Wondering why I’ve been so quiet? I’ve been through the works, last week. Taking care of two elderly parents is a responsibility with its beautiful moments and very difficult moments also.
Last week had the difficult moments….
Remember, when my mother fainted last month, when I’d gone to service my car? Well, this time on March 17th, 2017 it was my dad. I was at my art class when I got the call from Sabir ( my Dad’s domestic help,) around 5 PM; I went home to find my dad almost unconscious. Ever tried to move an unconscious person into the front seat of your car? Let’s hope you don’t have to … it was tough, in spite of the two helpers.
Why? Because, waiting for an ambulance may cost the patient his life, so we save that time, by putting the patient on the wheel chair, then into the fully reclined front seat of the car. Yes, it is difficult. We’ve even put my father in the back seat. But I like to keep an eye on my parent on the way, as I drive. Trying to talk also, during the wait at the signals. It was just after sunset on Friday, we got to the hospital within ten minutes.
While my dad is being placed inside the car, I decide where to take him? This time I knew he would be admitted. So, I took him to the PAF Hospital near-by. The moment we arrived, I knew it was the right decision. The hospital has improved a lot. Dr. Aamir, a bearded doctor competently set to work, and the nurses also quickly took over.
It is really hard seeing your parent unconscious. I had to shake myself. “I’m strong. I can cope. I’m doing my best.” I keep repeating to myself. “I will not cry. I will smile and be calm.” My daughter was at a photo shoot. So, I sent her an sms, knowing she will check and come as soon as she can.
A very nice room in Avicennia was allotted. Soon Waliya joined me also. Oxygen mask had been placed on my dads nose and mouth, and the leads from the monitor were attached to him. A canola was put on his hands, with a lot of difficulty. My father’s sugar, pulse, ECG, and blood tests were normal. BP was low… and getting lower. He had mild temperature also.
I sent an sms about his condition to a few close family members, including my dad’s army friends, I needed all the prayers I could get. Surprisingly, within an hour Brig Asad Hakeem and his son, my cousin Nasir Gheba had arrived from thirty kilometers away. Hasan and Amina came and so did Iftekhar Khan, it was great to have them with me. My uncle Mumtaz arrived from Pindi Gheb our ancestral town. He had driven back the moment he heard. Waliya and I were there in hospital till about 2.30 AM till his BP ‘stabilized’ at 84/43 when we left to go home to rest a bit.
At 3.00 am, I received a call from Sabir, saying “The doctor has said, that if you all want to see him for the last time, then please come.” So, Waliya and I went immediately. I didn’t tell my mother, as we wouldn’t be able to take her along, and didn’t want to upset her. Hasnain my own domestic help was home, so we left for the hospital. We found my father had been shifted to ICU in critical condition. My uncle Mumtaz was there also. We just sat on the bench staring at the screen showing the lowering BP… I read Surah Yasin in my smart phone. Just couldn’t help remembering another time, five years ago when I was reading Surah Yasin for my husband, lying like this (Najib had been in coma for four days) in ICU in CMH Rawalpindi. A strange numbness came over me. Unlike the last time, this time I was ready for all events. Allah has been more than kind. My father has celebrated his 90th birthday on March 2nd, 2017. My prayers were for his healthy recovery and for whatever is best for him.
My daughter who has been my strength all along, waited by my side.
Night turned into day, at Fajar time, my uncle left for home. Waliya and I left after 7.30 am. When his BP started rising again to 84/40 ! It seemed as if it was just a matter of time…
Four days in ICU and a slow recovery back to a normal BP, my father opening his eyes, his recognition of us, his smile, his mumbling and talking.
All made us breathe normally again too. On the fifth day he was moved to Room 2 of Avicennia. We all heaved a sigh of relief. My father’s 8 FF officers and soldiers have prayed in Lipa and Gilgit. General Qamar came to meet him with this huge bouquet of flowers. Many officers called personally and phoned from far. My cousins daughter Rabia messaged me from Australia, and her parents Col. Zahid and Shahnaz Api came. All friends and relatives have joined us with their good wishes. Many would go to give my mother company at home, knowing that she is alone there. Chachi Shahnaz called her daily, and was with her whenever she could.
Earlier, that fateful day, during the afternoon of Friday 17th March, I had gone to the F-10 Markaz (market) to get something for my dad. As I was getting out of my car, the usual beggar boys started asking for alms…. I heard the elder one telling the other to stop, “Let Baji get out of the car first!”
I said, “Let me get out my purse at least!” When I looked inside the car, there was no purse. Oops! Now I was remembering that I’d left it in the Bank Manager’s office near my home, where I had just come from. So, I called the manager Umer Malik, then called my daughter to send my domestic help to take it home for me. As I was doing all these things the boys watched on…. I looked at them helplessly, mumbling “I had finally come here to get something for my father, and I can’t!” Both boys immediately said “We can give you our day’s earnings, if it will help!” I was surprised. They were so cute. Actually, they are car wash boys….
I was chatting with them and found out: the older one was married at 18 years, to his cousin who is also the same age. “You see, her parents have died, and her grandmother is very cruel. So I married her, to save her from her situation.”
“Were you forced to marry her?” I asked.
“No, I’m happy to have married her.” He said, smiling.
So, the two boys offered the money. The money earned till around 12.30 PM, that day. The older boy had Rs.300/- and the younger one had Rs.200/- I took the elder boys’ phone number, so I’ll be able to return it to him. He said I’ll be found here always, in front of D-Watson Chemist. (Actually, it was the front of the back portion of the shop!) I took the money, and went in. I found out that the leg bag that I was looking for, wasn’t there. So, I came out in five minutes, and gave back the money to the two cute boys. I was so deeply touched. And yes, while parting, they said “We will pray for your father also.”
The next day, he called me to ask how my dad was, I told him what had happened. (I suppose his prayers also made that miracle happen!)
Now, a week later my dad is looking like this:
At ninety he is a true Frontier Force officer fighting till the end. He has risen back to health, in a way which is nothing short of a miracle. I was thinking of Gp Capt Jalal (aged 47 years) and my husband who left at 58 years, realizing, its not age, it is something else, that keeps you alive. It is all in Gods’ hands. I guess, my Dad has still got some work to do, for which he has remained with us. 🙂 Only a couple of days earlier he had given his land manager more than double an amount of cash which was needed for his son’s wedding.
It has been an eventful nine days now. The docs and staff at the hospital are very happy too
I took my father to meet his personal Urologist Fayyaz Bungash at Quaid-e-Azam hospital on 24th March, to meet the Urologist. While waiting: I saw my father talking to the other men waiting there too…. while I chatted with the lady sitting next to me!
Then my father’s turn came:
Dr. Fayyaz was happy with the treatment my father was receiving and added a few more. I drove back my father to PAF hospital feeling good that the treatment was seconded by Dr. Fayyaz also, who was very pleased with progress.
I took my mother to meet my dad also, both were so happy to meet at last. It has been an emotional week.
All this time, we reorganized ourselves to make sure one helper and one of us is with my father, while one of us and a helper are with my mother at home. Sabir is usually with my father for the night duty, I’m there for evening duty till ten or eleven at night, and my daughter is there in morning with Hasnain. Our staff is literally working day and night in this process. Here they are with my Dad, on the tenth day.
Of course, a lot more has been happening too. Like my Lab dog Magic busy watching television at home. My other projects getting ripened too. But this is enough, for now.
During all this time, I kept my two married daughters informed of all that was going on. I believe we need to keep the far off ones in the picture. Yet, I was clear that I don’t want my daughter Nataliya to come from Seattle. Her husband with his new job needs her with him more. I also stopped my other daughter Nadiya from coming from Lahore. All is in control. They have been sources of great joy to their grand parents. It is time now for them to focus on their own homes. We are fine, with help from all.- Specially from the One who controls our universe.
Stay blessed my dear Reader. May you also be with your parents when they need you – just as they’ve always been by our sides whenever we needed them in our lives. At such times, I tell myself to be strong. I’m exactly where I want to be – by my loved one’s side, doing the best I can. That should be enough to make one feel well. No matter what Allah plans ….. What more can one ask of one’s God?
For now, all is well. Alhamdolillah