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.

Thank You...


  1. Thanks be to God. What a frightening time for your parents and your family. I am so glad that your Dad has recovered.

  2. Sending highest and best blessings, with a big sigh of relief knowing another hurdle is passed for your family. Two days in a row I saw the sunrise just peeking up at the horizon through the golden leaves of our white birch tree and it was ablaze! That is a vision I send to you.
    Love and good wishes,

  3. Hello Both,

    Thank you so much for your messages.

    I have never had such a frightening moment of facing the fact that I was loosing my dearest Dad before.

    I have always contemplated and somehow convinced, whether it's denial or informed reasons, to know that Dad will eventually pull through.

    I have that confidence and I carried it through to make Dad and Mom feel that things are definitely going to be alright soon after. We are only at our darkest hour but the sun will shine for Dad again.

    That was years ago. Dad was much younger and stronger then. He was at his earlier stages of the disease and knowing Dad, he is such a strong fighter.

    Nowadays, we see him loose so much weight and frail. His eyes show his slow sufferings.

    Yet he still has that same fighting spirit; only his body is no longer at par with that strong fighter instinct that is him.

    Yes, we are loosing him to this disease. He will eventually succumb to it. A predicament that I will face unwillingly, even though I know it's God's will and that is life.

    Thankful that we have him still. Only he knows how tough life is for him as the days go buy. Only he knows how much longer he is willing to fight it on.

    He knows that his children will be there for him. Always.

    Thank you again, dear friends.

  4. Oh Mudh,

    I have such feelings of understanding for you yet the words won't "type" out.

    I know how hard this all is for you and your family. One day at a time is all you can handle now. Your Dad has a strong "inner spirit" and I hope you all will have him for as long as needed, as long as it's meant to be.

    I'm so so sorry...I don't know what else to say.

    Thinking of you and your family my dear friend across the seas.

    Love and Blessings,


  5. P.S. please forgive me for misspelling your name!

  6. Hello Rhiannon,

    Thank you for you kind words. There are just so many things, so many different feelings I have in me right now... some, I cannot decipher because I cannot understand it at the moment.

    I have yet to face reality even though I seem to show practical thinking to everyone, even to myself.

    I can only feel sadness each time I look at Dad and wondering if he is indeed in pain. Wondering if he indeed wants to live longer than this borrowed time he has.

    He hides such things so well. I don't know what else any of us can do to make him feel better... become better.

    I don't know why we just have to let things be, slowly looking at him being weaker each day... eaten away by this disease.

    At least something to fight it against... some medication to slow if not stop, the disease from advancing and winning each passing minute.

    Something other than our support and prayers... I feel helpless even after I gave him my all. It seems it's not enough.

    People can live up to 90 and 100. So why can't Dad. He has been well, a strong and silent type. He lives and loves well too, so why can't we do something to help him continue to live well for longer.

    I have to admit that I am angry inside and at the same time furious that I feel this way. God willing is the part I know and must accept... but have a tough time dealing with this idea.

    I just feel helpless that I can't do more to save him. I feel that we have not exhaust all avenues to save Dad before it's too late... or is it already?

    Thanks again for being here. My apology for ranting online for everyone to see. I am a little crazy today.

  7. All of your feelings are completely valid and justified Muhd. It's normal to go through what you are going through now. It's a process and you just must try and take each day as it comes.

    Writing your feelings down here is a good way of lettings things "out" and anger is normal to.

    We are here for you.



  8. Can you speak with your father alone and let him know that you don't always feel as strong as you appear? Can you ask him how he is truly feeling within himself, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually? I found that when my mom was very ill but putting up a good front for me and my brother, I finally broke down and told her, "I don't know what I'm going to do without you," and, of course, she said, "I'm not going anywhere," but, as Life would have it, she was gone soon after. We had some very indepth conversations like we'd never had before, and sometimes people don't have those conversations because they don't want to accept that something very difficult could be happening. We never know when, but if there is indeed quiet suffering that no one really is aware of, it makes you understand the love our parents can have for us, wanting to be here for us. Why would they ever want to leave such a close and loving family as yours? All the "pre-grieving" is sometimes worse than just letting yourself be honest, vulnerable and closer than ever by being such. Of course, not everyone wants that kind of honesty and denial is a good defense and survival mechanism, also. I am just hoping I have said anything that might be helpful to you in your very difficult position, esp when you are feeling anger when you perhaps may be feeling sorrow.
    Sending great understanding,

  9. Hello Sis,

    I appreciate your honesty in sharing your difficult experience. This is something I have been thinking so much lately and am at a loss still, the same from when when we got to know news.

    I have been talking to my siblings about it especially after the Hospice Care called early this week to inform that they will come by to our parents' place to give Dad medical assistance.

    They have informed that they can help to gently reveal the truth of Dad's condition and manage the depressions my parents will go through, as well as us too.

    As the days go by, Dad will get weaker even more. They are trying to prepare everyone to the fact that it is coming, while nursing Dad periodically with the time he has left.

    We are in agreement, but I am still not 100% certain if this is the best approach.

    Your advice reaffirms the need to have it out in the open and at least gain that honestly back to everybody, even Dad.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this. It lifts some weight off my shoulders somewhat after reading your message.

    Have a good weekend. Thank you again.

  10. You & your family will remain in my thoughts as you deal with one of life's more difficult realities. When my adoptive Dad was in the last stages of life and seldom even knew who anyone was, he chose to confide in me during one of his rare lucid moments that he was tired and didn't want to get a day older. It broke my heart, but it led me to later take the decision not to artificially prolong his days. He slipped away peacefully one night after suffering a last heart failure in his sleep.

    While other family members wanted efforts to revive him at all cost, I forbade any heroic efforts and chose to let him go with dignity as was his oft stated wish. I sleep soundly knowing he didn't want to expire the way he began, helpless & in diapers. When the time comes, I'm certain your faith will show you the proper path to follow as all faiths seem to guide our way during our darker hours. My combination of Buddhism & Tribal faith served me well as did my wife's Christian faith when the subject was her parents. Take care.

  11. Gosh...thank God your dad pulled through.
    As a nurse I have seen families emerging from rooms in a state of physical and emotional exhaustion after a night of fretting for their loved one. It always made my heart feel heavy to see.
    I hope you are feeling more rested and stronger.
    We never know what each day will bring.
    My thoughts are with you and your family good friend.

  12. Heaven is/was on his side.....keeping you in my prayers still..

    Lots of love, Jess

  13. Hello All,

    Thank you for the thoughts.

    Mike | You are absolutely right. No one should live an extended life in misery and in an undignified way... not at the end of their life like that.

    I agree with you and can only pray that when it is time for my Dad to go, it will be as less painful and as dignified as he wishes to be.

    We will remember the strong and silent Dad that he is. I will especially remember the macho, bodybuilder Dad I look up to when I was little and the sportsman he was then... always waking me up in the weekend mornings to go jogging with him, Dad.

    We will make him as comfortable to be at home and with his family as much as possible for the amount of time he has with us. Thank you, friend.

    Ellen | It has been tough for me personally which leads me to think how tough a nurse job has to be to have to witness sad situations now and then at the hospital.

    I is tough to see my Dad getting weaker by the day, things that he loves to do, he is not doing it anymore like gardening.

    It is even tougher for him but I will never know how tough simply because he seldom complain of any pain until it becomes obvious to see. That's Dad for us.

    Jess | He has had many close calls and pulled through many times. He is strong-willed and that made him triumphant over those tough situations... definitely with God's will.

    And it will be God's will to take him when it is time. We can only thank The Almighty for the times we have with Dad and many chances given.

    Thank you all again for your kind words and thoughts. Take care.


Hello Everyone,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your messages. I will also try to answer any questions you may have for me.

Thanks again and have a good day.

Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger