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.

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