Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I am adamant that this is not goodbye

I am relieved that  I decided against going to the office and be with mak the whole day today. I was not supposed to care for her today. Another bro had volunteered to be there for her, but for some unknown reasons, was not able to live up to his own promise.

By noon, Mak was complaining about breathing difficulty, and within a few seconds, she was swarmed by a group of doctors. They spent quite sometime discussing mak's conditions, in my presence. This is one thing I like about government hospital - medical services are prompt, and done by doctors.

So again, they would take her blood samples. To be honest, I don't know how many samples that they had taken from Mak. But this was the fifth hospital for Mak, and she was not getting better.

By 3.30 pm, I saw the doc in the elevator and she said, "Now we know why your mother has breathing difficulty even though her chest was clear. Her blood is acidic."

"We are now looking for a bed at the ICU." Sure enough, within half an hour, the ICU registrar and another doctor were explaining mak's conditions and their proposed treatment at the ICU.

"We need to stabilize her, we need to monitor her continuously," he said, "If we don't do it now, she may stop breathing on her own. But the procedures (mak will be sedated, intubate and undergoing dialysis) are not without risks, so go and inform everybody - her children, grandchildren, siblings - that she is going to the ICU and there are risks involved.

The risk is that we might lose her. I nodded my head, acknowledging the risk. I wanted to take it if it helped mak's recovery. We have to do what we have to do, that's my opinion.

So I went to her bed, wrapped my arm around her, and whispered softly to her ear, "The doctors are taking you to the ICU. Mak kuatkan semangat mak, ya."

She nodded her head. Affirmative. She didn't open her eyes, but she could very well hear me.

Suddenly, the reality hit me. The burden seem to be too heavy for my shoulder to carry. I was beginning to be overwhelmed; I was about to burst into tears. I was breaking down at the very moment I was asking her to to be strong for me and the family. I thought I was strong, but I was not. And I did not want her to see or hear me at my weakest moment, when she needed me to be strong.

All these while, throughout the 2 months she was sick, I tried to stay above board. I tried not have my emotion shown, especially to Mak. I tried very much to be strong for her, tried to convince her that she would recover and be healthy again.

And I did not say goodbye either. I didn't not want to. I certainly didn't want this to be my (last) conversation and goodbye. I still want to talk to her again. I didn't want to let her have any notion that this was it. I needed her to be strong. And for that, I can't afford to be weak myself.

So I cant, and I won't say my goodbye. I simply refused.

But I have to admit that I was weak. How could I not be? I was alone with her when she was wheeled out of the ward, and into the ICU. I was ready to breakdown there and then, had the doctors not called me again to discuss treatment. With my teary eyes, I went talk again to them. I was embarrassed to be seen in that way, but I had no choice.

Now mak is sedated in the ICU under 24-hour care by the doctor and nurses. And there is nothing her 13 children can do, except to pray for her. All these while, 24 hours a day, there would always be someone with her when she was hospitalized. Now we are not allowed to be by her side, except at visiting hours.

Two at a time.

I can only pray that she will get through all these, and return home. My home. She had indicated that she wants to come back and be at my place. She is nearer now, now that she is at HUKM. But I want her to be able to walk into my house - that's for sure. I don't want her to be carried into my home.

Be strong, Mak. You have always been our pillars. After all, since 1984, you have single-handedly raised 13 children, when many other families would have fallen apart.

We need you to stay strong more than ever, mak.

Pray for my mak, will you please?

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