Last year on the same day, around this time, me and Mom were already at the hospital. We had to relieve Bg and my BIL, who had stayed there at the night, with Dad. Though Dad’s condition had suddenly gone haywire in the night and his BP had shot up to 200 odd, the guys didn’t mention it to us, until later. His condition had stabilized and after having administered certain medicines, he had even slept, on and off.
Having had chest pain two days back and feeling a little odd, Dad had called up Mom and sis. He didn’t really tell us how bad the pain was. In fact told he is a little better and that it would be fine, if he sleeps off. Despite that Mom rushed home taking a half day and since we insisted, they went to the doctor, Dad’s regular Physician/Diabetologist. He had advised an ECG, which they promptly got done. The duty doctor at the place they got the ECG done, said things looked fine. The doctor on hearing this said, it’s enough if Dad visits him in the evening during his regular hours.
I wanted to be with them and hence went there in the evening. I also accompanied my Dad and Mom to the doctor. He checked the ECG. His first remark was “who told you that the ECG is normal?“. When we told him that the duty doctors at the place told so, he asked my Dad to move around his arms and shoulder and checked for pain. Eventually he told that everything is fine, it is probably some kind of muscular spasm and prescribed medicines. In case of the pain not subsiding in two days, he asked us to visit again. Though not totally satisfied, we went home with a little bit of relief.
On hearing this, my sis and BIL insisted that he goes to a Cardiology specialized hospital the following day and get a checkup done. We joined in my sis and BIL in the insistence. Dad is usually not the one to agree. He only relented when my BIL told him “If you don’t go, I will never talk to you and will never visit you guys again”. Though it wasn’t the right way to convince, that was what made Dad agree.
The following day, my Dad and Mom came to Cardiology specialized hospital early in the morning. Apparently Dad wanted to take the car and drive to the hospital, but took the auto when Mom didn’t agree. There the moment the doctor saw the ECG report of the previous day, he advised an emergency ECG. On seeing the results of that, the doctor declared that Dad had had a heart attack the previous day and that he should be admitted immediately. My Mom called me and my sis instantly. Since my office was close by, I rushed there in fifteen mins. By then, Dad was admitted and had been advised an Angiogram. We were trying to calm Dad, who looked scared. We told him, it will be fine. He had always been afraid of doctors and avoided visiting them, for the fear of having to get admitted for something serious and getting operated. This was his worst nightmare coming true. 😦
After the Angiogram, we were told, he had a 100% blockage in one of the main arteries. Due to the blockage, there hadn’t been a blood flow in it for a long time and the rest of the heart been taking the pressure, thereby becoming weak. This and due to the fact that my father had Diabetes, he was advised Angioplasty instead of an open heart surgery. Normally the Angioplasty procedure goes on for about 20 – 30 min. For Dad it went on for two hours and the blockage was partially cleared. Post this he was moved to the ICU, where he was administered with heavy dosage of medicines to clear up the remaining blockage.
Dad was recuperating fine on the morning of the 22nd. His ECG was inching towards normal and the doctor indicated that it was a good sign. Though he was unable to eat, he kept asking for water every few mins. He was extremely thirsty. My Dad was very fond of Polo and he would pop one in whenever he felt thirsty. He kept asking for it continuously. The doctor had forbidden it due to the sugar content. My Dad’s sugar levels were not coming under control that day. It broke my heart to refuse to him again and again. I gave him one, when the doctor agreed. The look on face, at that moment is etched in my memory and I found it so hard to control my tears.
He wasn’t talking much and was extremely drowsy due to the medication. But he wasn’t able to sleep due to the pain. He kept pulling off the oxygen mask, which seemed uncomfortable. We stayed with him in turns and in the evening when I went back for my turn, I saw that he kept trying to pull of the oxygen mask, but the ward boy was shouting at him. My dad kept telling that nothing was coming through the mask, but the ward boy just kept scolding that he shouldn’t take it off. That is when I noticed that the oxygen was turned off and he was being forced to wear the mask, suffocating him more. I had never been that angry and I blasted the ward boy and the nurse, who kept telling that they had no idea who had turned it off. The duty doctor who tried to tell me that 10-15 mins of it being turned off won’t make such a difference, got a good hearing from me. I was enraged beyond words. I couldn’t keep shouting in the ICU as it would affect the patients and I couldn’t stop myself from crying, so I ran out.
That was the last I saw my dad lying down calmly. With half an hour from then, my Dad’s condition had deteriorated, he was having breathing trouble and was advised to be put on ventilator. His lungs were filled with water. His medicines were changed and numerous equipment fitted to him. We were allowed in for a few min, before being ushered out. He was asking them to take off everything and that he was unable to bear the pain. Within ten mins of us being sent out, he was surrounded by a whole bunch of doctors. From outside we had no clue what was happening.
Bg who was there inside with my uncle, told me later that by then he was gone and that were trying out the means of reviving him. Just like they show in the movies, they tried the beating on the chest etc. Nothing worked. The doctors came out and told that he was no more and that he had another massive attack, which his weak heart couldn’t bear. They apologized for not having been able to save him. Everything seemed blur. What do we do with the apology, when we had lost our father, when my Mom had lost her husband. The future looked scary and what we could only do was cry our hearts out.
One year from then, today, we have coped with the loss to a great extent. But every single moment is so clear in the memory, like it happened yesterday and not a year back. I am not sure if I will ever be able to forgive the hospital staff for their negligence for having turned off the oxygen. I am not sure if I will ever be able to forgive ourselves for forcing Dad to go for the checkup. The person who was ready to drive to hospital had to come back dead, because we insisted. Guilt, regret, remorse, memories of my dad and whole lot of sadness is what I am filled with now and every day!