Monday, January 04, 2010
We Love You
It is the New Year.
With Dad's exact birth date unknown, except for his birth year in 1926, his birthday is defaulted to first January. So in essence, everyone celebrated his birthday at the stroke of midnight.
All the celebrations, fireworks and balloons released on New Year's was celebrated without Dad. He has been in the hospital for over a month now. He pleaded much to return home after staying over at the hospital for the second week.
It was heartbreaking to turn down his request, for there was hope that he would at least recover from his breathlessness that has kept him awake most nights for several weeks prior to his A&E admission to SGH.
The whole family spent New Year's eve and day at the hospital. Dad was termed DIL or under Dangerously Ill List. His condition turned for the worst since Friday.
Since there was nothing more that the doctors at SGH could do for Dad except palliative, we decided to bring Dad back to his home... to his familiar surroundings... his corridor garden, his kitchen, his bed.
Dad has a week to live. It will be miracle to be with him still next week.
I took the afternoon day off work today and headed down to SGH to sign the Terminal Release form after understanding the risks involved and the agreed consensuses from all my siblings and brothers-in-law.
It was heartbreaking to hear him told me that I lied to him about coming home... he said that when I told him that he was going home this afternoon. He did not believe me until the ambulance paramedic told him so.
I did not lie to him. I told him that he needed to stay to receive the antibiotics via PICC line for a month. That was after he had to take TB medications when the doctors suspected that he had TB and isolated him.
That was when his whole body become "de-conditioned" or muscle dystrophy after being confined to the bed; his fighting spirits diminished after isolated in that TB room all by himself for that 2 weeks. The limited visiting hours we had were just not enough to soothe his loneliness.
They told him that it was not TB after that period but another non-contagious TB-like strain; thus the 1 month course of antibiotics they had him switched over.
Dad, lying on the ambulance stretcher, smiled at me... his first smile since his admission into the TB isolation ward, while we were waiting for the ambulance to pull-up at the pick-up point.
On the journey to my parents' home, Dad was in and out of consciousness. My eldest brother and I were in the ambulance with Dad. The paramedic told us to say some prayers for Dad which Dad murmured and followed through together.
It was quite a scary ride because the doctor had already cautioned that he might not make it through the 30 minutes ride home. It was to be a one-way ride home. It will not turn back to the hospital if anything adverse were to happen to Dad along the way.
Knowing Dad, I had faith that he would reach home. I smiled inside wider than anyone I know.
He misses it so much... he loves his home... his plants and be together with Mom. They are inseparable. It is their sanctuary. Their blissful Eden.
He smiled so wide until I could see his dimple when the paramedic told him that we had reached his home. A second smile in a day! That was glorious to witness.
We had the 3-crank hospital and the oxygen concentrator ready, waiting for him at home. All things were done within the span of few hours upon the receipt of news from the doctor that Dad was not going to make it past this week.
All the family members came... stopped their daily life's chores to be with Dad. Many relatives came by too. Giving prayers and lent Mom a crying shoulder.
It was a solemn afternoon affair but personally, I was not able to stop to feel those moments because I was in the middle of all the arrangements and co-ordinations... include a quick, crash-course on nursing care with my other siblings.
I made myself memorise... with much difficulty, the names of the medicines that Dad is given, including the 5-day duration portable pump for his IV morphine being dispensed consistently via his PICC line.
For now, Dad's condition is stable but we know only for a while longer...