My father had just been operated on to remove a cancerous tumor in his hip so he was still in the hospital recovering.
He knew he had to gain weight to stay strong. When I was visiting him one of many days there, I accompanied him as he made his way down the hallway. He gripped the handrail with his right hand while navigating the wheelchair with his left. Though there were footrests on the chair, the heel of his right leg dragged stubbornly along the floor making enough of a muffling sound to be heard but not to interrupt the slow, steady trip to the destination. Finally around the corner, past the Common Room Dad saw the weight scale set into the wall on his right. I watched as he slowly got to it. Directly facing the grey station in his wheeled chariot, he pressed the start button, immediately readying himself to stand up and step onto the platform, as he had only moments to do this before the machine forgot he was there. He mounted, steadied himself and hoped he’d be fast enough.
Luckily this time he was; the machine remembered him and began to do its job.
First the number zero and then the now familiar word ran across the screen. Dad watched intently while gripping the sidebars with a shaky balance but determined anticipation: the numbers came up. A smile crossed his lips as he read 129.5 lbs. He wheeled back to his hospital room in triumph, content with having gained three pounds since last week’s weigh-in. Dad knew he’d need more than just extra weight to handle the radiation treatments ahead. But for now, it was enough – a small taste of victory for this wise warrior.
Dad died in September of that same year. I will never forget his resolve in that moment and in life generally – always to do the best he could with what he had despite the odds life offered.
Kita is a happiness expert, author and speaker. Her latest book The SIMPLE Life: Shiny Objects Not Required is now available. Visit http://www.kitaszpak.com for details. Read more posts by Kita Szpak.
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