My father is sick. He's very sick and in the hospital an entire state away. I'm freaking my fucking shit. Of course I am, he's my father. Well... That is, I mean, I was raised with him as my father, but it's possible that he isn't. Biologically speaking. Because I wasn't born with flippers.
Err... Allow me to 'splain: My father was born a Thalidomide baby. Now, if your only reference for that term comes from "We Didn't Start the Fire," you may not be aware of what it actually means, so I'll tell you. I love to share.
Thalidomide is a sedative-hypnotic and multipe pyeloma medication. It was developed by a German pharmaceutical company and sold from 1957 to 1961 after inadequate tests were performed to assess safety. The drug is a potent teratogen in rabbits and (this will become important in just a second) PRIMATES including HUMANS: this means that severe birth defects may result if the drug is taken during pregnancy.
You see where I'm going with this. I know you do. Don't you? Fine, then let me quote from my good friend, Wikipedia, to spell it out:
Thalidomide was chiefly perscribed to pregnant women as a drug to combat morning sickness and help them sleep. Approximately 10,000 children in Africa and Europe were born with severe malformities, because their mothers had taken the drug while gestating. The impact of the drug was much smaller because FDA-approval was denied here, with approximately 17 babies born bearing its effects.
My father was one of thethose babies.
What the fuck are the odds, huh.
SO. When Thalidomide babies grow up into real people and have little squirts of their own, those babies are (GENERALLY) born with defects as well, because the genetic structure of the parent has been significantly compromised by the drug. For example: my father was born with a deformed right arm being his major defect. My older sister was born with severely clubbed legs, six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Both of them were incredibly lucky, given the horrific extent of some defects children were born with (no faces, no spines, fused legs, appendages coming out of odd places, etc.)
Again, I'll mention: I was born without any physical defects. It is possible, of course, that my father's genes were not damaged enough to pass on to me in a noticable way; however, looking at my sister, that argument isn't worth the powder it'd take to blow it to hell because hello, extra toes, how are you?
Not that any of this REALLY matters even a LITTLE bit, because as I mentioned: He is my father. I was raised with him as my father, so it doesn't matter that my incredible sister may not be mine entirely, or that the drug his mother was given by a doctor without scruples may have served to further weaken his heart (on top of a long family history of heart disease and a number of other health problems and lifestyle choices,) or that he and I may not share genetic proof that we're related. What matters is that my father is sick and he's in a hospital in another state.
Oh yeah, and did I mention, I'm freaking my shit?