Twenty-Five Percent

25% remaining heart function as of last night. No visitors allowed so as not to cause unnecessary excitement.

The percentage ominously hangs at the back of my head as I drown my brain in the certainty of computing leveling loops and making benchmark descriptions for Cagayan de Oro river. I am afraid that if I stop working, I’ll fall apart or give in to despair.

 

I’ve been writing feverishly like a madman in between computations. I have blog diarrhea now because there’s so much that needs to come out. I take solace in the computed Northings, Eastings, elevations, and everything else that I can control physically. I’m a deliberate control freak because the thing I cannot control freaks the hell out of me. I could not deal with the silence. Not yet. Not now.

 

I even planned my retirement fund yesterday. Probably today I’ll just study the nuances of counting sheep and its correlation to sleeping patterns.

Something. Anything, just so I do not really have to look at this situation in the eyes.

Three-fourths of his heart have stopped functioning. Wasn’t it just yesterday when he spent nights watching cable TV and all those DVDs? Wasn’t it just yesterday when he was coming home from work with our favorite food for midnight snack? Wasn’t it just yesterday when he took a picture with me on a graduation ceremony as I donned six medals and marched in my old school? Wasn’t it just yesterday when he was joking and horsing around with the family and the few friends who visit me at home? How about those times when he cooked all those yummy dishes? How about that time when the house almost caught a fire but he distinctly made it a point to finish the pork sinigang that Paul and I left in the stove? I also remember how he made sure I safely get a cab when I go to the airport, how he made sure I get to school on time when I was too young to cross the street on my own. I remember the angry face that scowls at me when I come home beyond 10pm or the angry voice when I don’t eat on time.

 

Where did the time go from then to this moment? Why did the time just fly? Why did it seem like we did not have enough when in fact we had a lot?

 

I think I’ve gone deaf the first few days I heard about it.

 

Enlarged heart. Blood not pumping well enough. Heart center procedure. No word from the doctor assuring us that he is already in the safe zone. Just instructions that he needs to stop working, that he cannot engage in physical activities for a full month, and that he cannot get vexed or upset.And even with all those drastic measures and lifestyle changes, the doctor could no longer give word that a second heart attack is not imminent.

 

Telling a heavily choleric dad not to get upset or not to have any extreme emotion that can trigger a second heart attack is like telling a bird not to whistle its tune. But it is for this reason that I bury myself with all the work I could get my hands on as I hope for the best and brace myself for the worst. I stand by and support my sister so that she comes to school each morning. I listen to my mom when she comes home because if I feel this way, I have no idea how my mom feels at this very moment. I am pretty thankful that we can all hang on to each other as we go through this ordeal.

 

I honestly don’t know how I can deal with myself, but yeah, I just know that I have to be strong. He will definitely not listen to the doctor, I am sure of that. I don’t know if tying him to a bed will work. He’s already depressed being strapped in a hospital bed as it is now.

 

How can you tell someone not to leave all of us behind when you know that he has recurring dreams of Death trying to catch him, when when he closes his eyes and he dreams of dead relatives fetching him already to join them on the other side? I know that he already had a second extended life when he went past the doctor’s prediction in 2000 that he only had a maximum of 5-10 years remaining in his life.

 

All I know is that it won’t help if he sees that it affects me a lot. Whenever I visit him, I just pretend that it’s an ordinary day. I even bought McDonald’s for the family the first time he got taken out of the ICU. I joked that there is no grass in McDonald’s so I could not give him even a single french fry. He used to cook french fries when we have movie marathons on cable on a typical free day from work or school. If I could turn back time and vomit out all those french fries just to extend his life and make that 25% into a 50%/75%/100%, I think I’d do it.

 

I pretend that nothing’s wrong, and that I am confident that he will come home and things will be the same. But it was no ordinary day because time is so short and the chances of talking to him again are getting slimmer and slimmer by the minute. Try as we might to function normally and crack the same jokes, we know it’s not the same until we can hear the words that he’s out of the danger zone.

 

Platitudes and sympathy abound through torrents of text message, social media comments, and what-nots. I vaguely appreciate the support and keenly reel from the fact that this is indeed some serious shit that I have never experienced before.

 

And that this is just the first of the many moments where I will start losing the people I love because it’s the necessary losses that accompany the curse of getting old and coming closer to inevitable clasps of Death. I admire the people who go abroad and leave their loved ones because honestly, I can’t. I’d want to spend as much time with the people I love as possible because time is really short. So I don’t mind the paycut that comes with staying here because there is no price tag for precious moments spent with family and friends. 

 

I write words but there really are no words. I was just writing these down so that they won’t accumulate inside and have me imploding in my sleep.

 

How fleeting are life’s moments and we even spend it on worthless people and things, on unworthy vexations of the soul. Those people and things that annoy the hell out of me suddenly seem so small and insignificant now. I don’t care about them anymore. I just want more time with dad, with the family, with the real friends.

 

Life’s too short to hold grudges. It’s a waste of life, a non-renewable resource where you can’t hit rewind if you don’t spend it well.

 

25%. But despite that physically failing heart, he has a big heart that managed to love the family with alll that he has, with more than 100% and beyond statistical possibilites. For all his mood swings and tantrums, he is still awesome. This is why I try to write and immortalize whatever memories I can possibly preserve because I don’t know what happens next. And while we pray for the best, nothing is really under our control from the here and now.

 

image credit: Alfonsina Blyde of Flickr

I’m 100% hoping for a miracle. I THANK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HOPING WITH US. I am 100% grateful for your prayers and support.

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