him out and then quickly sent him to the emergency room.

It turns out he was bleeding in his brain. Fortunately, the part of the brain it may have affected wasn’t going to impair any of his functions.

Thank God.

My father called me on my cell to share what had happened. Through my life he’s always been a fixture of calmness, of deliberation and fortitude; but this day his voice coming through my handset was only of humbled emotion.

“I’m so lucky, Dana. I’m so lucky. My mummy was watching over me,” he practically cried, talking about his mother, my grandmother, who had died four years before I was even born. Hearing him like this, I nearly broke down myself.

The area of the blood burst was behind his right ear and, while the doctors were positive about the non-damage it had enacted thus far, they were also concerned that this was perhaps something my father had from birth or that it might be the beginning of further leakages.

When the doctors asked my parents if my father had ever had any ‘head trauma’ they both replied “No.” But when I learned about the location, it dawned on me that it was at the bald spot behind my dad’s ear that was a result of my dad being roughed up at age Fifteen. The story was that when he and a friend were walking home one night from the local Jewish Community Center, they were jumped by a gang of kids who screamed out antisemitic slurs as they beat my father to the ground.

My dad had long forgotten the incident, but thank God it left a deep impression on me, when he told me about it years ago and that I would make the connection now. Lastly, how bizarre it is that an antisemitic incident from Forty-Six years ago would now play out in this fashion.

Once it was clear that this leakage was an isolated incident due to outside forces, we were told my dad would need a ‘procedure’ to ‘glue’ the hair-like vein that was bleeding. This would entail the ‘Fantastic Voyage’ of a thin wire being sent through his body and all the way into his head. If it didn’t work out, brain surgery was the next option – something we were praying wouldn’t be necessary.

Last Friday afternoon, while the doctors sent the thin wire in, my family and I waited, holding our collective breaths.

Finally, the doctor called and the procedure had been a success. Thank God. After several days recovery in the hospital, my father is now back at home.

I am still emotionally exhausted from the ordeal. More than anything, seeing my dad go through the perils of this past week serves as a strong reminder of how fragile and fleeting life is and of the importance of family. Maybe my father is right that his ‘mummy’ was looking after him and I only pray that she continues to do so for a very, very long time.

Amen.

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