While I became excited that Dad would be heading home and recovering smoothly from his surgery, he was busy with physiotherapy and eating bland, processed food. On the day before he was scheduled to be released from the hospital, the medical team decided to remove the stitches from his chest – where they opened him up to perform the surgery.

As they began to remove the stitches, they noticed his wound re-opening. It hadn’t healed! After ten days, the wound still had not healed enough to have the stitches removed. The further they worked, the more noticeable it was that nothing was healing properly.

His surgery involved a lot of removing, moving around, and jostling of internal organs. My Dad is diabetic and the awareness was that though they knew it would take longer to heal because of this, they believed they had given his body enough time to do so. Not so.

He was rushed back into surgery and underwent another procedure. This also meant that he was going to be stuck there for another 10 to 12 days for recovery.

Easter was upon us. The long weekend loomed ahead for him, reminding him that he was alone, in a hospital, unable to spend the holiday with his family and friends.

He was so frustrated; with himself, his body, the hospital staff, his surgeon. It was just unreal how he had gone from being so happy and excited to head home, to sad and depressed and angry that he was still in the hospital.

Being hours away, I could only communicate via phone, and it felt like 10 years of my life would be taken from me during each call to him. There was nothing I could do, nothing I could say that would have possibly helped him into better spirits. So I called my brother. Not because I thought the situation was dire enough to call for it, but because I thought if Dad could just talk to him he might feel better.

My brother lives thousands of kilometres away.

After the call between Dad and Brother, Brother wound up booking a flight and staying near the hospital for three days. I still thank God he came; the effect it had on Dad was remarkable. He lit up; he was happy and talkative once more. Even though he was still feeling pretty miserable from the experience, we were able to joke and laugh and lighten the mood together. We spent a full day together with him on Easter weekend.

I can’t know exactly how much this helped him, but the phone call a few days later for an update brought an unexpected expression of gratitude out of him. I know he understands that it is difficult to be there for him when he’s so far away from us. And now I know that he appreciates our gestures so much that it is enough to bring him to tears.

You feel a strong emotion when you can do something for someone else; a feeling of pure, true, honest and unconditional love. All the better when it is reciprocated.

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