Sunday, June 28, 2009
Hard To Swallow
That is exactly how I feel every time I think about it.
My Sis called me to inform that Mom told her Dad was feeling unwell. He was complaining of pain in his throat whenever he swallowed.
He cut back on eating for the past two weeks because he was not having much appetite. The vitamins the doctor gave did little for him, but he did keep eating in small portions throughout the day.
We can see that he is loosing weight by the day. His collar bones are showing much as his chest has sunk into his body. The old age is showing so much on him.
What worried Mom and us was when he cut back on drinking water too. Only when Mom persisted to know what was going on with Dad that he told her... with a condition not to let me know.
I was saddened to hear that Dad feels that I am too aggressive to handle his medical condition than think about him, which somehow leads him ending up in the hospital... his worst dread.
I suppose it is true to some extend. I just wanted to arrest the matter at hand as early a stage as possible so that he does not have to suffer unnecessarily if I can help it.
I called Dad's Oncologist to switch his end month follow-up appointment to immediate. I got a slot for the next day from Dr. Lo SK. I called Mom and told her a white lie.
Elder Sis made me promise not to let Mom know that she told me. I told Mom that Dr. Lo was going on a vacation, so she either was pushing the appointment ahead to tomorrow or later which will be next month. I told her I picked the next day knowing that Dad's cough medicine was running low and needed another replenishment.
I really hope that Mom bought the reason, because I just cannot forgive myself if she knew that I lied to her about it.
I took the afternoon leave off work to accompany Dad to the National Cancer Centre on Tuesday, 23 July 2009 afternoon. Mom stayed home, so it was just Dad and me. Dad made us take the train.
His appointment was at 1:40PM. We reached and registered at Clinic A just in time. There was still the Swine Flu screening going on at the entrance of the hospital, but the entry process was not cumbersome, fortunately.
Dr. Lo was as usual calm and smiling, with a listening ear. She noticed that Dad has reduced his weight a further 1.5 KG. She examined Dad to be otherwise in good health. The compaint of the painful swallowing was either a side effect from the radiotherapy, which she suspected, or fungal infection in the throat.
She gave Dad Megestrol Acetate antibiotics for the throat and to numb the pain before meals with Lidocaine. To increase Dad's appetite, Dr. Lo gave Fluconazole. Since Dad's cough is not as rampant and harsh as before, she changed the cough syrup to Rhinathiol Promethazine to supress the phelgm.
One good thing is that Dad's sputum does not have blobs of blood anymore, just little specks of pinkish dots like before.
Dr. Lo informed me that there is nothing more that she can do for Dad except to treat whatever symptom that he encounters. Whatever the treatment will only be palliative. She thinks that because of his age and the advance stage of his cancer, Dad cannot endure further chemotherapy that was stopped after the 3rd cycle when Dad was found to have a blood clot in his heart from a routine CT Scan.
Dad looked forward to drinking coffee at SGH's KopiTiam canteen. He likes the coffee there from the very first time I took him there. I have to agree... they do serve good coffee.
Amazingly, Dad was already hungry and finished a whole plate of Tahu Goreng before I could finish my Ayam Penyet or Javanese Chicken Rice.
He told me that it was quite painful for him to swallow his food each time. The pain would be felt from his throat and all the way down almost to the stomach.
Yet, Dad endured the pain and looked happy for some reason. Most probably he likes being out of the confines of the house.
Dad even ordered some sandwiches to go for both Mom and himself to eat for supper!
His appetite seemed good after the consultation. It may be psychological, but it worked for him, so I take it any time.
He looked a little frail nowadays but otherwise was really in good mood and alert today. Nowadays Dad needs to walk with the aid of a walking stick. My wish is for Dad to enjoy life as much as he can, with or without a walking stick.