Why My Dad is My Hero

Almost every day, at 6:30 a.m., my dad wakes up and gets ready for work. He rubs his tired eyes and pulls on one of two outfits: a suit and tie or scrubs from head to toe. He pours himself a coffee and drinks it quickly. There is not much time to savor the taste as the sun rises. When he leaves, he grabs an authorized medical mask, gloves, and disinfectant for his car. 

He drives to one of two places: the hospital or his office. Yet, days driving to the latter to see patients with scheduled appointments feel like faded memories now. He’s needed elsewhere. My dad is a doctor, an OB/GYN to be exact, not that what kind of doctor you are exactly matters anymore. Any medical training puts you on the front lines if you are willing to be.

Every single day, I am proud of what my dad does. I was proud long before the global pandemic arose, and I remain proud today. In times when things were normal, he used to bring life into the world. He is the most hardworking, courageous, and brave person I’ve ever met, and continues to be.

man holding stethoscopeNot long ago, when the pandemic started growing evidently serious, my parents were talking in the kitchen. My mom, caring for my dad, was worried about him. Under the case that Coronavirus got so bad in the state of New York, he had received an open invitation to begin assisting patients, in the case that there was a lack of doctors to do so. My mom, loving my dad, didn’t want him to put his life at risk.

He listened to her concerns, dead silent. Then, calmly, he responded with a line I will never forget. 

“Cari, I will never be afraid of dying. That’s why I chose this job… Because even if someone’s dying in front of me, I will not be afraid to help… If it was any of you and I wasn’t around, I would want someone to help—think about that. So if they ask me, I’m going.” 

My mom understood then. My dad would never turn it down. He was too altruistic, which is what we all love about him in the first place. He would never turn down helping, and our family could never even ask him to do otherwise.

woman holding syringe wearing PPEAs the Coronavirus pandemic rages on, my dad continues to deliver babies, return to the hospital, and help patients. It scares me, because I love him, but it’s also become part of my life. I’m used to him coming home and having a serious disinfectant routine. I’m used to the early mornings and the nights he stays over at the hospital. I’m used to the unease and the concern. But every day, I am so thankful for him. He always comes home and leaves work at the door, somehow making us laugh. He loves to cook dinner, especially Italian food, and he always brings my mom coffee in the morning. He would never brag, never boast, so I feel obligated to do so for him. My dad is my hero, and he is not the only one.

There are so many healthcare workers in the world today who are doing so much for us. Just like my dad, they have families, lives, and concerns for the future. They are living day-to-day fueled by the hope that they will help just one more person. These people deserve our respect, appreciation, and attention. Every time we don’t listen to the rules, we put another one of their lives at risk. They are working to make things better, as some of us are making the problem worse. 

My dad takes a large pot and swings it onto the stove. He delicately turns the knob, and it ignites. He starts chopping tomatoes, throwing in seasoning lightly. He takes a spoon and tests his mixture, furrowing his brow for a second in contemplation, then throws in a little more seasoning.

After working a full shift all night at the hospital, he’s making homemade tomato sauce. What else would he be doing? 

 

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