My dad started feeling sick about two months prior to his E.R visit. He had a lot of joint pain, he felt sleepy, weak, and tired. He had fallen about 3 times randomly at home because of how weak he was feeling. To be quite frank, I thought it was his age. He had just turned 60.
On May 24th, 2022, I asked him to drive me to my job. I noticed that he looked bloated, abnormally bloated. I asked him about that. His response, “I don’t know, I do feel a lump on my stomach though.” I got frustrated because my dad has never been the type to take care of himself. He’s stubborn and refuses to get medical attention unless it’s truly “necessary.”
“What if it’s a hernia? Are you just going to wait until it explodes there? You need to get it checked out. Today you have my car, go see the doctor” I told him frantically. I think he realized how concerned I was. About an hour or two later he called me and said he was in the emergency room. I told him I was glad he had gone to get it checked out.
Little did I know, he would spend the next three days in the hospital.
On his second day there, I called and asked what the doctor had told him. He’s like, “Oh the doctor says that my liver and pancreas are inflamed. Once it goes down I’ll be able to go home.” I asked him what had caused the inflammation? “They’re working on figuring that out,” he said.
When I visited my dad on May 26th, 2022 in the hospital. I didn’t want to face the music but I knew that whatever my dad had he wouldn’t tell me. He’s a prideful man. So after checking in at the front desk, I walked the labyrinth-like hallways of the hospital.
Once in the room, I hugged him. He looked so sad, depressed even. I asked again what the doctor had said. He answered. “I might leave tonight.” I saw a stack of paperwork by the table where they’ve been serving his meals. I sat by his bedside and grabbed the paperwork.
“Just leave those there. We can look at them later” he said nervously.
“I just want to see what’s going on. What did they give you for lunch?” I asked as I turned over the first page.
I saw it at first glance but I squinted my eyes to make sure I read it right.
Medical Condition: Cirrhosis
I guess my dad’s long-time alcohol abuse had finally taken a toll on his body. I wasn’t surprised. I felt defeated.
The sentiment was evident as I noticed my dad’s eyes tear up as he answered my question.
“Nada más comí gelatina.”
He turned his face the other way so I wouldn’t see him cry.
It was the first time that my dad, the man who although has been an alcoholic, has always been there for me. The strict yet funny man, the indestructible man, and most importantly, my hero, was crumbling and I couldn’t do shit about it.