Creative gift for an ailing but tough dad
March 29, 2011 12:33 PM   Subscribe

What kind of unique gift or treat could I send to my dad in Arizona, who's had a rough time with some recent chemo treatments?

I'd love to send myself via plane, but that isn't feasible for a variety of reasons. In the past, I've ordered dinner and had it delivered to his house, regular care packages with homemade cookies, stuff like that.

This time I want it to be a little more unique, more tailored to his interests and his situation. He's mid-50's, lives alone, has a crazy cat, loves good coffee, motorcycles, into music/audio equipment and classic comedy movies. He's smart as hell and has a wacky sense of humor. Not a drinker, not into sports stuff. Has toughed it out through four years of cancer treatments, and the most recent ones have been rough and caused some complications.

I was thinking of sending a mixtape and some sort of baked goods, but I cant help but think there's something cooler I could send, or have sent, from the Phoenix area. I'm pretty creative with gift-giving, but it's a bit tougher when I can't do it in person.

Any ideas?
posted by rachaelfaith to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
coffee? how about a coffee of the month club membership?
posted by sabh at 12:45 PM on March 29, 2011

Best answer: If he likes movies, a gift subscription to Netflix would be fun.
What about making a date night where you both clear your schedules and "have dinner" together?
Can he still ride? Maybe rent a super cool bike for a weekend?

I'll say a prayer for healing. Best of luck in finding the perfect thing!
posted by littleflowers at 12:50 PM on March 29, 2011

How about a few DVDs, some popcorn, and new cozy pyjamas, and plans for a movie night "together" via skype?
posted by aimedwander at 12:51 PM on March 29, 2011

Response by poster: I should probably have specified a budget... maybe I could afford to pick out a couple types of coffee instead of a membership, but I'm aiming to keep the whole dealio under, say, $100.

Netflix is a really great idea, can't believe I didn't think of that. I'll have to check and make sure he doesn't already have it, but something tells me he doesn't.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:52 PM on March 29, 2011

It's pricey, but what about a cheap netpad or tablet. The treatment center likely has wifi, and engrossing entertainment is a good antidote to discomfort. Most of all, lots of good cheer. If your email will do 'delayed send' send several jokes/stories/youtube links, etc. throughout the day. Also, let him know that it's okay to be down, discouraged, etc., with you. Be there to listen. Amazingly, when my brother was dying, he always wanted to help me with some issues I was having. I think it made him feel less powerless about something in his life. Check your Dad's cues, ask him what he'd really like, and tell him a bunch of your Imaginary Friends on some website are sending him prayers, healing thoughts, and best wishes.
posted by theora55 at 1:05 PM on March 29, 2011

Best answer: Cat toys. He will enjoy the heck out of the cat's enjoying the toys.

The main four cat toy food groups are: feathers, real fur, rolly bouncy balls, and string (a.k.a. birds, mice, bugs, and snakes). If you know which of the four is the cat's favorite, go with that.

Any of the first three _on_ a string or a wand can be fun.

If the cat likes catnip or chewing on things, definitely get a catnip banana.

And if you really, really want to make everyone happy, and if your dad has room, and you can get it delivered, then a big old cat tower ($140-$200) would be awesome. Your dad will love watching the cat climb, scratch, or even sleep on it. The cat will probably like anything new.
posted by amtho at 1:51 PM on March 29, 2011 [2 favorites]

When I was recuperating from an illness recently, a bunch of my friends sent me I-tunes gift cards, all in small amounts, but combined, added up to a pretty hefty sum of $75.

Being able to download music that cheered me up, buy apps that helped in my recuperation, and listen to downloaded books that helped me go to sleep at night - I can't even tell you how much I appreciated being able to do all of that without ever worrying about how to pay for it. It felt weirdly...decadent, especially on days when I felt particularly down or depressed.
posted by HeyAllie at 2:15 PM on March 29, 2011

Would he like anything like a massage or something similar that you could arrange? Especially if he's had a rough time with chemo, something physically soothing might be really welcome right now.
posted by scody at 3:12 PM on March 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: As far as I know, hes not really into massages/pampering, but I know I'd like it if it were me, haha. I like the idea of a tech gift, but he works for a pretty high-profile technology company and could probably get gadgets cheaper/more easily than I could.

So far, I'm thinking I'll put together a care package with 2 or 3 pounds of unique coffee, some cat toys, and something homemade, and set up a Netflix subscription.

And maybe a MeFi account.
posted by rachaelfaith at 3:21 PM on March 29, 2011

Along HeyAllie's line of thought-- another alternative might be an audible subscription for audio books. One of my friends found them to be a good form of entertainment when they had no energy to do anything else.
posted by tangaroo at 7:30 PM on March 29, 2011

Don't send him his favourite foods or drinks. If the chemotherapy makes him nauseous, he could develop taste aversions and find himself unable to enjoy them once he recovers. Instead, send him treats that are an unfamiliar twist on what he usually enjoys. Coffee with unusual flavouring, for example, or baked goods from a culinary tradition not his own. That way, when he's trying to re-gain lost weight at the end of his treatment, he won't find himself gagging at the taste of his go-to comfort foods.
posted by embrangled at 10:19 PM on March 29, 2011

« Older Phrases & aphorisms to calm the...   |   Can you identify a supreme court case based on the... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.