A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Daddy

Posted by Pepper on September 22, 2014

No, I am not talking about my biological father. He is called papa. Daddy is my other father. Considering how prominent his role is in my life, I am surprised he doesn’t feature all that much on my blog.

I grew up in a joint family. We lived in a mid sized apartment (by Bombay standards) with my grandparents and my father’s elder brother. My dad’s brother does not have children of his own. I am told they were unable to conceive despite all the treatments that were available back then. I was the first grandchild in the family. When I was born, my grandparents suggested I refer to my dad’s brother and his wife as ‘daddy and S mummy’. My own parents would be referred to as mama and papa.

Irrespective of how hard I try, I know I will never be successful in describing the bond I have shared with daddy. I clung to him from the time I was born. Even as a baby, I only slept in the crook of his arm. If you flip through my childhood photographs, you will see the two of us together in almost every single picture. In most of my birthday pictures, you will see my wrapping myself around him as I cut the cake.

This is how you'd find us sleeping on most days

This is how you’d find us sleeping on most days

daddy13

Cutting the cake on my birthday. You will see my parents only on the side. I always wanted to be held only by daddy.

I realise now that he spoiled me a lot more than he should have. If my parents refused to buy me something, I knew I just had to open my mouth in front of daddy and I would have it. He got me ridiculously expensive battery operated toys. He got me my first bicycle. He got me my first computer when I was a mere child. He got me my first cell phone. I just had to ask and it would be there. My parents knew I always had this weapon in my hand.

I was also the only one who had the authority to question him and at times even reprimand him. I remember throwing away or hiding his cigarette packets. Anybody else who dared to do it had to face his wrath. But he and I, we shared the most wonderful relationship ever. I don’t think he or S mummy missed having children of their own because the sister and I practically grew up with them.

They had to move out of the house we lived in when I was 14, because S mummy was no longer able to climb the 3 flights of stairs everyday. But their moving out did not change our relationship in anyway. We continued to share that beautiful bond. He continued to spoil me. He along with my dad sponsored a part of my education in the UK. He was the one who gave me a dream wedding party in a sea facing five star hotel. My dad contributed to the costs as much as he could but it was daddy who bore the majority of the expenses. Because the whole do was his idea. He saw me getting a little wishful when we happened to be checking out the very upscale sea facing venue. And he decided to gift it to me for my wedding.

That wedding party of ours led a lot of people to believe we were filthy rich. Who else can afford to treat such a large crowd to such finesse and luxury? Unfortunately, that was far from the truth. We didn’t have that kind of wealth to play around with. We just used a humongous part of our savings. And all it took for daddy to do that was a wishful smile from me. I know he is willing to do anything for me. Anything other than taking care of himself.

Sigh. He is the most difficult person on this planet. His obstinate and unreasonable nature has put us all through living hell. He does not believe in the field of medicine. He suffered from high BP for 20 years but he refused to take any medication for it. It resulted in kidney failure. That journey was excruciatingly painful and all of us suffered alongside.

One day his hemoglobin dropped to an alarming level. It was only 3! We got a call from the lab and they asked us to take daddy to the hospital immediately. He needed a blood transfusion, else it could result in a brain stroke or a paralytic attack. Time was precious. But daddy? He refused to come to the hospital. He said he felt fine. We begged and pleaded but to no avail. The amount of stress I underwent at that time is hard to put in words.

Thankfully, his condition stabilized after his kidney transplant. Instead of valuing his new life, he continued to not take care and abuse his health. Last year, we noticed a very scary looking abscess on his chest. The doctor said it may have been triggered because of some infection. It needed immediate attention because he had a pace maker around that area! But daddy? He refused to show it to a specialist. It has been a year and that abscess still exists. We see puss around it and he keeps bandaging it on his own instead of getting it treated the right way. This gives us sleepless nights. Such gross neglect can lead to life threatening consequences. Why does he not understand?

He has been unwell for several weeks now. He’s suffering from severe stomach issues and the doctors have asked us to get a sonography done immediately. Since I am the only person he is even willing to hear in this regard, I have been pleading with him to do it. He refuses out rightly. He is beyond reason.

It all takes such a toll on me. I want to scream at times. Are you stupid? Do you want to die? Do you care about S mummy at all? Are you so selfish? Do you realise what you do to others? Do you really want to die? Are you plain stupid? Ofcourse, I say nothing to him. If I do, I can forget about him cooperating. To deal with him, I have to gather all my tact and diplomacy. But these mind games are tiring.

I feel helpless. The sister too spends nights worrying about him. And S mummy lives on the edge all the time. She is a cancer survivor herself. She does not need more trauma in her life. What he does to us is quite horrible. I have decided to free myself of the stress and the guilt now. Since I am the only person he otherwise listens to, I add a lot of pressure on myself to convince him to do the right thing. I blame myself for not succeeding. I am forever caught in the cycle of anxiety, guilt and fear. I love him very much and he is immensely dear to me, but I have to stop holding myself responsible for his well being. If he is choosing to do this to himself, there is little I can do. If only it were easy to watch your loved one go on a path of self destruction…

Please God, grant him some good sense.

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22 Responses to “Daddy”

  1. R's Mom said

    Aiyo…hugs Pepper…I can so feel your frustration…I just pray and hope to God that he will take care of his health better…

    I loved those pictures….you were super cute as a kid 🙂 Errr…you still are cute *grins*

  2. D said

    oh, thats sad to hear…I can somewhat relate to it, because my father is also very obstinate when it comes to his health, (and many other issues..). It is so difficult to convince him ….wish you all the luck in convincing him to see a doctor now…

  3. Such a heart warming blog, I hope sense finds him soon 🙂

  4. ash said

    I feel for you ,I do .Hope the situation gets better for him soon

  5. Deepa said

    Feeling for you pepper. Such a touching and deep bond you share with him, so obvious from this post. May he see reason soon and begin to take care of his health or let people who love him do so for him. I lived with a father who did the same and eventually died after a paralytic attack because he didn’t take care of his heart troubles and remained a stubborn chain smoker till the very end.

    luv and hugs.

  6. Shweta said

    Pepper!! I am close to my dad’s elder brother too! And how!
    I had blogged about it long back and your post made me remind mine too:

    http://shwetashirodaria.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/reminiscing-my-childhood/

    Mota Papa, i call him. Do.not.laugh. I am a Gujarati, after all!! 😛

  7. Boiling said

    Hmm.. that is really stressful.With an ill relative, not only the ill person but their family suffers as well.

    1. I would really recommend talking to him about why he denies healthcare to himself. He really needs to examine this. I am not a big fan of doctors but we all have to accept that conventional medicine has its uses. When one tears up an arm in an accident, as much as you might not like doctors, that is what will save your life.

    2. Along similar lines, why does not honor and value his body? Is he okay dying? Will we treat our iphones likes that?

    He really needs to examine his core beliefs and values as to why he avoids doctors. He could look at all the options for health available to him – natural or conventional.

    Another resort would be emotional blackmail. If he can spend so much to make you happy, him not taking care of his health makes you cry. Or ultimatums – not talking to him till he treats himself.

    Ask him to really think how he would feel if the situation were reversed? Like you had the disease and refused treatment and suffered.

    In the end, we cannot really control other people or their choices. A change in belief system to treat himself will not come unless he wants to.

    I would honestly tell him that though painful, you have to honor and accept his choices whatever they may be and release him because he does not choose what we want him to choose.

    Sometimes, releasing with compassion instead of being adamant on wanting your way may be better for everyone. Who knows, that may cause him to change.

    • Pepper said

      Sometimes I wonder if he really is okay with the idea of dying. Perhaps he is? Or perhaps he is too much of an escapist who believes not solving problems will make them vanish. I don’t know.

      Believe me, I have tried all that you’ve said. Emotional blackmail does not work. He starts getting really hyper and reverses the blackmail. If I say I wont eat, he refuses to eat himself. And that is exceptionally harmful for him with the kind of medicines he needs to take. The docs even warn us against getting him too agitated. He is a heart patient and docs tell us to do all we can to strictly maintain his BP. So I feel scared to even say too much. It is a catch 22.

      • Boiling said

        What about refusing to talk to him? What reverse exists for that?

        You all (that includes his wife need to have a conversation (not crying blackmaily kind of but more of a calm discussion) as to why he refuses doctors and healthcare. If you are good at something okay, but everybody needs some help in some area of their life when you falter. Don’t kids need their parents help? Understanding his fears and core of this emotional issue is key. Perhaps he needs counselling and some help on that core fear before going for a doc.

        At the end of the day, after all the talk, he refuses, nothing much we can do except accept even though it is very painful.

  8. This must be so frustrating and difficult! Is there any reason he avoids medical help? Any bitter experiences in the past or something? Im not sure what would be a solution here..but like Boiling mentioned above, try blackmail..might just help. Refuse to eat. May not be the most mature way to deal with this, but since he loves you so much he might just give in.

    Really hope he listens to sense and gets well soon.

  9. Just curious to know the reason behind his totally lack of faith in the field of medicine even after getting treated in the past?

    • Pepper said

      I don’t know. He does believe that the doctors pushed him into dialysis when his kidneys weren’t that bad. But more than that, I think he is just scared to face any kind of consequences. If only he realised that ignoring it now will only make the consequences worse.

  10. Nitya said

    Hugs Pepps. Its not easy when you can see things with clarity and your loved one refuses to see the same. I’d say leave your blog post for him to read. The intensity of the love you feel for him, the frustration that he won’t listen, the anguish because you see him suffer – all comes through with this one post. Sometimes a mirror needs to be held up, you know.

    • Pepper said

      I have told him almost everything that I have mentioned in this post, Nuttie. He doesn’t respond properly and ends up being evasive if the conversation gets too emotional. Sigh.. But yes, I will consider mailing him a copy of this post..

  11. I am so touched to read about your relationship with Daddy. I really don’t know what to say except that he sees sense and takes care of his health. I know how stubborn adult men can be.

  12. You must be in such a difficult situation, I cannot even imagine it. I can only hope and pray for your daddy’s better health and also that he has some change of heart and visits a doctor soon and end your worries and miseries too.
    Lots of love and hugs.

  13. […] Daddy […]

  14. […] this just now, on a blog. Also, read this post from Pepper, her daddy (father’s brother) passed away few days back. I wanted to write […]

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