The great loss of a loved one

By Judge (Ret.) Alice G. Decano

I was the one with several health complaints. My laboratory tests usually brought anxiety to me and my family.  Having read articles stating that a human being’s life span is only around 75 to 80 years old, I have moved several extensions of my life span.  Hermogenes (or fondly called by many as Genes), my husband, only had very few health issues. Unlike me, he was more conscious of his physical well-being. He would only eat fish, vegetables and fruits while I devoured lechon, crispy pata and chocolates. I did not expect that he would be gone ahead of me.

When Genes complained of stomach ache, fever and chills on September 27, 2018,  we ferried him to the UST hospital upon the direction of my eldest daughter, Portia Decano-Monreal.  I agreed with her because I was also scheduled for a battery replacement for my pacemaker on the 29th in the same hospital. 

Getting a room was difficult. There were lots of patients lined up for admission.  We arrived at the hospital at 6pm and Genes finally got to rest his back in his room at past 9pm. I was thankful that while we were at the admission area, waiting for his room, his lung specialist doctor passed by and gave immediate orders for several tests.

The stomach ache was addressed but his pneumonia progressed. More and more of his internal organs became severely affected. This meant several laboratory tests from ECG, 2D echo, X-ray, ABG tests, and many more.  Genes suffered several daily injections, numerous pinpricks for diabetes every day, insertions and reinsertions of catheter and IVs weekly.  He was prescribed several medications. Unfortunately, he manifested every contraindication of the meds. The remote possibilities of allergic reaction and internal bleeding were all exhibited by him. Even the infusion of blood into his system (because his hemoglobin went down to below normal levels) caused him congestions in the lungs because he did not have enough proteins to absorb liquid. They had to alternate the infusion of blood and albumin in him.  Yes, the doctors say that his case was one of a kind, a complex one. He adversely reacted to most medications. The remedies that solved one problem resulted to another issue.

The author with her late husband Genes.

My husband was beginning to doubt the treatment and he said, he felt like he was undergoing an “experiment.”  Before he lost the power of speech because he was supposed to be given an oxygen face mask, he told his doctors,” I trust that you make the best decisions. Later, he was intubated and then underwent tracheostomy. It was when he could no longer talk that he usually asked for his daughter, Farah to interpret his communications. 

He was all the time fighting for his life and wanted very much to live longer wishing for a miracle to happen to prolong his dear life! He prayed too as he closed his both hands murmuring prayers. He was conscious and was very much, alert looking at all the people visiting him, conscious of what they were talking about. He would smile if he liked the discussion. 

            His daughters, Portia, Blanche and Farah lent their constant presence.  His eldest son, Clarence came to the Philippines for a week to take care of Genes.  Homer, his junior, returned to the Philippines thrice in the duration of Genes’ confinement. On his third return at 11pm on December 6, Homer found us, praying by the side of Genes. Clarence prayed with us while on video call. My husband’s case was already then considered without hope.  The doctors had told me to accept his fate.  We refused. We kept praying for his dear life because we know that Genes himself was profusely fighting for his life. We insisted on continuous medical attention. Farah told him that we would continue to fight. Genes, who was already weak raised his brows in agreement. 

            At around 1:30am on December 7, the surgeon prepared Genes for a peritonneal dialysis.   It was during this preparation for dialysis that he expired. He died a few minutes before 2am. Portia and  Blanche were inside the room.  Portia took care of Genes’ medical needs while Blanche whispered the “I believe” and “Our Father” near her father’s ears.  Homer and wife, MJ and Farah were outside hoping against hope for their father’s recovery. I was then at the hotel near UST with my youngest Rayson who watched over me. My children, worried about my health condition, sent me then to the hotel to rest with Rayson. Rayson was the child who took great care of his father. When his father was getting worse in the hospital, we had to send him back to Dagupan because he could not withstand the suffering of Genes. It was Homer and Farah who went to the hotel and relayed to me that my Genes was gone. 

            I could only cry. Silently. I was overwhelmed with grief that no sound could escape my throat. I was inconsolable. I could feel my heavy heart contract to painful levels.

We lost a man who was loved most by everybody, his wife, his children, his relatives, and his clients rich or poor alike. He did not ask for fees from the poor clients. He gave equal dedication and commitment to all his clients up to the Supreme Court. He was a leader in his own right. He was once the National President of YMCA, Chapter President of the IBP,  President of the Rotary Club of Dagupan City, Worshipful Master of Lodge 158, Chairman of the Boy Scouts of Dagupan City,  Dean of the College of Law, University of Pangasinan for more than 40 years and a law professor for more than 50 years. He was awarded as one of the outstanding Dagupenos and outstanding Masons of the Philippines.

As I sit in his rocking chair found in our sala, I find consolation in our children. We produced six professionals: Atty. Clarence G. Decano based in California, Financial Consultant in the USA; Dr. Portia G. Decano-Monreal, Assistant Professor in UST Medical School, Medical Practitioner in UST Manila, and other hospitals in Metro Manila like the Asian Hospital and St. Lukes Global; Dr. Blanche G. Decano-Orpilla M.D. DPOGS, FPSUOG, once a professor in the College of Medicine at the Lyceum- Northwestern University, Dagupan City, Consultant at Region I Medical Center, and a Medical practitioner  at the Villaflor Medical Hospital as Obstetrician – Gynecologist, Perinatologist – Sonologist; Engr. Hermogenes G. Decano, Jr. an Electronics Communication Engineer, a district manager of a prestigious electronic company in California; Atty. Farah G. Decano, the City Administrator, Dagupan City and Blas Amado G. Decano, a Bachelor of Arts Graduate with units in Education and Nursing at the University of Pangasinan and Computer Science in the University of Manila. He is the Property administrator of the late Atty. Hermogenes S. Decano and Judge (Ret.) Alicia G. Decano and family.

We all miss Genes. Farewell Papa! May you rest in peace!

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