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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Subject: dad
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 13:47:51 +1000

yes I just visited the doctor
we asked if you could talk to him about my condition
he was very happy and said yes
he has three surguries -1 at burwood 1 at newton rpah and and
another a kogorah
he suggested the best time would be next monday 18/04/2005
he will be at burwood from 3pm to 8pm on that day
he asked what did you do and as mum said on the phone
you were at college and a part time actress in the USA
he replied that he spent 6 months with a uroligist in
that was the happy part of the visit
I asked him what stage was i in and he replied
stage 'd'
that needle was a hormone injection-i get to have one
in 3 months time-and hopefully the hormone injection is
please do not worry


Stage D prostate cancer. "Stage D Cancer is not curable but is treatable." He'll die with it. Whether or not it will kill him is up for debate, but he'll die with it.


You know, it's not like my dad and I are best buddies or anything. If you add everything up, we get along well and that's about the extent of it. But ... he's my dad.

I asked Mum on the phone how he's been eating. They're divorced, but they still live in the same house (messy, don't ask). She says he won't eat much in the way of fruit or vegetables because he hates them. He'll only eat mashed avocado on toast at the moment. She asked his doctor what she should do about his diet, and the doctor said that diet won't make any difference at this stage, and she should probably just give him whatever he wants to eat: luxury foods, junk food, just let him decide - it doesn't matter. If that isn't a harbinger of doom, I don't know what is.

I'm crying, and I feel ridiculous because I never felt that close to him, but I guess we've both been through so much together that we're close even though we're not close. The moment I felt closest to Dad was when Mum flipped out while we were trying to get her admitted to a psych ward once when I was 14 or 15. She was behaving perfectly normally in the ER although an hour beforehand she had been raving, and Dad and I were afraid the registrar was going to turn us away. Suddenly, she fell to the floor and started kicking violently and screaming, "DON'T EAT ME!! DON'T EAT ME!" Nurses, doctors, and security came running from all over the building. They shot her up with tranquillizers and dragged her away. Dad and I looked at each other in the sudden silence and started giggling uncontrollably. The nurses stared at the two of us in disbelief. We were both shaking, but we couldn't stop laughing. I don't think anyone will truly understand that moment except Dad and me.

Whenever Mum was in hospital, usually at least once a year, Dad and I would do whatever we wanted. We ate plenty of fast food and TV dinners, which we both preferred to Mum's cooking. We went to the cinema and spent money having frivolous fun, which Mum never usually allowed. We joined local video stores, and Dad let me rent R-rated movies. I watched the Exorcist when I was 11 with my dad. He fell asleep, but I woke him up during the "Let Jesus fuck you!" scene. He said, "Oh my God!" but he let me keep watching.

Dad introduced me to Inspector Morse, which I was obsessed with as a teenager, and lots of SBS programming like Derek. He likes Law and Order too, and most of the BBC comedies and Australian sketch comedy shows that I also love after first watching them with him. He's not an intellectual - he doesn't ever read books - but for a non-intellectual, he has pretty good taste in television. He got me into crosswords when I was very small. He never did cryptic crosswords, but he encouraged me to start completing the simple crossword in The Courier Mail when I was in primary school, and I took it from there.

We never hugged much. When I was a toddler, I got it into my head that I didn't like hugging or kissing men, and I would cry and scream whenever made to hug or kiss my father, my stepdad, my uncles, or my grandfathers. So it's not a physical closeness at all. It's not even a mental connection. It's a closeness of experience.

When I got married in 2003, I wouldn't let him walk me down the aisle. I wanted my mother to do it, because I was so much closer to her. She refused, so in a fit of stubborn feminism, I insisted upon walking down the aisle myself. He's frowning in most of the wedding photos as a result. I'm wondering if I'll consider that decision rash and beat myself up over it now. People become saints when they're dying.

I really don't know what else to say. I don't know why I'm typing this, but I guess it has made me feel better.
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