Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Dad, My Hero

While on the way to work this morning, the song "Butterfly Kisses" (by Bob Carlisle) began playing on my iPod. Whenever I hear this song, an enormous lump begins to form in my throat. This was my wedding song. When you hear the lyrics, it is all about a father-daughter relationship and how a dad is just about to give his daughter away.
I know I haven't written much about my dad because I still feel it to be a sensitive topic --for me,that is. Although he went ahead of Mom by 1 1/2 years, I still am very much affected by his death.
As mentioned, dad was a drinker. According to my Aunts (his sisters), they noticed Dad's transition from social drinking to alcoholism when he started working right after college. And I do remember that Dad's drinking was a problem ever since I was born. Yes my Dad was an alcoholic but he never hurt me or my Mom physically, he was not a womanizer, he was not a gambler. In fact come to think of it, my Dad was a happy drunk. The worst my Dad would get when drunk was irritating. I love my Dad terribly. Although we had our own share of debates, arguments, fights and misunderstandings -- I love my Dad.
On April 5, 2004, around lunch time, while I was at work, my husband called me up and said that my dad collapsed at home and that they had just rushed him to the ER. I panicked. My shift that day would end at 3PM so I was debating with myself whether I should leave work and risk a flunked evaluation (at that time,I was tutoring ESL to Koreans while finishing my last semester in school) or finish my shift and go to the hospital right after work. My co-workers saw how anxious I was and they advised me to leave work instead since I would not be able to concentrate anyway. So leave work it was. When I got to the ER, Dad was there, fully conscious. I held his hand and he squeezed back. I asked how he felt and he said "It's very painful." I didn't ask what was painful anymore. I knew that everything inside must have been painful. And for my Dad to say that he felt pain really meant that IT WAS PAINFUL. They continued doing tests on Dad. Also, that day, I was to pick up my hard bound copies of my thesis from the printing press so that I could submit it in time for my graduation on the 22nd of April. So after I saw that Dad was being taken cared of in the hospital, I told him I would run to the printers first to get my hardbound thesis. Boy, you should have seen the smile on his face. So a little after 5PM, I went back to the hospital and by this time Dad was already in his private room. Mom was with him the whole time but you could see how scared and worried Mom was. When I entered Dad's room, I showed him my thesis and all he could do was look at me. I asked my Mom why Dad couldn't talk and she said she also didn't know why, she was still waiting for the doctor. Jet and I had to leave the hospital becasue Josh was waiting for us at home with my Aunt. Josh was only 2 years old then.
On the way home, I didn't know what to think. What was happening? What would happen next. I sent Mom a message on her mobile and I told her to keep me updated. Later during the night, Mom called me up. She said Dad wasn't waking up anymore and that they were going to transfer him to the ICU. Both Mom and I were crying. I didn't know what to think. I said I would be in the hospital first thing in the morning. Later that night, Mom texted me and told me that things didn't look good.
The next day, April 6, 2004, I went to see Dad. It was their 23rd wedding anniversary with Mom that day. He looked terrible. He no longer had control of his eyes. But when I started to talk, he started to wave his hand in the air as if looking for where I was. So I took his hand and held it tight. I reminded him that it was their wedding anniversary with Mom and he squeezed my hand when he heard me say that. -So now I'm crying- He had all these machines attached to him. According to the doctor, he had liver cirrhosis, hernia, gall stones and his kidney seemed to be failing. I was like God what is this, 2 days ago I was talking to him and he seemed perfectly fine and now my Dad cannot even see me. My head was spinning. My asked me to do some errands and get clothes for her and Dad as she too was going to the bank to withdraw some cash.
And then Mom called. She just got a call from the hospital. They put Dad on the respirator. I didn't say anything. I just put down the phone and cried.
Dad never admitted to his alcoholism. He never complained when he was in pain. He never went to see a doctor. And the last thing he would want right now would be for his friends to see him in the hospital. But I felt that it was time to inform his 2 bestfriends. Uncle Mon and Uncle Joe. Dad was a media man. After leaving a career with IBM in Manila, he decided to come back homw to Baguio and work with his father (my grandfather) at our local newspaper which our family owned. There he met Uncle Mon and Uncle Joe. I called Mom and told her to get in touch with both his friends.
When I arrived back in the hospital, Dad was on the machine and both his eyes were covered with patches. According to the doctor, he no longer could close his eyes on his own. He was scheduled for a CT Scan as it seemed that he had a stroke. At this point, Dad really looked like a gonner. I felt that what they were doing to him would no longer have any effect on the condition he was in. But Mom and I just told the doctors to do whatever they could do. CT Scan results showed swelling on Dad's left brain. It looked like a massive stroke. By this time, Dad was already in a coma. Tired, Mom told me to go on home. My Aunts and Uncles and all other relatives were also in the hospital. So Mom said she would be ok that Jet and I better be home with Josh.
Later that night, Mom arrived. She was supposed to stay the night in the hospital but all her friends saw how tired and drained she was that's why they convinced her to come home. My 2 Aunts volunteered to night watch.
The next day, April7, 2004 I was in the shower getting ready to leave for the hospital. I heard one of my Aunts call Jet. And then Jet came in the house. I had just gotten out from the shower. He quietly says, "Dad's gone." I go wild. I become hysterical. I throw my clothes, kick the chairs and I remember I just kept shouting " I don't have a Daddy anymore." Jet tried to calm me down but he couldn't and then he hugs me tightly and I break down.
I go up to see my Mom. She was smoking. I embraced her and then we cried. She told me that we were to choose what Dad would wear. We looked thru Dad's suits and decided that he would wear the mocha brown suit he wore when he and Mom got married on April 6, 1981. We packed his things and headed off to the hospital to settle the bill and bring Dad to the morgue. On the way, Mom and I started to text the family and other friends about Dad's passing. A few minutes away from the hospital, my Mom gets a call from one of her close friends who happens to be a doctor in the hospital and saya that Dad was revived. WHAT!?!? Jet steps on the gas. When we get to the hospital, Dad doesn't look any better. It's just that he was revived. They were able to resuscitate him. The doctors tell us that he can go into a cardiac arrest again anytime. I told Mom to sign the DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form then I stayed by Dad's side. Mom and I agreed that with my Dad's condition at this time, resuscitation should no longer be an option. My Aunts who were there told me to just keep talking to him. I did. I kept saying sorry to him for all the hurt I caused him, I told him I loved him very much. I was crying. I embraced him and held him tight. Mom was there. She leaned on Dad's chest. Everyone was crying by this time. I was watching Dad's monitor, he was about to go into another arrest. So I told Mom to keep talking to him. We just kept telling him how much we loved him. And then toooooooooooooooooooooooot. Flat Line.


Jennboree said...

OH wow...that broke my heart to read but your story was so well written. The fact that you can write of your parents' deaths speaks volumes of your strength and intense love for them both. Putting thoughts and emotions into words is the most difficult.

I do not know you but I send you big hugs and prayers of strength.

Jen3 @ Amazing Trips said...

Oh gosh, I am so sorry for your loss ... BOTH of your parents - over such a short period of time. It certainly sounds like you had a wonderful mom and dad, though. Sadly, not very many people are so lucky.

Best wishes & also, I'm sending along my prayers to you for strength and healing.

MomSquared said...

I am sorry for your loss.

FWIW, I was the same after (and before) my mom died. Throwing things, yelling, crying, bawling. Not easy.

I cried reading your story and I thank you for sharing it.