Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends! As a Canadian I had my turkey-day a month or so ago, but life has a funny way of getting you thinking about the things you’re thankful for. Today was one of those days, and since its likely better to write a diary here than take my frustrations out in a less healthy environment, I present what I’m thankful for today.
As a prologue, two years ago I wrote a diary here about how thankful I was for our universal healthcare up north here as I was dealing with a nasty ear ache and didn’t have a family physician, so I was more than happy to be able to get in, get out, get some antibiotics and go home without too bad a hit to my walled, or a long line up at the local walk-in clinic.
(More after the orange dinner roll)
I had every intention to follow-up as I wanted people here to understand from the inside what Canadian health care looked like. I didn’t follow-up because it wasn’t an ear ache, and it didn’t go away with antibiotics. Truthfully, I’m still not sure what it is—after a battery of tests including CT and MRI scans nothing could be found to explain the strange, very painful lump behind my left ear. The tests show no anomaly, no mass to be biopsied or removed, leaving only the constant pain to be dealt with—that and the questions.
I landed a family doctor, and he’s been great, but I’m now on narcotics to cope with the pain and allow me to sleep—what I’ve had to live with these last two years is my own fear of hearing one day that, well the tests weren’t read properly, and yes, I have a tumor. (Even in Canada pathology fuck-ups happen with disturbingly regularity)
Now fear of the unknown’s nothing that should stop you from living life—and I don’t. Mostly, I don’t even think of the lump and what it might mean—I’ve even gotten pretty good at ignoring the residual pain not blocked out by the narcotics (thankfully my Doc’s not a pill pusher so I’m on the minimum required, and don’t need to worry about living in a narcotic haze).
But life has a funny way of surprising you.
Today I found out that my father has found a similar lump, in a similar place. He’s in top health otherwise, and he’s not experiencing any pain (thankfully) but the family is concerned nonetheless—especially since he’s on the east coast while the rest of us are in the West, and the nearest ENT specialist who could biopsy it is not even in the province he resides in.
I need to be there to support the rest of the family—especially Dad—but I can’t help but feel like I’m being sucked back into my own nightmare of not knowing, and consistently worrying about that lump and what it represents.
And still—although I’ve not talked to Dad about it I know exactly how he’s dealing with it. He’s meticulously planning the steps he needs to take to find some answers. He’s not sitting at his desk waning to punch a computer monitor. He may be concerned, or even worried, but he’s going to approach it as a problem to be solved—logically.
It’s how he taught me to deal with issues like this. He’s the reason I’m not throwing my coffee cup against the wall in frustration. He’s the reason I’m writing this—because his whole life I have seen him live the example of a calm, rational man, who makes the reasonable, logical choices—even if they’re hard. He taught me to be creative, and constructive, even in anger—hell, especially in anger.
On this American Thanksgiving (as we Canucks call it), I’m thankful for my father and the lessons, and example he has used to teach this hot-headed first-born son. No matter how much time he (and I) have here, I will always love him and respect him.