When Life Becomes Surreal

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since my father died. Even as I write that it doesn’t seem real to me.

This time two months ago, he was going to work. We were taking trips on the weekends to places like Montauk and Hoboken. He was playing with his grandson, eating his favorite foods, and enjoying life.

I can’t wrap my mind around it. It’s like my brain refuses to process what happened. He was just here. Now he’s gone. 

My father hated being in the hospital. I can’t count how many times he asked the doctors when they thought he’d be able to go home. My mom and I visited every day. During the first week, I’d go during the day while my mom was at work. He always ordered a dessert he knew I’d like with his lunch. Even though he complained about his roommate, he always insisted that I bring an extra newspaper for him.

At the end of the first week, the doctors decided to do a test that required my father to be on on a ventilator.

September 25 was the last time I heard my father’s voice.

He was transferred to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City three days later. The doctors tried for weeks, but were unable to get him off the ventilator. His lung disease continued to get worse and worse until finally, his body couldn’t take it anymore.

The day after he died, a freak snow storm hit NY, and we lost power for 27 hours. My father hated the winter. He would have been so mad that it was snowing in October. My mom insisted that it was his way of messing with us.

That night, my family sat in the dark, and ate pizza–one of my father’s favorite foods–in his memory.

The past two weeks don’t seem real. In a way, I’m relieved that it hasn’t completely hit me yet. I’ve read a lot about grief, and know that part of it means feeling numb. I don’t mind feeling numb right now. It’s what is helping me get through the days. It’s also what helps me look at pictures like this one without falling apart:

1996 My brothers and me with my father in 1996

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Cautiously Hopeful

On Thursday the 20th, my father will have been in the hospital for a month.

It’s weird how the mind adapts to new routines. For the past month, I’ve been at the hospital nearly every day. The image of my father in a hospital bed with tons of wires attached to him is no longer shocking, it’s normal. The smell of the ICU is stuck in my nose.

My family and I have talked to more doctors and nurses than I can count. There are days when I can’t even remember what day it is.

The crazy thing is, it doesn’t look like this will be over anytime soon. My father is in critical condition, and is progressing very, very slowly. On Saturday, the doctors said it would be a “miracle” if he pulls through this. On Sunday, they seemed more optimistic. One doctor said that we should be “cautiously hopeful.” That all we can do is wait, and hope that he comes around.

So that’s what we’re doing: waiting and hoping.


On a completely unrelated note, I had an ultrasound yesterday.

In the middle of the test, the ultrasound tech actually asked, “this surgeon who did your biopsy last year, did he come highly recommended to you?”

Every doctor I’ve talked to seems completely baffled by what happened to me.

The ultrasound confirmed that the lump is still there- same size and everything. The doctor gave me two options:

I feel like I’m back in the exact same place as I was when I wrote this post. Since there’s nothing I can do about it, however, I chose the latter. This Friday, I will go in for the core needle biopsy. When I get the results from that, it’s likely that I’ll have to have another surgery.

At this point, even though I am scared about Friday, I am much more concerned with my father’s condition.

Please, please keep my father in your thoughts.

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