Sunday, March 7, 2010

Linda Day 1

TITLE: Took dad to the hospital and tipped family friend 02-05-10

Date: Feb 5, 2010

I notice as my father gets older, he complains more and more about life, be it little or big things. His health also deteriorates slowly with old age. Admittedly, I’m not emotionally close to my father but we’re still a family. He has taken care of me long enough, too much rather, as if his care has become his life purpose. I hope he realizes one day (very soon) that it ought to be the other way around as I grow up.

Event: During the afternoon, my dad was complaining about a stomach pain, and later an additional back pain. By complaining, I mean he unusually walks up and down the stairs, constantly making loud sighs and mumbling to himself. Sitting or laying down didn’t help. Warm water didn’t help. A massage didn’t help. Mom wasn’t home.

Normally I would go about with my work and tolerate his complaints, hoping it will just pass. But it was an awful sight, to watch your father in pain and listen to him sigh. But the doctor’s office closes at 4pm. I decided to call a nurse to ask questions on what to do. She recommended going to an urgent clinic.

Sadly I don’t have a car or license, and he wasn’t eager to go anywhere. We really have drag him to a doctor when he needs one. I called a family friend and they drove us. After a few hours of waiting and tests and more waiting, he was prescribed some medicine and was free to go. What was the problem? It was probably something he ate that day, giving him bowel movements.

That makes me want to sigh.

But whether it was a serious or mild problem, I decided to do something that I normally would not go so far to do, and I would have been wondering all night what might have happened if we did not go.

On the way home, we made sure to tip our family friend with a red envelope (in our culture they are packets containing money), for going out of their way to drive us and wait for three hours. Apparently it’s not polite if I say his name, so my parents said to refer to him as either “x’s husband” or “uncle”.

Reactions: Not surprisingly, dad complained about the time it took in the waiting room. However, when explaining to our friend and cousin about the situation, he did acknowledge my initiative, that I was “smart enough to call a nurse”.

As for the family friend, he refused the envelope at first but accepted it after we insisted, and thanked us. It’s actually an unspoken rule amongst our relatives to refuse money out of courtesy.

Would I do it again? It feels like a great obligation to say yes, but only if the case is worse (or if he complains more). This wasn’t as urgent as I thought it was, and I’ll know what to do the next time it happens and save ourselves time.

Cost: nothing for Canadian health care, and a red envelope (the amount is undisclosed, but it was more than $5)
Effort: A few phone calls and a lot of patience.

Time: 30 minutes of waiting and speaking to a nurse, 30 minutes in the car, 3 hours in the hospital.

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