Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What's Wrong With My Genes?

Friday night I took a red-eye to Chicago.  It was too cramped and too cold to sleep much, but I made the effort.  I get to the hotel around 6am and my awesome mom makes me awesome egg on toast.  Finally, I get to nap for a few hours.

Around 1ish we got to the Saloon Steakhouse, which is right next to the hotel, for lunch.  It is incredible.  For $13 I get filet mignon covered in blue cheese with mashed potatos and green beans.  It is bliss on a plate.  Knowing the hospital is the next stop, I also pair it with their house Cabernet Sauvignon, which was pretty good.  It is the lunch of kings.  Or at least Brandies.
Sometimes I feel like just a number.
Ok, fun part done, time to get my butt to the hospital.  Dad's up on the 15th floor, and in serious get-no-freaking-germs-in-here condition.  There are 2 sets of automatic doors, with a sink in the middle.  Enter one set of doors, wash your hands, exit the second set of doors.  Only one set can be open at a time.  I felt like I was living in "Andromeda Strain" and almost expected infected crazy monkeys to run by.

See any crazy monkeys?

After the doors, we went to the end of the hall, where we got disinfectant goo to rub on our hands before entering my dad's room.

I was a bit shocked, ok more than a bit, to see him laying on the bed.  He was weak, half conscious with his head shaved.  Lots of the usual tubes and wires of any serious medial stay.

Mom and I wear face masks for the first part of the visit, though they aren't really needed later.  Despite her saying we could draw happy faces on them, seems no one remember to bring a Sharpie.  Maybe next time.

I just sat for a while.  Stunned with the situation and still pretty tired from my trip.  I felt a little lightheaded.  Somehow, the whether or not I'm going to have kids came up.

Let me preface- I have no intention of having kids now, near now, or possibly at all.  Craig doesn't really want kids and I can't imagine trying to be responsible for a small person right now.  So, we may not have kids, and if we do, it will be quite a ways away.  If (and it's a big IF) we have kids, we have discussed adoption.  Craig and I both feel that there are enough unwanted children in the world, that if we ever have a home for kids, we might as well give it to them.  Or as Craig puts it, "Puppies, kittens and children- if we get them, we're getting them from the pound."  Ok, the sentiment if there, even if Craig lacks subtlety or tack.

So, somehow the topic of me having kids came up at the hospital, and I casually mentioned that I wasn't sure if I was having kids, and if I was, they would probably be adopted.  My dad's eyes got really big and he very seriously demanded, "What's wrong with my genes?  Why don't you want to have your own kids?"

I couldn't believe we were even arguing this.  This, coming from the man who kept telling me not to rush things and make sure I did my own thing free from the responsibility of others.  I'm trying to get through grad school and my dad is freaking out because someday I might adopt- MAYBE?  My dad, who is trying to get me to shop for a husband and gets 'nervous' when I even tell him the date of our wedding (2 years mind you), and now he's getting upset that we might not have biological children?  Seriously?!

I try to remain calm, and see the absurdity of the situation.  Remember, he's on a lot of drugs.  I try to calmly explain that there are no plans for kids in the near future (or even the not-so-near future), but if we decide to have kids, I will let him know.

He still really wanted to argue the point, even compromise with 'you know, you could have one of each.'  And I tried to politely tell him, that really, he had no say in how I decide to reproduce (or not).  I can't believe I'm even having this conversation.  I can't believe he is seriously concerned about this.  I can't believe he's trying to tell me how to have kids.  And I really can't believe that he's asking what's wrong with our family's genes as we sit in the isolation floor of the hospital because he's going through chemo for auto-immune problems, which run in the family.  It's pretty much too ridiculous to get upset about.

I also didn't mention to him that I have a hard work ethic and Craig had a penchant for mischief.  If we have a kid- he/she might inherit both of those traits.  And a mischief maker who works hard at it... well, evil world domination is clearly the next step.


  1. Mrs. N. and I had this same discussion prior to and after we got married. I was the one who was more keen on having kids. She just wanted to keep the plants alive.

    As the years have rolled on, and with the oncoming of my illness and transplant, certain things transpired that made me realize that the last thing we needed were kids. It's not that i don't like them, I do, but if you're not able to fully commit to being a parent, you shouldn't be one. I saw this all too often working as a paramedic.

    I understand your dad's feelings, so don't be too harsh. He may be looking at it as some sort of failing on his part. He was simply hoping that part of who he is might be carried on to another generation. It's a very Jewish thing. ;-) Also, the fact that he's medicated up the wazoo is usually not a good time to discuss stuff like this anyway.

    Bleu cheese on steak??? What a HORRIBLE thing to do! And here I used to like Chicago so much... ;-)

  2. I agree about now not being the right time (if any time is the right time), which is why I kept trying to not talk about it. And I see raising kids to carry a part of yourself to next generation, biological children or otherwise. But again, in no way am I ready for kids, and may never be. And it's frustrating when he tries to make decisions for me that aren't his to make- regardless of whether or not he's sick. But mainly, now is not the time to even think about it.

    The steak was soooo good. Mmmmmmmm....