Monday, April 17, 2006

Rest assured, there will be no disruption to your meter reading service.

A little under two weeks ago, my dad went in for surgery to have his prostate removed.

He'd been diagnosed with prostate cancer back around Christmas, so we all kind of knew this was coming. Prostate cancer, we've learned, is perhaps the most treatable and survivable cancer there is--I think the survival rate is over 90%, especially for guys as young as my dad who are diagnosed with it (he'll be sixty this year). One doctor told us that virtually all men who live to a certain elderly age have prostate cancer and most likely don't even know it. After a point, unless the cancer's quite aggressive (which my dad's wasn't, really), most doctors don't even bother treating it--there's a "something else'll get 'em first" mentality.

Despite some mild side effects from the shots he was getting to hold the cancer at bay, he'd been feeling good the past few months, tending to his snow removal & Judge Judy rituals as usual. Honestly, if it weren't for the occasional doctor's visits and some new bottles of pills around the house, I would've forgotten entirely that he was even sick--and, as is my family's wont, the whole situation's been handled with our mix of Midwestern stoicism and humor that tends to propel us through most crisis moments into a highly functional sort of acceptance. A weird combination, I know, but then we are weird people so it fits.

Anyway, speaking of humor...the day of my dad's surgery the procedure took much longer than was anticipated. He was supposed to be in for about 2-3 hours, and it wound up taking over 5. When he finally got out of there & up into his room, and we spoke with the doctor, we found out why: once they'd cut him open and started fiddling around in there, they discovered that my dad had some kind of "superfluous tube" running off his prostate, which apparently isn't that uncommon. However, what was weird was how it was situated--in a way that neither doctor had "ever seen before," wrapped around a bunch of internal organs as it had likely been since the day he was born. Yes, we're talking phone calls to UW-Madison, people, to discover that my dad is a freak. (haha) :+)

Now my brothers are convinced that this superfluous tube is hereditary, and that it will be the source of mutant powers a la the X-Men...they aren't sure, however, if I'll inherit any of those, since I, uh, don't have a prostate. I guess we'll have to wait and see on that.

My dad will be home for about another six weeks, at least, before he returns to his post as a meter reader with the "local" power company. (It used to be "local," now it's run by a bunch of corporate whores in Denver, the source of endless bitterness from my father and consequently, the rest of us who have to hear about it.) His coworkers on the meter reading team there sent him a bunch of shut-off notices in his get-well card, the type that they hang on the meters of people who don't pay their bills--ahh, meter reading humor. :+) He's the last of the old dogs there, the one who's survived two or three company takeovers, and I won't be surprised if once he goes back, he's retired before the snow flies.

And finally, on an additional power company-related note: my boss opened our building's power bill this morning, and it said we owed $12,000 for March 29th through April 14th. Unless our building's providing power for the entire downtown of Ashland, I'm gonna mark that one up in the "error" column. :+)

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