Chapter 39 - Her Father's Eyes

“Who are you?”  Sparing no rudeness, Fei addressed the man who entered with Quin.  Aaron was also holding the bags which Quin had brought back from the hospital.  Fei came forward and grabbed Quin’s arm to pull her close to him like a possessive husband would.  Standing in between them, Fei turned to Quin.  “Why did you give him my bags?!”

Everyone in the room was watching as Aaron took a step back and lowered the bags on the floor.  Without realizing the cold December air was keeping Fei’s hot temper from rising, Aaron closed the front door.  Quin was still emotional and couldn’t come up with a response.

Bui Yee quickly came forward to fan Fei’s rising temperature by grabbing Aaron’s arm.  “This is Aaron.  He’s my nephew and he’s visiting me!  I asked him to help Quin bring in your bags.”  Bui Yee nodded to Quin. 

Fei started to relax a little but still held on to Quin.

“It’s cold here.  Come into the living room.”  Mr. Mo guided Fei back to the living room.  Fei pulled Quin along with him as he followed his father-in-law.  Of course, he didn’t know that.  Aaron and Bui Yee followed behind them.
Fei finally calmed down and turned to Aaron with the arm that wasn’t around Quin’s shoulders. When Aaron took it, he apologized.  “Sorry about that.  Thanks for bringing my bags in.”

“Anytime, Bro!  Glad to finally meet you!”  Being brought up in a westernized culture, it was only natural for Aaron to show his happiness for Fei by pulling him in for a friendly hug.  “You are definitely my hero!”

From that, another whole series of hugs took place again.  This time they were hugging their hero.  Fei didn’t know why they called him a hero.  He felt awkward, but he was able to find his bearings while holding onto Quin.  As each stranger hugged him, he wouldn’t let go of Quin, not even when Chin Chin hugged him.  As long as Quin was in his sight, the frantic feeling in his heart was gone.  However, he wondered why Quin never gave him a hug even after he released her from his hold. 

Then he saw Quin heading up the stairs and he stood watching as she entered a room quietly.  He was about to follow but was asked by Chin Chin to join them in the kitchen for some snacks.  When he didn, he felt uncomfortable and was constantly glancing towards the kitchen entrance.  Finally, when Quin showed up 5 minutes later, he felt at ease again.

For the next hour, Fei did his best to be among the family of friends.  However, when nature called, he nudged Quin and asked bashfully in a whisper.  “Can you show me where the bathroom is?”

Quin led him to the bathroom next to the kitchen but it was occupied.  “Well, let me show you to your room then.  There is an en-suite there.”

Fei took his bags from the lobby and followed Quin up the stairs.  When they reached the door to the bedroom, he said.  “I saw you going into this room earlier.  Isn’t this your room?”

Quin turned around and shushed him gently.  “She’s usually a very sound sleeper, but she’s been acting up this week.  I don’t want to wake her up yet!”  She then turned the doorknob and opened the door slowly to let herself and Fei into their bedroom.

When Fei stepped inside, it was another déjà vu for him, a sense of familiarity.  Again he couldn’t figure out when or how he was here before.  Across the room next to the bed, he saw a baby sleeping on her tummy in the crib, her head was turned the opposite way so Fei couldn’t see her face.

He turned to Quin and asked with a whisper.  “Is that your daughter?”

Quin only nodded.  Too many things had happened since last night, he had forgotten about the baby picture in his wallet.  When he looked to Quin again, she pointed him to the en-suite.

“Would you like to take a shower?  I can get your clothes ready for you.”  Quin asked in a whisper of a voice and he nodded.  “I’ll leave them on the bed for you.”

When Quin was descending the stairs, Bui Yee and Aaron were coming out of the kitchen.

“How is Fei?”  Bui Yee asked.  Then she pulled her niece close to speak at a lower tone to make sure Fei couldn’t hear them.  “He seems to be very attached to you.  You sure he doesn’t remember you are his wife?”

“Yeah, I thought he was going to punch me just now!” Aaron teased and followed the two ladies to the living room where the others were.

“No, patients with his conditions get confused in new environment.  I am the only constant in his life since he came out of his coma.” Quin sat down next to Chin Chin who was listening as well.  “That why he hung on to me.”

“He is so possessive of you!” Chin Chin added with a smile.

Quin turned to look at Chin Chin.  “That’s because he had seen me every day.  And he is trying to make sense of his world right now with what he was told.  Five years is a lot to take in.”  Quin looked around and saw everyone nodding their heads.  She could tell they felt sorry for Fei and wished things were better for him.  “We can’t rush him, he’s still getting those headaches.”

“What kind of headaches?”  Aaron asked.

“We don’t know.  He said they are not severe, only gave it a 3 on a scale of 10.”  Quin sighed.  “But when I see him holding his head and suffering like that, I know it is at least 8 or 9.  He won’t tell the doctors for some reason.”

“Poor Fei!”  Bui Yee added with a sigh of her own.  “I have seen some of my patients suffer like that before.  Why didn’t they give him some drugs to ease his pain?”

Quin shrugged.  “He told the nurses he didn’t want any.”

“No wonder he’s still so hot temper!  I expected him to have succumbed to the drugs by now.”  Bui Yee pointed out.

“Maybe that’s why he said his attacks are not painful.”  Aaron tried to analyze what would lead Fei to say his pain was at such a low level.  He knew from his own dealings in Internal Medicine that the severity of pain attacks in patients with brain injury was usually on the higher end of the scale. “He didn’t want to be given the drugs.”

“Is he allergic to ibuprofen or codeine?”  Nathaniel asked.

“I don’t think so.  He never said that.”  Chin Chin tried to remember.

Quin remembered something she read from his file at the hospital.  “It’s because they gave him Valium on the first night.  His mother died when the hospital gave her a shot without realizing she had a reaction to it.”

Then the doorbell rang.

Fei stuck his head out from behind the shower curtains to reach for a towel.  When all he saw were pink ones, he wanted to call out to Quin.  But when he saw the baby sleeping in the crib, he changed his mind.  So he grabbed the pink towel and wiped himself dry with it.  He smiled when he smelled the fresh scent of the towel as this gave him a warm feeling of home.  Though this place was not the home he remembered, he was glad to be out of the hospital.  When he came out of the en-suite to get his clothes which were on the bed, his attention was shifted to the baby who was now awake.  She was trying to sit herself up in her crib. 

Fei watched as the baby maneuvered her bottom up and down, struggling to sit up.  Watching her cute movement caused him to smile.  But when he realized he was half naked, he grabbed his clothes and dashed back to the bathroom.  This time, he closed the bathroom door.

When he came out of the bathroom fully dressed, the baby was looking at him from the crib.  She managed to get herself into a sititng position.  After a few seconds, the baby started smiling at him as if she recognized him.  Then she gestured her arms to tell him she wanted to be carried.  Fei was watching her movements from afar.  He wondered if he should pick up the baby or call for Quin. 

“Da Da!"

The baby repeated a few times as she raised her arms upwards while riding on her bottom repeatedly to convey what she wanted from him. 

Whether Fei remembered the photo of the baby in his wallet or not, it didn’t matter.  He was too captivated by the baby he was seeing.  When he approached her crib, he felt a sense of peace as he looked into her pair of crystal clear eyes.  They looked so beautiful to him because he saw nothing but perfection in those pair of eyes.

“Hi Baby Girl!” 
Fei lifted the baby out from her crib and she started kicking excitedly.  Her laughter became so contagious that Fei found himself laughing with her as well.  For a few moments, it was as if time stood still for them.   Fei was lifting her up and down in the air.  Both were giggling and laughing as if life was perfect and carefree.

When Fei’s arms grew tired after a few upward swings, he lowered her against his chest.  That was when she placed both hands on his chest and started to push against him.  That was her way of telling her ‘Da Da’ she didn’t want him to stop.  Fei felt the baby’s strong resistance.  When she realized her ‘Da Da’ wasn’t going to give in to her demands, she blew saliva on his face.  Fei didn’t mind getting his face messed up at all because he found her to be so cute and adorable.   When the trick didn’t work, the baby gave her father another clue when she placed both her hands into her mouth.  Without warning, she smacked Fei on the face with both palms full of her saliva.  Then she did it again.  And a third time.  That pushed Fei into his fatherly role, though he didn’t know it.  He shook his head and gave his daughter her very first discipline.   “No!”  

Did she listen to her father? Of course not!  Fei was a softy.  His ‘no’ came in the form of a chuckle.  She giggled some more and continued with her game.  On her seventh attempt, her two hands smacked right into Fei’s open eyes.  The stinging of the saliva in his eyeballs caused him to almost drop the baby back into her crib.  The pain of his eyeballs penetrated into his head causing him to squall loudly in painful screams.

At the same time, the baby wailed aloud as she fell back onto her crib while Fei collapsed onto the floor.  Once again, he grabbed unto his head with his two arms.  He had to scream aloud because the spurt of pain was so severe. 

Quin came rushing through the door, followed by Aaron.  When they saw Fei rolling on the floor in a fetus position, they thought he was suffering from a seizure.  Bui Yee and Dr. Millard were the next to enter the room.  Bui Yee quickly took Lemon-B out of her crib and brought her to the baby’s grandpa who just appeared at the door. 

Bui Yee returned into the room to help as Quin was not strong enough to hold Fei back from his resistance.  But Dr. Millard had to step in to do the job with Aaron.

“Quin, get the sedative in my bag!”  Dr. Millard ordered as soon as they were able to hold Fei down.

“No!”  Fei cried out immediately and held on tight to his head with his two arms.  “No, please!  No more drugs!”

Soon enough, Fei started to calm down.  A few minutes later, he started to relax and so they helped him up onto the bed.  When he tried to open his eyes, he saw only streaks of white bright light. He panicked.  “My eyes!  I can’t see!”

Quin noticed her husband’s face was wet and thought it was his sweat from the attack.  But when she placed her hand on his face to soothe his pain, she thought his sweat felt very much like saliva.  When her hand moved over his eyes, Fei grabbed it and held it tight in that position.  She could feel rapid movement behind his closed eyelids but she didn’t know what was happening to him.  Dr. Millard, Aaron and Bui Yee were watching the movement as well. 

Quin was getting anxious because his grip on her hand was getting tighter and tighter, almost stopping her circulation.  Everyone had entered the room to see what was happening at this point, even Mr. Mo had brought Lemon-B into the room with him.

The baby was no longer crying but was back to her bubbly self.  She was adamant in wanting her mother.  So Quin had her Dad placed Lemon-B on her lap while she held her with her free arm.

When the movement behind Fei’s eyelids stopped, he finally released Quin’s hand.  Everyone wondered what was going to happen next when Fei laid listlessly on the bed.  Quin was about to touch Fei again when Dr. Millard pulled her hand back.  Suddenly the room became very quiet and still for what felt like forever.  Then suddenly, a small gentle voice was heard. 

“Daddy!”

It was the same voice Quin heard from her daughter the night before she got the call from Dr. Millard telling her that her husband was alive.  Within seconds, Fei opened his eyes. 

Her Father’s Eyes by Amy Grant