In Chinese culture, one cannot yell at the elderly. But I am an equal opportunity yeller when prompted. Yesterday, I gave my dad a good yelling.

My parents are in their mid-to-late seventies, and they live 7 hours away by car. I call on my parents at least once a week to check up on them. I don’t like surprises from them.

Our phone conversation had started with our usual high spirit and good humor. I always end the conversation by asking about their health in general, if they are sleeping, eating, and pooping well (Yes, constipation can be a real jerk to the elderly, why do you think they have those nasty prune juice on the shelves.)

“Everything is good this week with us.” my dad reported.

“Oh, good! No problem this week then.” me.

“Actually, I have one problem.” dad.

“What is YOUR problem?” me, most of the problems usually came from my mother.

“I am walking with a serious limp these days. And my foot is quite swollen.” dad stated dryly.

“WHAT?!” I thundered sharply over the phone, leaped out of the couch.

“You need to go back to the doctor! When are you going back to the doctor??!” me.

“I don’t ever want to see that doctor again! He messed up my foot. I already didn’t go to our last appointment.” dad.

“ARE YOU FIVE?!!” me, fuming, furious with him, “You have to go back and see him! Right away.”

“He is a bad doctor.” dad.

“No.” me, “YOU are a bad patient.”

“No, no, no,…he is a bad doctor. He gave me bad surgery. And now I walk with a limp, and my foot is swollen.” dad.

My dad had a very minor 15 minute long outpatient surgery on his foot a couple of months ago. It was supposed to take a week to two weeks to recover, at the most.

“Heavens! You had this small surgery 2 months ago. I don’t know if he is a good or bad doctor, but I told you to listen to the doctor and follow his instructions 100%. You didn’t listen.” me, no volume control there.

“I did listen to him.” dad, sound very defensive. Maybe a tad of hurt, that I wasn’t taking his side.

“I told you. I told you. More than once, a lot more than once. You must follow his instructions when you get home. If you don’t, bad thing might happen to your foot. And when bad thing happens, I will not have any sympathy for you.” I explained myself to him very sternly.

“I did follow his instructions.” dad.

“NO YOU DIDN’T!” me, yelling at the phone, “ You cut the bandages off your foot yourself!! You were supposed to wait for the doctor to remove the bandage at your follow-up visit.”

Yes, he removed the bandage off of his foot just days after the surgery himself, because the bandage was a great inconvenience to him.

Silence on the other end of the phone.

“Remember! You even called me that you didn’t like to have the bandage on your foot, and wanted to just cut it all off. I said No, No, No, No, No then.” me.

“Hee, hee, he…” he seemed to remember, and tried to laugh it off.

“You better call this doctor, and have him see your foot as soon as possible. It is swollen. Probably infected or something.” I instructed him.

“Alright, maybe I will go see him next week.” he conceded.

“MAYBE? Quit acting like a child! If you don’t see a doctor soon, your foot will grow even bigger. If you wait too long, maybe they will cut off some toes or half of your foot!” me.

“Okay. Okay, I will go see him.” dad.

“And be nice to him, don’t complain that he gave you bad surgery. You need his help, to see why it is still swollen.” me.

“You call him tomorrow. And go in to see him as soon as possible.” me, very bossy tone.

“Okay. I will.” me.

I am generously giving him an extra day. I will call him tomorrow. If he hasn’t called his doctor to make an appointment. I will have to yell at him some more.

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Category: Humor, Parents
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