Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Life Before - the Vietnam Story
4:31 PM

My Life Before - the Vietnam Story

I decided to send my Dad back to Vietnam to live his life. I took care of everything and was really hoping that his home country could heal his soul. It didn't... he even got more money for alcohol and ruined his life more and more until one night I received a call from Vietnam.
It was an older lady speaking vietnamese, my vietnamese was totally out of training, so I really had problems understanding what she was saying. All I really understood was that my Dad is sick and I have to come to Vietnam.

2 Days later - I packed my things right away and flew over to Vietnam, together with one of my Dad's sisters who could translate for me - Let's call her Dae. We arrived in Vietnam at the airport and went directly to the hospital. It was the first time in Vietnam for me since a very long time - around 15 years or something.

We arrived at the hospital and I was really shocked what I saw. The circumstances of the public hospital was just awful. People were lying on the floor of the hallways with their relatives taking care of them. There seemed to be no hygienic standard and not enough staff to handle all the people.

After 20 minutes of asking people we finally got to the room where my dad was lying. Again shocking moment, he was lying on some kind of bed whit dried blood drips on it. Beside the bed was a guy who was holding some kind of respirator pumping air by hand into the lunges of my Dad. Shock. I immediately called the doctor of the intensive care unit and said that I want them to place my Dad in another room, with a real bed and other hygienic standards. Of course when they saw, they saw money and changed everything right away and my Dad was transported into the "rich people" area of the hospital within 1 hour.

That released me a bit and we took time to talk to the doctor. She said that my Dad has a alcoholic cirrhosis of liver and it was so bad that it is immedicable and he won't make any long time.
I'm honest with you, I've seen this day coming and wasn't really surprised that it was really happening. But still, it mad me really sad. After the travel and all the stress in the beginning I went outside to the yard of the hospital to have some cigarettes and just get my thoughts together.

The guy who was holding the manual respirator followed me and told me that he is some sort of cousin of my Dad that he was taking care all the time. He was my age and seemed to be a quiet nice guy. When we were outside he told me that he's glad that I'm in Vietnam to take care of everything now... and because he needs a car and wants to open a shop. Wait a minute, did he just really say that? I ignored it and went away to call my friends over in Germany to tell them about the situation.

I went back inside the hospital to Dae and she told me that my Dad is now on the other side of the hospital and that we can visit him now. We went to the other building and it was so crazy, instead of people lying on the floor, everything was white and smelled like a western hospital. AC everywhere, quietness doctors running around just like in emergency room. It felt like I've just beamed myself into a parallel universe and everything is the opposite. They gave us hygienic masks, disposable shoes and a hospital blouse before getting into the intensive care unit.

I had 1 hour of visiting time. My Dad was awake now and I saw his eyes opened widely when he saw me. He opened his mouth and tried to say something but he was too weak and with the pipe in his mouth it just wasn't possible. I smiled at him and said: "what would you do without me getting you out of trouble...". He smiled and some teardrops went down his face. I massaged his head neck and shoulders as I could imagine lying for many days without being able to move must be exhausting. I started to talk, I just told him about everything that was going on in Germany and that he doesn't has to worry about me. I managed my life quiet well and just didn't want him to have any regrets or negative feelings about not being with me all the time. I wanted him to feel positive about everything , no bad feelings, and try to make him having a wonderful journey, wherever it will take him.

3 Days passed, I visited him everyday and in the meantime I tried to figure out everything I need to know about the happenings, legal steps etc. that will follow after Dad will pass away.
On that day the doctor wanted to talk to me. She told me that my Dad's health conditions are getting worse and worse and that we should be prepared that could pass away within the next week. I told it to Dae and some of our relatives arranged a meeting with a monk at the temple where many generations of our family found their peace.

It was a really nice, colorful and quiet areal with a lot of statues and ornaments. My family from this area was really helpful and nice, we sat down with the monk and started to talk. I trusted them so we decided to do the funeral ceremony with the monk and the temple. He asked me some questions and than he asked me if he could read my hand - I usually don't believe in hocus pocus, but I was open to let him show me what he sees. He looked on my hand as if he was reading something, than opened a book and said some words I didn't understand.

But suddenly all my relatives were getting nervous: "We have to arrange the ceremony immediately" said an older lady who is something like my grand aunt. Everybody seemed to be super stressed now and needed to fix dates and stuff like that. I was still sitting there with question marks over my head. Then Dae explained me that the monk said that my Dad will die this Thursday but the ceremony will take place on Monday.

That really didn't make sense to me. How can anyone foreknow the day of my Dad's death and why is the ceremony 5 days away from the obit? I tried to calm down everyone and said that we don't have to worry... I felt like, ok let this kid just talk.

So it was on. Everyone around me seemed to be in preparation mode and so I decided to join them, I had to do it anyways. First of all I needed all my Dad's passport. Without this document I wasn't able to do sh*t. Ok now where is it? We called the guy who from the hospital who said he was taking care of my Dad. His sister answered said that we could have the passport for $500 USD. What the f*ck?!
Are they f*cking serious? They wanted to take advantage of every little thing since the Day we arrived, and this is what you call family? I couldn't accept this and called the german consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, because in the end the passport is property of the Federal Republic of Germany and I had to tell them anyways.

I arranged a meeting at their office and described them the situation. They were really helpful and told me that I have to go to the district of the city where my father lived and have to register the lost of the passport at the local police station. Only with this document from the police station they are able to act. Dae and me took a cab a drove to different police stations, we didn't even really know where to go because I was really sure that my that didn't sign up his name in the area he lived in. We drove 3-4 hours from station to station and were really exhausted. All we needed was this f*cking paper from the police to make the consulate help us. In the meantime I felt like paying the 500 bucks for the passport, but when we called them they told us that they already sold the passport somewhere else. I can't explain in words how I felt in this moment. I just wanted scream.

The next day, no papers in our hands, I arranged another meeting a the german council, and told them about everything that happened the day before.They were shocked how family members could act like this. They told me they will think of a solution.

It was Thursday... I was really tired and exhausted from everything and went to the hospital to see my Dad. Before I entered the room the doctor came to me and said that he will pass away today or tomorrow. I went to his bed, his eyes were closed. No reaction anymore. I started to cry very deeply because I knew that it was about time.  I was holding his hand and told him that everything is ok, that can leave now and go on with the next step. I talked to him another 15 minutes... then he went away.
I was sad, but on the other hand was really relieved because I had the feeling that this live had nothing for him to offer anymore and maybe he should take the next step.

I talked to the doctor again, she asked me about the ceremony and that it is impossible to get him out of the hospital without the passport. Now I have a problem.
I went downstairs and one employee of the hospital told me that I could get my Dad for $2000 USD if I hire their company to do the funeral ceremony. That was enough. I freaked out, took his head and hit it on a table, suddenly a couple of people came and held me back.

Again I contacted the consulate and told them again what happened. Even for them that was more than enough, they immediately grabbed their phones, started to work and gave me an official paper that I can get my Dad out of the hospital. I can't tell how relieved and happy I was holding this paper finally in my hands. I went to the hospital where Dae, some family members and Monks were already waiting for me. We showed the officials at the hospital the papers got my Dad and we finally were able to have the ceremony. It was a small and typical buddhism ceremony and my head began to relax. Our flight back was directly this evening so we were lucky that everything ended on this day and I can be sure that I did everything what I needed to do for my Dad.

Dae and me were on our way to the airport when suddenly Dae's phone rang. It was again the part of the family who wanted to make money out of this whole thing. They said, if were on the way to the airport and won't leave them money here they will come and stab us. I had nothing but laughter for these people left.

The minutes before boarding, something came through my mind.
The monk. He said that my Dad will pass away on Thursday. This happened.
And he also said that the ceremony will take place on Monday. Because of all these circumstances and problems we had no other chance that doing the ceremony on Monday. He was right again.


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