Posts Tagged ‘swallow’

IMG_1064At 12:57 AM, Friday, October 9, 2015, my dad passed into glory. Three months and two days after mom. Dad’s health was on a steady decline after mom passed away. The hospital labeled it as “Failure to Thrive”. I labeled it as a broken heart.

Over the past three months I had the joy of spending many hours with him. Albeit many of those hours were at the Emergency Room or by his bed in a hospital. Since the technological wonders of this generation do not work in hospitals (maybe for a good reason?) we got to sit and talk. Much of the talk consisted of dad grumbling that he was ready to go home. That was always a good indication that he was feeling better. So we would talk about things important to him, and the topic always centered on his eagerness for the rapture to occur so that he could once again be with mom.

He could not speak of mom without tearing up and telling everyone with a willing ear, what a wonderful woman she was. He showed everyone in the Scan0018hospital, and later at Gosnell, a small black and white photo that he had of mom. It was her graduation picture with a faded inscription on the back speaking of future plans and how much she loved him. He was so proud of mom, the love of his life, and that picture never left his wallet.12079439_498722676962734_22662963006478559_n

As the days wore on, I could hear increasing sadness in his voice, see the loneliness in his eyes, his walk turning to a shuffle and his overall decrease in health. He had been admitted in the hospital several times for pneumonia and falling. Even though we were making sure that he would eat, he was rapidly losing weight. I hired a Health Care Agency to start assisting him at home. All of us were taking turns doing his medications, housework and errands. Yet in spite of all we could do, we all knew we were losing him. One day my brother and his wife showed up at his house and found him lying on his kitchen floor. Living alone was no longer an option for him.

My wife and I found a wonderful assisted living home for him just a few miles from his own home. I talked with him about the necessity of the move. He just simply agreed and went along with everything we suggested. Once living in his new “home” he seemed content but he often told me that it was not his home. That he was tired, missed mom, and was ready to go to his final home.

IMG_1046He lived at the assisted living home for one month, and every day his health and strength continued to decline. On September 27th, Wendy and I brought him to church with us and out to eat lunch. He was very weak and slow but always happy to be with family. The next day, he went into the Emergency Room for what I thought was another case of pneumonia. Every test (and there were many) that they performed indicated nothing physically wrong with him. Though he had no strength and could no longer walk. They admitted him for the night for observation. The next day I went to the hospital and had a meeting with the social worker. She had been following his case since mom’s death, and she told me that the decline in dad’s health was severe and rapid. Failure to Thrive was the diagnosis and she told me he now was at the point of needing Hospice.

Difficult words for all of us to hear, but we all knew she was right. The only difference is that we said he was dying from a broken heart.

Gosnell Hospice Home in Scarborough was mentioned and chosen. The next day we met him by ambulance as they checked him into his private room. I cannot begin to say enough good about Gosnell Home or the loving staff. Everyone we spoke with always had the time to listen and acted like dad was their only patient.

His room was usually flooded with so many faithful family and friends. All very special moments with laughter and tears that I will forever hold very dear to my heartV9595EDE7IMG_1065

From October 2nd to his death on October 9th was without doubt the hardest week of my life. Mom’s death happened so fast that none of us hardly had time to think before it happened. This last week that I spent with dad has bitter sweet memories for me that I will carry to my own grave.

I was there every day before sunrise and left late in the evenings. Outside of stealing a catnap in my van a couple of days, I sat by his bed holding his hand. No longer able to swallow, he ceased eating and drinking and we did all we could do to keep him comfortable. He slept most of the time, but would wake to our touch, offering a small smile and a raspy hi. He told me numerous times how tired he was and that he was ready to go home.

Unable to open his once brilliant blue eyes, speak or move for the past two days, I would take a pillow, lay it on the bed by his head and I would just sit in my wheelchair, resting beside of him while holding his hand and often softly humming to him. Somewhere in his mind I hope he knew how much I loved him and was there for him.

He slipped away in the middle of the night peacefully drawing and exhaling his last breath. A man of great faith that was finally at home with his Savior and reunited with his wife. No longer with a broken heart, but singing praises to his God and King for all eternity.

Both of my parents now deceased, in earthly terms, leaves me an orphan. Yet both of my parents made sure that I would never be an orphan. They left me with the knowledge of my heavenly Father leaving me not an orphan, but a child of a King. That is the legacy that my brothers and I were left. That is the legacy that as parents, I pray that I can pass on to my children.

John 18 says “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him”

I am not an orphan. What I am is a son that was blessed with a wonderful earthly father that taught me about my heavenly father. Someday soon, I will see my parents again and be part of God’s family where we will never be separated again.

Read Full Post »

imagesDear Readers,

As you know, I enjoy traveling. One of the reasons that I do enjoy traveling is to experience the many different cultures around the world. As of yet, I have not been to the Far East. I have a good friend in Singapore that has invited us to visit his country, so perhaps some day…

He sent me the following article which I found very interesting and knew nothing about. So like me, if you ever do plan to travel to China and surrounding region, this is one cultural trait that you should at least be aware of.

So I hope you have a strong stomach and read on.



Taken from:


The Voice of Singaporeans for Singapore

I am a Singaporean, I swallow

March 14th, 2013 | Author: Contributions


If you’ve never step foot into China, one of the most important things you need to possess is a strong stomach – for random spitting that comes your way.

Spitting to Chinese is like queuing to Singaporeans, a bizarre national habit. I use the Chinese and Singaporeans loosely because not everyone here spits and neither do all Singaporeans enjoy getting in line.

Based on my years of observation, the “spitters” are usually the older set, say 50 years old and above, or are hoodlums, also known as 小痞子 here. Singaporeans would call them ah lians or ah bengs. I’ve also seen white-collar workers and seemingly “cultured” types in the act but those are quite rare.

I’ve always wondered. Why must people spit? What’s wrong with swallowing back?

First, the Chinese have low tolerance for phlegm or saliva build-up. That’s because according to Chinese medicine, spitting out your phlegm is the best way to get rid of “heatiness” especially when nursing a cough. In fact, when you visit a Chinese doctor, their default question is always “What colour is your phlegm?” since that is supposedly an indication of your health.

But not all “spitters” spit for health reasons. 小痞子 sometimes do it to show power. They spit to express disgust or to despise someone. One wonders how they get the backlog of saliva that’s ever ready for spitting on cue?

The most ludicrous I’ve heard is that spitting shows off their macho-ism to the opposite sex. Every feminine bone in me can’t fathom how a man who spits can turn me on.

Here’s the thing. You know what never ceases to amaze me? The Chinese and their Perfect Spit.

If you’ve ever tried spitting, you will know that it is actually an art to gather your saliva loudly in your mouth, roll your tongue so that when you spit them, it aerodynamically lands on the ground in a neat roundish glob. The result is a clean dry mouth. No embarrassing leftovers from your lips or saliva dripping from your chin such that you need to wipe them.

Next time when you are here, observe. In China, the Perfect Spit commands three precision steps: Stop. Spit. Strut.

This fortnight, I’ve been nursing an awful cough that generously filled my throat with phlegm. Anyone nearby can hear the thick mucus I cough out each time. My driver who had the ill fortune to share my recycled air in the car advised me to spit out my phlegm. When I told him I had no idea how, he looked at me in shock.

I was sent home with an information-loaded brain about the healing effects of spitting out the phlegm when nursing a heaty cough like mine. I was desperate to get rid of my cough. So I stood before my bathroom sink and tried to…spit.

Everything came out wrong. Instead of the straight arrow-shooting perfection I was hoping to achieve, it splattered into fireworks of mess. Droplets of germs flew to my sweater and trickled down my lips. Undigested food came up along with yellow yucky gooey stuff. I was left with an acidic bitter aftertaste in my mouth that overstayed their welcome.

I felt worse than before.

When I told my husband that I can’t spit to save myself, I realised I wasn’t alone. In his teens, he once coughed out a huge lump of green phlegm by accident. It landed on the table. Stupefied, he thought he’d just coughed out an organ. When he was sure no one was watching, he nervously picked up his “organ” and swallowed it back.

So if ever a well-meaning Chinese ask me to spit out my phlegm, I will politely reply:

“I am Singaporean. I swallow.”

Read Full Post »