"Three severe myocardial infarctions in three months, pulmonary oedema and one kidney is dead. And I can see that he is slowly giving up," said Papa's surgeon, who was waiting for that one day when Papa's reports would be stable so that a coronary artery bypass surgery could be performed. I sighed, and my mind was filled with a montage of images - Papa with a cigarette forever dangling from his purple lips; Papa helping the old neighbours buy their grocery; Papa doing his gentle best to help the girl in me grow up... it was Papa's now frail body that lay with vaccuum in his eyes. I was talking to the surgeon after having washed Papa's backside - he wasn't able to control his bowel movements. By the time he would reach the toilet in the hospital ward, the path was already littered.
Finally, the surgeon took the leap and decided, "We cannot go on waiting for the cloud to lift, and instead allow him to have another heart attack." I agreed. When I told Papa that the surgery was scheduled for the next day, I saw a child before me, sobbing in fear that he wouldn't get back alive from the surgeon's table. He called up his brother - both the men were crying. The next day, as he was being ushered into the operation theatre, he kept on telling us about errands to be completed at home. This was his way to camouflage what he was actually feeling. Five hours and prayers later, the surgeon came to us. "We had to give him electric shocks twice, because we were losing him. But you have your father back." The tall doctor was suddenly God.
By late noon, we saw Papa being taken into the intensive care unit, with multiple pipes attached to him. I was able to see him only late at night. He wasn't able to talk as there were pipes flowing out of his mouth, besides being heavily sedated. Somehow, he pointed towards his chest and then waved his hand up, as though asking something. I understood. All through my childhood it was he who held my hand and made me walk, now it was my turn. I grabbed his hand gently, "Papa, you have been operated upon! It was successful. You are fine!" In that instant, I was finally a woman.My Story: Holding Hands