Friday, 30 November 2007

heck, somebody saw me cry

al-fatehah to my dad

wrong timing. wednesday early morning. called my mum. she sounded very sad and ended up sobbing. put down the phone. boss came in to convey his condolences. couldn't even speak to him. damn...

otherwise, i am fine people. life is ok as ok can be. children are healthy. confinement is ending. pockets are burning. and life goes on, likes it or not.

Monday, 26 November 2007

he lives on in our hearts

Mohammad Shah bin Halijah 13th.November, 1941 - 21st.November, 2007. Al-Fatehah

if you read my last post here, you might want to know if i made it in time. i did. i was finally at the hospital at 3:00pm on that 21st.November, 2007. had to ask my back door neighbour to take care of that &*^*$#*)%#)(* washing machine.

it wasn't a pretty sight. more tubes and wires and instruments of all sorts were to connected to him. he was no longer breathing on his own. tucked in at the corner of his mouth was what it seems to be painfully attached was the breathing instrument that was supposed to supply oxygen directly into his lungs. and i don't even know what it's called up to now.

at around 5:00pm, i received a sobbing phone call from wifey asking me to go upstairs into the icu waiting area, adamantly refusing to elaborate further while i was having my nicotine fix in the car park. when i got upstairs, i saw everybody, including my calm and collected mum sobbing uncontrollably.

my eldest brother asked me to go and see him once more before delicately explained to me that the neurosurgeon had given us three options. the second ct scan had confirmed that his brain had been eerily damaged beyond recovery due to the massive second stroke attack. the first option is to bombard him with full armaments of antibiotics and drugs while the second option is to let him go through another surgery and leave his skull open to ease off the burgeoning pressure brought about by the second attack on his right brain, even suffocating the left side which was operated on sunday morning. while there was no telling that he could survive both options, the doctor had reconfirmed that he would be unable to care for himself if he survived the ordeal, given how much damage that had been inflicted on the brain by the second massive attack.

the third option was a much simpler alternative. bring him home.

while the initial reactions to this option were outright rejections, especially from my mother and sisters, we collectively decided to bring him home when calmness reigned over chaos. my father had told my mum that he wanted to die on my mum's lap during the eid period last month and she took it as a sign as his final request to be brought home.

so, at 7pm, more than half of the family packed up our belongings that had accumulated over the 7-day period in the hospital to prepare the house which has been left at its own device for his homecoming, leaving my mum, my eldest brother, my youngest sister and my parents' eldest granddaughter at the hospital to accompany him. we waited, and waited, and waited at home.

it was around 10:20pm when one of my sisters burst out of the room at home, crying out loud saying that my father had passed away. few minutes later, i received a phone call from my brother-in-law on the house phone reconfirming the news. they had waited for the surgeon to come over before transferring him to the ambulance. he had passed away while still on the machine when the drugs supporting his heart was disconnected, possibly the only reason why his heart was still beating due in the absence of the devastated brain cells. while my mum was on his bedside all the time, he did not have his wish to draw his last breath on my mum's lap.

the body only arrived home at around 1:00am after all the formalities and documentations had been cleared. and we took turn throughout the night to recite our doa and yaasin.

so many people came over the next day to pay him the last visit that people had to walk up to a mile to find a parking space around my parents'. the sight of him lying there in his white kaffan brought down many mighty men, not to mention women, to tears. except for those occasional crocodile tears welling up in the eyes, i could not even remember any event that had occurred in my life i had cried over. on that day and thereafter, i cried with no shame. he had definitely touched many, if not all, hearts of the people whom has had the pleasure of meeting and knowing him. and he had the opportunity to have 2 of the most community-oriented jobs, a teacher, retiring 11 years ago and was still a serving imam of the local masjid.

seeing him lying motionless in the living room could have easily been mistaken as being in a deep slumber, the bathing time was a real revelation to me of his true state like a huge smack in the face. the sight of unchanged expression on the face when water was poured over the face will be something that is going be imprinted in my mind for many years to come.

he was safely buried at 12:45pm on thursday 22nd.november, 2007 before the dzhuhr' prayer.

he has had a full life. god-willing, to the naked eye, he has also enough preparation for the afterlife. he was such a loving husband to my mum, still holding her hands affectionately even after more than 40 years of marriage and his fatherly traits had simply dwarfed my puny attempt to be one myself. all he had left us were fond memories, blemished by one memory of me showing my displeasure towards him on one minuscule event at my house barely 3 weeks ago of which i sincerely hoped that i have been forgiven.

life has to go on, they say. but at this point of time, my life seems to be dragging its feet lazily, especially when i think about the life that my mum has to go through sans my father. how i wish she has the support of wonderful people around her like what i am receiving now from the others. which reminds me to thank all of you beautiful people for all those well-wishes, comments, phone calls and text messages.

Inna-lillahi wa inna ilaihi ro ji'un. Al-Fatehah.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

i am numbed

received a phone call from my elder brother at 1:30 this morning. unless it is an overseas call, the phone ringing in the wee hours in the morning will never bring good news. never has and never will be.

i was the first person to be informed. my father had another stroke attack on the (good) left side of the brain, while still lying unconscious recovering from sunday's operation. while the much-needed good news trickled in despairingly, bad news seems to barge in like a runaway locomotives. the neurosurgeon explained that if my father survived the ordeal, and that in itself is a big IF, chances of normal mobility and speech is even thinner than wafer.

and yet i'm still here in the office writing this entry, instead of my way back to my hometown. i need to submit the application forms for alyssa and amelya's kindy for next year. and that %^*&%^^&* 1 month-old front loading machine failed us. wifey found out yesterday evening after it finished the complete cycle of washing athyra's clothes, it decided that everyone in this world is a child. it's child-proof door simply won't budge. and it doesn't have a manual release. so we have to wait for somebody from the shop to prise open the door or i'll be an instant fungus and mushroom breeder in the estimated one-week homecoming time.

i will be there, hopefully sooner rather than later.

inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi roji'un.

Monday, 19 November 2007

fateful day

13th. November 2007

it was 45 minutes past 8 tuesday morning. i was somehow early in finishing up my early morning routines and i had some spare time before the 9 o'clock meeting so there i was in the canteen having breakfast when i received a call from my sister. her first words were simply ayah kena stroke!. dad had a stroke attack it took me quite a while to swallow the words that i had to ask her to repeat several times to ensure that i heard her correctly.

if you know my father, you would be as surprised as i was. i am not ashamed to admit that he was fitter than i am. he managed his 2 acre orchard by himself on which he had spent his 11-years retirement day in day out, if he's not out and about visiting his children in the city or going out makan angin (sightseeing). my non-smoking, in-shape dad definitely had done multi-fold of the recommended 3 sessions of 45 minutes in a week workout recommended for healthy living. at 66 years old, he has the adult-onset diabetes and hypertension which has been kept under close control through medication and has always been given thumbs up when he goes for his quarterly routine check-up at a local hospital.

and it was his 66th. birthday. my sisters were indeed planning to surprise him with a little ceremony and birthday cake when they were supposed to get home at the end of the day. however, it was us whom were surprised.

he was sitting in the kitchen having breakfast with my mum before going about to manage the orchard when she suddenly noticed that he was suddenly dreamy and had a drastic change in his voice and whitish bubblish saliva started to trickle down the corner of his mouth and was about to fall of his chair. she yelled out loud to my brother-in-law whom thankfully were still at home and they quickly sent him to the local hospital where he was stabilised and transferred over to the state hospital with an ambulance.

upon hearing the news i practically dropped everything, gave a call to wifey (whom i was not in speaking terms at that point of time) to prepare the necessary stuff to go to my parents' and picked up alyssa and amelya whom i had sent to their respective nurseries less than an hour earlier.

arrived at the hospital around noon. i was glad to see him lying down awake while queuing up to do the ct scan. he could still lift his left arm and leg even though he could barely carry a conversation.upon seeing that, the optimistic me kept convincing myself that it was one of those minor one where one would be in and out of the hospital within a week and would carry on the daily life with little or no rehabilitation.

towards the end of the day, he was resting most of the time and with the help of me and my brothers, still insisted to go to the toilet to pass urine, refusing to use the bedpan. determined to fill up my bedside watch quota early, i volunteered to sleep by his bedside that night.

and slept i did. did i tell you that without wifey, i would require a minimum of 2 alarm clocks to ensure that i would make it to the office by 8 o'clock and very little things could wake me up in the middle of the night, sparing wifey's nag and repeated smacks? while they provided a very uncomfortable and battle-hardened chair by the bedside, i slept on a long chair about 5 metres away from the bed. dazed and confused, i was awakened in the middle of that night by the commotion of nurses and attendants rushing into the room to find out that my father had fallen of the bed trying to get to the toilet by himself.

the following day, the ct scan results finally came in. along with the dreaded news that my father had a significant haemorrhage that came with a stroke which required him to be transferred to the city hospital because the state hospital doesn't have a neurologist to perform such operation. while the surgery might be considered urgent, you'd still have to get in the queue as in the norms in government hospital so we decided to transfer him to the nearby private hospital for the surgery. while neurosurgery is not really a palatable solution, it was still the lesser of 2 evils right?

we breathed a sigh of relief when the neurosurgeon in the private hospital decided that we might be able to hold off the surgery for a few days and monitored the extent of the haemorrhage. the good news that came during the following days that the intercerebral haemorrhage was not spreading paled in comparison with the fact that there were virtually no motor control on his left side of the body and he was responding less and less to stimulations and by saturday 17th.november, he was virtually in a semi-comatose state and looked like he was sleeping the whole day. and more and more drugs were required to keep his upwardly spiralling blood pressure at bay.

on sunday morning 18th.november 2007, the neurologist informed us that there was not much choice left but surgery. while the haemorrhage hasn't been spreading, he suspected that the cranial pressure is excessively high in tandem with the spiralling blood pressure which was the in-built bodily mechanism in keeping up with the increasing cranial pressure in order to supply the brain with its much-needed blood to carry its food and oxygen. given that we had not much choice left, we consented and he was wheeled into the operating theatre at 1pm for the estimated 4 to 5 hours operation which carries a 20% risk (as opposed to a 10% risk for an open heart surgery according to the neuro, can't exactly google so we had to take in what he said at face value)

my heart nearly dropped when my father's name was called out at 4.30 pm, a wee bit earlier then expected, hugely relieved when the surgeon declared that the surgery was a successful one. looking for any positive signs, we were overjoyed that his (good) right hand which were void of any movement before the surgery twitched.

however, up to now, we are still waiting in vain for him to regain consciousness. unfortunately, i am running out of annual leave and i have to start working again tomorrow, very very reluctantly. i pray to god that i would be able to see my father's eyes when i go back to the hospital this coming weekend.

all these events reminded me so much of how fragile we humans really are. we could be running a marathon one day and be a complete vegetable the day after as easy as a flick of a switch. in the case of my father whom i could never measure up as a father being one myself, i had never imagined him to be in that sorrowful state and the optimistic me had always imagined him to live like his brother whom he had lost 3 weeks ago at the tender age of 82. we humans can only plan and there would always be the higher powers to decide if things will go according to plan. all we can do now is just pray and hope for the best outcome. inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raa ji'un.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


i am really not in the mood to write anything interesting so i will just dump these photos into the much-needed updates of the blog.

some photos of athyra


a rare ppg photo

alyssa's taska's graduation day

the ever-present plastic smile

the rare natural face

amelya the most overdressed audience

the 2 princesses

alyssa the storyteller (cerita semut dan belalang)

alyssa the pelajar harapan

one of the prizes for pelajar harapan taken by incumbent

Friday, 2 November 2007

saved by the bell

her mobile phone, actually.

today is 2nd. november. not a significant date? to me it should be. it's a day before my (counting fingers) seventh anniversary. and yes, i wholesomely totally, totally forgot about it yesterday.

as i was snuggling into bed minutes before midnight last night, my journey towards lala land was interrupted by the persistent beeps from her mobile. though one of her well-established job function at home is as my fail-proof biological alarm clock, she was not moved by the beeping phone so i had to get out of the comfortable bed to silence it. and there it was, clearly visible with the blinding backlight in the dark room: [b]Seventh Anniversary[/b]. she must have set that well in advance, a function that i even have with my very "advanced" up-to-date phone that i obviously didn't remember to do hehe.

so, what do i get for somebody whom is home-bound on a shoe-string budget? thought of getting her a long stalk of rose, cliché as it may sounds, it is something that i haven't done for a long time. what colour would be it be? i'll go0gle later for the right colour.


and by the way, i finally succumbed to the social pressure and are already in the process of procuring a maid. hopefully everything goes as planned and she'll give me more quality time with the children and lastchaos. and she'll take care of athyra as well as we hoped she'd be.