Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Death of My Father

My father had his life read when he first married my mother. My mother, being a god-fearing 3rd generation Christian, was aghast since her imagination stirred up images of Saul consulting a soothsayer and God being angry with that consultation. Nonetheless, according to my mother, my father took a lot of stock with that life-reading.

To give you some background, Chinese people will consult soothesayers for a "Seuwn Mang" a calculation of lifethread. These soothesayers actually produce a whole book, that details what'll happen to you during your life.

For example, my family jokes that had I been born 6 months later, I'd have been a boy cause the soothesayer told my father that he couldn't have sons until after he was 37. (And that was the excuse they gave others as to why I was such a tom-boy). At any rate, my father believed with all of his heart that my mother was going to die before him; the soothesayer said he'd outlive her.

My father, who prepared for everything in his life, didn't prepare for the end of his life. He had been complaining for a year about a pain in his back.... and how it obstructed his bowel movements. And right after Chinese New Years' two years ago, he collapsed, in Zhongshan, China.

We rushed over as fast as we could. Since this was international travel, since this was Red China (yes I'm falling back into my old cold war mentality but geeze, that's what I grew up with, okay?) since none of us were willing to believe my sturdy father was really dying, since the people there were lying to us about his condition (their excuse? Oh we didn't want to worry your mother), we didn't arrive at his bedside until after he had lapsed into a coma.

That first night at the hospital, I drilled the doctors there. What is wrong with him, can he get better, will he get worse. My sister and mother both yelled at me for being rude to the doctor's but I was already seeing the writing on the wall. These doctors would try and prolong my father's life as long as possible.

I had been through an agonizing 72 hour period five years earlier, with one of my best friends. She had gone through a simple surgery (tubes tied, removal of a cyst) only to come out of it with her brain drowned. It had something to do with her saline levels which the doctors hadn't bothered to check or something. Anyway, my friend's brain got drowned and she went into cardiac arrest... to make a long story short, she suffered irreversible brain damage.

BUT! Because the drowning of her brain made it sogged, the doctors had to wait 72 hours before they could REALLY check to make sure there was no activity there.

It was the worst 72 hours of my life.

Anyway.... back to my father. He steadily grew worse; and the doctors there could only shake their heads at us, the American Chinese. See, we kept talking about his comfort and wondering when the right time is to take him off life support. And the doctors there? They kept talking about home care and getting a nurse for him.

My father had advanced diabetes, which was complicating his cancer (which was just discovered due to his collapse). On top of that, he seemed to have developed some lung thing. (okay folks, think, two years ago, southern China... hospitals that aren't clean... hmmm what finally did my Dad in?) But these ghouls thought that he could live... and that he would want to.

My father always said with disgust and a snort, "If I'm ever like that, kill me." (Yiu goh ngo been sang gum, sahd sai ngo!)

The night that he took a turn for the worse.... the night that even the doctors said with weary heads, that yes, my father could not expect to get better, I took the decision from my mother and sister. Y'see, my mother had just figured out that his outside women consisted of just one woman, who'd been with him for 15 years or more. My sister? Well, she just figured out that when she asked Dad about outside women, he lied right to her face.

Me? I always said that my father did right by me. He gave me the money to buy a condo that I love. He provided an education for me. He bailed me out financially whenever I needed him to. And if he had another woman or kids out there? Well, I hoped that they treated him better and gave him what he needed, that he didn't get from us.

You see, I kinda figured out in High School that there was no way my father would've consented to living half a continent away from us, unless there was another woman/family. So of the three of us, I had the least reason to hate him. If I signed the papers, I could sleep at night. My mother and sister, might not be able to.

So for those of you portraying people who want to see Terri not prolong her agony any more as murderers? I hope, I REALLY REALLY HOPE, with all of my will and heart, that you will be one of those invalids, screaming inside to let you die and meanwhile, everytime your heart rate drops, or your blood pressure drops, machines whirr to life and inflict you with more sustenance and life sustaining chemicals. I also hope that you will hear maniacal laughter piped into your ears as you suffer so.

Judge not lest ye be judged yourself. THIS ALSO TRANSLATES TO BUTT THE HELL OUT!

Filed under Politics & B.S., Bloodsport, err Relatives and Reveries & Paranoias.


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