My Dad is a big, strong man of few words. He just gets things done, no problems at all. It was a shock when I heard that Dad had to have surgery for colon cancer. It was a bigger shock to hear that he had to immediately have a second surgery within 24 hours, as his wound had become septic. It was very sad when I walked into his ward as I could not identify my father. The big, strong and silent man had become gaunt, weak and fragile. He ended up staying in hospital for 8 weeks. I could only be there for a week, sitting with him every day for 15 hours, watching Dad drift between waking and sleeping. Whilst he slept, I would be reading (there was no internet connection), or watching the patients in beds around me, or their loved ones by their bed. There was so much suffering, by both patients and their loved ones. The patients were not dead, but they were not living. It was a painful life at the brink of death. It looked like slowly dying.
My Dad was in a ward with patients all suffering from “lifestyle diseases”. At times, I would gaze at them wondering, if they wondered what they would have done differently if the clock was wound back 30 years. Then it struck me. Their 30 years ago, is my now. I can do things differently, now.