NPM – 10 of 30

The Magical Cheeseburger

it was the day after Christmas
it was Dad’s 5th full day at home
this day, a Tuesday, would have been
a dialysis day before, but instead
it was the second appointment he missed

we followed our standard
daily procedure
he rang his bell or called out
to indicate he was ready to get up
my sister or my mom & I
went into his room and
brought him to a sitting position

sometimes he’d tell us what
he’d dreamed about, other days
he’d just smile and be happy
to have woken up

I can’t remember when he
timidly asked me & my sister
if we would be too embarrassed
to help him get dressed, but we both
said we wouldn’t so that became
a routine as well
he chose underwear, a t-shirt,
socks, and a button-up shirt,
we grabbed a pair of pajama pants

we helped him stand up and went about
the everyday task of helping our father
get ready for his day
we got him into his chair in the living room
then he gave my sister his breakfast order

as he ate, we went for coffee or went about
our own morning routines
he watched TV or started talking,
telling stories of his life

on this day, we had a visit from Margarita,
a hospice nurse whose responsibility it was
to give Dad a bath, he was hesitant at first
but after she’d left, he was like a new man

for lunch, we decided to get In-n-Out Burger,
a legendary place in southern California,
my family enjoys it fairly frequently

it was cheeseburgers all around, with fries
and shakes, as we ate, all of us commented
on how extra good the food seemed, like
divinely good, like the hamburger gods
knew what was going on in our corner
of the world and did their damnedest
to give us a beautiful memory of perfectly
grilled beef, remarkably melty cheese,
supremely soft buns, and whatever other
delicious burger accoutrements we chose

after lunch, Dad was ready for a nap
so we traversed back to the bedroom,
got him fixed in his bed when his case nurse arrived
she took his blood pressure as we told her
about what had been going on, including
how he had just polished off his cheeseburger
like a champ
she was shocked and was even more
surprised by the result of his
blood pressure reading, 148/68!

she proclaimed that this was all very unlikely
and that that cheeseburger must have been
otherworldly, she said she wouldn’t be back
for a few days because he was doing just fine
even though, given his issues, she would have
assumed otherwise

we laughed about it as Dad slept
as we wondered if we would, in fact,
soon have to face losing this man
or if it was something else completely,
if this might be the one time that a man
was brought back from the brink of death
by a cheeseburger

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One Comment Add yours

  1. josefa says:

    That was the greatest cheeseburger, we always used to share one, but this once we all polished our own and the fries!!!! I think he had some really good memories to take with him to the great beyond.

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