Wednesday, January 30, 2008

She's My Wifey

2:25AM. Cough. Cough.

I was awoken. The alarm clock on the night stand was the first thing I saw. Turned around and watched Wifey got up and off to the kitchen. The night was windy, too cold for Wifey apparently.

I could hear her whizzing breaths as she left the darkened bedroom. Heard the clink-clanks of a glass being taken off the dish rack and the fridge door being opened and closed.

I could hear in the still of the night, but probably had imagined most of the sounds she made in the kitchen as she went through the routine of taking her medication. Salbutanol was her cure.

She was having an asthma attack. Her second this month.

I laid in bed. Except for the light casting off the ceiling from the street lights below and the glowing green light emanating from the alarm clock, the bedroom was dark and gloomy-felt. 2:32AM...

My head on the pillow, I watched her in the dark as she entered the room.

She headed to the toilet and coughed hard, letting out the trapped phlegm, lots of phlegm from her throat. I saw her having a tough time breathing. Not the heavy breathing I prefer.

"Are you alright?" I asked as I sat up on the bed. "You want me to massage your back?"

"Go back to sleep..." she whispered as she came out from the toilet and got into bed, "I'm OK."

She coughed a little more and continued "I just need the medicine to take effect..." gasping a little, "I should be OK."

"OK."I replied concerned. "Wake me up if you need anything." I reminded her.

I could hear her whizzing breaths. Her eyes closed as she laid with pillows propped higher, trying to get back to sleep, but it was quite hard.

I just watched her silently, unable to be of any help. Just hoped that the medication took its effect fast enough. I sympathized with her being in that state, but she would not let me. She is that strong...

The bi-fold toilet door screeched opened and I was awoken again.

Wifey was coughing and letting out what I could only imagined were clumps of phlegm... more phlegm. I felt it was too much, too frequently this time around.

The alarm clock showed 3:20AM.

"We go to the doctor's tomorrow." I told Wifey when she got into bed again. "This cannot go on..." I sounded like I was lecturing her... the last thing she would need in the dark, early morning.

"I feel much better now..." Wifey tried to explain, "it's only bad at night." As if it was of any consolation.

It was so for almost the whole of this week, but she could not escape from an attack this time. She would be out and about running errants and shopping, doing house chores with teenage stamina, but come nightfall, the phlegm makes a gooey comeback.

Her last asthma attack was maybe eight months ago, triggered by over-exertion with an over-zealous house cleaning. She had two this month alone. This time by the cold weather of frequent rainy days and cold, windy nights. Cold even for my standards... from a guy who goes to bed with just boxer-briefs.

"Keep especially your chest warm with the blanket. We'll go the doctor's tomorrow." I said. Final.

She kept quiet... whizzed as she breathed and a while later snored in deep sleep. Finally. The medication had taken effect. I was wide awake instead, unfortunately.

5:43AM. What! Sigh.

The alarm clock broke my silent stares at 6:00AM. Time to wake our Son for school.

Groggily I made him breakfast and saw him off to school from the front door, minus Wifey who most probably was kept in deep sleep by the medication.

I felt a light throbbing in my head. Headache was setting in. Great! Sigh.

Bad sleep tonight... oh its morning already! Wifey was snoring. Poor baby.

I moved to the living room with my pillow and slept on the carpet in front of the TV...

"Sleep Ayah." Wifey said to me softly. She was already awoke. Sipping a cup of hot coffee in her hand as she sat on the sofa... watching me sleep.

The DVR time blinking 8:27AM. It was already bright outside.

I felt a little groggy. Fortunately the light-headedness I felt before was gone. "Let's get ready to go to the doctor's," I said to her as I sat up "and have our breakfast outside. OK?"

I sent an SMS to my boss informing him of my urgent leave off work today.

Doctor Yoong from Yoong Family Clinic & Surgery took his time to listen to Wifey's series of questions and concerns, then explained lengthly what she was going through.

She was taught how to use the Ventolin inhaler... let out all the air from the lungs, breathe in whole and hard, expanding the lungs while depressing the inhaler pump.

Strangely, it was Wifey's first inhaler. She managed to stay away and never used the inhaler at all throughout her asthma child-growing years.

She was also given Prednisone which she must take 4 tablets at once in the morning for the duration of 1 week. The phlegm had gone into her lungs, constricting it. She waited too long before seeking treatment, thus the newly introduced medications to treat her symptoms.

I really wanted to tell her "I told you so..." but it would just be rubbing it in. I told her so!

She had always given me some legitimate reasons not to seek early treatment. She would not if she had her way. Always too busy with house chores, the weather, just too tired... all of these had prevented her from leaving the house. She would rather tolerate the condition.

We sat together in the Kopi Tiam at Tampines Mart for our breakfast.

I watched her as she eat and thought to myself of this lady sitting in front of me... so strong-willed, yet so stubborn. She needs me to take her to the doctor. Come to think of it, I was in all her consultations with the doctor. Why is that?

Still, it is kind of... well, cute.

Wifey is still a mystery to this clueless guy. Got to love her. All of her.

Sipping hot coffee together. She is alright now... She's my Wifey. Love you.


  1. Usually it's MEN who won't go to the doctor when they need to! Asthma can be life-threatening; she must take care of herself. After all, you and the son need her.

  2. You two are such a wonderful gift to this world. Excellent post my friend.

  3. I think you just made an early Valentine's Day post, Imran! I am glad that your wife is going to be well soon. Thank you for posting this story about your love for one another.

  4. you're such a great writer!! I hope she gets better now. I had it when I was a kid. (I can still taste the chemicals from the inhaler!)

  5. Hello All,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving me a message.

    Donna | I'm not so sure about that here, though. I related my experience to a colleague of mine when I came back to work the next day.

    He just had an argument with his wife the night before about the same situation. His wife refused to see the doctor after several days with flu.

    He was concern that she might transmit it to the their little children if she waited any longer.

    Asthma is indeed life-threatening. The first time I witnessed Wifey having an episode, it scared me more than her.

    I held the phone all that while ready to call 911. Fortunately I didn't have to.

    I will appear calm for her, but my heart freaks out every time she gets even a mild attack.

    Deejay | You are a kind soul.

    I sometimes wonder what I did right and good in this lifetime to deserve her. And when I thought about it, I thank God.

    Love her dearly and scary moments like this episode scares me each time, even today.

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Mompoet | I guess I did! Thanks for pointing this out. I now know what to put in the card this Valentine's Day.

    She like my Amex and more...

    Can't leave home without her. Can't imagine living without her either.

    Andrew | Coming from a great writer like yourself, thank you!

    Wifey had asthma from small. The toughest child to bring-up in her entire family for her parents. Milder and less frequent in her teenage years, and was without an attack for a span of 10 years.

    It had been far and in between since I first met her, but these days it seems to make a frequent comeback, which scares me more.

    Nonetheless, she tough-spirited and takes good care of herself. I am there entirely for her to fight this on.

    Thank you again everyone! I'm sure many of you are very excited with the election this coming Super Tuesday.

    The world awaits a good leader for a safer world. All the best.


Hello Everyone,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your messages. I will also try to answer any questions you may have for me.

Thanks again and have a good day.

Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger