My father was in and out of hospital for three times within the past quarter. In April, he was re-admitted for the fourth time. February was the worst. When he was discharged after a 2 month-long hospitalization, he was feverish for three days and nights. My mother and I experienced anxiety for the first two nights. On the third evening, my elder sister came over and decided we need to send him via ambulance back to hospital. Subsequently, he stayed twice more due to fever and high output volume from his fistula opening.
It was a nerve racking experience each time he was home. In addition, it was tiring. Making sure he ate his medications, cleaning his wounds which could come up to four times a day, monitoring the colour of his discharge, and quarreling with him when he refused to eat the home cooked food. To be fair to him, his stomach became smaller after the surgery and he could not absorb the food he ate. He also vomited frequently if he overate (by his standards). I was angry and spent a lot of time complaining and wrestling with the hospital team over their lack of attention and care. Eventually for the most recent hospitalization, I decided to re-admit my father to his very first hospital. It was nearer to our home as well, which made it easier for us to visit him.
Last week, I was asked to go to the hospital to meet the doctor, three days after he was admitted. The doctor sat me down to explain his planned strategy to help heal my father’s fistula opening. I agreed to the plan. Then, he looked at me and said he wanted to talk to me about my father’s CT scan. It was diagnosed that my father’s cancer has spread to his lungs (he was first diagnosed with colon cancer).
This meant that my father’s cancer is at advanced stage and the current prognosis is 1.5 years. In a strange way, I felt a sense of eventuality, a final sense of certainty. At least I know the time left for us to do planning ahead. I decided to withhold this information from my father at the moment while he struggled to heal his fistula. I believe towards the end I will definitely feel sad again, perhaps when I break the news to him. It will be hard for him to accept. But I want him to enjoy every single day now in blissful ignorance.
The boredom arose when I took on a temporary job while deciding to give myself a final deadline when it comes to switching fields. Just when I was struggling to keep myself awake at work because there was nothing to do at all in that job, my current role came. I stayed on in the temp role till the contract officially ended because I needed the money.
A strange contrast of feelings
Why do I call it a strange contrast of feelings? Well, my father brings me sadness to a certain degree (although I am holding up pretty well since I was mentally prepared a long time ago), and I am facing a brand new start in my second career, which should be a happy occasion.
My current new role marks the start of my journey to a new career – hopefully a less intense job than my previous line in corporate communications/public relations. Naturally I experienced slight anxiety again in this new field but I told myself I will just give my best shot, yet pace myself right this time.
I will not bring my laptop back home unless I have US night calls. Other than that, no work for me during evenings and definitely not weekends. My weekends are for my father and pursuing my own personal pursuits. Mentally I am also prepared to face bad colleagues, colleagues who push work to me and colleagues who are condescending.
But deep down I know one thing, I won’t give up on writing. Every single cell in me refused to write for any corporations now – those meaningless silly emails, speeches, letters etc. I hate others trampling on my work. I hated it. And I want to protect my love of writing fiercely. No one shall change nor distort my work ever again. I will devote my true love for writing in areas that truly meant something to me. The greatest reason for a career switch is to have a less intense career.
Moving to a new career doesn’t mean I will give up communications. Nope, I will not. I will continue to write, but only for myself. My book (I will get to it, definitely), my blog and if possible I will try to start contribute to some media to start gaining traction.
All I can say is, life really throws curveballs at you when you least expected it.