Last ‘eid painted an unforgettable memory in my medical-student life...
11th September 2009
No matter how hard I tried, my eyes did not seem to be sleepy enough to fall asleep. Despite a hectic day and a chaotic last minute preparation of packing up stuffs for my one-week Orthopaedics posting in HoSHAS Temerloh, these eyes of mine are still fresh. I could not get my mind off the patient I saw earlier today.
She, was the same patient assigned to me 7 months back. She, was the only patient I got involved with, emotionally. I was contacted by her daughter during Ramadhan and was surprised to learn that Makcik had been readmitted to surgical ward, 4C. She was fasting at home and needed to go to the toilet when she accidentally fell down and hit her head against the wall. She sustained a laceration wound on the scalp with quite profuse bleeding. I visited her around day 3 of admission.
And to my surprise, she was skinnier (read: much much more cachexic) than she was before – although last time she was already very very skinny after losing more than 20kg of weight to malignancy. Her abdomen was grossly distended by ascites, and the fact that she was very thin, made the abdominal distension even more prominent – it seemed like she was trying her best to endure an unbearable agony. She was only managed palliatively, but even so, painkillers were no longer helping. Her suffering showed, in her deeply jaundiced eyes. She was on diapers, and could not even change her position herself. Her lower limb was already oedematous. Even to catch a breath of air, she needed to struggle. Perhaps pleural effusion had also set in by then. She recognized me, but was unable to say or do anything. How painful it was to watch her suffer. Indeed, it must have been even more painful for her.
18th September 2009
On this day I just came back from Temerloh posting the night before, accompanied by an unfinished case-write up which needed to be submitted on Friday, the 18th of September, 2 days before Raya, which is – today. A tinge of exhaustion which almost always escorts write-up-submission day was ignored due to the fact that our supervisor threatened to check our logbooks after being severely disappointed by our performance in Temerloh. So Friday evening was spent exploring the whole hospital for the normal Dracula-hunting procedures: blood taking and branula insertion. Plus certain additionals pertaining to Orthopaedics posting...
I had the urge to visit Makcik in 4C. How I strongly felt that this might be my last chance to meet her… at least before Raya, because she had been admitted for over a week and by Raya usually patients request to be discharged.. And I would love to wish her “Selamat Hari Raya Makcik, semoga Makcik Allah sembuhkan… Maaf kalau selama makcik kenal hana, hana ada buat salah silap pada makcik”
But the procedure-seeking was just soo compelling and although I already went to 4C, I don’t know why I didn’t visit her. Perhaps it was due to her curtain screen which was almost always closed, especially because they needed to change her diapers, and she normally performed solat with the screen closed. Or perhaps because I felt quite uncomfortable since her sons were there too. Or was it just because… I fear that I could not contain myself, seeing her suffer.
So in the end, I went home for Raya without visiting her for a second time.
But along the way, her daughter whom I grew close with, kept in touch by messaging me.
to be continued... one more to go...InsyaAllah...