Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Parents, can't live 'em and too much work to dig shallow graves.
Today I had the rare treat of driving my Dad to his doctor's appointment at the evil behemoth that is the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The photo at left includes some of the buildings in this complex. It's like something designed by the spawn of Caligula and Dracula on crack and meth. What is the deal with the bad parent always being the one you have to take care of in their old-ish age? My parents aren't old, btw. My dad is 69 and my mom is 68. That's not old. 80 is old, this is fringe old, at best. But, you have to keep in mind that my Dad gave up on life in his early 40s. One day he just quit going to the bars and hanging out with lowlifes and breeding horses and going to work. He sat around the house, in a recliner that started quickly to smell like ass, eating Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers and watching TV. Pretty much, that's still what he does. Have I mentioned that he's mean? He's mean. I really shouldn't drag up my childhood because I might want to write a memoir someday, a little cautionary tale for assholes who are thinking of procreating, but he used to mock us if we got straight A's on our report cards. "You think you're so goddamn smart..." What a peach, that one.
So, because I love my mother, I hauled his sorry ass to the Oakland section of Pittsburgh to see his doctor. He's fine and will outlive everyone because mean people never die. But the really cool thing, and the thing I'm kicking myself over because I didn't have a camera with me, after lunch Mom and I went for a walk outside so that I could smoke and we could stretch our legs. We found a fellow smoker, a young guy in a hospital gown and slippers hooked up to an IV on wheels smoking on the sidewalk. Mom took one look at his bare arms and said, "You should have a coat on!" To which he replied, "I have a high fever. I'm warm enough." Then I muttered, "Why do I never have a camera when the surreal pops up?"
Then we went back inside and I read two outdated issues of US Weekly waiting for Dad to finish up.
I should include a rant about the tentacle like UPMC complex sprawled across a steep hillside, called 'cardiac hill' because walking up it will give you a heart attack, but what's the point? The monster is what it is at this point. Situated in the worst locale imaginable, with almost no parking, it's not going to go away in my lifetime. In fact, it'll only get worse, bigger and more unnavigatable. I could imagine dying being preferrable to regular visits here...although the cafeteria does offer a wide array of foods at a very reasonable price. Reminds me of how I can bump into Uncle Freddie anytime I want - all I have to do is go to the Ellwood City Hospital cafeteria at lunchtime because he eats there everyday. He says that he always sees people he knows at the hospital, and if he starts choking while having the Special he'll get quick treatment.


Natazzz said...

It sucks being the good daughter, doesn't it?

I have decided my sister can play that role this year. Only, she doesn't know it yet.

Anonymous said...

My first encounter with your blog: Very well written. Keep up the good work.

gypsywee said...

Damn Jennifer...your dad sounds like an ass. Sorry. This post broke my bitter, little heart! "hi pops!" *waves* [he doesn't read your blog...does he?]

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

No, my folks' are ludites, so he won't be reading this anytime soon. And don't let it break your heart, gypsy! That old bastard raised one tough cookie. :)