The Doctor

When I think about my father, thoughts lead me back to hospital corridors. As one of the best surgeons in the local hospital, I remember him, always busy.

Those days and nights spent with him babysitting a four year-old me, I waited for him at the Nurse's station, while he was in the middle of long procedures. One day, he took me to the operating room with him, wearing a green surgical attire and mask, well scrubbed.

Sitting in one corner, I watched him for hours with his team. I was fascinated by his confidence and dexterity. His hands skillfully repaired a sedated man on the table with an open abdomen. I wondered if the patient ever felt anything when my Dad took out a jelly looking thing inside of him. There was so much blood. That was the first time I've seen someone cut open like that. 

I thought that maybe one day I could become a doctor like my father.  Yet, when I watched families down the corridors with gloomy faces, I changed my mind and said to myself, "What a sad place to work everyday. It's not for me."

I remember being impatient for waiting so long. Mischievously, I sneaked out of the operating room and pushed open the double swing door to an adjacent room. 

What I saw made my jaw drop open. I found a woman giving birth right in front of me. I was both shocked and stunned to find out where babies really come from. I was frozen in place inside the delivery room, horrified (perhaps traumatized) while the nurses dragged me out of there, once they realized I was missing from the operating room. 

I remember marching on the corridors walking up beside him catching up with his strides. Nurses greeted him from all corners. He was so popular, I thought. In the midst of chaos in the emergency room, his expression was that of a calm breeze in a troubled sea. Everyone was in a rush with men who appeared to be stabbed. He gave orders and instructions like a commanding captain of a ship and the medical people followed him obediently.

He was so dedicated to his career which I didn't understand when I was a child. He spent so much time at the hospital and was known to be very good at what he does, so why work hard more? 

Broken promises. I remember the disappointment whenever he cancelled a trip at the last minute due to an emergency, a family trip that I've been looking forward to for weeks. I was heartbroken at the sound of his beeper each time, standing at the open doorway with my small bag and security pillow. He said," Let's just go to the beach next week." With that, he dashed off, as I watched the door close behind him. Next week came and it was the same story.

Memories of my father revolved around hospitals and emergency rooms. I remember entertaining his fellow doctors after long meetings when I was a bubbly four year old. I shamelessly went on top of the conference table or sometimes on stage in the small auditorium to sing and dance

The doctors were amused, throwing bills and coins that I happily kept and brought home to show off to my Mother. My Dad was a man of a few words. Yet, he managed to say to her, "Your daughter's like a key operated  doll, she's non-stop once again." 

He did manage to reach out to me when I was eighteen, on the day of my birthday. It was the first and only time I heard him express his feelings as a father to me into words. 

Memories of my father ended in the hospital. He was frail and motionless in the Intensive Care Unit, ready to leave the world after his struggles with pancreatic cancer. It's an illness he kept a secret from us until his last moments. The hospital was his home.  I can't think of a better place to say goodbye. 

I love you Papa, wherever you are. 
Love and Light,

{Day 31: The final challenge: A Vivid Memory. This is it. The last story from my childhood this month and then we're back to travel stories starting tomorrow.}

You Might Also Like


  1. First of all, congrats on completing this tough challenge, Arni! 31 days of blogging each day is not an easy task and I think you've done great! I've enjoyed reading you every day of it (well, maybe some day has been left out due to the lack of time)

    Atypical memories for a 4 year-old and a very sad ending. I feel deeply sorry for you loss at such a young age but it is good that you don't forget him and keep your memories of your father alive. I think it's very brave to share such personal stories.

  2. This is such a special write but ends sadly. Got me all too sad, actually. You had a great dad and great memories of him. Youve been so blessed.

  3. Your dad sounded like he was really dedicated to his work. It must've been tough on you though, to have so many disappointments when he was called away.

  4. You wrote this post so eloquently that I felt like I was reading a story until the very end of it. Thank you for sharing such a personal memory of your father and his relationship with you/the hospital. Also, we made it to the end of the challenge so congrats!

  5. This is such a moving and touching post. Thank you so much for sharing. I had tears in my eyes reading your last sentences.

  6. Wow this is a really amazing way to express your memories. I can't imagine being a four year old in a surgery room!

    Also, bravo to making to the end of the blog everyday in may! super impressive.

  7. Love this reading this post
    so sincere and filled with fondness for a loved one.

    The downside of being a doctor
    too busy, so many people need them.

  8. What a courageous post, Arni. This really touched me.

    How bittersweet that he cared for so many and now he is gone. I'm married to a doc, so I might share this post with him tonight.

  9. Wow, thanks for sharing this- it was so beautifully written and revealed a complicated relationship between you both and your father's work.

  10. I'm sorry about your Pa, Arni. ::Hugs::

  11. You are definitely one of the best storytellers I have ever known in the blogosphere. I know this is a sad story but I had fun reading this. The words just flow eloquently.

    It's nice to know something about your father. I can't say that I know how it feels like to be a kid of a busy person, though my father worked hard, his job wasn't as demanding as a doctor so he was present most of the time. I can't imagine having witness all that heavy stuff as such a young age. I'm actually surprised you were let in in a surgery. Anyway, I am sorry to hear about the passing of your father but I am happy to know that you had that moment when you were able to hear him say how much he cared for you.