Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Pink Shirt: An Ode to Mack

It was the year 2008. I was 29 and had just undergone emergency surgery to have 1 foot of my colon removed due to my colon being punctured during a colonoscopy. Two days after my procedure, I was sent home only to be rushed back with a temperature of 104. I had become septic and had to go on strong antibiotics. The word severe doesn't even scratch the surface when referring to my pain level at that time.

Upon returning home, my parents had a heightened awareness of my limitations, and did everything in their power to make me comfortable. When trying to sleep that first night, I realized quickly how difficult it was to relax lying in my bed. My father (Michael aka "Mack") suggested that I try sleeping on the couch because I could be propped on the armrest, and the use of pillows would resemble the "craftmatic" style of an adjustable hospital bed. It worked like a charm.

One week into recovery, my father stayed home to be with me while my mother went to church. He made me eggs, toast, and tea. I remember it well because my Dad is not the best cook, but that day it was extraordinarily good (either that or I was hungry). Shortly after finishing the tea, my body felt like it exploded. There was no way I could control it.Yes, I was having "an accident". Calling for my Dad, he rushed down the stairs, gets quickly briefed on what was happening, and quickly swoops me up into his arms and carries me to the 2nd floor bathroom. Granted I was only 110 pounds, but I was 29 years old!!!!

After becoming aware that my clothes were soiled, he disappeared. Thinking he had gone into my room to find clean clothes, imagine my surprise when he reappears carrying a pink shirt and gray sweat pants - the pants:mine, the shirt: his. (That's right...real men wear pink, lol.) He said "I brought the first thing I could find. I didn't want to go through your drawers so I brought you this shirt." After getting cleaned up, donning the shirt and pants made me feel like new again. My ego and mood were still a little bruised, but Dad assured me it was going to be alright.

Some weeks later, I tried to return the shirt and he told me to keep it."I'll never fit it again," he said while hitting his belly. 6 years later, here I am wearing Dad's pink shirt. Sometimes I wear it to bed. Sometimes I wear it under a jacket for a quick run to the market. Sometimes I just wear it to lounge around the house. No matter when I wear it, I always think of my Dad and how he saved the day. He didn't think, he just acted.

And that's the kind of guy he is. He handles all the hair-raising, dreadful, eerie, and nightmarish issues with the prowess only a real Dad could exhibit. I can always count on him to be there for me. He is my hero...and this here shirt: well, it's my favorite. 

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