Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Wednesday, 10 PM and change.

There was about a twenty-minute period yesterday, just after I stepped off the Greyhound, where it was just me, standing on the sidewalk, just being in Seattle, forming invisible connections with the city, breathing in the air, checking out the women, trying to look unapproachable to panhandlers, slipping effortlessly back into the instinctual behaviours that developed when I still lived there. It was like tapping into a network I didn't realize I had been disconnected from.

Then my brother showed up and took me to Tacoma.

I actually can't complain too much about being here. I know to expect to hear every third person referred to as a "goddamn gook" and I've spent enough time here in the last two years to have honed my avoidance skills. In a way, the ingrained racism and bitchiness are kind of comforting.

My Dad has a long, ugly red-and-black line from his collarbone to his belly, making him look like he had an autopsy. Just below that are a line of small oval-shaped holes in his abdomen--let me repeat that: holes in his abdomen--through which various tubes had been inserted, and are there now to allow egress to various surplus fluids. There are various other surgical scars on his belly, serving arcane purposes my layman's mind can't comprehend.

And then there's his leg.

The plan had been, in order to extract the veins from his leg, they would make one incision just below the crotch, and another by his calf, cut the two ends of the vein and just extract it through the top slit. This didn't work, for some reason, so there's a scar running along his entire inseam that out-red-and-blacks his autopsy scar.

The hospital kitchen would only give him turkey, even though he was ordered to eat hearty meals to promote healing. He can't drive for a month. He can't get out of his chair without my help. He's on Vicodin, Prilosec, and other meds with fascinatingly polysyllabic names, and if he coughs too hard he could tear his sutures.

In light of all that, when I hear his rants about "the gooks" and how he can't understand a goddamn word they say, when I watch him berate some poor pharmacy clerk who got shoved out to explain their superior's mistake, that just tells me that the old bastard still has his will to live.

Even if I don't.

More to come.

Copyright 2004 Rich Bowen


I forgot to tell you, 'You can't go home again'.

Hey chief. Glad to hear the old man is holding up pretty well through it all. So when are visiting hours at the prison? I'd love to hook up with you at some point. :)
If you don't call me soon, I'll call you. It won't be a problem getting out for a few hours, as long as my sister doesn't have plans.
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