Somehow the tradition of thanksgiving, with the abundance of food, plates heaped full of food, a myriad of deserts, and that stuffed slick feeling later, has always seemed to me a very strange tradition. It is not that I do not like all the wonderful foods. Some of my favorite food traditions are at thanksgiving. It is just the abundance and “consuming mass quantities of food” that always seemed over the top to me.
My thanksgiving this year is one of giving back and support.
I spent yesterday at the hospital with my father. He had a procedure to test the electrical working of his heart. They found an area of heart that was misfiring, and could cause his heart to race and his blood pressure to drop. This could be why he lost consciousness and fell on a number of occasions. The doctor ablated, or “zapped” as he kept saying, the area of his heart that was misfiring. After arriving at the hospital shortly after 7 AM we did not leave until 5:30 PM. Even thought my dad’s procedure was completed in the early afternoon, he had to lie flat for four hours to make sure the incision did not ooze and had begun to heal. My mother left the hospital as soon as my dad went in for his procedure for a doctors appointment of her own. When it became clear that this would be an all day affair, I encouraged my mother to stay home and rest, which she did. My dad and I took Uber home from the hospital.
Today I head up to New York City to support my wife and her family. She is in a cancer hospital recovering from major abdominal surgery to remove a retroperitoneal liposarcoma. I will cover for my sister-in-law tonight who has been sleeping at the hospital for the past few nights and has not been home to shower for a few days. While my sister-in-law is hesitating giving up her perch as the keeper of the hospital room kingdom, I think she needs a break, to shower, and to sleep in a real bed. I will stay in New York for a few day before returning Sunday to Washington, D.C. I still have a paying job that I need to show up at on Monday.
All of this seems right to me. I do not care much about missing a more traditional thanksgiving. I do have a sense of longing and missing my partner. After seeing pictures of him with friends in Provincetown, MA, a trip we were supposed to be on together, I felt sad that I could not be there with him. Last week it became clear to me that I needed to be here to support my father and my wife. I hoped my partner would understand. He did. There will be other times for us to vacation together and it was only a few weeks ago that we spent a wonderful week together in Italy.
So for now, it is New York City on Thanksgiving day. I have plotted my subway trip to avoid the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and maneuver to the hospital. My train arrived in 30 minutes.