When I was three or four, I remember waking up and finding my father on the couch in the living room. He wasn’t able to get up from the couch. He would have been about 30 or 31. Being so young, I didn’t understand what was going on, but it seems he had hurt his back at work the previous day and was trying to find a comfortable place to rest. Once he got down, he couldn’t get back up.
A little while later, the ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital. I screamed and wailed when the medical staff loaded him into the ambulance. Our next-door neighbor, the woman who baby sat me while my parents worked, had to strain to hold me back.
Eventually, I got to understand that he had gone to the hospital to have surgery on his back. The surgery was a success, but his back problems lingered for the rest of his life.
I only remember visiting him one time. It was Easter Sunday. The hospital was a big and incomprehensible place for me. My dad was in a bed, people were rushing around, wearing white. Other people were in bed. I brought my father some eggs I had colored. He told me to give one of the eggs to the man in the bed next to him, which I did. The man was very young and very nice. Turns out he was from Germany. I think he was in the hospital because of a car accident. He had no family in America. He seemed very happy to have me talk to him and give him an egg.
Many years later I was talking to my dad about this episode and he said "Remember the guy you gave the egg to in the bed next to me? He died the next day."