Monday, July 20, 2009

So this is love…

“But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it:

For in the day that though eatest thereof

thou shalt surely die”

MakCik XYZ, lets call her Makcik Jah, 52 year old lady with hypertension, diabetes mellitus and End Stage Renal Failure (ESRF) was admitted to the hospital for acute pulmonary oedema secondary to hypertensive emergency.

Okay, let’s turn this story into more fiction, less academical. This is not another PBL session.

You know, there is this saying that you can have any disease in the world, but never ESRF, end stage renal failure. (a condition where the kidney malfunction is so bad that you need either a renal transplant or long term dialysis to prolong life) ESRF... Not only is it financially burdening, time consuming, but also emotionally exhausting. Imagine, dialysis three times a week, each time about 4 hours. The transporting time, waiting time, not yet included. It cost an avarge of about RM200 weekly for dialysis, RM12,500 to make an AVF (fistula for dialysis). (related article: the man in the next cubical)

Makcik Jah had been in the hospital for the past 2 weeks, under my care. Although I prayed very much that she would be fit enough to discharge, her blood pressure is simply too high to allow it. She had been maximized on most hypertensive drugs.

And everyday, she would ask, ‘boleh balik doctor?’ and I had to look back in her eyes, ‘sorry Mak Jah, hari ini tak boleh la, tekanan darah masih tinggi’… I hate having to give disappointment to patients. ‘tak apa la makcik, cuti di sini sajalah, kan ramai kawan-kawan baru’ trying to pujuk her a little… then she would let out a giggle… showing some gaps in her row of teeth...

Every morning, at the bed of Mak Jah, is her husband, let’s call him Pak Jah. I really salute him. Seriously. Every morning, his daily routine would be going to the wards, bringing breakfast to Mak Jah, wait patiently until visiting hours starts, cheer Mak Jah up, teman her for dialysis, weight her after dialysis, carry her around... he would supervise her medication, pronounce those medication names as fluent as the pharmacist, stating the dosage and function of each... he would put up with her unusual temper swing, sometimes, her stubbornness... what patience he had...

I guess it is not easy to care for one who is on ESRF, with dialysis on every other day. Mak Jah also had a right below knee amputation secondary to diabetes. So, Pak Jah, had to carry her around, as she was already ADL (activity of daily living) dependant.

I mean, isn’t that a big commitment? i had never seen their kids visiting. Very often, it is just Pak Jah. everyday, every morning, every evening, every moment. It was as if he lived half his life in the hospital.

And I guess, the saddest thing is that, she had some degree of Alzheimer disease. She does not remember many things, and will not remember many things. correction: she could not. I wondered how it is like, taking care of someone who do not remember much of you, and will not remember much of the time you spent together.

Pak Jah would come up to me from time to time, asking me how is Mah Jah’s progress. He would ask for favours like to spend time to pujuk and advice Mah Jah to take her medications, and not to skip meals. Sometimes, despite our hectic schedules, i guess we tend to obligue.

As you see, Mah Jah tend to reject food when she is a little upset, and she would go into an episode of hypoglycemic attack. Each time Pak Jah would buy outside food for Mak Jah, a few options, and coax her into eating. And he could feed her, care for her, love her.

I think he could have abandoned her, at any point in time, but he didn’t.

He could have gave up on her, but he didn’t.

He, being a muslim, may indulge in the luxury of having a second wife (maybe third, or forth), but he didn’t.

Their life savings went into providing better care for Mak Jah, and dialysis is not cheap, mind you.

I think the hospital can be a very sad place.

But sometimes, if you look hard enough, just around the corner, you may just spot happiness.

Perhaps, so this is love...


p\s: had my first on-call, will find time to blog about it ^^


  1. I'm so touched with this couple!

    Is really amazing that we can find lots of good story in hospital even heading to hospital is not a good sign for patients.

  2. Concept of "true love" should be that - One love in life together till death do them part..... :)

  3. wow this is such a touching story, true love indeed. :)

  4. True love does not need to be heroic such as slaying a dragon for the princess but lies in doing things for your loved one without expecting any return..

  5. Sweet loving couple. Its nice to read. ^^

  6. That has to be simply a wonderful example of a great love story.

  7. Q, sometimes, when things gets rough, people tend to grow stronger, and closer... they start appreciating... cherishing... loving... :)

    MRC, it's easy to say the 3 letter words, but making a commitment to spend the rest of your lives together, is a different thing altogether...

    zzzyun, yup... when i see this couple, i felt so touched... all the patients also agree... this Pak Jah really a nice guy,... guys like this, i thought extinct liao.. haha!
    kris, haha! slaying dragons and rescuing princesses,... very physically chalengging indeed.. but i kinda liked that idea... hmm... now, where can i find the dragon?
    Dann. ^^ nice to see too.. that's why i wanted to share their story.. i hope i can be blogging more posts on faith, hope and love :) i bet they are better than me previously dark and full-of-complains posts... sigh...

    khek, true story, you know... i bet you have a lot of great lov story at your place too... the more the suffering, the greater the sacrifice, the love... tell me bout them, next time ^^

  8. while busy in ward, with pressure fr boss.. we tend to ignore love is just around the corner... thanks 4 sharing, love is abundant... girl. how is ur perception abt love nw? :) ki tiong here...;p

  9. mummy ki tiong dear, i feel great reading this again... indeed, sometimes, we tend to overlook the little nice things... perhaps it's true, love is abundant... sometimes, we are just to blind to see it... my perception of love now??? HAHA!!! how should i answer you... will find time to blog about it ^^

  10. i did bumped into Pak Jah again a month later... He brought Makcik Jah to the hospital for her routine dialysis session. Makcik Jah sugar control improved and was discharged well. It was so great seeing them smiling again. This time with Mak Jah being more radian and healthy. It is a blessing to grow old together... having each other, loving one another...


dear friends, firstly, thanks for leaving your comments.. they are very much valued :)

secondly, do remember to leave your name =)
i'll like to know how can i address you ^^ thx

oh yes, if you do not have a blog/URL, just select open ID and leave the URL section blank :)

Author's Note

Dear friends and readers, Thank you for dropping by and leaving comments/ shoutouts. More importantly, thank you for being there... please accept my apology that, lately, i may be busy with work and not have time to reply youir messages/comments, but rest assured, each and everyone is read, and highly appreciated :) have a nice day! ^^

of love

Today, i heard a story which was not a story of falling...
of living in the dark end of winter turmoil..
instead, it was a love story..
of a couple who did not live happily ever after...
but they live, loving each other..