Dinner With Pops

A sneeze reflex left unchecked. Disastrous results.

Read on below.

I wanted to spend more time with dad this week. It’s not easy because the amount of things he can still do is pretty limited. Tonight I called him from work:

Hey, Dad. Let’s go out to dinner when I’m done with work. It's free pie day.

No, I’ve got plenty of frozen dinners—Hungry Mans.

Mmm, that sounds delicious, but why don’t we still go out, just so you can get out of the house.

That’s OK.

Aw, come on, let’s go.

All right.

See ya soon.

I’m sure I’ll be making him the frozen dinners over the next several days since Mom’s out of town at her yearly training for work. So we headed out to a local diner for food at 7. He ordered chicken fried steak. It was smothered in brown gravy along with mashed potatoes. Then he suddenly let out an enormous sneeze. It was right after a big bite of broccoli, so he shot green stuff all over the wall and his bench. Fortunately for me he had turned his head just enough to miss blowing chunks all over my baked pasta. I can either pretend small microbes of saliva missed my food entirely or call it a night. I’m not feeling too hungry anymore so I decide to skip it and order some pie.

I admit I made a calculated risk with taking him out to dinner, and tonight it blew up in my face. Huntington's patients have to take a wide variety of medications to help control their symptoms and all of them have their own unique side effects. For some reason, one of his medications makes him sneeze all the time. It seems to happen most frequently at dinner. Lucky for us. Sadly, no one wants to sit across from Grandpa at the dinner table. It’s risky business. But I also love doing things with dad and it's sad to see his health decline. I worry that going out to dinner will soon be one more thing that gets taken off the list of things he can do.

We made an attempt at cleaning up our area with napkins dipped in water, but the server would have to do a more thorough job later on. Poor guy. I need to tip a little higher than I normally do tonight. But I also realize that they can only afford to clean so much before they have to sit another waiting family down at our booth after we leave. I think about how long it will actually take to remove the last sneeze remains now residing deep down in the crevices of the cushions. How many shifts of employees will it take to fully clean up from that explosion? Is it even possible to accomplish a full 100% clean from that sneeze? I’m not exactly a germaphobe, but I still have to wonder, how many generations will pass before the last tiny sneeze particles are removed? Just another reason to stay at home and eat.