“The hardest part is when you feel to say the things you want to say today. That’s the hardest part,” said actor Epy Quizon when he was asked to share his memorable moments with his dad, the Comedy King of Philippine Entertainment, Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Sr. who was best known as Dolphy who died of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, the seventh killer disease in the country today.
COPD is a progressive lung ailment that makes breathing difficult and invariably leads to death. Dolphy succumb from COPD after he was diagnosed with the ailment, four years before he died at the age of 83.
“My father was a very charitable man. He’s a man for others. It’s how I remember him in my head. That’s how I completely remember him,” Epy recalls of his dad.
Epy referred Dolphy as his El Capitan, as the Captain of the Ship (of the family). “Every time I have a problem or whatever, I called my father and the moment I hear his voice, ‘Hello’ pa lang OK na, may kakampi ako,” he added. Clearly, Epy had very precious moments with Dolphy even if they had a falling-out that lasted for a decade, they bonded well together up to his father’s last breathe. “Our dad was a fighter. He was our general, our commander-in-chief, so watching him get weaker and trying hard just to catch his breath was very difficult for us.”
Dolphy was the epitome of a total entertainer whose talent in acting, singing, and dancing was honed through years of experience and hard work. His talent was equaled only by his work ethic as he lived by the credo “the show must go on,” even after he got sick and was diagnosed with COPD.
According to Epy’s older brother Eric, his father was a heavy smoker who started smoking ion his teen years. “He was 45 when he went cold turkey after being diagnosed with emphysema and by that time, his lungs were so black.”
Dolphy tried to hide his illness until his family knew of his condition when he asked Eric to buy him a portable oxygen concentration, which he found out was for patients with COPD.
Dolphy was hospitalized and battled 13 bouts of pneumonia in mid-2012. He died on July 10, 2012.
According to a study by World Health Organization, cigarette smoking causes 80% to 90% of COPD cases. Aside from smoking, pollution – both indoor and outdoor – can also cause COPD.
As COPD is a progressive disease it becomes a familial problem, much like the case of the Quizon family. Once the father is affected, the rest of the family assumes the responsibility of taking care of the patient and they play an important role in a patient’s treatment journey.
COPD cases are dominant in males in their 50s and 60s. However, these diagnose are relatively late as COPD can begin in your 40s.
“Do not make the mistake of a lot of patients who usually see their doctors when they’re already in the later stages of COPD. It is easy to confuse COPD with other conditions such as smoker’s cough and shortness of breath due to ageing but if your father is a smoker and he begins to experience coughing with phlegm and an unusual breathing pattern, consult a doctor. He may be asked to get a spirometry exam to diagnose COPD,” says Dr. Gio Barangam GSK’s Medical Doctor.
Spirometry is a simple breathing test that gauges how much and how quickly air moves out of the lungs. It measures the lung function in patients and determines the progression of the disease.
Dr. Barangan says if COPD is detected early, patients will have fewer limitations on their activity.
As part of the commemoration of World COPD Day, GlaxoSmithKline and the Philippine College of Chest Physicians (PCCP), are spearheading a new campaign called #MakeTimeForDad.
The campaign encourages family members to upload 30-second videos on Facebook and Instagram, stating a list of things they want to do or wish they could have done with their loved fathers. This would serve as a reminder for them to act now if they feel that their loved ones are at risk for COPD, and value wach moment they spend with them.
The Quizon brothers Eric and Epy join the campaign and are honoring their father by fighting the disease that claimed Dolphy’s life.
“Our dad died because of COPD and we just found out it is actually one of the leading causes of death in the country,” says Epy.
“We want to educate people, and make them aware of the disease. We hope this will give them a clearer picture of how the disease affects not only the patient but the entire family,” he said.
“MakeTimeForDad encourages people to become more sensitive to the condition of their fathers especially those who smoke and are more prone to develop COPD,” says Dr. Barangan.
For more information on COPD, visit www,pinoycopd.com.
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