Monday, January 26, 2015

Everything I Do Is Embarrassing To My Children

As I was shaving and getting myself ready for surgery the following song began to play in my head. It came from the My Fair Lady. The song title is Get Me To The Church On Time. A few of the lyrics were tweaked as I sang this song looking into the mirror while shaving:

I'm gettin' an implant in the morning
Ding, dong, the bells are gonna chime
Pull out the stopper, we'll have a whopper
But get me to Admissions on time

I got to get there in the morning
Spruced up and lookin' in my prime
Girls come and kiss me, say that you'll miss me
But get me to Admissions on time. Be sure to get me to Admission on time.
In order to arrive on time, we'd slept in San Francisco.  I didn't want to drive ninety miles in the middle of the night. We had the hotel give us a wake up call at 5am. My admissions appointment was for 6am.  From where we stayed, it would take all of  five minutes to drive to UCSF.

As I thought about getting dressed, I knew within minutes of my arrival I'd be asked to change into a hospital gown. I was wearing very comfortable pajamas and I couldn't think of a single reason why I should change into street clothes. When I shared this plan with my daughter she rolled her eyes and made it clear she'd so embarrassed she wouldn't been seen within a mile of me walking into UCSF in my pajamas. 

I've been a parent for so long that I can't remember a time when I wasn't an embarrassment to at least one my children. In my younger years I felt bad about this. I wanted my kids to see me as cool dude who their friends would admire. Somewhere in the first decade of parenting I gave up on that idea. 

Now, with more than three decades of embarrassing my children  under my belt, I use their embarrassment  as a beacon of light which tells me what I'm about to do is the right thing to do. Once I heard my daughter express her embarrassment,  I was certain that going to the  UCSF Admissions Department in my pajamas was the right thing to do. In my mind's eye, I imagined walking around the hospital in my pajamas (rather than a hospital gown) would make me look like a VIP. 

I thought my idea was so practical, I was genuinely surprised  everyone else who came to the Admissions Office at 6am was wearing their street clothes. I decided then and there I was the only one in the room that had a lick of common sense. After signing a few papers I was led to a room, handed a hospital gown and told to change. I imagined some poor guy in another room  fumbling with his belt in the time it took me to change from my pajamas into my hospital gown.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that I'm a totally heartless parent unconcerned about embarrassing my kids. I was going into surgery for a penile implant.  I didn't want this very personal and private decision to become a source of embarrassment to any of my kids.  Therefore, I told each of  them that I was going to UCSF for a "restorative surgery." Truth be told, I'm extremely embarrassed to discuss the state of my penis or the fact that I'm getting an penile implant with any of my children. I've only discussed this surgery with a handful of friends and family. I've done my best to keep the reason for my surgery private.

The irony of keeping my surgery private in my personal life then sharing my experiences on line with hundreds of people isn't lost on me. In order for me to share my experiences on-line,  it's been necessary  to overcome my embarrassment and desire for privacy. I believe I've been called to help others as I share my experiences with prostate cancer, erectile dysfunction, and now with a penile implant. Sometimes I not only embarrass my children, I'm called to embarrass myself as well. 

If my kids follow my blog or like my Prostate Cancer Facebook Page,  they'll know I've had a penile implant and  I hope they'll understand my calling to share my experiences with complete strangers.

In the end,  I'm not sure whether I'm blessed or cursed with a common sense that runs counter to the general public, but of this I'm certain, I'll always be a source of  embarrassment to at least one of my kids on any given day.

Rick Redner & his wife Brenda are the authors of :
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?

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