Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 10 - 15th, 2013

Dad's Radiology sessions begin, with ten consecutive sessions to be had, daily (excluding weekends). Day One Monday saw us heading to Basement One Radiology with dad using a walking stick, walking to and fro the taxi, while I wheelchaired him when we reached Singapore General Hospital.

They offer wheelchairs at the entrance lobbies, and we only had to let the front desk scan our identification cards. Once we are done for the day and left the hospital, the wheelchair will be tracked as returned.

Each session took less than 15 minutes, while the waiting times might well be longer! Dad was chatty, but visibly tired, although he was still full of spirit then. Essentially, scheduled was 5 days of Radiology, followeed by a weekend break, then subsequently 5 more straight days of Radiology. We were informed that there would be a doctor briefing us at the beginning of the 10 days and subsequently another consult with the doctor. By Day Five, no one met us to brief us, so we were all self-medicating and deduced that the doctor might meet us on the 6th session, and perhaps subsequently the last session, to advice us on the effectiveness of the treatment.

Let me say this: DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE and assume the actions or lack of actions. ASK direct if need be, ask for the reasons. i know first hand how the lack of knowledge would render a person ineffective, even of the doctors ask in return; "Do you have any further questions?" ... How to ask what, if we do not know what to ask in the first place? should we have had an earlier assessment done on day five instead of waiting for day six, with two days gap over the weekend?

I have always maintained since the beginning of this journey, "if you don't freak out, then i don't need to freak out." - the "YOU" being the doctor(s) - and have since learnt this is a naive assumption.

I will save my anger for another post.

Day Two Tuesday, saw a visible change. Dad felt he was tired and using the sole walking stick was not stable for him, so we switched to the 4-legged walker, which provided him further stability. Again, it was used from home to taxi, and taxi to home, while wheelchair was in effect at the hospital grounds.

Day Three Wednesday continued with the 4-legged walker, but dad was complaining further lack of strength to hold himself up.

By Day Four Thursday, we were using a (loaned) wheelchair from home to taxi, throughout the hospital grounds, and taxi to home. A comfortable and suitable wheelchair is so important., as I have since learnt, but more on that in another post ... Dad could still manage the 4-legged walker at home, but his physical abilities waned drastically.

He relied on one hand to eat, while we were at the hospital canteen, food spilling down haphazardly, and me forgetting to get him a bib. His speech was also softening but not slurred.

By Day Five Friday, his ability to get himself in and out of the taxi, saw me lifting his whole body weight in and out of wheelchair, and even going to the toilet became a chore. By the evening (our sessions had all been around lunch time), dad was sitting slanted, could hardly stand up with the 4-legged walker, while we held the pee bottle to him, unlike earlier in the week. Dad had became increasing tired and unable to move much, having his meals by where he sat, instead of at the dining table.

By midnight, mum had woken me up from sleep, saying she needed help carrying dad up fopr him to pee. It was then we took shifts, whereby mum stayed till 3am, while I woke up from 3 and stayed with him till the morning.

it was a rough morning. In a span of a week, dad had gone from chatty and responsive individual with independent mobility, to whispers of "toilet" and "pain", and me needing to carry him to the toilet to take a dump at 5am in the morning, where he no longer could even have the strength to wipe his own bum.

Throughout the week, the water retention affected his legs and bloated it to an alarming degree. We had seen this prior, and it had been a constant problem leading to massive discomfort and lack of energy. The weight of it all also dragged dad to a shuffle, and hardly any strength to navigate his feet, the left of which became numb and eventually immobile, where he could not even lift it without exerting himself, which no doubt led to further exhaustion.

By Saturday night, he agreed to be taken to the Accident and Emergency department of Singapore General Hospital, and needed to be held by 4 nurses (one of which was a huge male) from taxi unto a stretcher, and into the waiting ward.

Sometime in, a nurse came out and said dad was asking for my sister (by then then whole Heng Family was there, mum, myself and my brother and sister). She went in, and came out saying dad had been screaming for "help" for some time, but no one answered him, and then he asked for my sister urgently - because while he was being yanked out of the taxi, his shorts were pulled so uncomfortably, they were not pulled back into place while he was lying and waiting, and he needed reprieve to twist back his shorts for further comfort.

My father was subsequently warded in SGH, but speech became a challenge. The cancer cells and water retention is his brains had by then devastated my dad. In fact, that was the last time dad could articulate what he needed and wanted.

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