Friday, July 20, 2007

Emotional Trauma...

A week ago, my buddy, TKF's dad was admitted to Kuala Lumpur Hospital early in the morning because he had difficulties in breathing. At that point of time, I was in Penang for work. Coincidentally, I was going back to KL on that day itself. It took me the usual three and a half hours drive to get back to KL and I immediately rushed to the hospital. During my visit, his dad has recovered considerably though he was still hooked onto a breathing apparatus. Looking at his report, the initial diagnosis was pneumonia. It was a huge relief. However, as it was only an initial diagnosis, the doctor instructed TKF's dad to stay for further tests and observation. Monday came and his dad was transferred to another ward. I called TKF and everything was fine. Three days later, I gave him a call again to see if his dad has checked out of the ward and TKF solemnly broke the news to me; his dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. The news shocked me. Sh*t. It was so sudden and it reminded me what I had kept inside for so long...

Two and a half years ago my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. My whole family was in shock and we went through a lot during my mum's year long battle against this disease. Back then, I kept it all to myself without letting a single soul know and life went on as usual. I returned home as often as I could but each time I went back, my mum's condition deteriorated. I accompanied my mum to her treatments whenever possible and even join in the weekly prayer meetings we have with our Catholic friends in our home. However, it was a losing battle. In October 2006, my mum completed her chemotherapy and she went back for a check up in November 2006. To our horror, the subsequent check up showed that instead of being cured, it has spread to the lungs and the doctor immediately sent my mum back to chemotherapy. Not long after that it went from her lungs to her brain and subsequently her back bone. From being able to walk on her feet, she was reduced to using a walking aide and in the later stages, she could barely walk due the the excruciating pain (despite having strong pain killers) and she had to use the wheel chair.

On the fateful day of 27 February 2006, I received a phone call from my dad in the morning telling me that my mum was hospitalized because she couldn't breathe. Dropping whatever I was doing (back then I was doing my final year project) and I rushed to Damansara Specialist Hospital Intensive Care Unit where my mum was warded with my beloved Adel (I didn't have a car back then and Adel drove me there from Cyberjaya). Till today, I can vividly remember how anxious, worried and helpless I felt when I saw her lying on the bed. She was on morphine drips to help ease her pain but even then I could see that she was in pain. It was a painful sight as each breath she took looked as though she was desperately and agonizingly gasping for air. Once a tad chubby woman, she was reduced to half of what she was and since it was an Intensive Care Unit (ICU), we were only allowed limited time with her. Every time we left the hospital, each phone call we receive always kept my family and I on the edge because we will be praying hard it was not from the hospital bearing bad news. Can you imagine the anxiety we had to go through?

The next five days was literally hell. The doctor already told us that my mum will not make it and all they could do is to provide her 'quality-living' for her remaining days. I was grateful that most of my close buddies came each day to provide moral support. After four agonizing days in the hospital, as fate would have it, my family finally gotten permission to station one family member in the ICU room to accompany my mum and I was the chosen one since I need not report to work the next day. Due to some miscommunication, the night shifts' supervisor didn't receive the orders from the doctor and she booted me out of the room despite my protests (I never blamed her because she was only doing her job) and I notified my dad immediately. After much argument (profanities everywhere!), the nurse finally let me back in and less than five minutes I was back in the dark room saying my prayers for my mum, I noticed her pulse started to drop drastically and I immediately called for a nurse. The nurses did what they could as and I was told to leave the room. All I could do then was to call my family. A brief moment later, a nurse came up to me and asked me to go in. They summoned the doctor on duty but before he arrived, the senior nurse looked at me, shook her head and told me to say my last words. I couldn't help but cried like a baby as I told my mum these exact words in Cantonese,

"Do not worry mum and go in peace as the three of us will take care of dad..."

The moment I finished uttering those words, my mum shed a tear and took her last breath... She was gone. It was 0019 on 3rd March 2006 when my mum returned to the Lord. Till this very day, that scene and the feeling of helplessness and anxiety was carved deeply into my memory. This is why I can empathize with TKF as he is going through a similar circumstances. To my buddy TKF, my prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong my friend regardless of what is to come.

No comments: