Monday, October 26, 2009
Dad's Coming Home
A call I received this morning had made my day.
It has been an arduous period for the whole family...the reason I was so preoccupied and not having any time at all to check my blog, let alone surf to others.
Dad is being discharged this evening from Tan Tock Seng Hospital or TTSH for short.
He was admitted last week Wednesday, 21st October 2009 after having much difficulty breathing. He had that problem, only milder, since Monday but kept it from Mom and everyone else until it was at the point of panic!
Mom called me that day, just before lunch time and sounded desperate. Dad was slouching at the sofa, gasping for air.
Elder Sis was immediately there after Mom told her, upon which we decided to call for the ambulance. "Dad's face is pale! He can't even stand up!" She told me, apparently shaken and fearful of Dad's life.
I took leave off work for the other half part of the day and rushed to the hospital. Our request for Dad to be sent to Singapore General Hospital or SGH for short, where Dad has been taken care of and had been warded several times before was turned down.
Understandably, it is their policy to send the patient to the nearest hospital to save life. TTSH was nearest to my parents' place in Woodlands.
Dad was still in Resuscitation at Accident & Emergency when I reached the hospital. Dad's name was not registered in their system when I tried to check at the A&E registry upon my arrival.
I was called a while later to Admission counter and did all the same routine of in-processing as I had done several times before this for Dad at SGH.
Dad came out looking frail, propped on the hospital bed with an oxygen mask on his face... yet he was brave enough to carve a smile for me as if to say "I'm alright now."
I smiled back, squeezed his cold hand as he was wheeled to the isolation ward on the 12th floor. We parted ways at the lift. I had to register myself now before I could enter the ward... a routine screening for Swine Flu or H1N1 Influenza, I had to go through the second time after I had one at the A&E.
Again, a series of checks by the ward nurses to get him settled with his medical history questions I had fill them in... fortunately I had them typed-in and stored in my iPhone's notepad.
And yes, fortunately too, things are much simpler since the two hospitals can share Dad's electronic medical records... TTSH retrieved them from SGH files.
Dad's condition got worse into the night. A warning came true by the attending lady doctor, Dr. Tan.
It was the most unsettling night I had ever encountered! Everyone was there, heeding the doctor's advice that it was the crucial night for Dad to get over. She termed Dad as DIL patient and advised to call family members to keep a bedside vigil.
With his BP still unstable, Dad was already falling in and out of consciousness. Numerous times, he was gasping for air and at times moaned with his hands flailing up into the air. Those moments, we thought we would loose Dad.
Everyone's lips were filled with murmuring prayers for Dad. Everyone's eyes filled with tears not wanting Dad to go.
Mom was the most devastated of all but she was much calmer than she was before, when Dad fell into unconsciousness several times while recovering after his colorectal tumor removed some 4 years ago. She cried the loudest then... "Su, don't leave." I can still remember.
True to the hero Dad is against this disease, he pulled through. Though his BP was still on the low side, he was improving every hour when the nurses checked.
A stark and frightful, most different situation several hours before when the doctors kept coming in and out of his room trying to stablise his vital signs. We felt helpless, just as bystanders then. We could only offer Dad our prayers.
By midnight, Dad's condition had significantly improved. Dad had gone through his ordeal. He was able to breathe even better each time when Ventolin was administered every 4 hours; amongst other medications like antibiotics via IV.
We finally got to see Dad opened his eyes and being alert and aware that we were there in the morning. Everyone was drained-out from last night. Both physically but mostly emotionally. Yet that morning was one of our happiest moments.
Like the sunrise through the bay window, Dad woke up and faintly asked "Where's your mother?"
Mom sad at his bedside and held his hand. They held hands for the longest time... until Dad fell back to sleep. This time a little smile on his face. I saw heaven working for them, for us.