“What is wrong with you?!”
I’m fairly confident that Adam and Eve first spat out this question - either at each other or a child or two. I, myself, have asked this question many times but, more often, have had them spewed out at me.
Warning: You may think that this is not a topic that fits well for humour but even in very difficult circumstances, it is always good to see the funny side of things. I learned that from the best!
My father had an endless sense of humour. As wonderful as that was, however, he could also throw a look my way that wordlessly expressed that age-old saying, “I helped to bring you into this world and I can take you out”. It was quite frightening, especially because he was such a jovial man 99% of the time.
A few years ago my father was, sadly, diagnosed with an aggressive terminal cancer. By the time the bone metastases was diagnosed it was too late for treatments so keeping him comfortable became the goal and a palliative road would be travelled.
The first day the Home-care Nurse came to visit him will live in my mind forever.
When the nurse arrived, I happened to be there but I’d moved myself to a table, away from the two of them, so they could have their chat. I pulled out a book which I attempted to read.
The nurse was a fresh, young woman who was very compassionate as she discussed what “palliative care” meant. My father listened intently to her every word.
When she began addressing the medications he was on, however, my eyes dropped from the words I should’ve kept reading.
I remember the conversation thus …
Nurse: “Sir, you should know that since you’re a palliative patient, the government covers all your medication expenses.”
Dad nodded and smiled.
Nurse: “There is one thing you’re on, however, that is not covered. That is your Calcium supplement.”
Dad nodded and smiled.
Nurse: “If you’d like to stay on that you’ll have to pay for it.”
Dad nodded, smiled and then asked the nurse, “What do you think I should do?”
Nurse: “Well, you should stay on it. You wouldn’t want to get osteoporosis.”
I should have left that alone. Should have but …
Me (laughing before I shot out): “Osteoporosis?! He’s got bone mets! Osteoporosis is the least of his worries!”
My father’s demeanour instantly changed as he whipped his face toward me with the look that should have stopped my heart.
After the nurse left I braced myself for what I knew I deserved.
Instead of the lecture I expected, however, he broke into a smile and chuckled, “I told her I’d stay on the calcium because I’d rather not die from osteoporosis.” We both laughed then but before I left that night he did add, “But seriously, what’s wrong with you?!” I loved that man!