March27 , 2023

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    February 6, 2020, the day when I thought I would lose my father.

    My father, Tatay, as my siblings call him, is a diabetic for 14 years, dependent on insulin. Early this year, his nephrologist, Dr. Nickson Austria, strongly advised him to undergo hemodialysis treatment since his kidneys are not fully functional, a most common complication for people with diabetes.

    Tatay was against hemodialysis. At 75, he didn’t want any tubes getting into his body just to live. He worried that the cost of the treatments would just leave us, his four children, bankrupt in the end. We all heard of stories of families who sold all their properties and went into debt to pay for hemodialysis, but still having the patient die in the end. Tatay didn’t want that.

    We didn’t know what to do except respect his decision. We couldn’t counter his reasoning for not seeking treatments. Even if we pleaded with him to reconsider, his mind was already set. I admit that I didn’t want Tatay to start dialysis because he didn’t want it, his body was frail already, and I was worried about the financial burden the treatments would put on our shoulders in the future.

    Everyday, we watched as his body slowly deteriorated. Most days, he was sleeping because of body pains. His feet got swollen, then his legs, his stomach, until the swelling reached his head. It was the waste and excess water having nowhere else to go in the body. His face was like a blown up football, as if it was stung by a giant bee. His eyes were squinting because of the swelling, he looked like a different person. Because of the change in his appearance, he refrained from having visitors in the house. The bedroom became his cave; he rarely went outside.

    It was difficult for us to watch him in pain and struggle with every movement. We prayed for the Lord to take him in his sleep so the pain would end, that was his prayer, too. My family was already discussing about memorial services. We were waiting for him to die. Sounds morbid, but when you see your loved one suffer for so long, death seems a better option.

    Then came that fateful day in February.

    While outside the house sitting in his rocking chair, Tatay told me that he wanted to go to the doctor because it was hard for him to breathe. Before leaving the house, he told my mother that he just liked to get oxygenated at the hospital, and not hemodialysis. Members of the family were clear on that. My brother immediately brought him to the emergency room. My youngest sister went straight to the hospital later.

    I was worried sick as I was left behind to stay at my parents’