The 11th of November was Diwali and it’s a day I’ll never forget. That day was the last time I saw my father healthy. He had a good day and I have pictures of him smiling and laughing with my son. He made a big effort to enjoy the day and he even stayed up long enough to enjoy the fireworks.
The next day his health took a decline and it just continued. The following sunday was the last day that I saw my father lucid. He was in pain and wouldn’t get out of bed. I took a few pictures with him and with the family. That Monday he was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
My mum phoned my sisters and I and told us to come to the hospital. After almost a full day of tests he was admitted in a ward. By this time he was losing all sense of time. He was convinced that he would be going home and kept arguing with us when we tried to tell him otherwise. At some stage my mum and sisters decided that they would each go to their individual homes and come back later. I sat alone with my dad watching as his mind slipped further and further away from me.
More than anything, his loss of mental capacity scared me. I had almost gotten used to seeing him thin and unhealthy. He had a yellowish colour to his skin and he was bruised all over. Below his one eye was a massive lump that just got bigger as his face shrunk and his smile became all skin. His once fat and full cheeks were no more. But despite the scariness of his body he was still sharp intellectually. He kept up with the news, he watched TV, he read the newspapers and we could always talk to him.
This time it was different. He wasn’t aware of where he was half the time, he kept thinking he was smoking. He was having delusions and seeing people who weren’t there. We had to keep stopping him from pulling out the drip and oxygen mask and the poor nurses had a rough time keeping him on the bed. This person was not my dad, not the man I loved and adored. This man was a very sick person.
As fate would have it, as soon as my mum left, the specialist came to see my dad. I explained his symptoms and it was decided that my father would go for a body scan. The specialist advised that if there was anything seriously wrong he’d come and speak to me but he didn’t operate at night so he’d see us the next morning most probably.
As soon as I saw him back into the room a few minutes after my dad’s scan I new that something was very wrong. It turns out that my father had an abscess on his colon. He needed an emergency operation and it would be an extremely high risk surgery considering my father’s current stare of health. As my dad wasn’t lucid I had to make the call. I signed the papers hoping that I wouldn’t regret it.
A few minutes later my dad went into the theatre and I was the last person to see him as the dad I knew and loved, in those last few minutes he seemed to come to his senses and I was able to explain to him what was happening. My mum rushed in 5 minutes after he entered theatre and she was devastated. We had no idea what the future held…