Monday, September 02, 2013

30, part 2

My life has changed. I am no longer the same person. It's been years since I thought of myself as an adult––but boy, was I wrong.
More than two weeks ago, I experienced seeing my father almost die on my watch––twice––within a 24-hour period.
Before that, a month ago, our family pet died. A few weeks later, it was my grandfather who passed away. They say they come in threes––I just never thought it possible that it could be this tragic. No, no, no, I thought to myself. This is not happening.
Thankfully, my father survived. He was diagnosed with COPD, a progressive disease that eventually wears out the sufferer's lungs. You get COPD mainly from smoking. My father quit smoking in the 80's.
For those of you who smoke, I sure hope you quit early enough. I can personally attest to how difficult it is for the patient and also for his/her family and loved ones.
In my father's case, his right lung collapsed (pneumothorax). Doctors had to insert a chest tube to let excess air out. While his lung has fully re-expanded, there is still excess air in it, so that's what we're now waiting for to normalize.
I never heard of COPD until the diagnosis. I would have probably remained oblivious to what it meant post-diagnosis if not for Wikipedia. While I'm thankful for the Internet, it can drive you paranoid though, especially with the info overload you get out there. In this case, stuff I read about COPD.
I've been trying to look for local COPD support groups, and searching for 'COPD Philippines.' What I've learned is that COPD is the cause of Dolphy's death. (Well, that and that there's a support group at the Lung Center, but it's too far for us to make regular trips to.) I remember how difficult it was for the Quizon family, including financially. I particularly remember Zsa Zsa thanking people for having provided financial assistance.
The Quizon family is very rich. God, help us.
In fact, my friends did seek financial support on my behalf during my father's hospitalization. Friends, and even acquaintances––people who come to think, had zero obligation to care about us––helped. It was a source of many tears––tears of joy––for me and my family.
The prayers and messages of support comforted us, too; basically, knowing that you are not alone and that people have you in their thoughts. Words can never express how thankful we are for them.
(Speaking of giving comfort, do visit people you know who are in the hospital. In my case, seeing friends gave me a much-needed break from my mundane day. I stayed in the hospital for 13 days straight, 10 of which I spent without going home. It almost drove me crazy, and looking back now, I have ZERO idea how I survived it without TV and with a spotty 3G connection. My schedule was as follows:
6am - wake up
7am - feed Pa breakfast
7:30am - eat breakfast
10am - shower
11:30am - feed Pa lunch
12nn - eat lunch: choose among hospital canteen, 7-11, or Chowking
1pm - exercise by going down and up seven flights of stairs
1:15pm - go to chapel
3-4pm - merienda
5pm - hang out outside ward
6pm - feed Pa dinner
7pm - eat dinner
8pm - sleep
Though, come to think of it, this was all I could really manage to do. I was so stressed and depressed, I couldn't think of anything else. I couldn't read my book, or even check out websites and my social media accounts. Twitter was particularly challenging to go through, especially when I read tweets saying life is so hard because Ben Affleck is the new Batman. I'm not hating, given I'm guilty of tweeting about such things as well :-p I find my newfound perspective amusing, to say the least.)
I know that we are still blessed and lucky, no matter the difficulty of what we went through and are about to go through. I know that we are not the only people suffering in the world, even if it felt like that at times. In the hospital alone, we met a number of families who had it harder than us. I sincerely wish they find a support system who may help them get through their journey, just like we did.
Kindness go a long way. Be kind to others.

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