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I wasn't there to hug my Father to tell him it'll be ok


April 3, 2006

It was another one of those moments, the phone rings and my heart skips a beat or two, my mouth gets dry, and every negative thought rushes through my head. Then I answer the phone! "Yellow", I say in a form of a question, fear, or wonder. My sister, Azita, answers with another question, "Hamid"? "Yes", I reply. By now I'm thinking, oh God, she's gone. "Mom is in the ward now; she wants to talk to you".

A tired, almost "slow" voice on the other end says, "Hamid jon"? "Yes Mom", I reply and shake my head hard so I wouldn't cry. I joked about her being bald, "Make fun of me going bald, ha?" She laughed and her laugh was very familiar. Just like the time I used to make fun of her Araki accent or made Shamaee Zade impressions. That laugh finally told me she's ok.

Mom had a brain hemorrhage two Sundays ago. My sister called me 5am and I answered the most feared phone call of my life, one I've been waiting or rather afraid of for the past 27 years of living in the US. She said that Mom had passed out, taken to the hospital and a CT scan revealed a bleed. I'm pacing the bedroom floor with questions that seemed like a doctor questioning a nurse. Poor kid was baffled with my questions, but obliged.

I remember feeling sorry for Mom. I pictured her weak body, small frame, and wrinkled eyelids closed and were afraid they were closed for ever.  She was in a coma when my sister called me and my wife, while wondering whom I'm questioning and why am I so cool about it.

Azita told me that the surgeon wants a decision to operate or not. We have a three hour window and she didn't want to make the decision on her own. I told her to let me research it and I'll call her back soon.

Five in the morning, West Coast, who the hell am I going to find to ask what to do? I have access to a lot of physicians, but this is too early. I hit the internet and found that surgery is the answer. In the meanwhile, I found my old boss, a cardiologist, who couldn't shed much light on this. So I called her back and even talked to Mom's surgeon briefly. I was convinced and gave the go ahead.

Mom had a very successful surgery and recovered miraculously. I was left helpless, hopeless, with an enormous guilt. I am not there. I'm not there to hold her hand, perhaps for the last time. I wasn't there to hear her say goodbye and tell me she's proud of me, I've been a descent son. I wasn't there to gather in the family circle and exchange love. I wasn't there to hug my Father to tell him it'll be ok.

I wrote about this, not too long ago [See: Good boy], I knew and know that there will come a day when I will receive that phone call about Mom, Dad, aunts and uncles. It was only a few months ago where I did get a call from the same sister about my Amoo (uncle) dying.

I liked to think that I'm strong enough and prepared enough to handle things like these, but I don't think so. Mom and Dad being gone will hit me hard. Perhaps the pain is less and dealing with it easier if I was closer, but I'm not.

It doesn't help to sit on the other side of the window from a state of the art MRI machine, thinking I have the best of the technology under my finger tips and my loved ones in Iran perish from lack of attention, facilities, or medical equipment. Being in medicine for twenty odd years, in a country, where human life is valuable and anything will be done to save it, it really hurts to lose loved ones so easily and carelessly in Iran.

I was doing research with one of the newest and best CT Scanners at the time when my aunt, Mom's sister, died from the same type of brain hemorrhage.

My mother was lucky she was diagnosed early enough and her dilemma was taken care of quickly. There are hundreds or thousands of mothers and fathers, who die in Iran because there aren't enough MRIs, CTs, or Ultrasound machines. In the meanwhile, Iran doesn't hesitate to purchase diesel submarines from old Soviet Union for millions of dollars or pour money into nuclear "energy".

One thing I hate more than receiving those god damn phone calls is the fact that we live in a world, where more money gets spent on destroying human life than preserving it. In the meanwhile, I have dedicated my adult life to preservation and prolonging human life, while Washington and Tehran are planning on nuking one another or whoever else that they can reach.

For letters section
To Hamid Bakhsheshi

Hamid Bakhsheshi


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