Sunday 3 April 2005
The CCU’s rules on visitation are strictly enforced. At any one time before 10pm, only one or two family members are allowed to accompany my Mother. After 10pm, noone is allowed to enter the CCU. Children below 12 are not allowed to visit to avoid the spread of infections to the patients.
We were given two passes to the bilik peneman (waiting rooms). Two family members could spend the night in the waiting rooms, one each in the female and male waiting room. Each waiting room is comfortable enough for about 20 people and it’s carpeted and air-conditioned. Knee-high seats are installed along its walls, with drawers underneath where you can keep your belongings. There’s an adjoining prayer room as well as toilets and shower rooms. Passes are only given for critical patients’ families. Once in a while, the guard will come knocking on the door to ask a family member to visit the patient immediately.
Kak Zan and I left the CCU at 10 pm. That night, Kak Yah and Abang Mad stayed at the waiting rooms.
Monday 4 April 2005
I went to the ward with Kak Bi at around 9.30 am to relieve kak Yah from her duty. I was glad to see that my Mother was composed, a far cry from the previous day. She chatted with us and shared little jokes, as if nothing was going to happen. In retrospect, the postponement of the surgery had its blessing as it gave my Mother some time to adjust and calm herself.
Dr. Aman visited shortly before noon for a check-up. He told us that Mother’s surgery was not yet confirmed for the next day because the surgery team was back in the OT that day to re-open the previous day’s patient’s chest. He assured us that all preparations for the surgery had been made, but the final say as to when the surgery will take place is in the hands of the heart surgeon. Ultimately, it would depend on how long the doctors were going to be in the OT that day.
Dr Aman’s explanation made my Mother’s nervous. It certainly didn’t help to know that the previous patient had serious complications and his chest had to be re-opened. In fact, another guy in the CCU who was operated on the previous Tuesday also had to have his chest re-opened. My Mother was very worried.
At around 3pm, the heart surgeon, Dr Ziyadi came. He was accompanied by Dr. Aman, Dr. Liew and one nurse. Two family members were allowed to stay with my Mother to listen to his briefing. Abg Mad and I stayed, while Kak Bi had to wait outside the CCU.
Dr. Ziyadi explained about how heart problems came about, its symptoms, and the surgery itself. He told us the risk of complications is 4%. Among the complications are stroke, kidney failure and even death. However, he advised us to focus on the 96% chance of recovery instead of the 4%. He asked us to pray that the surgery will go well.
After the briefing, my Mother signed the appropriate form for the surgery. I saw how calm she was. Perhaps she was prepared for any eventuality. At that moment I realised that she was the strong one among us. We needed to be strong for her, but it was she herself who helped us to be strong.
That evening, Kak Jah and Kak Nun gave Mother her bath. She didn’t shiver anymore, unlike the previous day. That night Dr. Liew visited Mother and gave her some hydration salt as she had stomach upset after taking the enema previous day.
I stayed at the ward until about 9.30 pm. Mother went to sleep early that night because of the medication given to calm her.
Kak Nun, Kak Zan and Abg Mad slept in the waiting rooms that night (Kak Zan managed to sneak in the room). The next morning, Kak Nun and Kak Zan would give Mother her shower at 6am.
That night, sleep was mostly elusive for most of us. The prospect of the next day’s event occupied our minds.