Saturday Night

Saturday Night we ended back in the ER again. My dad had been passing some blood in his urine and we just wanted to make sure everything was ok. The great thing was , we were escorted into a room almost immediately ( this is imperative because as we all know, my dad hates to wait ). Once we got in the room however, things changed because with my dad’s medical history, they take their time checking him out before dismissing him to go home. Now most people would appreciate the effort done by the hospital but my dad was upset because ” I am missing NCIS and we probably won’t get home until after ten”. Unfortunately he did miss NCIS and we didn’t get home until after ten.

They had him take off his shirt and put on a hospital gown. ” At least I get to keep mt pants on. These damn things flap in the wind when you go to the bathroom and they let everyone see your business”. (This time his business was safe). The doctor checked him out and they took blood samples and another urinalysis. Now as we all know it takes a little time to get these results back. As soon as they drew the blood, my dad was ready to go. The longer we waited for the results, the more impatient and crabby he got. Finally he stood up and said ” I need to comb my hair before going home”. He got in front of the mirror, combed his hair but instead of going back to the bed he grabbed the door to his room , opened it and yelled ” I want to go home!”. ( At that point so did I). The doctor quickly came back, told us the blood tests were normal and discharged us.

The Priest

Since my dad had missed Church this past Sunday and since the Priests had been told that he was having medical issues, one of them called today and told my dad that he would be coming to visit and see how he was doing. For this family having a Priest visit isn’t that rare of an occasion. Heck ,we have had many of them and their families over for dinner on all of the major holidays. However , when the realization hit my dad that the Priest would be arriving soon , panic set in ” We need to shampoo the rug, paint the walls and dust, dust , dust. What will the father think if this house is a mess?” ( and here all this time I thought Priests were in the business of saving souls, not house inspections). So we cleaned, and dusted and dusted and dusted.

When the Priest arrived, he had a nice chat with my dad, asked him what was going on and said a very nice blessing and prayer. He also only went into two rooms in the house. Who was all that panic cleaning and dusting done for? As the Priest was leaving he told my dad to be sure and contact him as soon as the results from his kidney scan were known. My dad said that he would immediately contact one of the women in the Church office and have her contact the Priest. The Priest then told my dad that there was now only one woman currently working in the Church office as the other one had quit. My dad replied ” Well she was getting rather old”. I think this further explains why my dad never did pursue a career as a diplomat.

Emergency

Last night we returned to the ER. The doctor had told my dad Wednesday after his surgery, that if he was in pain or had to much blood in his urine that he should return to the ER and have it checked out. He had both. It was finally determined that there were blood clots that had formed after the surgery and they were preventing him from urinating properly. A catheter was placed and he was told that he probably would need it for a week. He turned to the doctor and said ” My son will be more than happy to help me change it when needed”. ( Not just happy but giddy at the thought – this had been at the top of my bucket list for years: 1.) See the new Planet of the Apes and 2.)  Change a catheter -oh joy).

My dad had also gotten blood all over his pants and could not wear them home. They gave him a pair of the hospital paper pants. He was not pleased ” You expect me to wear these in public? I will look very foolish”. I pointed out to him that he would look even more foolish wearing nothing. He agreed and put them on. Of course his main concern before leaving the room to go home was his hair. ” Give me my comb. I need to look at my hair in the mirror. I have to look decent if I am going out in public”. (In those hospital pants i doubt many people would be looking at his hair). The nurse asked him if he had a hot date. He didn’t find that amusing at all, he frowned at her and we left.

Fresh Fruit

The other day when we were grocery store shopping, we happened to be in the fruit section when my dad brushed against a display of cherries. Several of the cherries fell to the floor. My dad quickly scooped them up and put them back into the bag that they fell from. I said ” You shouldn’t put them back . They fell on the floor they should be tossed”. He replied ” Relax , we aren’t buying them. There is no need to worry”. I answered back ” But someone will be buying them. What if that was us? Wouldn’t you be upset if you found out?”. My dad answered back ” Well, we aren’t buying them. That is one of the reasons that I don’t buy fruit at this store – I don’t like the way they handle it. You are never sure where it has been”. ( indeed ).

The house behind us sold and yesterday the new people were moving in. My dad had been upset because he and the past neighbor – Ruth – had become good friends over the years. They would spend hours talking back and fourth over the fence. Ruth’s hearing was at the same level as my dads. For years they both used their “inside” voices to discuss the latest events. This meant that for years there wasn’t a need for anyone to have to watch the evening news, since they had already heard all about it.

My dad went to greet the new neighbors. After a few minutes he came back inside the house with a huge smile on his face. ” They are a really nice couple but the best part of all is that the man’s name is George”. Is the neighborhood really ready for another George? If one is “Big Bad George”, what will we call this new one?

5:45 AM

On Friday the doctor called and informed my dad that the appointment to get the stent in his bladder removed would be next week at 7:45 AM. Of course this requires him to be at the hospital to check in at 5:45. We were told that they had made my dad the first surgery of the day because they found out last time that ” George does not like to wait”. While that was very accommodating for the doctor to do, he forgot how my dad would respond to the early arrival time. ” How do they expect this old man to get there that early in the morning? Don’t they know that this old man needs his sleep?”. My dad is constantly telling the doctor that he never gets enough sleep.

What he does not realize is the amount of time he ends up falling asleep while watching TV. Or when he goes to bed early to be relaxed and ready to watch his favorite TV shows. What generally happens is that ten minutes into the show he has fallen asleep. On a positive note, when he does finally get a chance to watch his favorite shows all the way through without falling asleep, they are new and exciting to him just as if they were brand new.

So we will be there at 5:45 AM. And as my dad likes to say all we will be doing is “Hurrying up just to wait. They will have me there with my bare butt hanging out – waiting”. If only we could get them to take him the minute we arrive, throw him on a gurney and wheel him directly into the operating room. Oh well at least we should be home in time for lunch.

Pride

Over the weekend we were overflowing with pride. First there was the Greek Festival, where we got to share our pride at being Greek with everyone in Denver. The festival runs 3 days ( Friday – Sunday ). It allows you to spend three whole days with the people at Church that you usually only get to spend Sunday morning with. Yes, even cousin Nicole the feta cheese heiress was there ( oh joy ). If I were to compare participating in the festival , I would compare it to passing a kidney stone. You are very happy when it is over with. The same weekend ( Saturday – Sunday ), is Denver Pride Fest. It culminates with a huge parade on Sunday. It is like having a coming out party with 2,000 of your closest friends telling you how proud they are that you are gay. Both events have been on the same weekend for years now. ( Nice planning – right?).

On Monday my dad saw  Dr. Amy. She had very good news for him. She told him that his biopsy was negative. He turned to her and said ” So this is good news?”.  As we were leaving she asked him to stop by the lab for a blood draw. He turned to her and said ” What are you gays a bunch of vampires? This is the second time in two weeks. Why don’t you just ask me to give a weekly donation”. We went downstairs and as we entered the lab everyone yelled “Big Bad George ” ( you know like Norm on Cheers ). My dad smiled showed everyone his belt buckle and went in to have his blood drawn.

Waiting

When will hospitals learn that Greeks are not a patient ethnic group? We especially hate to hurry up and wait. We got to the hospital at 7:45 as was recommended , my dad wasn’t taken into surgery until 10:15. As you can imagine, he was not thrilled with the wait. Yes there was some pre op prep work that needed to be done but that took less than a half hour. The rest of the time was spent waiting. Of course my dad was very eager to share his opinion of the situation with me ” This is silly. Here I am in this flimsy gown lying here with my butt exposed to the whole world ( I don’t think that this would be considered viewing material on you tube). Let’s get some action going here”.

Finally they came in to wheel my dad out and his departing words were ” Are you hungry? When will you eat? Where will you eat? Do you have money? Find a comfortable place to rest and wait”. And with that he was gone. I have gotten used to falling asleep in hospital waiting rooms. The worst thing that can happen is if you end up in an uncomfortable chair and go home with sore butt syndrome. You end up walking funny the rest of the day.

After the surgery, the doctor told us that there was a polyp there that needed further review. They took a biopsy and some blood but we won’t know the results until Monday. They sent my dad home and told him to rest. When we got home my dad said ” I don’t know why I am so hungry” . I told him ” Well you haven’t eaten all day”. He replied ” Well perhaps but no one should be this hungry. All I did was go to the hospital”. I am however starting to believe in miracles because my dad did just rest the rest of the day. This is something that he has never done before.

Diversity

We recently learned that Aurora is the second most diverse city in the US. Over 168 languages are spoken in Aurora and we are the home to an African American Mall, two chain grocery stores from Mexico and a new Asian food mart being built across the street from the Safeway store where we shop. On our way into the parking lot at Safeway store my dad noticed that they were beginning to put the names on the shops in the food mart. ” Don’t tell me those places are going to serve that Oriental crap”. We told my dad that it was probably in better taste to refer to it as Asian Food when speaking in public. He replied ” I don’t care what you call it – it tastes like shit. Who would eat that crap?” ( And the next American Ambassador to China is ).

As we were driving around doing our shopping, we were also discussing our plans for Friday and my dad going to the hospital. ” I don’t know why they want me there at 7:45 when they won’t be taking me in for the biopsy until 9:45″. I told him there was paper work to fill out and other issues that might need to be discussed before they could begin the biopsy. ” Oh hell , I have been going to this hospital most of my life. They know all about me from top to bottom. They know where I draw the line on extraordinary measures to keep me going. More importantly they know that if they do the procedure properly, they won’t have to resort to extraordinary measures to keep me going”. ( Indeed – Friday should be a very interesting day ).

The Biopsy

Last week my dad’s urologist phoned and told my dad that they had detected a polyp on his ultrasound and that he would like to schedule a time for a biopsy of the polyp to be taken. When he got off the phone my dad turned to my sister and said ” Well sissy you know what this means? This is the beginning of the end”. ( Of his three brothers, my dad is considered the optimist. If you don’t believe me , talk to the other two).

Later in the day my niece Jackie called to see how papou was doing. She was then told by my dad that ” They are going to remove half of my kidney”. Jackie, responding in her usual calm and collected manner and called her mom ” What the hell is happening to papou?!!”.  After a few hours she finally calmed down when she realized that it was going to be just a biopsy of a polyp and that no part of his kidney was being removed.

Later in the day my dad got a call from ” A guy named Will ” and he told us that Will had told him that ” Dr. Maroni was outsourcing his biopsy and that Will would be doing it”. We called Will back and found out that, Will was the  anethesiologist and that he needed to make an appointment with my dad to discuss with him medications he was taking and allergies that he has. And yes Dr. Maroni would still be doing the biopsy. Of course, my dad’s biggest disappointment came when he found out that the biopsy would be done this coming Friday. This Friday begins the 3 day Greek Food Festival in Denver and until this year he has never missed opening day. ( You would think Dr. Maroni could have picked another day – right?).

California Chrome

On Saturday my niece Katie held a party to watch the Belmont and hopefully see the first Triple Crown winner in over 38 years. Many family members and friends were there and it was especially nice because our cousin MariAnn and her husband Mike were in town and we got to spend quality time with them. As we crowded into the family room to watch the race, my father announced that he had raced horses as a kid. ( We didn’t even know he had a horse, let alone raced them ).

Apparently, he would ride his horse to the drug store in Helper, Utah and challenge people five cents a race. ( Now we know how the family fortune was built ). According to my dad his horse was as fast as the wind and ” I won against everyone who challenged me”. Katie looked at him and said ” Papou, you don’t look like any horse jockey that I have seen”. He told Katie ” Don’t be silly dolly. Back then I was just a small kid. I looked a lot different then than I do today. My horse sure was fast”.

Of course this left us to speculate. If my dad had continued in his horse racing career, he maybe could have been the oldest jockey and possibly the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. Now all we can do is speculate that perhaps if California Chrome had been ridden by that winning Greek jockey from Helper, would he be a Triple Crown winner today?

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