The Littlest Caregiver
a short essay
by Melissa Yuan-Innes
Published by Olo Books
In association with Windtree Press
I helped my father to the hospital bathroom. He flapped his gown up and I was horrified to realize he wasn't wearing anything underneath.
"Are you okay, Dad? I'll be just outside," I yelped and escaped.
"I don't want to see my dad's ass," I later told a friend who had lost her father to cancer.
"Really? It didn't bother me. Washing him, changing him, it was no big deal."
It was a big deal to me. Ever since my father had been diagnosed with an aggressive form brain cancer almost a year and a half ago, I'd tried to give as good care as I could. Since I'm an emergency doctor, I could handle the imaging, asking for second opinions, pushing for faster and better treatment. But the actual caretaking, I fumbled.