Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from mom which began ominously: "I don't want you to worry but..."

Turns out that dad collapsed at home with severe abdominal pain and vomitting. Mom had to get an ambulance to get him to the hospital. As usual, the man was resisting the hospital but mom said he looked really bad so against his insistence that he can take the pain, mom sent him in.

I cleared my work and went to the hospital to be with mom. There was probably nothing I could do for him, but I didn't mom to wait alone in the hospital for hours.

By evening, they had transferred him to the High Dependency Ward. At 7pm the doctors came out and took us aside.

Dad is diagnosed with acute severe pancreatitis. In layman's terms, it just means that his pancreas is badly inflamed. Usually someone with a history of alcohol drinking or gallstone disease would be predisposed to this. In dad's case, he does not drink so we have narrowed this down to gallstones. Early scans however, showed no gallstone blockage.

The picture is not very pretty at the moment. Dad has elevated potassium levels, signalling that his heart is not doing very well. His blood pressure is also high at 160/100. Significantly, the doctor has said his kidneys are in a state of advanced impairment. The kidney specialist has been called in and dad may face long-term dialysis if he ever gets out of this one.

In short, the doctors have put him on the dangerously ill list. There is nothing they can do with pancreatitis except to rest the pancreas so no food and drink allowed, and lots of IV fluids given intravenously. Antibiotics are also given, although I have read that this is controversial and not all antibiotic-use have been proven effective although about 3 out of 5 studies have said this has been linked with better outcomes. More importantly, they are keeping him as comfortable as possible since he was in a great deal of pain. Morphine is out so they are using Pethidine with Maxalon - Pethidine to sedate and Maxalon to counter nausea and vomiting which are associated with Pethidine.

It must be Japan.

The last time we planned a trip to Japan, dad had the emergency bypass on the eve of our departure, literally leaving me strung up by my toenails in agony trying to make a decision of whether to stay or go. We went and thankfully, that episode resolved itself well.

Now, this. I feel like this is deja vu all over again. No doubt this time the trip is months away. But I feel the same sense of unease, doubt and worry. What will happen to him? And what will happen to mom if anything happens to dad? While mom sometimes snarks about dad and grimly declares she wishes she didn't have to worry about him or take care of him etc, it is always done with the familiarity of long-time married couples. When one couple has been together for so many years and shared so much history, that bond is inevitable. Whether that bond is made from love, comfort, companionship or just familiarity or even pragmatism, that does not matter. If anything happens to dad, what will happen to mom? I worry about her. She will miss him tremendously.

I will miss him too but it is different for me. I have my own family and my own journey. And in my life, maybe I am at the midway stations. But for mom, with the passing of her parents and perhaps now, if dad goes, that's like an era quietly faded to white. Like footprints that are obliterated by fresh falling snow so that you no longer can really re-trace your steps anymore.

Everything will eventually work out, whatever the pathways are. I know this. I know we will all be alright one day. But right now, we just have to hold on tight to our seats, brace ourselves for a hard ride and wait and see what happens. We can only do that much.


Julia said...

I got nothing much to offer, except that you take care and be strong.:)


Just signed in to my blogger (after a million years) and saw your post on my tracker. Must be God's will that this was the top post so I could see it! Hugs and be brave. Will pray for you and yours.

Cory said...

suzie's andrew had the same. HUGS.