My grandfather is dying.
He has stage 4 bone cancer and it has spread to his liver. One of his kidneys is also not functioning. He is in constant pain and has lost all appetite to eat.
I had a training session in KL this morning and got a missed call from my mom. When I called back, she told me the news. I called up my boss and requested permission to take half day off.
I had to circle the entire hospital building 3 times to find a parking space. When I reached the front door, it was 2.05pm, just 5 minutes after visiting hours.
The guard stared at me. "Sorry, you'll have to wait for visiting hours to start again at 4.30pm."
No way am I waiting. I called up my uncle. He told me to take the stairs to the 1st floor and enter from there. There was a nurse at the door but she just smiled and waved me in.
Thank God for small doses of kindness!
As I walked up the stairs to the 3rd floor, I had a sinking feeling that my grandfather had already gone. When I arrived at the ward, my other uncle was there and he waved me in when he saw me.
"Supposed to be...but..."
I couldn't talk anymore. There, on the bed was my grandfather. Looking so frail and thin, with drool hanging from his mouth. I took his napkin and wiped his face.
"Atok. Along here. Have you eaten?"
He opened his eyes and spoke my name.
It hurt so bad seeing him that way. My grandfather is a retired policeman so he used to be very fit. When we were small, he would teach us how to read the quran. He would tell us to read as loud as we could so that all the neighbours would hear us. He loved watching wrestling on TV and would always get us to sit with him, commentating on the wrestlers and their dirty techniques. Once a week, he would check our fingernails and ears to make sure they were clean. He would take us out in his antique Opal car, the car with the plastic seats that burned our bums when it got hot outside.
As we got older, he would talk to us about politics and money. Always make sure you have more than one income, was his saying. Buy lots of houses...they never lose their value. Buy in cash, don't get yourself into more debt than you can handle.
He was so proud when I went to the US for my degree. When I got married...had my 1st baby...he was still doing ok.
Then when his body started giving out, he changed. He became grumpier. I would think it was because his mind was still sharp and there was so much he still wanted to accomplish and do, but because of his physical being...it just wasn't possible. His legs could no longer push the clutch and the brake pads of his car and he nearly had an accident with a bus. It angered him so much when we finally took away his car keys.
Slowly, my grandfather has been deteriorating. He's not the same person as before.
The doctors say there's not much they can do. If he was younger, stronger, maybe he could opt for radiation or chemo. At his age, the treatment would probably only kill him faster.
I just want him to go peacefully with no more suffering or pain. And to be able to remember him when he was better.
Here are my grandparents with all their grandchildren and great-grandchild (Dania's 1st raya). This was taken in 2003.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
My grandfather is dying.