"Remember Job's life..."
These are the words he often tell me every time I ask him why certain things happen to us, particularly the unfortunate ones.
My dad retired from work in 2017 at the age of 55 because of his medical condition. He was a Government Employee, a hard-working one.
In 2015, he was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Back then, his condition can still be managed with proper diet and medication. He spends approximately USD600 (PhP30,000) for his medicines a month. This is because aside from his CKD, he also has a heart condition and gouty arthritis. He suffered from heart attack in 2016 and underwent Angiogram. He was supposed to undergo Angioplasty, but his Cardiologist said that he can instead take maintenance medicines so his heart condition would not get worse. Because he was employed before, he can manage to finance his medication and check-ups. But after he retired, he found it difficult to sustain them. He is still not receiving his retirement pension from the government because here in the Philippines, retirement should be done at the age of 60 (mandatory retirement at the age of 65).
This year, his condition got worse because he failed to see his doctors and to do laboratory tests as advised. From a creatinine result of 3+ last year, his creatinine result reached 7+ last June (Normal Values: 0.6-1.1 mg/dl). Furthermore, he has been confined in the following hospitals:
- Mount Carmel Diocesan General Hospital (MCDGH), Lucena City from June 7 to 12, 2019
- Bondoc Peninsula District Hospital (BPDH), Catanauan, Quezon from June 15 to 16, 2019
- Quezon Medical Center (QMC), Lucena City from June 21 to 26, 2019 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and June 27 to July 6, 2019 in the Medicine Ward
On June 5, 2019, he asked me if I can have him scheduled to be checked-up by a Gastroenterologist/Gastrologist because he is in so much pain due to his aching stomach. He has a very strong character, he does not ask for a doctor unless he can no longer handle the pain he is feeling. At that time, he is also suffering from his gouty arthritis so he planned to see his Rheumatologist. His feet are swollen. I called MCDGH and asked for the availability of doctors. Luckily, a specialist for his case is available so he, along with my mom drove all the way from our hometown (Catanauan, Quezon) to here, Lucena City. That was supposed to be a three-hour drive, but because my dad is in so much pain, he arrived here in Lucena City in just two hours. By the way, there are no specialists in our hometown and not much facility in the hospital there. Also, no driver is available to drive for my dad so despite his condition, he drove himself to get here. I asked my dad if he also wants to see a Nephrologist (a specialist for his kidney). He refused. He said he will just have his aching stomach and feet checked, then he will take some laboratory tests.
We went to the doctors as scheduled, but because no laboratory results are available yet, only medicines to address his aching stomach and feet are precribed by the doctors. Of course, the doctors considered his kidneys' condition in prescribing medicines. Afterwards, we had his laboratory tests done. Results are made available the next day, June 6, so my parents decided to go home that afternoon and asked me to get the results since I work and rent an apartment here in Lucena City. The following day, I went to the laboratory and obtained the results. That was when I found out that my dad's condition had worsen. I was literally crying upon seeing his creatinine result. I asked my nurse friends if he should undergo dialysis with that result. They all said yes. I called him, asking him to see a Nephrologist. He refused because he was so worried of the budget/finances and he was so afraid to undergo dialysis. I asked mom to convince him. I did not knew how swollen his feet and knees were that day. My mom told me that dad can not even walk. He must be in terrible pain that time. After mom talked to him, he agreed to see a Nephrologist. I had him scheduled the next day, June 7. When I came to the doctor's clinic, my mom and siblings were there, with my dad on a wheelchair. By just looking at him at that moment, I felt him hurting. He can barely talk. When the doctor saw him and his laboratory results, he was immediately advised to be admitted in the hospital, MCDGH. It was then when the doctor told us that my dad's CKD have reached the fifth stage, the end stage.
Before my dad was admitted, we waited for approximately three hours in the Emergency Room (ER). Not even a single room is vacant.
Dad stayed in MCDGH for six days. He was advised by his doctor to get himself ready for dialysis. He was afraid, mom, my siblings and I knew. He was told that he should have his fistula attached for the dialysis, but the procedure would cost USD600 (PhP30,000) here in Lucena City and much lower in Manila. We decided to have the procedure done in Manila when he gets discharged.
In MCDGH, two packs of blood were also required to be transfused to him because of his low hemoglobin. We found it difficult to look for blood, but by God's grace we were able to obtain two packs. He was discharged on June 12, the sixth day of his stay. Our relatives and churchmates helped us pay for the hospital bill.
We originally planned to bring him to Manila for the fistula after his confinement in MCDGH, but dad said he wanted to rest for a few days so we let him.
On June 14, my second-to-the-youngest brother graduated from college. My mom attended his graduation while dad stayed in my apartment. That night, we thought he was just having diarrhea. But when my brother checked the comfort room, he saw blood in the toilet. That was my dad's blood. He was complaining about his stomach aching again. We suggested to bring him to the hospital again but he refused saying he will observe if the pain will subside after taking his medicines. They went home to Catanauan that night. The next day, June 15, he was rushed to BPDH because he is still having loose bowel movement and his stool contains blood. Mom got worried that he might get dehydrated. With antibiotics being administered to him, he felt better and was discharged the following day. He was diagnosed with Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding -- the cause of it, we were not sure that time.
He was on a plant-based diet due to his creatinine level since he was discharged from MCDGH. He only eats tofu and vegetables that are low in potassium (since he also has a high potassium level which is bad for his heart). He does not eat any kind of meat as well as fruits. He felt really weak because of his diet.
On the night of June 20, my mom called me telling that my dad's blood pressure (BP) is very low. She was worried especially because dad looked very pale that time. At around 8:00 PM, my dad collapsed. He lost consciousness. My youngest sibling messaged me telling me to call her immediately. I called her and she told me what happened. She was crying, mom too. They rushed dad in the hospital, in BPDH. I told them to bring him here since there are no specialist and enough facilities there. His hemoglobin, when checked that time, was only 4 (Normal Values: 12.0-16.0 g/dl). It took them about an hour before he was finally advised to travel here. As they traveled, I called MCDGH for the availability of a room. Unfortunately, no rooms are available. I tried another hospital, Lucena Medical Mission Group Hospital (LMMGH). One room is available. I had the room reserved as I waited for them to arrive. It was almost midnight when they arrived. He was brought to the ER and was immediately checked by the nurses on duty. They told us that he should be confined in the ICU, but their ICU isn't available. My mom was crying, she's so worried. I was the one talking to the nurses, asking them to help us. They called other hospitals within the city, but found no ICU available. They tried for a number of times. I was praying hard that time. God answered, an ICU was made available in QMC. That was almost 2:00 AM when we brought him there, and past 5:00 AM when he got admitted.
In QMC, he stayed for six days in the ICU, during which he also had his first two emergency dialysis sessions. He also underwent Endoscopy where we found out the reason for his bleeding intestine. Moreover, six packs of blood were initially required to be transfused to him because of his low hemoglobin which was probably caused by his bleeding intestine. Another seven packs were transfused afterwards. Of course, looking for packs of blood was not easy. We asked for help from various people. But because God has always been faithful to provide whatever we need, 13 packs of blood became available.
Many things happened in QMC. I can still recall those sleepless nights, the tears we cried, all those worries and fears. Maybe some other time I can share them in detail. In fact, at this very moment, we are still indebted for our hospital bill amounting to almost USD2,040 (PhP102,000).
But what I am trying to raise now is for my dad's kidney transplant. More than anything else, we want him to live longer, to stay with us for some more years. He is, at present, confined in the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), in the Charity Ward because we no longer have enough money for his hospitalization. He was brought there last July 12 because of his blood infection caused by his IJ Catheter (for his dialysis, while he has no fistula yet). We are asking for help, and we do hope that this post about dad's condition will touch your hearts.
By the way, I have also been treated from my Uretero-pelvic Junction Obstruction (a kidney condition) last 2015. I underwent another major operation last 2016 because of my gall stones -- my gallbladder was removed. I also suffer from my congenital eye problem wherein my eyes are filled with scars causing it difficult for me to see properly. Doctors told me already that there's no cure for my condition. But for my dad's condition, there can be. My sister, next to me, has a Rheumatic Heart Disease. My niece, a 10-year old kid, has Type 1 Diabetes, a condition wherein her body is not producing insulin and thus makes her dependent on her maintenance medicines. She was comatosed last 2017, the time when we discovered her illness. My two other nephews have also medical conditions. But God has always sustained and provided our needs. And this story, this long post, I hope and pray that God will use other people through this to become channels of blessings so we can go on and raise funds for my dad's transplant.
God bless us all.