Friday, October 14, 2016

My father's Dementia - A Painful Truth

It has been exactly 2.5 months since my father passed away and it seems like many years have passed so swiftly. I have moved on with my life but with a heavy heart whenever my happiest memories flashed back to rekindle the good times. I am always thankful to my beloved parents for giving me the best upbringing any child could wish for. I want you all to be healthy always, so I will share this awareness post below.

I have been yearning to share with everyone on my personal experience, coping with both my parent's illnesses, on their final days until the funeral preparations. I am always thankful that my wife indirectly got me into becoming a volunteer at Hospis which taught me tremendously, the ways to provide palliative care to all the terminally ill patients who became my friends before they all passed away. These lessons eventually gave me the insight and strengths to provide the best support, care and comfort for both my beloved parents' final journey. Suddenly I became very loud and bold in the watsap chat with my older siblings on all the procedures and eventually went ahead to plan the exact details on how we should handle a dead body according to the Buddhist rites including the funeral arrangements.



My dashing father who swooned many ladies in town.


My late father was a very handsome and healthy man all his life. He worked with the forensics of the government's Chemistry Lab to handle all the very serious narcotic cases in the northern states of Malaysia. He became an expert in all liquid chemical stuffs after being sent to United Kingdom under the scholarship of the Colombo Plan. Naturally he was extremely fussy on his food consumption and preferred home cooked meals which meant healthier food. As a cheeky kid, I often had to sneak out and buy the 'dirty' hawker's fruit rojaks and iced waters which he often raged out on the toxic dyes and saccharine contained. My father was a better known public figure in my hometown for all his charitable contributions and fund raising projects, helping his closest allies like Honda's tycoon Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew and Datuk Seri Tan Hoay Eam, to build & manage the homes for the old folks and cerebral palsy handicapped children for many decades.


  
His earlier ballroom days with a partner during competitions.


At the same time, his greatest passion and love for dancing had created his legendary name in the whole ballroom dance circles after winning a Gold Medal from the Royal Ballroom Dancing School in London. He often waltzed and tangoed his nights away with my beloved mother during their retirement years. The famous E&O Hotel gave my parents the honour of a complimentary lifetime F&B coverage each time they patronized their dance floors. Later years, the Hollywood's movie producers were tipped off and approached my father to help out in their filming set of the famous "Anna & The King". He just had to coach the actors Chow Yuen Fatt to waltz beautifully with his partner, actress Jodie Foster in the sequel of the Thai King dancing inside his palace. My Thai-born mother who hailed from Bangkok's Samutprakan village, was a very staunch loyalist of the Thai Royalties, owing to her family's direct connections with the Grand Palace, therefore my father had to respect and decline the glamorous task to coach the 2 famous movie stars. This movie was naturally banned in Thailand.

When my father's age approached the mid 70s, his health was still strong but his brains started to slow down which showed signs of memory loss. He started to forget names, places and often drove the car alone in circles until he lost his way home. Visits to doctors finally confirmed that he had developed "Dementia" which was an alien word to me. I read up a lot about this and watched documentaries on these dementia patients. The doctors at Hospis had cautioned us to get prepared that my father would eventually suffer the worst when his brains could no longer send anymore signals to all his strong & able limbs. Fast forward to his advanced dementia stage, he could no longer remember how to bathe, use the toilet, wear his clothes, eat, walk and even talk! The worst scenario was he could no longer recognize all his children and family on most occasions, therefore he was often very frightened as he was completely confused, lost and drawn into his own world. The last stage would be, his brains could no longer signal his body to receive food and any liquid. His throat and lungs would often get stuck & choked until we had to admit him to the ICU several times to drain out everything. One doctor had warned me that he would eventually die of hunger as his body would reject everything including hospital's bottled drips! It was so painful to watch him slowly fading off even though he had no terminal sickness or whatsoever pain.




Before my poor father passed away eventually, my wife and I had attended a special talk by a university's professor about dementia to learn about its history, causes and preventive measures. I was very-very shocked that Aluminium is very harmful and directly damages the human's brain cells!!! My next blog topic will share the hazardous details of aluminium and Dementia's story. Stay tuned, be healthy and don't curse me please. LOL.




Warning: Food wrapped by Aluminium Foils.



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Selamat Hari Raya at Hospital

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