When I was a small child, I was fascinated by my dad’s surgical scar and the story behind it. I’m sure that I did not understand all of the details at the time, or even understand the concept of death and how close my dad came to losing his life after complications from abdominal surgery.
What I do remember is the scar on my dad’s stomach, which was a rigid, pale rope of hardened tissue that ran in a vertical direction. I always asked permission before touching it, though it caused him no pain, just a reminder of a frightening moment in his younger days.
At the time, I had a kid’s doctor kit. It came with a plastic stethoscope and reflex hammer and some other vaguely medical-looking doo-dads and a box of “pills” which consisted of candy. My dad would humor me while he was lying in bed reading by allowing me to “examine” him. He would always dutifully accept the prescription of “pills” that I offered him each time.
Sadly, at the end of his life, I could not prescribe him any cure for his condition, nor could the best specialists in Albuquerque. But I still have sweet memories of this daughter-dad bonding moment from my childhood.