MY LAST LUNCH WITH PAPA

On Wednesday, 8th May 2014, I got a text from mum, saying that papa’s hospitalized. I called mum and spoke to her on the phone, and from what she told me and what the doctor said, it doesn’t seem very dangerous.

I made plans to visit him over the weekend, but on Friday, 9th May 2014, I got another text from mum, saying that papa is warded in ICU.

That sparked an immediate urgency response and I cancelled my plans for the day, and hopped on a cab to home to pick up my passport. Thank God for the nice and understanding cab uncle, who took me to my flat, where I can pick up my passport and took me to the customs.

When I reached the hospital in JB, papa was awake, and on a breathing apparatus. He was wheezing and having difficultie breathing, but otherwise he was fully alert. Just tired from being unable to sleep and rest due to his constantly coughing.

I had brought some bread from the bakery, and I sat with him on the chair, and when his lunch came, I helped him prepare his food to eat.

I removed the plastic cover and passed him his utensils, and sat with him as he had lunch. It was a very quiet lunch. Most of the time, it was me waiting on him, asking if he wanted more warm water, if he needed to stand, if he needed to stretch.

I helped him to stand to pass urine, he didn’t like the urinal. As an occupational therapist, I understood the relevance and meaning of meaningful activities and ADL, so I urged him to eat on his own, pee on his own, breathe deeply on his own.

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I helped to set the chair he was sitting on plus a pillow on the cardiac table so that he could sleep in sitting, and kept quiet as he took naps here and there.

There wasn’t much words shared, as he couldn’t really talk much…whenever he tried to talk, he would cough and choke. So I discouraged him from talking too much, and to focus instead on taking slow, deep breaths.

Oh, how I miss that moment where I could have lunch with him. I remember I was seated on the hospital bed, waiting for him. Waiting on him.

This was one of the moments I’m glad that I’ve a business which I could extricate myself somewhat, for some periods of time, just to be with the old man. Just this quiet lunch.

That’s one of my last memories and moments with my papa. I will treasure the moments.

Now I wish he had a longer time on earth, as we grow the business more, and as he retired, we could have more time for each other…but alas, we are but fools to think that we could know and control the dates we live or die. I’m glad that I managed to have lunch with him. I’m glad I’ve told him many times how much I love him. I’m glad I’ve hugged him many times before. I’m glad he could be there for my wedding. I’m glad for so many things of you, of what you did, papa.

Papa, I love you. I’m thinking about you.

Wondering about you.

This is a tribute and ruminations of my late papa, Daniel Chua. He was born on 27th Feb 1955, and he was called to the Lord on 24th May 2014 (59 years old). A tribute was created to him at DanielChua.com.

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