Thursday, September 28, 2006

Of birthdays, corridors and trojan horses

I turned thirty-two last Saturday. My parents arrived that day. Shortcut to having paella at Mario's and after bringing them home, I decided to go out to Malate after midnight. Went home at about six in the morning of Sunday.

Sunday was a working day for me. Tried to finish my Tuesday presentation to a client but ended up at about five in the morning of Monday. It was Sunday when my dad got admitted to St. Luke's for his kidney treatment and and another biopsy for Monday. The week before that, they found a lump on his liver through his CT scan. The liver specialist suggested a biopsy to be sure of her diagnosis.

I woke up nine in the morning of Monday. Thirty minutes later, I got a text message from my sister that the results of his biopsy is out.

"I got the results frm lab- bad- his cancer marker's sky high and pa has hep b"

Trying to collect my senses, I called my sister and asked her how bad it is and all she told me was to go to St. Luke's that very moment. I called my ed that I can't go to the event we are scheduled to go that morning. A hour later, I was in St. Luke's.

My sister and my bother-in-law were outside the room trying to discuss what was going on. The only thing I can remember was our father has about forty percent of living another year. By that time, I am still trying to grasp the entire situation. I got inside the room and my mom was trying so hard to compose herself yet obviously teary eyed. My dad was asleep. I went out of the room, the two are still there. It was that time when my sister told me that there is nothing that we can do. My father has cancer.

It was that very moment, everything that my sister was saying peirced through me and I just found myself sobbing along the corridors of the surgical section of the hospital. No amount of medical advancements can cure my dad. His doctor suggested that we rather leave the cancer untouched to at least give him a quality life... or whatever that is left of it. I got to understand fully the meaning of Noli Me Tangere. To complicate things, he has hepatitis B. I was trying to argue that our dad looked perfectly alright so how can he be that ill? My sister just said that he has a trojan horse inside him waiting for that perfect opportunity.

It was that time when I was about to do an auto shutdown when my mom came out of the room. She did not say a word but just embraced me as I brokedown in tears. It was the time when the world stopped-- at least to our family.

We all know that one way or another, we are bound to die. Yet it makes a whole lot of difference when death is being served in front of you and you are only given this much time to eat it. It was that same night when my sister decided to tell my dad the real score about his illness. My dad just smiled and accepted it as it is then called his closest relatives to have themselves checked. It was the longest night of my life.

The following morning, I woke up finding my parents talking. Then my dad dropped the bomb at me, "If I die next year, are you going to stay with your mom?" He said.

Before I get to answer it, my mom said that I shouldn't. She said I have a life here and staying with her will be unfair for me. She then said, I can always fly to Antique once a month. My dad just smiled at me short of saying that I should take care of my mom.

I went to my shoot that day. Dazed and tired, I finished the home shoot in two hours and a half. Went to the office after that then finished all requirements for two articles. Went home at about five in the afternoon then met with a cliet at about seven. By nine, I was back in the hospital. I found my father rather cranky with sprouts of laughter. His cousin visited him bringing a cancer patient who was diagnosed to have a year left to live some five years ago.

Somehow, hope springs eternal.

They went out of the hospital today. They are supposed to by flying home tomorrow but decided to postpone it till Saturday because of the typhoon.

I turned thirty two last Saturday. It feels like ten years ago.