September 13, 2015

A visit to the nursing home

"What plans do you have today?"

"Don't think I have any, why?"

"We're going to visit your uncle."

My father's eldest brother has been paralysed for many years as a result of a stroke. Since then, he has been in a nursing home, wheelchair-bound, unable to utter a single word and only communicate exclusively using a variation of sounds and single-handed hand gestures. 

Upon our arrival, my uncle was seen sitting in the front porch of the nursing home, staring through the gates as if he knew that my dad was coming. The sad reality is that he probably was waiting for my dad, knowing that he would visit about once a month. The only thing we don't know is how often he does that.

My dad had to tell him straight away that he won't be bringing my uncle out today. You could almost see the disappointment in my uncle's eyes. He even had his going-out-slippers on. 

The rest of the patients were in the living room, consumed by whatever that was on the TV. Come to think of it, that would probably be a better option than waiting.

We sat around the table in the porch and my dad started talking to him while he had the KFC that my dad bought. It's a good thing my dad's pretty talkative in nature, since the conversation consists of him talking and my uncle just reacting to whatever he says. With my mom around, it was vaguely reminiscent of the days when our whole family actually had reunion dinners together with the conversation of family and relatives.

I respect my dad a lot, because other people in his shoes probably wouldn't do the same. My uncle wasn't particularly helpful back when my dad just got to the city. If anything, him and his wife were pretty condescending as they were pretty well-to-do, whereas my dad was the poor younger brother he had. My dad would go on and on about how his eldest brother did not even bother to call him up to see whether he was alive. I could only imagine how much heartache he must have felt.

Now, my uncle could only shake his head when asked whether his ex-wife or his kids visited him. Somewhere throughout the conversation, he did express that his son hasn't visited him for about a month, which was actually better than what we had expected. My mom would keep saying that it's the children's responsibility to take care of their father, but you can't really expect that of people in this day and age, regardless of how much you think it is the right thing to do. 

We left after several hours and the only thing he could do is wait patiently for the next visit.

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