Tuesday, January 25, 2005

No, MY Dad , of the Titanium Hips

My Dad’s an over-achiever. I mean, any way you care to gauge the over-achieverness of a person, my Dad qualifies. The most recent incarnation of his insatiable ambition has come in his early release from the hospital less than two days after a hip replacement surgery.

My Dad’s way too young to be having a hip replaced (he’s only 48), and way, way too young to have had both hips replaced in the span of a year, but throughout the years he refused to stop playing sports like racquetball and basketball at the urging of doctors, so now he’s got titanium hips to show for it. He doesn’t mind too much. My Dad’s a glass-is-half-full kind of guy.

So anyway, he was doing so well with his physical therapy exercises following the surgery that they told him to just go home. My parents hadn’t gotten around to telling me this yet, so I was a bit surprised this evening when I called the hospital and asked for room #8, as instructed by my Mom.

“Hello?” an unfamiliar voice said.



“Uh, I think I got the wrong dad.”

“Is this Kendra?”

“No, this is Kisa. Close.”

“Oh, you sounded like one of my daughters.”

“Sorry to disturb you,” I said. “Have a good night.”

I called the hospital switchboard again. “Yeah, I just called and asked for room #8, and I got a dad, but he wasn’t my Dad.”

She looked him up and told me he’d been discharged, so I called my parents at home for the details. All went well, all’s looking good. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a parent in surgery, but it’s very relieving when you hear that all went well. You just never know—even the most routine of surgeries can go horribly afoul.

After I talked to my Dad for a while, I hung up to let him get some rest. Then, as I stood in the bathroom, drying my hair in preparation to go out, I started to think about Kendra and her father.

How sad—I thought—that this man thought his daughter was calling when she really wasn’t. I mean, his voice sounded genuinely happy to hear from me, even though I wasn’t the me he thought I was. I started to hope very strongly that Kendra would call her Dad. C’mon, girl, I thought. Get off your ass and call your father. He’s in the hospital, for cryin’ out loud!

All sorts of scenarios went through my mind. What if Kendra and her father are estranged and he was hoping beyond all hope that his brush with death and subsequent hospitalization would bring her around to reconcile? He has grandchildren he’s never even met. He’s never even seen the home she and her (cockamamie) husband built, gosh, was it already four years ago? For shame.

I’m sure the father in room #8 and his daughter Kendra are just fine. I have no reason at all to think otherwise. But it’s the slight possibility that they’re not fine that made me appreciate—as I curling-ironed the ends of my hair—what an amazing father I have and how lucky I am to have him.

My Dad has set the standard pretty high for my potential mates. He's intelligent, hard-working, fair- and open-minded, generous, fun, and always, always working to learn new things and become a better person. And he's never been lazy a day in his life. Men like this are rare, and they make wonderful fathers; I can't help but compare the men I meet to him and look for these qualities. I just wanted to take a minute to appreciate him and to wish him a strong and rapid recovery, publicly.

Thank you for everything, Dad. May you enjoy your rest.

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