An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life

To The Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life,

I can’t refer to you by name because I never actually met you. But the nurses have assured me you are indeed real, and a very busy, trust-funded, white man. While I’m sure you’re used to praise for your “lifesaving” treatments, I, on the other hand, have only one question for you: What the hell have you done to my father?

In case you have no recollection which ‘my father’ I am referring to— as I’m certain you perform miracles daily on 60-something, tire-fat guys who see exercise as a punishment for having the garage too far away from their houses—let me jog your memory a bit. Mine is the one you ruined by saving. Okay, I get it. I sound ungrateful. Fair. I mean, you probably have women showing up on your doorstep all of the time with their fresh cherry pies and paternity tests, thanking you for freezing their omelettes. Old men with Portland, Maine accents that sound slightly British from watching Downton Abbey marathons probably take you to their golf clubs, standing in awe as you recount that same story over and over again (the one where you were in surgery for 19 hours separating a set of 7 year-old conjoined triplets with cleft lips, who had fallen out of a hot air balloon while escaping their torrid lives in Greenland). The chaps might glibly laugh that the triplets were, all three, probably Democrats, anyway.

“Well, it’s not for me to judge,” you would say with a chuckle, your e-cigarette pinching the left buttock in your back pocket.

Yes, doctor, you angel of a man, did save my father’s life. His quadruple bypass surgery was textbook, and the sternum infection that developed soon after had nothing at all to do with your care. In fact, your hospital has assured our lawyers and their lawyers’ lawyers it had nothing at all to do with the diet of canned pineapple squares and microwave fish sticks your hospital fed him daily, either—all gluten free. That infection also surely didn’t manifest itself because you forgot your Class of 1983 graduation ring in my father’s gaping chest cavity where it grew a tail. Nope, my father’s infection was all of his own doing. The dirty rogue deserved his punishment. The real problem, however, is that yesterday my father told me he loved me.

“Well, that’s splendid,” you might say.

No sir, it certainly is not. My father is an asshole. When I was born he tried to name me ‘Bud Light’ just to win a $20 bet with his AA group. Before you came along, he smoked three packs a day—more on weekends, less when sleeping, all inside the house. As a kid, he taught me to ride my bike by chasing me down the road in his truck yelling, “do or die, duck legs!” He fried his vegetables in bacon fat because he thought it made his skin shinier. He killed my pet pig, Hammie, so he could fry his vegetables in bacon fat. When my brother brought his vegan girlfriend over for Easter, my father poured steak blood into her mashed potatoes. She’s a vegan, I reminded him. “No, she’s just autistic,” he said.

Still not convinced? On our school break when other kids were going to Disneyland with their fathers, Dad took us to the local carwash and told my baby brother to open the door to find the secret waterslide. He asked my first ever girlfriend if her third-wave feminism was simply a yet-to-be-diagnosed STD. But I knew he was a changed man the second my father woke up alive.

My first clue? He asked to see all four of us children. Before his surgery, my father was pretty sure my sister and I were the same person, and that my mother had walked by a pair of old pants to get pregnant with my middle brother. Now he actually calls us by name. Like last week when I popped over to mow the lawn, Dad stood in the driveway like he was Gwyneth Paltrow getting her Oscar.

“Thank you, Polly. Thank you so much. Yes, your father is a crier now.”

Then he actually hugged me. I’m sorry, but what?

Can I tell you the worst of it, though? Since you screwed around with his heart, my father has decided he’s in love with my mother again. Us kids have watched their tortured marriage for decades and have actually bought each of them divorce lawyers on three separate Christmases. He has taken her for granted like a rock star for 42 years. Now he pops into her bedroom at night, “just to see if she needs anything.” My mother is terrified! We all are. We don’t know this man.

You told us his recovery time would be a few weeks. You warned us that he might have some stiffness in his chest from the incision. He might need a bed pan. We got that. But you never told us our father would disappear.

Maybe it’s the drugs you have him on? I do get the medication logic you sent via that animated video presentation: the pain of heart surgery warrants barbiturates, which cause stomach ulcers that require anti-nausea aids, which cause gas and verbal diarrhea, which both require sleep-aids, which cause sleepwalking and anxiety, which makes way for blood pressure stabilizers, iron enhancements, and potassium boosters. Add the Viagra that came for free, the antibiotics for the MSRA superbug he picked up in the gift shop, the uppers to help his mood and then the downers to cancel out the uppers–because no one likes someone who is too happy–and he’s covered. But I’m worried. The blogs say that anaesthetic can effect a patient’s mental function making them irritable, angry, or bitter. I could only wish! What happens if that’s the way my father always was? What are we left with when that’s stolen? I’ll tell you what: a well-adjusted man who writes haikus about birds and has taken up life drawing. A man who has three copies of The Shack on his bookshelf. A man who watches Touched By An Angel on syndication. A man who keeps a poop journal. Just now, I overheard him talking to his spirit animal.

I’m sorry if you fail to see my upset but if I wanted a father who loved me unconditionally I’d watch episodes of Full House. As you can see you have done our family a grave disservice. We sent my father into surgery a repressed, misogynist jerk, and we fully expected him to come out that way, or not at all. Please reverse these changes immediately. Maybe he needs a wolf’s pancreas or a boar’s stomach? Whatever. Just fix it. Because who wants a nice dad? No one.

Sincerely,

Angry Offspring

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About newdaynewmood

A Lonely lesbian trying to write about everyday life and everyday ways to negotiate the tough political issues therein.
This entry was posted in health care system and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

218 Responses to An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life

  1. getlikeme18 says:

    Powerful read. Good use of humor with drama, I enjoyed it!

  2. Oh my God this is so wrong and painful and wonderfully fabulous, I LOVE it.

  3. vjearle says:

    I think this qualifies as black humour, and I can’t offer anything near as witty as the words on this page, but just wanted to tell you how entertaining you are – although, I have a feeling, you already know.

  4. Woah woah. I cant sense if you are actually greatful or trying to be sarcastic. Either way, I had a good laugh reading this. I’m a student nurse, by the way. Yes, I agree, sometimes bad health or having a near brush with that changes human behavior, mostly for the better.

  5. Blog Of A Weird Teenager says:

    Do you mind taking a look my posts. Thankyou. X
    I love your blogs.😊

  6. I really enjoyed reading this 🙂 I have no idea what to make of it (trying to figure it out in my head but also unsure if I actually need to make sense of it) but I’m smiling either way.

  7. Caryn Leigh says:

    This is soooo great :’)

  8. Kristin Dee says:

    beautifully written

  9. of course not! I wanted him to live, but it’s a satirical piece!

  10. mel1ko says:

    I love it. It has deep meaning 😉 and it touch me

  11. mukhamani says:

    No one wants a nice dad ?:))

  12. petraperkov says:

    I don’t think I’ve read anything quite so brilliant in ages! Amazing read, refreshingly funny.

  13. Garfield Hug says:

    Enjoyed this! Thanks 🙂

  14. Shreya says:

    This is one of my favourite things ever.

  15. lavenderouse says:

    I enjoyed this post so much, and I love your approach in writing it. Incredible read!

  16. This would be how my grandpa would be hahaha! I really enjoyed this.

  17. dnyakutsey says:

    I would love to meet this doctor. My folks could do with his expertise.

  18. Until reading the comments I was unsure whether to laugh at you, or with you. So I clicked on the comments and have discovered not only are you a brilliant writer/blogger but you are also dangerously funny.

  19. Chua Han Au says:

    Great title. Best plot twist I’ve read in a long time. I am looking forward fervently to the sequel of this, really. Haha! 🙂

  20. Deb says:

    So darkly funny and just a fantastic read!

  21. Pingback: a lettee | whizking

  22. sketchylee says:

    My dear old grouchy disinterested Dad is due a minor heart procedure in the not too distant future. I now live in hope 😉 Enjoyed the read – Thanks.

    • Ugh, I’m so sorry to hear that and let’s hope he doesn’t get my dad’s shitty luck 😉 If you can, and I’m sure you can, make him laugh as much as possible. And Horror films in the hospital seemed to work because everyone else left (scared or annoyed) and gave me quality time with my Pops! Good luck and thanks for reading. It will be all ok. Just tell him to stay away from microwave fish sticks.

  23. apkfrog says:

    thank you
    Fantastic blog
    Good luck to you
    ——————————–
    http://www.apkfrog.com

  24. Brenda says:

    Open letter? Sounds pretty good to me.

  25. Amazing letter, very sweet indeed 😉

  26. amitjustforjava says:

    Ok, I have to admit I was a bit confused at the beginning.

  27. marydaisy says:

    It made my feel sad and laugh at the same time. Great text!

  28. Pingback: An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life | musingmeerkat

  29. I loved reading this. Everyone in the room wondered why I was smiling at my phone. It’s made my day. I’ve just started writing blogs on here. I don’t know how to make people see them though. Anyway, thank you for the smiles 🙂

  30. Poetess Dee says:

    beautifully realistic 😏https://poetessdeeblog.wordpress.com/

  31. Hey this is an awesome write… just loved your blog..

    I’ll be obliged if you pay a visit to my 1st blog and honor it vid your precious feedback.

    https://anshlog.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/move-on/?preview=true

    Love,
    Anshul

  32. Pingback: An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life | entertainmentinside

  33. CelesteFisherYoga says:

    Brilliant!

  34. childrenofthenight318 says:

    Really enjoyed reading this. Good work!

  35. This was really amazing!!! Great! Im speechless! 😇

  36. georgetanaka says:

    This is a brilliant piece,, i was confused initially, it is very good..

  37. shalakadesai says:

    Who needed such a fabulous post? No one!!

  38. Pooja Kiran says:

    As I went by this whole blog not even once did i waver away from it.It totally kept me arrested in its charm.Amazingly devilish and great humor. I LOVED IT

  39. dearwalkyria says:

    OMG is fabulous. Si quieren un blog genial sobre cuentos e historias, aquí les dejo uno https://dearwalkirya.wordpress.com/

  40. Not a misplaced word…anywhere!

  41. cablesfinest says:

    Great read. I’m impressed with your satirical outlook and bringing the humor in a humorless situation to the attention of readers. Having the audience wonder whether you are serious or sarcastic is a difficult skill to master, and I think you nailed it with flying colors. (Sorry about the mixed metaphor) 😏

  42. fradancer says:

    This is amazing
    You’re great!

  43. Um. Are you racist or something because you specifically said “white man”

    • I’m sorry, but if you see me calling a ‘white man’–the most privileged of any category in the world–racist, than we have little to talk about. Also, it’s satire. Thank you for your comment, and I too support the freedom of animals as you do so awesome work there, but honestly I have no time for cis-gendered aggression.

  44. dramrita says:

    Very interesting post

  45. ALifeMuse says:

    This is so beautifully written. Seriously, Wow! Never have I read anything even one tad bit similar to it.

  46. I think this what I aim to write one day- not the story itself, but the way you used sarcasm in this open letter. Got any tips for a novice?

    • Thanks so much! I guess the best tip I could give you is to start looking at the things in life that make you really sad or disappointed, angry even, and then find the humour in them. Satire allows you to laugh and also critique and joke around at the same time. There are some amazing satires out there to read and watch as well. My personal favourite is the early stuff by Gore Vidal. 🙂

  47. biochemlife says:

    Satire is your forte, thanks for the great read!

  48. sanjivsood says:

    Trust-funded…Tire-fat……. ‘Bud Light’ just to win a $20 bet with his AA group…….. Haikus on Birds!!!….Just WoW!! Admitted… had to refer the web for some of these soft expletives. Great job!!

  49. joseepha says:

    Lol….the bike lessons. Humorous

  50. Feel The Sonder says:

    Omg this gave me goosebumps. This wrenched my heart completely. Awesomely written.

  51. Abi E says:

    Almost made me cringe and think if all or only some parts of it are satire 🙂 But I did get it in the end, hehe, love it 🙂

  52. Hugo Longman says:

    Genius. Bravo friend.

  53. uvylicious says:

    Mehn this is the best open letter sort of poem I’ve read in ages. Very harsh and fierce. Love it

  54. was glued to the screenn from the first word till the last. nice use of sarcasm and satire. keep it up. i am following you from now

  55. was glued to the screen from the first word till the last. nice use of sarcasm and satire. i am following your blog from now.

  56. what a way to tell a story. I liked reading it very much! 🙂

  57. Sonia says:

    Made me giggle yet the sad truths of such fathers can be traumatising for some! Brilliant read

  58. mizzstry says:

    That is possible one of the most entertaining posts I’ve read in a while and it really portrays a point,

  59. zofiakrem says:

    This is a great post! I love your cynical humor.

  60. Mwikali Mutune says:

    This is why I wake up every morning. To learn from gifted writers such as yourself. Don’t lose this outlook, and write a novel so I can promote it in Kenya. Much love from halfway across the world!

  61. Priya ojha says:

    Its really nice and humour is of extreme level..had enjoyed reading it..

  62. I hate to be the only negative comment on this post, and please don’t mistake me your writing is unflawed, although I feel the need to voice my opinion. I am sorry If this offends you and feel free to ignore me but as an 18 year old that lost their father three days ago I find this for lack of better word ungrateful of you. I understand that you were trying to being the humour out of a situation and whether it was a joke or not as someone that will never see their father again, please, I beg of you do what I wish I never did and appreciate every moment with him. Even if he is a horrible father, at least he is still there. As I said I am not trying to be offensive or a keyboard warrior but I felt the need to speak my mind. It is a promise I have made to myself that I will not hold back my feelings anymore and saying this is just the beginning of keeping that promise to myself. Fantastic writing though, I must commend you on that.

    • Thank you so much for this brave comment.I am so sorry for the loss of your father. It’s horrible. When I almost lost mine this past February i thought I would lose myself too. I just want to say that this is a satirical piece and so that means that what I am saying here is not to be taken literally. My father is an incredible man and I adore him! He is the reason I write satire, and he is lovely. He is a hard ass and stubborn but that’s how he came and the point of this satirical piece was to say that that is how we all wanted him to remain. He’s back to his old self now and we are so thankful for his life and the struggles that brought us all so close together. You are not in any way a keyboard warrior. You’re awesome. Thank you so much for writing me. 🙂

      • I’m sorry that I took this the wrong way, you are a fantastic writer and I am glad to hear that your father is such an amazing man.My father was the most amazing person in my life and I have lost him so soon I don’t know how I will survive without him. Thank you for replying in such a lovely manner I was afraid of how you would respond but I guess I need to have more faith in the human race.

      • would you mind reading my post and maybe give me some suggestions on my writing. I would love for it to be as great as yours. If not thats fine too

      • I just read your post on your father and thought it was beautiful and heartfelt. Great job. I would suggest that in two years or so you revisit writing about your father again. I find that the heart, and the writing voice, needs time to process. You might find yourself writing from different angles. You’re doing awesome. I hope you get lots of support and care from your friends and loved ones through this horrible time. And I’m so sorry for your loss once again.

      • Thankyou so much. I feel that writing about the process and about him may help to keep him alive. thank you again

  63. My dad’s a bit of an arsehole too, a hardman as my mum calls him, but he’s amazing and I wouldn’t have him any other way. How did your dad respond when he read your post (if you don’t mind me asking)? I think your writing style is unusual and impressive, and there is no way I was going to abandon this post halfway through. It sucked me in from the get-go. I’m off to read more of your work.

  64. A wonderful read. I wish your doctor could have saved my dad’s life when he was dying of cancer ten years ago. Maybe he would have gone back to being the happy, whistling, singing guy he was when I was a little girl. Maybe your wizard doctor could have removed whatever it was that had mysteriously been eating away at his happiness for the past forty years. *sigh*

  65. withangelina says:

    This was so much fun to read! I love your sarcastic tone and at times wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I seriously felt like I was transported through the internet and into your life. Keep up the great writing!

  66. fithotbod says:

    OMG. Words fail me here. You made me laugh and cringe all at the same time. How is that possible?

  67. umeaimenkhan says:

    You have a powerful writing skill.You blended amazingly feelings and emotions in words that I can’t stop reading the full blog.

  68. Loved every word of your story …

  69. Wow sweet one, that is so tough. Ironically I wrote in similar fashion to a psychotic Doctor down here in Jacksonville , FL, in regards to how she treated me compared to my Mayo doctors in AZ. Some are just lunatics … Blessings my friend. Great job! If we all could live by the truth we all come upon a new day, and new mood! So true!’

  70. You got me really affected with this piece! 🙂 My prayers on you, bro.

  71. Honey says:

    I enjoyed this while still being completely confused in the end. Maybe it’s because it’s midnight and I need some rest. However, it was a good read!

  72. flora1987 says:

    I want a nice dad!! Haha
    I enjoyed it!

  73. OMG, follow, follow, follow!

  74. Spangly Hippy Feet says:

    This is fantastic! Incredibly witty and clever. Chuckled all the way throughout. Flowed beautifully 🙂

  75. Karl Drobnic says:

    Encounters with death usually do change people, and one of the problems of aging is that it can be very hard to change. I hope you’ve helped your Dad incorporate some of his new insights into his old personality.

  76. rutamuf says:

    Wow wow ! I enjoyed reading this, you are so funny &sarcastic!!! I love it!

  77. This is an amazing post. Sincerely. I can relate because some doctors caused my dads foot to fall off. This post speaks for all of us. Thank you.

  78. Oh my goodness. I have to applaud this. Simply incredible. My dad just passed away four months (darn colon cancer) but I found myself relating to some of this then laughing my butt off. Great read on a Saturday morning.

  79. I am definitely going to try more satire, as my gentle meditations and memories sure as hell ain’t changing the world – see why on https://davekingsbury.wordpress.com

  80. ramzan66 says:

    Reblogged this on ramzan66's Blog .

  81. Really enjoyed reading this!

  82. sammarays says:

    It’s dark but it’s funny in a sense

  83. Oh my! Absolutely loved this! Trying to muffle my giggles as to not wake my patients up (it’s 3am at the moment). I also work in the nursing field and I had to share this with my fellow coworkers!

  84. Pingback: An Open Letter to the Doctor Who Saved My Father’s Life | gangporemirror

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