by Christie Perkins
Now I can think of a bazillion fun date ideas for a daddy daughter date: dress up in goofy clothes and answer questions about what color of toothbrush you use- I can’t even remember most of the time… the bristles are white with little finger thingers. I know that much. Or go to Wingers (same taste buds fare well here), or get up in the middle of the night to hear the sonic boom, or “watch” the cloud infested solar eclipse from the ER room.
Or you could always hook up at the cancer center and go get chemo together. How’s that for a date? A daddy daughter date with chemo. Now doesn’t that sound fun?
Now sometimes you get to choose the date, but sometimes the date just chooses you. It so happens that Dad and I get to do chemo on the same day. Yes. Dad has to do chemo too. Dad has some uncommon kidney disease that causes blood clots (which they believed caused his stroke a couple of weeks ago). They have found that chemo will put it in remission. So he has 4 rounds of chemo that will help put it in remission.
Quick Cap: Dad’s been having lots of health problems over the last 6 months. There’s been a lot of doctors shaking their heads as to what to do. He’s been in and out of the ER and hospital earning mega points on his medical valued customer standing.
Someone forgot to tell him there’s no rewards points. So since I know he’s reading this- um Dad, there’s no reward points.
The Amazing Race Begins
So Dad decides to make our cancer center date an amazing race. So our first treatment together is a bunch of smack talking. And just so you know, I already knew I was going to win. And just as I suspected, he tried to anti up the chemo drip and pay the nurses to crank up his side and slow mine down.
Dad insists that we race to see who finishes first with chemo. I have my tricks up my sleeve though. My appointment is at 9:30… and he can’t claim the chair until 10:30. And fat chance he’s going to roll out of bed early to latch on to the poisonous drink.
Evil grin. I’m so going to win. Then my plan goes kapoot. Of course I had a doctor visit while I was there and blood work and results so it was a little longer. And he gets suctioned up to the poison first.
What? Your hooking him up first? I teasingly guilt trip the nurse. I wonder if he really did slip her a $20. He just smirks. As she leaves the nurse cautions him about some warning signs to look for.
“You have to tell me if you get cold or if you feel nauseous. This is important, even if you just think the room feels a little cold. I want to know,” she said. Then in a blip, she is off to help someone else. This place is crazy today. Poor nurses.
So… Dad wins the hook up part while I wait patiently and throw a few playful glares at my dad. Wait. Wait. Wait. But, I’m younger and more experienced at this. His drip has to go slow to watch for an allergic reaction.
Hahaha. That stinks.
We decide to take a picture. Here’s his 1st win, but really it’s all about the finish not the start. But, I find my edge up on him. I get the teddy bear sticker. His is just plain. I assure him I won the sticker award. The poor nurse is thrown between us bantering back and forth.
Good thing we brought Mom. She’s our mediator. She just smiles and shakes her head. Then, of course, Dad remarks just how kind him and I are to arrange this on the same day so she only has to come once a week instead of two.
Man we are so generous to Mom. Both of us here on the same day.
But, it is true. We finagled it to work. Dad was supposed to come Thursdays. I walked out of my 1st chemo treatment about the same time they were walking out of the appointment with the doctor at the cancer center. The timing was perfect.
My heart sinks a little when I hear he comes on Thursdays and I’m on Wednesdays. “I was hoping we could be chemo buddies I say. Bummer.” And I really did feel bummed about it.
But my complaints trickled down the hall and the words slide into my doctor’s ears. My amazing doctor yells out of the woodworks “After tomorrow, switch him to Wednesdays.” I don’t see her face I just hear her voice.
Ah. Yes! Daddy daughter date is on!
So generous of us to put mom through this double whammy stress infested health trap we are in. So kind. Hey, it’s in our genes: health problems and scheduling solving. So we hook up for our 1st date at the cancer center. It’s my 3rd round of chemo (well… technically it’s my 11th round of IV chemo if you count 4 years ago) and his 2nd. But it’s our 1st time together.
Ah Man…The Date Catches Me Crying
So the date goes well. There’s laughing, and bantering, great food and crying… yes crying. I have done so well since chemo started until the doc gives me the news that I don’t get my week off of chemo. I was supposed to go 3 weeks on and 1 week off. On our daddy daughter date day I find out that there are no weeks off. I’m so disappointed. I was hoping that I could play basketball that week and celebrate on the 3rd week off but instead I get to plow through nonstop chemo and keep fighting. No breaks.
And my date catches a glimpse of my tears. Mom helped stop them 1st. Phew. There’s mom’s shoulder to cry on. But this time it’s not a guy breaking your heart- just a poisonous serpent. (Uh… the chemo not the doc. Needed to clarify that.) Mom is such an incredible support and has this amazing ability to balance her life with helping Dad and me and serve others in the process. She’s an amazing blanket fairy and loves to lighten people’s hearts with blankets. She’s incredible and I love her company there. I’m not sure how she does it all but she must have a host of angels at her beckoned call.
Dad tries to be cheerful but I see in his eyes his pain for my pain. Good thing I didn’t have him there on my 1st treatment of this chemo. That was a mess. But, I dry my eyes and we focus on the race. Bantering continues. Besides I get another daddy daughter date at the cancer center.
It’s nice to have Dad here. Not that I “want” him here. I would much rather him have him healthy and well. But if “misery loves company” I love this company!
So about 30 minutes after Dad gets hooked up I get the okay to start my race. My chemo takes a shorter time. Everyone in the game plan knows I’ll get out first. But as the nurse is setting up I hear a distress call from across the way.
“Excuse me, excuse me. I’m really cold… could you get me a blanket?” I turn to look at Dad. Is he serious? For a minute my heart sinks. Oh, no, he’s gonna have trouble with this chemo. Shoot.
But then I notice the twinkle in his eye and that twisted up smirk. He’s trying not to smile. The nurse looks over and starts laughing “No way!” She gives it right back to him. He starts laughing.
A blanket. Really Dad? You’re such a cheater.
Then I start laughing. Mom still shakes her head and smiles.
We both order amazing potato soup and rant and rave about it. Mom buys a sandwich for us to split and my husband comes and checks on us. He always sees me at lunch and I love it. My husband is my rock! I share my wheat thins with Dad which taste slightly minty. Meh. Huh. Oh well. I catch a few blackmail pictures of him nodding off. But unfortunately none of them come with drool.
I remembered all those wonderful things I love about my dad- the fun side of him, the great conversationalist he is; the tease. He’s amazing, incredible, fun, and my hero. It was a great daddy daughter date at the cancer center with my dad.
But of course it was. I won the race.
As they unhook me and get ready to send me off Dad has one more thing to say, “You know, if it was me that won the race I would wait for my daughter to finish her treatment.” My 4 1/2 hours has been long enough, and let’s face it the nurses and my mom could use a break from the bantering.There’s a glint in his eye and perfectly placed gleaming halo above his head. His smirk always gives him away though.
Yeah right. Do you need a blanket too?
(PS yesterday I blew him out of the water in getting out of there. But there were no tears this time and we got to share an amazing cheesecake. He said he wasn’t racing me until he noticed they forgot to hook up one of my bags. I swear, he must have slipped them another $20).
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