Sunday, February 21, 2010

Absentee Dads and heart attacks.

So, just because my life wasn't already weird and drama-filled enough, my absentee father has been making his presence known again. Big Sis has had contact with him over the last few years, but I've really not had much contact at all since he walked out of our lives 27 years ago. Anyhow, he has been trying over the last six months or so, to open the lines of communication back up, and I have been, well, less then receptive. He did come and see me, on my birthday, which I spent in the local mental health unit about a month back.

He had some health issues a few months back, and whilst my sis told me about it, I did not feel the need to go and see him in hospital or call him. On Thursday, I recieved a call from him, which I screened and promptly forgot about. Later when checking my voicemail, I retrieved the message telling me, he had had a heart attack and was going in for surgery. I can say without a whole lot of shame my first internal response was "So what?". Not because I wished for anything bad to happen to him, but because it really didn't mean any more to me than if it had been a random stranger off the street. I went about my business, went to my therapy session that afternoon, but there was this constant niggling in the back of my mind. "What if he dies?" I couldn't help but wonder if this was something I would look back on in 15 or 20 years time, and think "I should have seen him, I should have opened my heart a little, I should have had closure".

I spoke about it briefly at the end of therapy with (D). We didn't really have a lot of time to speak on it, as we had to sort the mess of Monday's session out, and 50 minutes can go both excrutiatingly slowly and in the blink of an eye, at the same time. She queried whether I could find out what the actual risk was, whether I had some time to mull it over or not. I couldn't think of a way to do that. It was not like I could ring his relatives up and say "What up? What are the chances the geezers actually gonna croak?". And my Big Sis, Bless her cotton socks, is a drama queen like no other, so he could have a hang nail and she would present it like he was at death's door, shaking hands with the reaper.

I spoke to Big Sis anyway, later that night, and she told me that he had had surgery (a stent (?) placed) and was doing ok. So, I just pushed it to the back of my mind to deal with later. He was discharged the next day. Apparently they don't keep you very long after this particular type of surgery as long as you have relatives willling to keep an eye on you.

Today my sister rang again asking if I wanted to come visit him. She had rung yesterday but I was able to get out of it by pleading prior plans. Today I went. It was ok. He looked like shite. And he is in some serious denial coming to terms with the changes he needs to make. He sat with us for about 20 minutes and then went back to bed. I stayed and kept my sister company for a few hours, playing scrabble and yahtzee. And then I went home. I'm not sure how I feel about it still, to be honest. Does this mean I need to start having regular contact? Do I wait till the next time he's on death's door step? Do I have a moral obligation or an obligation to myself to even care? I don't know. For now I'm just going to stick my head back in the sand

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