It came, it saw, it conquered

i am still angry. i know i shouldn’t be. but i still am. one month later.

people have been saying that my dad was ill for only a short time. he was sick for only five weeks after his cancer diagnosis.

that’s not true.

he had been ill for at least five years. and since two years ago, had lost his appetite. he became very picky about his food. his fever had returned more regularly. his nightly chills too.  he was hospitalised thrice, two of which was an emergency. his back pain was bothering him even more. his shoulder pain too.

i had high hopes for him to recover from this. he had always come out on the other side all right. he was hospitalised THREE times, and all the times, he was well again (relatively). he was back on his small motorcycle, running errands, buying groceries, minding the garden/plants, weeding, visiting his father’s and mother’s graves, meeting his friends, and doing all sorts of things he regularly did when he was well.

when he did not want to go to the hospital even when he was sick, he’d lie down in his bed or watch tv, and swallow some pills for his pain, ride the pain, and wait for the phase to go by. the moment he was well enough to get up and walk again, he’d be doing all sorts of things he regularly did!

so, i was hoping for something like that again, this time.

he fought though. he fought so hard in those five weeks, especially the first two weeks, when he was still well enough to get up, sit up, walk (albeit with help), speak and respond to our questions.

i am angry because he had fought so hard, and lost.

i had noticed that his health began to take a turn since five years ago. his back pain had become a burden for him. my fear was kidney damage due to his diabetes. most people think it was just some complications.

but my father had endured the cancer for at least five years.

all the time, he endured the pain; not getting it checked out. even when he was hospitalised, no one bothered to check his kidneys. people, even the doctors  thought it was due to the diabetes, his smoking habit, his heart and stuff like that.

i am angry because many had a chance to find out what was really wrong, but no one did.

i was by his side, watching his health deteriorated every day. and every day, hoping that it was just a  phase he had to go through before he gets better; just like those days when he rode his pain, took some painkillers and sleep it off.

we tried to make him comfortable. we tried to cure him too. a lot of it is perhaps against his will. but we’ll never know. he hated to be in the hospital, but in the five weeks since the diagnosis, we took him to the hospital three times. we wanted him to get better.

i am angry because our optimism didn’t help. i am angry because it didn’t make him better.

in his final week with us, i noticed that he was lighter. he hadn’t been eating so he had lost a lot of weight. his skin seemed so thin. in his bed, all that could sink, sunk on him – his abdomen, his chin, his temple, his collar. when i moved him, he followed relatively easily. when i sit him up, it felt like he was doing it more on his own. it felt like he had gained his strength, even when everything else wasn’t indicating that he was.

i am angry because in the final week, we were waiting more than doing anything.

that thursday, his gaze began to be long and distant.  his feet had dropped. his ears had dropped. he was in more pain, at almost regular interval. morphine solution didn’t help. we talked about taking him to the hospital but  my mother didn’t want him to be there, because she said she didn’t want him to die there.

she knew. she saw it coming. she had seen those signs when her own father was dying.

i did too. deep in my heart i knew it was near. but i didn’t want to give up yet. there were still a lot of other things to try to cure him from this cancer. stage four sounds bad, but it’s not too late. it’s never too late. so i made an appointment to see my father’s doctor on my own. other siblings looked at other options.

on friday, my appointment with the doctor was at 3 pm. my sister called another doctor to come to the house at 6 pm. i told my father quietly, “hang in there, dad! help is coming.”

my father passed away at 2.40 pm.

when my eldest sister called out for me from my father’s room, i was in the driveway, pushing my motorcycle towards the street because i didn’t want the engine to wake up my father, on my way to the hospital. when i got to his side, his heart had already stopped beating. he had stopped breathing.

i am angry because we didn’t try everything we could to make him better.

i am angry because we didn’t get a chance to try everything we could.

i am angry even when i knew i shouldn’t be.

God, please forgive me.

father, please forgive me. i owe you so much and haven’t had a chance to pay you back. i’m sorry….


Posted on 2012/08/12, in Thoughts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. My grandma and my ex partner’s parents died of cancer within 5 years of initial diagnosis despite having undergone radiotherapy and chemotherapy. If there is a cure for cancer, Steve Jobs, Patrick Swayze, Datin Endon, Anita Mui etc would still be alive today.

    I’m sorry the doctors did not link the complaints of chills, fevers and pain experienced by your dad to something more serious. I’m sure he saw different doctors each time he went in and no doctors took the trouble to go through his medical history and analyse his complaints and send him for further tests. But some cancers are slow growing while some are aggressive. And some signs and symptoms only present itself at a very late stage. Even if the cancer was caught 5 years ago, there is no telling your dad would still be alive today. Fate is in the hand of God.

    I empathize with you, the anger, the pain, frustration, remorse, the feeling of helplessness but don’t beat yourself up over matters you have no control over.

    You have a long life ahead, live it well, make your dad proud and take care.

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