Monday, April 15, 2013
Mind Over Matter
Next Friday, my father will be having brain surgery.
It feels surreal and discomforting to write those words, and it goes without saying that this is scary to think about. Granted, my father has never been the model of perfect health --he's been at least 40 pounds overweight for as long as I can remember, he's worn trifocals since his early 30s, and above all he's a pre-diabetic with gout-- but compared to my mother he's always been relatively stable. Where my maternal grandfather was already in a nursing home by age 75, my father will be 76 in October and still has nearly all of his capacities.
To get into specifics: about six weeks ago, my father battled some dizzy spells and complained about some bluriness in his left eye. After a series of tests, a neurologist found a growth about the size of a nickel between his brain and his skull. They caught the growth early, and so far it has not metastasized. There is an 80% chance my father will make a full recovery, though it won't happen overnight. He'll be in the hospital anywhere from five days to a week. I'm probably worrying more than I should, but at the same time there is nothing guaranteed with this procedure.
Friends and relatives are inclined to tell me that I resemble my mother but I think and act like my father. As my parents age their physical flaws become more transparent, and over the last few months I've grown concerned about what maladies will strike me in my old age. I'm already quite nearsighted --nearly all my relatives wear glasses-- and hypertension and bad knees also run in the family. When one of my cousins died of complications from obesity two years ago, I bought a gym membership. When a stage one subluxation was found in my lower back, I started going to a chiropractor on a regular basis. Part of me would like to grow old gracefully.
As with past family medical crises, please send your thoughts and goodwill.