Dear Dad

Note: This post does not aim to disclose my dad's situation but this is my personal take on the day's events. I hope you respect my two cents and humor + pun added because this is how I would like to remember my Dad.

Its one of those surreal days for me. Today I lost my dad.

Upon the doctor's assessment the end days for Dad were near, Dad knew this too but we were all keeping the faith. I had a faint idea of how it might happen and it didn't seem tangible as I was enthusiastic of the idea that he would be coming home. Yet how we lost him feels so unreal. It's like flipping a page in a book and I can go back to read that page all over again with the hope that the ending would change.

His last day [10.11.12] was a day well spent for me. I was able to visit him in the ICU's first scheduled visit for the day (around 10:30 to 10:40) with high spirits as he had gradually improved from the day he was rushed to the hospital. The idea of him moving into a regular room was enough to keep me going. I was genuinely happy for Dad and told him the news that he can move out of the ICU. Me and Greg told him how nice his new room is, after checking it out. It was small but it had a window with a nice view of the trees and a good amount of sunlight would come in the window from day break. I also complemented him like a seal "Yey very good" for his improvement to which he replied in a raspy voice "we'll get there inch by inch... inch by inch".

It's a big deal of us to be able to spend our time together in a regular room. In there, we could stay with Dad for as long as we wanted to. Unlike in the ICU we had a ridiculously short visit time of 10 minutes which happens 4 times a day on tight schedule. On some days we would push our luck to go beyond the time limit.

Like the previous regular weekend spent watching over dad in the can, I used this time (if I felt the need) to sleep. I was getting sleepy from the lack of sleep form the previous evening. Dad started to have a hard time sleeping again on the night before we moved him out of ICU but his improved conditions was enough to get clearance to move into a regular room. Dad was looking forward to finally get out of his hospital gown, wear his jogging pants, and even getting out of bed just to see if he can stand on his own.

Our trip to our regular room was brief Dad started to have labored breathing after being transferred. I thought this was something he could ease out of once we get settled. After settling down I got some shut eye, peeking at dad every now and then to see if he was sleeping. Sadly he was having a hard time to fall asleep and his breathing was still slightly labored. Dad insisted that I take a nap while he tried best himself to do the same.

He had an early dinner at around 6:30 p.m. this I believe was the first time I ever fed him dinner. He had something which I think was chicken affritada, mashed potatoes with a little mixed vegetables. It actually looked and smelled good (because come on! Hospital food blehh). Even though Dad had a very small appetite he made it a point that he would eat half the chicken because he asked me " naka 1/2 na ba? sa manok" just to make sure; some mashed potatoes and I made him eat his vegetables.

Dessert was easy, included in his food tray was a small helping of gelatin. He finished it all. I was proud for the first time, I had done something like that for my dad. In my mind, I had imagined doing this even for a while longer, I wouldn't mind. Having done that for him I said to myself "If someone asks what have I done for my Dad, this is my trophy". After putting aside his food tray, the nurse came in to check up on his vitals which were low (but not out of the normal) and he burped to which I cheered "very good" and the nurse reassured him "rinig niyo yun? Very good si sir"

I stepped out of the room to have dinner with mum, came back with the urge to say a prayer as a family which mum had initiated. We prayed although most of the time I was paying more attention to Dad and I do feel bad for the half-hearted prayer. I really do. When we finished our prayer I said "good night" kissed him goodbye for the evening. I left the room smiling at him for all the reasons I can think of. I can remember this so vividly I am sure Dad saw it too. I was content and happy for him despite not knowing what lies ahead.

When I got home, I was concerned about not having done my routine exercise which I did a little of and showered. Just as I was about to settle in bed and prep-up for a new week of work, my brother got a call. I knew its not normal to get a call at that time of the night but I knew something was going on. Greg rushed me to get dressed which I surprisingly managed to do so swiftly that the next thing I knew we were on the road on the way to the hospital.

I found myself making my way to the escalator when the thought hit me that I should have taken the elevator.  Half way up to my Dad's room I didn't care if I had a flight of stairs to run further to get to mum asap. I got to Dad's room, I looked at mum. I can't tell if whatever was happening was going to be good or bad. I looked at Dad on the bed and the team of nurses looked at me momentarily from what they were doing to Dad.

I went to mum and she told me Dad had a cardiac arrest and was gone for 25 minutes. And I looked at Dad he looked like he was wide awake, he was breathing but there was a respirator on him. To myself I thought that if he is breathing like that then he should be alright but mum told me that he was revived and is now in a coma. I couldn't really understand "if" and "why" that is a bad thing. A coma should end up with the patient waking up, so that they can make a sequel for another film (well, that's the TV rule.)

Slowly I've come to realize that Dad didn't have the strength to respond with words or actions. And that was my cue to tell him what I had to say before the worse came. I honestly didn't want to have to cry with him around to hear me. It was Dad's policy of no-crying within a 5 meter radius near him. But I wasn't born a rock to not cry bub.

Mum had already informed my Auntie (who is a nurse) about dad's current situation to which Auntie suggested for us to keep talking to him. So there, I found myself choking out the words I wanted to tell him. "Dad, me and kuya are here, thank you for always being so supportive, we love you very much." After that I sat next to him and held his hand. I couldn't find myself saying anything more or else he would be hearing a Furby being strangled at his side.

Morning came and then the realization hit me again, "where would I be without Dad now?" the thought made me cry but I had to look back at the day's events before he had the cardiac arrest. That was it, mission completed I have done my part in Dad's fight for the day. Mum had to leave to get things for a longer stay so for the remaining part of the morning I watched over him, knead his feet and calves knowing that it was a long shot for trying to get a response from him. I also had to fix his tilting head with the respirator making his lying position awkward. That's when I noticed that he had been crying. That was enough for me to suppose that he heard what we all had to tell him for the last time.

I guess if I had a little more courage I would have told him to open his eyes and look out the window. There comes the sun again.

When Mum came back from the house I told Dad that I would be coming back shortly from the house. I kissed him goodbye walked away still teary-eyed and groggy. I told mum about him crying and assured her that he still can hear us for as long as he can respond that way.

Later on when me and Greg got back, we came in time to say a prayer for him. The nurse came in and told us he could no longer appreciate a heart beat from him. I turned to look at the heart beat monitor and it had that dreaded scribble I didn't want to deal with. I looked at it and felt nothing, looking back at my Dad who I still believed was still breathing was only being moved by a machine.

Hoping was futile and the reality sunk in a bit. I was truly sad at that moment. Sad for loss, sad that I would be lonely and we would have a rough road to trod without Dad.

It felt bad but surprisingly the pang from all this is not something I would take against anyone. It is God's will, and it has been done. I personally find my dad's death well prepared for. I have no regrets although I would not want to go through it again for the satisfaction.

After Dad had gone I had set out to see that he gets a nice portrait picture for his internment which I am failing so miserably at. I was going through our photos and I found it difficult to find a nice photo to layout. Not that I am saying my dad is not good looking. Dude, he reminds me of Clark Gable (wait till I find his younger photos).
This is Clark Gable, he is not my father

 Our printer is not printing his picture in the colors I want it which is pretty much my main frustration at the moment. I was looking at my old photos of me and Dad. Not a lot of which are coffee-table-book-ready. He's usually just himself in most of our photos. Just Dad as I and most of his friends know him.
Silly Dad with beer = normal dad

Dear Dad,

 Wherever you are now if you've got internet access there you better be reading this blog post dedicated to you, as well as other things I have written. I know you usually do. How else would you be so concerned about the termites in my book or my pre-employment blues? Thanks for reading. You still are very much alive in our hearts and memories.

P.S. I could use the blog hits from Heaven's I.P. address
P.P.S. Ok I will try to feature a photo of you in your youth next to Clark Gable, I never really told you that you looked like him. (or it could just be me)

1 comment:

tjm said...

Mariel,I do wish that you would get a reply from your Dad thru saying he's now in better hands and that he's proud of you...I know I would from just reading what you wrote. Rest assured we are praying for you and your family during this difficult time. May your Dad rest in peace.Be strong- Tito Ted