When Hope is the Placebo Drug.

Daddy has been admitted again in the hospital and the last few days has honestly been a tumultuous turn of events with drastic changes. Last Tuesday (9th July), he had a few instance of SOB which worried me as it was a sign of another cardiac trouble. He has been through 3 attacks safely, albeit growing weaker after each episode but I never stopped hoping he will make it through.

9th July was the shortness of breath and the (almost) abuse state of GTN and it worried me and everyone around us. But knowing that he won’t get to see his favorite cancer doctor, Dr Satish Kumar, he refused to go to the hospital even though the Haematology ward were more than willing to help.

It is typically what daddy is like; he doesn’t like to trouble others no matter how gravely ill he is. That night, I can barely sleep. Being the primary caregiver since I overtook mummy earlier in 2013, I have to say that the roller-coaster emotions that one feels when the patient is in such a state scares me. Each time it happens, my heart skips a beat and I always think I will collapse from cardiac arrest or something.

While mummy was getting ready to bring him to the hospital, he sat at the kitchen with me and had a distanced look. After probbing he said this exact line which until now that I think about it, hits me like a ton of bricks.

“Papa merana sakit, lagi baik kalau Papa mati.”

Translated to English, it means, “Papa is finding it real hard, I am suffering. I think it is better if I die so that the pain will go away.”

When he said that, I chided him for giving up hope. I didn’t chide because I didn’t care / understand what he was feeling. I chided him for cursing his life. I know it is hard going through endless needles, chemotherapies, ECGs, cocktail of drugs etc but I do know God has His reason behind it. Even if He wants to test papa, I know He won’t test him until he breaks.

God isn’t cruel, He test His people to the level that he knows they can cope; they will bend, but they will never break.

But who am I to say what papa goes through? I am not the one in his shoes, only He knows what papa is going through every single waking moment.

10th July, he was feeling “uncomfortable”, the chest pains did subside as the GTN intake but my heart prayed and hoped so hard that he will be able to make it through to the appointment on the next day. His temperature was on the high 37 side, SO mentioned it prolly was his body trying to fight the infection that is causing him to weaken.

11th July, Dr Satish mentioned that papa’s HB levels are low and so are his platelets and CSM/P levels and that confirmed my findings over the last few weeks. I am no doctor but having a SO as a medic, helps a whole lot in me concluding certain behavioral patterns on a person. He says that papa must be admitted to boost up his red blood, white blood, bone marrows and immunity so that he can be better to take the next round of chemotherapy. He was fine when he was wheeled in, happy and joyful as ever and I was hopeful that he will be able to be discharged by Saturday as he promised to treat me a Banquet dinner for my birthday.

I never was happier to hear that.

12th July, I came alone to keep him company. I did my usual treats for him; video-called mummy for him, massaged him, talked to him as per usual. Then he told me he had a hectic night of transfusion. He was transfused with 2 pints of blood, 1 of platelets and 1 of antibiotics. He had needles and strips of plaster on various parts of his limbs and they even IV him on the inner right ankle as his limb vessels collapse when they were trying to IV from the arms.

I asked him if it was painful?

My strong daddy said, “No pain, nothing.”

How much of pain did he hide behind that face of his is beyond me. He knew that I wanted assurance that he wasn’t in any pain as if he were, he knows I would follow-up with the medical team caring for him. So he lied, just so that his daughter can have a good sleep that night.

The sacrifice of a father – even when he isn’t my biological father – transcends every boundary there is in the world.

But he told me, “Sorry okay dear, Papa cannot treat you to Banquet dinner.” Then I told him not to be sorry, that he will be discharged very soon and that if he can’t treat me, I will gladly treat him.

But he insisted that he won’t be able to treat me.

He also thanked me profusely for everything.

And he smiled, his big Cheshire cat smile which always warms my heart.

Maybe he saw that his time is coming. Maybe he already knew it was quickly running out. Maybe, God gave him that sign. Maybe he thought it was the only moment he had left to speak before he lost his sense of talking.

I shrugged it as a passing comment.

Maybe papa was tired from the last 24 hours of extensive transfusion which he said was rough hence he said something like that. He didn’t get much sleep when they were transfusing him as they had to monitor his vital signs every ten minutes. Maybe he was indirectly telling me to cease hoping. Maybe he was trying to tell me something that I don’t know. Maybe. It will always remain a question mark.

But little did I know, I would be the last person to see him alive, smiling, talking and the same papa that I knew. 

13th July, I came earlier than the day before and I noticed he wasn’t being responsive. The ward nurse Azrin mentioned that he had been that way since the time he took over. He didn’t respond to anyone who called, didn’t want to eat nor drink, his eyes were half open, his left arms was fidgetting and he wasn’t his usual cheery self; he looked exceptionally hazy / groggy. He was breathing hard and even though I was exceptionally worried about his vital signs, the nurse assured that his SpO2 was at 100%, his BP and pulses were normal and that he will get the ECG done if that can help me rest easy. I told the family to come by at night to see him as maybe with their presence, he will respond better.

He didn’t.

But I reassured the family that he is in such a state as his antibiotics was very strong and drowsy. They bought the lie, but I know it was only time before they know the truth. I guess I was a coward, I rather face the truth on my own than to have mummy know everything. After all, when it comes to fragility, mummy is a permanent resident. I didn’t sleep well at night, as I knew my gut feeling says he wasn’t getting out of that state anytime soon. Even SO tried to reassure me but I knew, he was lying to cushion the blow on me too.

(I can’t write beyond 13th July for the moment, it will take up another 2000 words and I will continue crying while I type this post out so I should go and get a hold of myself. My eyes are puffy enough already. I know I will write about my thoughts for those days but for the moment, I should keep the thoughts to myself first as I don’t have the right frame of mind to write coherently. The last few days have been a great test to my mental, spiritual, physical, psychological being that everything in my thoughts are just a messy jumble of words. I will write again when I gather my thoughts proper again but I will leave a quote as my parting shot for the post. Along the way, to everyone who is reading this humble post of mine, save a prayer for my papa please? I don’t ask for a huge miracle; just the hope that I get to spend another night with him.)

Jean De La Breyere's


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