Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Day My Family Camped at Serdang hospital

17 September 2009

Today was the day we were supposed to travel back to Bukit Mertajam, Penang for Hari Raya celebration. Although my husband had taken leave, he was called back to the office as he had to attend an urgent meeting.

I started packing my bags and was mid way through the packing when my husband called to say that my mother-in-law's condition had taken a turn for the worse. She had been hospitalised since 09.09.09 for urine infection. Her vital statistics had become erratic. And the infection had spread throughout her body. 

My husband left the meeting in a hurry and rushed to the hospital. As her condition was really erratic and given that the doctor had summoned her kids (my husband and my sister in law) to break the grim news that her condition is now touch n go, and her lungs muscles had failed, and that she's now using the neck muscles to keep her breathing. She was barely alive.

I rushed to the hospital from home with my three boys and took along my wheel chair bound father in-law as well.  As we reached the hospital, we were devastated to see her condition.  It was really heart breaking to see her gasping for air, and it takes a lot of effort on her part to use the neck muscles just to breathe.

As Ina was supposed to come back to KL from UTM for Raya, we had told her to stop at Serdang station so my husband could pick her up and bring her to the hospital to see her only surviving grand mother who was fighting for her life. As soon as Ina arrived, she stood by the bed and kept holding her grandmother's hand, and kept whispering in her ears to recite the shahadah.

We were at Serdang hospital from late morning till after buka puasa. All her kids (there's my husband, Amir, my sister-in-law Tini and my brother-in-law, Hanafi) and her children in law, yours truly, my brother in law Din and my sister in law Azillah and all her grand children were there with her too. All of her family members took turns to hold her hands and whispered the shahadah in her ears, really our very last precious moments with her. And we tried to keep her as comfortable as possible as our heart ached to see her suffering, gasping for air, every time she breathed using her neck muscles.


It was really heart rendering to see my father-in-law touching and stroking my mother-in-law's hands, despite him not realising what was happening.  Dementia had robbed him of his memory. His dementia often first manifests itself through forgetfulness, difficulties with daily routines, problems speaking, personality changes, and loss of motivation.

My poor father in law suffers from failing memory for recent events, disorientation in time and in place, impaired ability to deal with everyday problems and failure to undertake routine tasks (e.g. driving, paying bills, doing housework) that were previously handled competently, impairments of communication skills (understanding language, speaking, writing), and changes in mood and personality. This is to be expected due to his advancing age. Just the same, it's really sad to see him in this condition.

My mother in law was hooked on to the vital statistics machine, hence we could monitor and see her failing breath. We spent most of the time beside her bed, holding her hands, kissing her, whispering for her to recite the shahadah, and reading the yassin.

Most of us were crying when her doctor came to tell us that there isn't much for us to do, except to keep her comfortable and to call close family members as there's very little precious time left for her. The doctor had told us that it would not be long before she bids us goodbye, could be the same day, could be a couple of days.  Only God knows.

Her respiratory reading had gone up to 130 (normal reading should be below 100). Her oxygen level was 80 when it should be more than 100 and her breathing rate was hovering around 40 when it should be below 20.

Up to 7.00 p.m her condition remained unchanged. We left at around 8:00 p.m and by that time the rates had improved just a little.

We prayed fervently to God to ease her suffering as we could see how she grimaced in pain everytime she breathed using her neck muscles.

Poor mak, how we empathised with you and we pray everything will turn out to be okay.

With a heavy heart I kissed her hands and forehead tenderly just before I left. So did my husband and the rest of the family members. "God, please ease her suffering. If it's time for her to go, please spare her the sufferings, but if she's meant to live longer, please let her recover soon," I prayed quietly as I turned to look at her for the last time.

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