Sunday, February 05, 2012

At the Dialysis Center

I have a new routine. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning I roll myself out of bed quietly at 5:45, tip-toe into the den where I get dressed in the sweats I have left warming near the heater, cross the hall into the kitchen (avoiding the squeaky spot on the floor), retrieve a tin that I have packed with a little fruit and some graham crackers the night before, grab my purse and my keys, and drive five minutes down El Camino to pick up my Dad. Then I take him to the dialysis center, hand him his tin of fruit and graham crackers, drive back home, and crawl back into bed for an hour.

At 9:30, I go back to pick him up. The majority of dialysis technicians at the center are Filipino, and they are unfailingly pleasant and efficient. They call my dad "Tatay" or just "Tay," and they tug his ponytail and say, "You're so Jeproks, Tay!" They tell him to "listen to your daughter," which cracks both of us up.

There are so many stories waiting in that center. The stoic older gentleman in the khakis and the alpine sweater, who never says anything (I helped him once open his can of Ensure, though, and he said, "Oh, thank you very much."); the thin young man from Mexico, whose ride is never on time to pick him up; the wizened guy in the woolen cap who I swear to god cruises me every time I'm there; the young woman who I hope is on the waiting list for a transplant; the man without legs, the woman with no teeth and the one in the blonde wig, the guy who goes on and on about politics even though no one is listening.

So many stories. Maybe I'll tell them one day.