Worried I ‘d Get my Dad Sick

Clint Oka
4 min readJun 23, 2021
Photo by Ante Hamersmit on Unsplash

Growing up surfing in Hawaii. Hiking the lush green mountains. Swimming in the blue sea. My dad has always shown me how it’s done.

I have an older brother and would always follow him around. I would act like he would act. I was a typical younger brother idolizing his older brother.

One night we were watching a scary movie and I went to go to the bathroom. Not really thinking about anything I exited the bathroom and walked back to the living room, when something jumped out at me.

I screamed for my brother to help me. I looked to him for safety!

Then I realized it was my brother covered by a white sheet. I was not amused, but we did bust out laughing.

Things have changed now, but sometimes I miss how it was back then. I wonder if they ever think about those moments.

It was 2021 twenty years later. I woke up in the morning with a sore throat. I was not happy, concerned about the coronavirus. I did want to get my parents sick.

I was unsure, because it’s almost inevitable to spread it while living together.

I decided to stay in my room. Couple days passed and I still have a sore throat, so I decided to get tested for COVID.

I googled COVID tests and came up with CVS longs, I assumed they were testing so I went down and to my disappointment they were not testing.

I came home and gave up. Too tired to find the real testing site. That’s when my mother jumped in and researched and found a testing site for that Saturday.

She was always watching over me. Not in a bad way, but supporting. Not overbearing, but kind.

I woke up on Saturday and set out for the clinic. I arrived half an hour early, but there were tents setup in the parking lot.

The sun was already up and beating down on the site.

When they finally opened, there was an intake man. He started by asking standard questions like did I have a cough? Did I have a fever?

He looked sharp in his crisp uniform and I admired his badges hanging from his shirt. There was a younger man with clean cut hair. Looked like he just got the haircut that morning.

The man checking me in was teaching another younger man. As the younger man listened to the instructions he kept saying okay. A little while into the registration. The young man tells the older man maybe I want to move out of the bright sun and into the shade.

The young man was more quick than the older man. Well the older man was busy with the forms. But it just shows how the student can become the master.

It got me thinking, will I be able to be a man when my father is gone? Hard question!

My father is a hard man to live up to. He literally built our house. He was a fire chief. Good husband and father.

I even told him he’s hard to live up to.

But he wisely told me I’ll have my own unique accomplishments!

So I tried to stop comparing.

I haven’t been a manager or had kids so I don’t know what it’s like to mentor someone.

But maybe mastering myself was its own dream.

To become independent was taught to me since preschool. If I think about it, I was learning and studying for all my life in the hope of one day becoming an adult and contributing to society.

I am living with schizoaffective disorder, which is a combination of schizophrenia and a major mood disorder.

Living with a disability has slowed down my goal for becoming independent.

It’s something that bothers me everyday.

If I can’t take care of myself how can I even take care of someone else?

But this is not true just being me I have affected other people.

I shouldn’t be so insecure about my situation and just accept what I can do.

I wonder if my parents worry about what is going to happen to me when they pass away. I’ve seen other parents of someone with a mental illness worry about what is going to happen to their child.

What defines a real man? In the media it is portrayed as the strong but silent type. A loner who can take care of himself.

I’m well past 18 and still wonder if I am a man.

Some would say someone doesn’t really become a man until his father dies.

I am not saying I want my father to die, but it is interesting to look at the relationship between a father and his son.