October 15, 2005

the visit

I entered the ward that I was looking for, saw him perched on his bed looking at a box full of medicine. I went up to him and said a “hey”. He looked at me as if I’m a stranger and squared it off with a smile.

“You are?” he asked. Yep, he forgot who I am, again.

“I am your daughter [my mom]’s son, Michael”

“You’re [michael’s mom]’s son ? Oohhh… my bad memory. Sorry about that” he said with a sheepish smile. I told him that it was ok, you know, like… I can’t be expecting a 90 year old guy to remember every single one of his 20 over grandchildren’s name, right? It’s not his obligation anyway… Then I went ahead to ask him some stupid ass questions that supposedly be able to allay my own guilt for being such a motherfucking ignorant jerk…

“How are you feeling grandpa?” (like, who could be feeling great inside a fucking hospital ward ?? *smacks own head)

“Not so good, the nurses here aren’t really that good…”

Hell, I know what his definition of “good” is. The old man hasn’t lost his touch when it comes to handling the opposite attraction, I’d be fretting at ugly nurses too when I get old. But that isn’t the thing that bothered the old man (and me, and us). It is something else…

You see, he has been very ill. The tough old dude discovered that he had been coughing some dark rotten blood off his mouth, and said that something was dead in him that bled off this mess. If you were to put it in some way of describing it, it’s like he was menstruating off his mouth. He tried to complain to his own children, but they would dismiss him off as feigning a possum to gain sympathy and attention … as he always did.

But this time, it was for real. After being ignored, he went to the doctor himself and they found some ominous looking dark spots inside his lungs. After a few rounds of body checkup later, the doctor told everyone a very bad news – the old man has terminal stage lung cancer. There is nothing that anybody can possibly do to save him… as he is already too old to go through those treatment shits. So, his children conspired to make him believe that he just had a minor lung infection and put him into this geriatric care ward to nurse off his final days – which is where I stood that day, in front of him.

“It’s damn boring in here… have to look at the walls day and night. I think I won’t make it long… I lived too old. It’s not fun living this old when you have all these illnesses and pain in your joints”

It was an ugly truth that both of us mutually knew, and I didn’t even attempt to pacify the old man with another lie. I just gave him a smile.

But everyone knew it could have been better than this. Grandpa has always been such a pain guy to handle and has had shitload of conflicts with his children. Nobody wants to live with him and he has been living alone ever since my grandma passed away. If only he was a bit nicer to his children, he would not have to be in this sorry state right now. He could have lived off his final days with ANY one of his 8 children … and die off a happy and accomplished man.

Well, sadly, things don’t usually happen the way they should. Life is always a bitch everyone has to put up with. The circumstances in the past had paved for what is happening today and who am I to rant what the old man think is right for himself?

Whatever, I did the best I can that particular moment – we shared a few blank talks about some inane stuffs, gave him some attention to his old day stories (which I must have heard a few hundred times) and lent him the company he needed to forget about boredom. That’s the least I could do…

michaelooi  | personal  | 

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