Mood: down and out
Listening to: my soul
With referral from the clinical doctor, my mom was admitted to Changi General Hospital for five days observation . Earlier in the day, she could not stand on her feet after urinating. The test results that came in day after day were encouraging. That left her with the last medical report, X ray. As the report came in, we were told that both her kidneys have shrunk incredibly. On the fifth day, she was transferred to Singapore General Hospital.
We were given two options by the Doctor. One was for mom to undergo kidney dialysis. From the Doctor's professional point of view, it was not advisable because of mom's age at seventy-six. Her heart might not be able to withstand it and furthermore, it would only prolong her life for a mere few months at most. Second option was for her to survive just on medication. After discussion with my siblings, weighing the pros and cons, we chose the second option...medication. Nobody would like to stay in the hospital, so was mom. After one week, we took her home. On the second day, she complained of chest pain and she was readmitted to Singapore General Hospital.
Everything went on fine for the next few days except for her kidneys. Then, her conditions deteriorated. One of her eyes shut and she could not talk. Her body was itched all over and she could not scratch properly with her hands jerking. The purpose of kidney dialysis was to remove all unwanted waste products from the blood and to maintain the blood pressure. Because mom was just on medication, the waste products from the blood was not expelled but circulated over and over again. That caused her body to be itched and her hands jerked. As her son, it was my duty to do the scratching for her. Days went by, received news that mom was placed under DIL (dangerously ill list) as she was in a coma. We were told to be mentally prepared by the doctor as she was given forty-eight hours to live. My siblings and I took turns to be with her twenty-four hours a day. Sitting by her side, holding her weak, fragile hand...the hand that fed me, bathed me was really...really painful. My eyes welled up, followed by big teardrops streaming down my cheeks. I bowed my head, hoping some kind of God of whatever faith would appear before me. I would kneel before "Him", begging "Him" to save my mom. I would open my heart and accept "Him" as my saviour and as my God. It was only the naļve side of me. Forty-eight hours have gone by, nothing happened. According to the nurses-in-attendance, from their experiences and observations, given these kind of low blood pressure, my mom should have left this world. Seemed like she had some unfulfilled wishes or simply waiting for someone to turn up. All family members have visited her including in-laws. Then, it dawned upon my sister the incidence regarding the "golden bracelet".
My eldest brother had known his wife since they were youngsters. They worked together, played together and even lived together. One day, he told my mom he was finally getting married. My mom was very happy, bought a golden bracelet, intended to present it to my sis-in-law on her wedding day and that was when my sis-in-law would offer a cup of tea to my mom. But, for reasons unknown to us, my brother did not went through any wedding ceremony, no wedding celebration, nothing. And during all these years, my sis-in-law addressed my mom as auntie. This incidence was made known to my brother. On that night, my sister brought the golden bracelet to hospital. Putting it onto the palm of my mom and grabbing it with her hand, my sister told my sis-in-law, "now, I'll represent mom and hand over the golden bracelet to you". After receiving the golden bracelet, with a cup of tea on hand, my sis-in-law said " mom, please accept and drink this cup of tea". My sister took the cup and wetted mom's lips with some tea. At that very moment, my mom murmured something. Though inaudible, she responded! Was that her unfulfilled wishes? Handling over the golden bracelet and hearing my sis-in-law addressing her as mom for the first time? We were all overjoyed. The next day, I visited her with my wife. My wife started to massage her right hand. She responded by lifting her left hand and said "it's ok, it's enough". She regained consciousness and was able to talk and move, though restricted.
After a few weeks, she was transferred to Doverpark Hospice , a hospital for the terminally ill. We visited her on a regular basis. On December 11th 2003, at 0340hrs, received a call from my nephew that mom was having difficulties in breathing and hospital staff requested our presence. All of us were there by 0410hrs. At 0438 hrs, my mom gave out a deep sigh. Sigh of happiness that all her children were there to see her? Sigh of contentment that all her children have grown up? It was not to be, in fact she was mustering all her strength to take in her last breath of earthly air and returning it to mother nature. I was orphaned from that very moment. My world collapsed. My mind went wild with memories, to the day when I was a young boy. I recalled the time she fetched me to and from school, bought me ice-creams, sweets, dressed me, how she scolded and caned me for being naughty. Now I realized that all these caning were parts and parcels of a mother's good intentions. I told myself that I should have treated her even better when she was around. Why must human be such that when we possessed someone, we do not know how to treasure, only to regret when we loss them.
As I needed a closure badly, I came to terms with myself. This is what life is all about. Wherever my mom might be now, she will have all my blessings.