Thursday, May 15, 2008

Komm, Susser Tod

When my father was around 40 years old, the doctors told him he had 6 months to live. He had arhythmic beating of the heart. Parts of his heart had died – heart infarction - and he needed a cure that wasn’t invented yet. I’m not sure if they did invent it.

He also has diabetes. It started with a dose of incontinence. He started peeing regularly. And then there was the craving for sweet, sweet fruit juices. He’d throw the contents of a whole jackfruit, mangoes, rambutans into the blender and then mix it up with ice cream soda. And then he’d chill it with a few ice cubes. And then he would drink it.

When he was diagnosed with diabetes, the doctors told him he had to be warded, so he went to his room. Upon reaching there and having the nurse read his charts, he was scolded, then the nurse who took him was scolded. Because at his blood sugar levels, he was supposed to be on a wheelchair.

Then there were the strokes. He had his first after prayers. The left side of his body just went limp and he lost feeling in his left arm and leg. He just sat down for a while, and it went away. My mother rubbed vinegar on him – a folk remedy.

There was a second one, and I wasn’t there to see how it was. The third time he had a stroke, he was hospitalized.

The last time I saw him, he walked around on a walker, with a pouch in front. In it were four packs of cigarettes. He never quit. And this was more than 20 years after the doctors gave up on him.

The men of my family, especially on my father’s side, lived very long lives. His father, my grandfather, lived up to 98 years old. Working till the day he died.

When I was 26, the doctors told me that I will die before I’m 40. I just went in for a stupid kidney stone thing. They tested my uric acid levels and it was normal. Then they asked me questions and listened to my heart and my lungs. Arhythmic.

Their verdict: stress. And the smoking. And the drinking. And my love for food.

AT the time, I was doing the work of five men. Some people just upped and left and guess who had to hold the bag?

I’m a runner. I run away from things. When I discovered that my mother was trying to manipulate me, WAS manipulating me for years and years, I hatched a scheme that would take me away from home. That was when I was 12. I never went back since. I never came home for good, to stay. It’s been 16 years, and I’ve been living away from them. All for my pride. I will never, ever, let anyone control me. I would rather be right than be happy. My pride is more important than anyone in this world.

The doctors, they said that if I continued my way of life, I’ll have a cardiac arrest before I’m 40, and then I’d die. By then I already had to go to the hospital every 6 months for Nebulizer treatments. I get recurring bronchitis. My blood vessels were getting thicker and narrower. And I was coughing blood every morning.

So when I could afford it, I got myself a gym membership. It will be nice to have six pack abs, but my real goal is to bury my parents. I owe them that, at least.

I mean, they were not the best parents in the world. Far from it. My father is a robot who believes in hard work. My mother is an emotional hurricane.

But they did the best they could. I don’t hold it against them. They never had the answer to the questions I always had with me. They’re not perfect, they’re human. And for a lot of those 16 years I am away, I held that against them. Not anymore.

No matter. I took care of myself. I nurtured myself. My brain. I am a genius. I am smarter than most. People could backstab me all they want, but I have survived each and every dagger they stuck between my shoulder blades. I could train myself, feed myself, and survive on my own.

But never was my survival that important. I need to be the one who lives and bury my parents. Because I don’t have the heart to let them bury me. That’s not fair. Parents shouldn’t be responsible for their children’s funerals. It would break them. They’re not strong enough. I am.

I need to make sure that I handle their funerals. THAT’S responsibility. THAT’S something I’m not running away from.

When the doctors told me their verdict, I really didn’t give a shit. Whether I live or die, this will stay a shitty world. People will still use and abuse other people. They will still backstab each other. They will still lie and then live in denial all their lives. There will still be idiots.

But I decided to live if not for me, then for my family. My life is my own, my death likewise. I will use it as I see fit. This is one thing no one else will ever control. Or manipulate. Or take credit for. As others have seemed so fond of doing before.

You fuckers can backstab me, try to use me all you want. I will not die. I will exist. You will fail. And there is nothing you can do about it. I have trained myself well. I do not need other people. When push comes to shove, you’re all gonna die, motherfuckers! Your lies will be exposed and your true face will greet the world with a twist of shame and guilt and remorse. And fear.

Because I don’t need people to tell me that I’m right. I KNOW I’m right.