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Saturday, May 06, 2006
The Fortress and the Breast
I went to visit my father today at the hospital. They took him out of the ICU yesterday and he's now sharing a room with another patient who's had the same operation. He seems to be doing okay albeit the extreme discomfort associated with having someone crack your chest open. When I first got there in the afternoon, though, he was unbelievably delusional. He was in extreme pain :( and so the nurse gave him some medication (keep the drugs coming, I say). My mother, brother, and I were trying to convince him to eat something since he hadn't eaten in a while. The hospital's got its own menu, but he wasn't really feeling their food. Somehow we started talking about McDonald's and he got excited about it. I know...McDonald's is probably not the kind of food a man who's just had heart surgery should eat, but when your dad looks so helpless you'll do anything for him.

Anyway, we got him excited about McDonald's just as the morphine was starting to work. He started drifting off and my brother and I decided to go get him his sandwich. Just as we were about to leave he opened his eyes and stared at us, and started mumbling something about "Al Hosoon" (the fortress). I couldn't understand what he was talking about. I thought I had misheard, so I leaned in closer to him and asked him to repeat himself and he said "Al Hosoon fe McDonald's. How much does it cost?" What?? What in the world is he talking about? At about that time I started to realize that he was probably delusional and had no idea what he was saying. He kept babbling about the fortress at McDonald's and that the Quran said something about the fortress closing in on us. I, of course, started hysterically laughing, tears streaming down my face, joined by my mother and my brother as my father stared at us angrily. "You shouldn't be making fun of me," he said with a frown. "Can't you see the kind of pain I'm in? What am I saying that's so funny?" Then he fell asleep.

In general it's probably not a good idea to laugh at your father when he's sick, but this episode was just too much. Besides, isn't laughter the best medicine? When he finally woke up from the morphine I asked him what in the world he meant about the fortress and he denied having ever said it. "S, what's wrong with you? What in the world does a fortress have to do with McDonald's?" Exactly.

On another note...

My mother, brother, and my dad's friend, E, were in the elevator the other day going to visit my father. They're joined by some other visitors, one of which pressed the first floor button.

They reach the first floor, no one is getting out. E looks at my mother and says, "Mish heya breast?" (Did she not breast?) My mother replies, "Aiwa, heya breast" (yes, she breast). They keep this up for a couple of minutes. My brother at this point is extremely uncomfortable. Why in the world is his father's closest friend and his own mother talking about this woman's breasts?? It took a while for it to sink in that they were trying to say "pressed".

Usually my brother and I are usually quick with our game...we jump on our peoples immediately when they say things like this (it's very easy to tickle our funny bone), but I'm assuming the hospital visits made him a little slow that day. What I still don't understand is why they switched between Arabic and English like that. Wouldn't it have been easier, more natural even, for them to have kept the entire conversation in Arabic instead of inserting "breast"?
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:46 PM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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