Friday, October 14, 2016

My father's Dementia - A Painful Truth

It has been exactly 2.5 months since my father passed away and it seems like many years have passed so swiftly. I have moved on with my life but with a heavy heart whenever my happiest memories flashed back to rekindle the good times. I am always thankful to my beloved parents for giving me the best upbringing any child could wish for. I want you all to be healthy always, so I will share this awareness post below.

I have been yearning to share with everyone on my personal experience, coping with both my parent's illnesses, on their final days until the funeral preparations. I am always thankful that my wife indirectly got me into becoming a volunteer at Hospis which taught me tremendously, the ways to provide palliative care to all the terminally ill patients who became my friends before they all passed away. These lessons eventually gave me the insight and strengths to provide the best support, care and comfort for both my beloved parents' final journey. Suddenly I became very loud and bold in the watsap chat with my older siblings on all the procedures and eventually went ahead to plan the exact details on how we should handle a dead body according to the Buddhist rites including the funeral arrangements.



My dashing father who swooned many ladies in town.


My late father was a very handsome and healthy man all his life. He worked with the forensics of the government's Chemistry Lab to handle all the very serious narcotic cases in the northern states of Malaysia. He became an expert in all liquid chemical stuffs after being sent to United Kingdom under the scholarship of the Colombo Plan. Naturally he was extremely fussy on his food consumption and preferred home cooked meals which meant healthier food. As a cheeky kid, I often had to sneak out and buy the 'dirty' hawker's fruit rojaks and iced waters which he often raged out on the toxic dyes and saccharine contained. My father was a better known public figure in my hometown for all his charitable contributions and fund raising projects, helping his closest allies like Honda's tycoon Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew and Datuk Seri Tan Hoay Eam, to build & manage the homes for the old folks and cerebral palsy handicapped children for many decades.


  
His earlier ballroom days with a partner during competitions.


At the same time, his greatest passion and love for dancing had created his legendary name in the whole ballroom dance circles after winning a Gold Medal from the Royal Ballroom Dancing School in London. He often waltzed and tangoed his nights away with my beloved mother during their retirement years. The famous E&O Hotel gave my parents the honour of a complimentary lifetime F&B coverage each time they patronized their dance floors. Later years, the Hollywood's movie producers were tipped off and approached my father to help out in their filming set of the famous "Anna & The King". He just had to coach the actors Chow Yuen Fatt to waltz beautifully with his partner, actress Jodie Foster in the sequel of the Thai King dancing inside his palace. My Thai-born mother who hailed from Bangkok's Samutprakan village, was a very staunch loyalist of the Thai Royalties, owing to her family's direct connections with the Grand Palace, therefore my father had to respect and decline the glamorous task to coach the 2 famous movie stars. This movie was naturally banned in Thailand.

When my father's age approached the mid 70s, his health was still strong but his brains started to slow down which showed signs of memory loss. He started to forget names, places and often drove the car alone in circles until he lost his way home. Visits to doctors finally confirmed that he had developed "Dementia" which was an alien word to me. I read up a lot about this and watched documentaries on these dementia patients. The doctors at Hospis had cautioned us to get prepared that my father would eventually suffer the worst when his brains could no longer send anymore signals to all his strong & able limbs. Fast forward to his advanced dementia stage, he could no longer remember how to bathe, use the toilet, wear his clothes, eat, walk and even talk! The worst scenario was he could no longer recognize all his children and family on most occasions, therefore he was often very frightened as he was completely confused, lost and drawn into his own world. The last stage would be, his brains could no longer signal his body to receive food and any liquid. His throat and lungs would often get stuck & choked until we had to admit him to the ICU several times to drain out everything. One doctor had warned me that he would eventually die of hunger as his body would reject everything including hospital's bottled drips! It was so painful to watch him slowly fading off even though he had no terminal sickness or whatsoever pain.




Before my poor father passed away eventually, my wife and I had attended a special talk by a university's professor about dementia to learn about its history, causes and preventive measures. I was very-very shocked that Aluminium is very harmful and directly damages the human's brain cells!!! My next blog topic will share the hazardous details of aluminium and Dementia's story. Stay tuned, be healthy and don't curse me please. LOL.




Warning: Food wrapped by Aluminium Foils.



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62 comments:

  1. Thank you Anay for sharing.

    Your late father was sure very handsome and suave.

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    1. My father was very charming and spoke with well polished manners like a British. I miss him so much.

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  2. It's hard indeed to see such healthy man decay slowly.

    Could you write more on the differences of dementia and alzheimer. Many comfuse about these two.

    It's hard to handle old folk with dementia as many of us will think its just nyanyuk. Hard to get them to see doctor to get a diagnosis too. End up there will be arguement between family members.

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    1. I really thought so that all old people would turn nyanyuk. It took me so long to understand about Alzheimer's, Parkinsons and now Dementia. What's next?

      I will try to write the difference between Demntia and Alzheimer's.

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    2. Thanks.

      It's always the 1st step that is very hard. with a proper dignosis, family at least can plan the next steps.

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    3. at least like your dad, you all already can plan the next step after he got diagnosed.

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  3. TM, thank you for sharing this information with us. Your dad was quite the dashing young man! Yes, terribly sad that you had your family has to see him lose his faculties. Please do share more of your knowledge so that we can all learn and be aware.

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    1. His loss of memory that robbed him the quality of his final years is so sad. I think any sickness would be just as bad when we see our loved ones suffering from them.

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  4. I am amazed by your father's background and I have nothing but praises, and this include having children like you. I am also surprised that you knew all these details about him and your mum so vividly captured by your narrations that I had this pinch of sadness not knowing really well the background of my own parents.

    It would be of great interest to know the cause of dementia and to share them in this blog is a treat for us all. Also, you are so lucky to have a wife who is not only talented but also supportive of you and your family. I wish to meet you and your family one day.

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    1. I am fortunate that my wife has been my pillar and strengths, who brought me the fate to learn new things and see the eye openers in life.

      My father's life was very colourful and rich. I believe that he had enjoyed his entire life the way he had wished after the second world war.

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  5. Aluminum... i could think of many food, remember last time when I make roasted chicken by using oven, the aluminum foil always put on top of the tray then the chicken. And I also can think of BBQ, I hardly eat BBQ, but what I can remember is the aluminum foil is use to wrap the potatoes.

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    1. I never imagined that the Aluminium Foil that I have been using and seeing could be a slow killer at right under my nose! So many things are made from aluminium.

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  6. It is a sad truth to have dementia

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    1. My heart aches as I read how your father slowly deteriorates

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    2. This is indeed a sad truth and it made me so weak for so long. I was so lazy to drag my feet and brains to write what I learnt from the doctor's talk about Dementia. It is a scary old disease of the brains which existed long ago but no one seemed to discover it then.

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  7. I can see you're a kind-hearted soul....you have to be for volunteering your valuable time and service to take on hospice care. I'm sorry you had to go through seeing your father slowly deteriorate over time because of dementia but looking at the dashing photo of your father in his younger days, his ballroom days and charming the ladies (*wink wink*), reflect on those happy memories to know that he has led a full life and that you've provided the best possible care for him till his last breath.

    Your warning on aluminium foil frightens me. I still use them to cover food in the oven coz they stay put (unlike baking paper) but I make sure I don't cook food on top of it. I used to but I've recently changed to using baking paper so I'm eager to read your post on the hazardous details of aluminium foil. There are still people who use aluminium pots and pans these days because of the price factor. I shudder to think how many of our hawker stalls still use such pots...yikes!

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    1. Anyone would have done the same for charity's sake. I just happened to be there at the right place and right time to help my wife who could not carry a bone-marrow cancer man to her car. I carried his frail skeleton body into the car and headed to hospital for treatment. He became my own patient right away and the rest was history.

      I was hesitant in wrinting about the dangers of Aluminium as I know that many millions of people out there are wrapping their food and even hair with aluminium foils and drink so much soda from tin cans. Why should I scare them? Keeping my silence bothered me even more for acting like a selfish brat. LOL

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  8. Awaiting for TM to share more about your knowledge to us... Thanks in advance...

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    1. Yes. Please come back to read when I could find the right words to create this awareness. I have headache myself as I drink lots of Zero Coke from aluminium tin cans.

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  9. You are indeed a strong person and a good son to make sure your father was well taken care of. Looking forward to read your posts on this. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. It is so true that my siblings and friends pointed out about my bravery as they could never stomach the duty to fetch, carry and hug the terminally ill patients with caring & assuring words to comfort them too.

      I hope the dangers of aluminium usage would be shared by every reader to create awareness amongst their friends and loved ones. I do not want others to suffer from the same pain to see your loved ones fading away in this manner like my father.

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  10. In the future, someone needs to write a blog post detailing the highlights of your life too.

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    1. LOL. You farnee fella. I should write a book about your kinky life instead.

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  11. Anay, please share more info on the dementia root causes. I would love to know everything on health.

    Looking at your dad's picture, he reminded me of the late Thai King. They both were equally tall, handsome and charming in those days.

    One of my friend from my hiking group just diagnosed with colon cancer 4th stage. I am saddened by the news. Tell me what should I do to support her.

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    1. Our fathers are always the best and they always leave behind the fondest memories.

      I would say that your friend is very fortunate to have a caring and thoughtful friend like you. Not everyone would want to help or even go near the terminally ill patients so often but you are very willing to so. I would be too glad to share my own advice. I believe that your hiking friend must be a female so it would be easier for your part.

      1. Always keep in touch with your friend often as they often need friends to talk and comfort them. Friends are sometimes better and closer than family members.

      2. Always offer your help to bring her to see doctors or run any errands for her.

      3. Visit her sometimes, have quality talk and hold her hands & hug her as much. The positive vibes from you could give lots of happiness & energy to her. (I'm not kidding)

      4. Comfort your friend with positive and assuring words esp not all cancer patients will die of this disease. I have seen a few cases of fully recovered patients.

      5. If there is Hospis in your town, please introduce to her as what I love most about Hospice care is the nurse & doctor visits to their homes really helped the patients who were at bed ridden stages. They even loan free beds, equipments and free medicine including the morphine!!! Let them have morphine to ease their sufferings, under the supervision of the doctors.

      6. If possible, please chant the DiZang Wang sutra for your friend. The powerful prayers dedication might help her to recover, if not allow her to go in peace later.

      7. You need to be strong throughout and heavens will bless you always for your kindness.

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    2. Anay, it is really valuable for me. I will try to do the points that you shared here with me. She and her sister are my good friends. They lead happy and healthy lifestyle as Yannie does.

      Thanks a lot, Anay.

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  12. The truth about aluminium foil really shocked me, looking forward for more of your explanation.

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    1. I was so shocked myself to know how the aluminium foils could easily release the toxic that travels to our brains right away.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post TM.
    And those photos of your late father when he was young, must be so precious!!

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    1. You are most welcome. I always wish that everyone would always be nice and caring to their parents too. When they are no longer around, it is like a beautiful dream has ended for us to turn over a new page.

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  14. Wow, your late dad was amazing. He was a good looking handsome and talented man. I am sure you are proud of him always.

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    1. Yes my father was talented on the dance floor, his gardening and his chemistry lab too! I was very proud of him and now this is a dream.

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  15. thanks for sharing this..i didn't know that aluminium is dangerous to human brain cells...so, now no more ikan bakar for me....btw, ur late dad is such a handsome guy.

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    1. Yes he was handsome since he was a small boy until his old age! LOL Yeah the ikan bakar would be most affected and laced with toxic! Adoi. I have to skip this too!

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  16. Oh dear. Food wrap with aluminium foil is very common. How now?

    By the way, your late dad, is such a charming man. Coupled with your late mom, now I know why you are so charming yourself.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words.

      I am also thinking how to find a substitute for aluminium foils. Headache now!

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  17. Thanks for sharing so much info. When baking, i try to use silicon baking sheet rather than aluminium. Your late father definitely was a handsome man.

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    1. I must check out what is this silicon baking sheet. You are so smart and probably knew the dangers of the foil since long ago.

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  18. Your dad was a dashing and sauve man.

    Dementia is becoming more important. I am sorry you lost your dad to this condition.

    Earlier on I posted my comment about my late father in a blog. Sometimes, it takes a while to get over the loss but every so often, something triggers the loss and the grief takes over. My dad tried to top himself once because he couldn't carry out simple tasks himself. I can understand where he was coming from. I would probably have done the same. We all are different.

    Thanks for the share.

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    1. Thanks for your compliments.

      I think we can never get over the loss of our loved ones. We could only get stronger and move on. These days I try not to think of my parents too much otherwise I would wallow into griefs. LOL

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  19. he really was a brave ,intelligent and full of life .
    life is beautiful but when passing through its natural process it came to its end in some cases it is huge and unbearable pain leave behind for the whole life .
    my both parents were seventy plus when they died and most painful thing for me is that i was not there to say them goodbye as i live with my husband and kids in a city quite far .though i manage to attend their funeral still for almost two years it was really hard for me to survive with this fact that those who fostered me and brought me up with so love and care are not anymore .
    finally i took decision to stay positive and get my health better to give my family a peaceful living.

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    1. Thanks for your comments. Life is just a journey and everyone will have to leave this world someday. Hope that we will learn to have no attachment to everything so that we will be able to move on. All the good memories will live on forever in our hearts and I am very thankful for everything that both my parents had given me. Sometimes we failed to see the good intentions until our loved ones are no longer around. I wish you to be well and happy always in Pakistan.

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  20. Your father had a very pleasant face, yes, he looked very dashing indeed. I am sure he had a good life, with your mom and kids like you... I think of mom every day too, and she appears in my dream very often, in fact I can say every now and then... I asked my siblings whether they dream of mom but they don't... only once a blue moon... I guess she is always on my mind, that is the reason why.. Thank you for sharing the word dementia, I thought it is only a loss of memory, now I only know how it affects our body and brain.. it is really sad as in the word Cancer as well.. but what is consoling is that they are now in a better world where there is no sickness and sorrow....

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    1. My father had a very kind face and many people liked him. You have a good heart and mind that's why your mum could easily visit you in your dreams! This is a fact.

      Hope that you will always enjoy your days with good food, travels and plenty of exercises.

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  21. Your papa very 'ann tau' leh. Huh so aluminium foil is real bad. tQVM for the info

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    1. Thank you handsome banana man! Yeah we should say good bye to aluminium! I wonder if steel and iron pots are safe?

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  22. Wow! Your father was indeed very dashing in his younger days.

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    1. Yes he was very dashing from his teenage till old age! All ladies adored him. LOL

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  23. Aluminium is the cause of dementia?!

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    1. It is one of the causes. Karma rules ultimately as my mum had no dementia issues.

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  24. Your father was a very handsome man, I love the photos! Dementia and Alzheimer's are terrible and my heart goes out to you. My father died in 1984, when I was just 27 years of age, and I still miss him. I can talk about him now without crying, but my memories of him still live.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and you have inspired me to believe that time would heal. I look forward to the days when I could speak about my parents with better confidence. I am sorry to know that your father left your family at such a young age. It must have been difficult for your mum and hope she has been well and happy.

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  25. Hi! Your father was very handsome. It was very nice that your father worked for the poor and the handicapped people.I think the cause of Dementia was not known. The good memories for your father is very valuable. I hope you have nice days.

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    1. You are right to say that the actual cause for dementia is not really known but aluminium is believed to be one of the contributing factors to harm our brain cells. My father was a very kind man who had very soft spot for the cerebral palsy handicapped and old folks who had no families. He left behind a legacy of his meritorious deeds and happiest memories for us.

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  26. i have learned more about your beloved father. He must be very proud of having you as his son.

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    1. I think I am prouder to have him as a father! LOL

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  27. Gosh, you dad is soooooo handsome! I'm amazed how good-looking he was, Tan. Hey, you're scaring me with the foil thingy! Hahaha!

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    1. I hope that you have found alternatives instead of using aluminium... It is really very harmful without doubts.

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  28. You father was handsome. A dapper man. He lived a wonderful life, and did all the things he loved to do. I can't wait for the follow up post.

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    1. My father was like an English man in Chinese skin after having lived in England. I hope that you will enjoy good health without the use of aluminium.

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  29. It’s really great learning about your father... but the way his life end gives pain. I think the sudden death is better than losing entire memories and cut off signals.

    I was going through a confused state last week and scared really what gonna happen to be, but glad I check the doctor and took medicine to feel normal to do my regular work.

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    1. Now I believe that sudden deaths like heart attacks are better than those with long terminally ill diseases. Of course, we cannot choose our deaths and our karmic fate will decide.

      I hope that you will be cheerful always and not to feel depressed. Please seek the doctor's help always.

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Happy Deepavali To All My Hindu Friends

I had a very hectic day today which drained all my energy. My car's air-con had a leakage and it had to stay overnight at the workshop....