Monday, October 20, 2008
Please... Not Dad
"So the doctor found something in his left lung," my youngest brother told me over the phone last Sunday, "do you want to speak to the doctor?"
My brain was still trying to make sense of what was said when it got interrupted by the doctor.
"Hello Imran, I am with your brother here about your father's X-ray." My Dad's family doctor said over the phone.
Without pausing for a moment he continued, "There is a 3.2 cm growth on his left lung."
"Is this normal for someone who had been coughing for over a month now?" I asked, expecting a firm "Yes."
"No. This is a growth that is not normal, and because of his past medical history, it is something that has to be further looked at quickly."
My heart sank. Wifey said my face was pale with the look of disbelief.
"I recommend that he gets checked at the hospital." The doctor replied firmly, "I'll write a referral letter for you to bring your father for further examination."
Dad, oh my poor Dad...
Over a month ago, just before the fasting month, Dad had a mild cough going. It went untreated for several weeks. Mom kept telling Dad to see the doctor for his cough but he refused.
Mom called me to informed and after a little coercing, Dad agreed to go to the doctor with my youngest brother who leaves not far from my parents in Woodlands.
He was given antibiotics and pills for his cough instead of the usual cough syrup. Dad hated the pills but took them religiously. He finished the whole course and his cough subsided significantly, but never really recovered.
The doctor told my youngest brother that Dad had to be looked at by a Respiratory Specialist and probably a biopsy done instead of continuing medication from him.
He was being cautious but recommended that it be done promptly.
I took off work on Monday to bring Dad to Singapore General Hospital A&E department in the morning. Youngest Sister-in-law was there too since Dad wanted Mom to come along as usual for moral support. Dad always feels better when Mom is by his side during trying moments. Mom in turn would need someone to help her if she wanted to visit the toilet.
We were there at 10:10AM. Dad's queue number was 0015 after going through about 15 minutes at Registration and then the Triage section.
The waiting room was full of walk-in emergency patients, yet Dad's queue number flashed for Consultation Room A5 after waiting for about half an hour. It was really nice to have the patients not having to wait for too long to see a doctor.
A lady doctor, Dr. Wee was lively and warm. Asking Dad many questions while looking at the referral letter and X-ray from the family doctor. She drew blood from Dad for blood samples and explained to us the necessary steps that may follow from then onwards. She kept the "cancer" word off as requested during registration.
Waiting for the blood test results to come back, we were asked to take some breakfast of branch about an hour's time.
The result came quicker than we could finish our Delifrance meal. The text message asked us to come back to Room A5 for the doctor's prognosis.
When we entered, Dr. Wee was with her Professor who wanted to examine Dad once more. He was saying that everything looked fine.
The blood test was free of any infection to the lungs, but because of Dad's previous medical records in the hospital computers, they have special arranged for the Respiratory Specialist, Dr. Devanand to take over Dad's case.
The good news was that Dad was not needed to be warded for a night to do all the various tests, since he was well and not in any pain.
The bad news was that we had to come back the next day as an urgent case to be looked at by the Respiratory Specialist, thus the "forced-in" remark written on Dad's appointment letter.
We were to go to their Specialist Clinic A at Block 4 Basement 1 in the morning before noon.
I was not feeling too good about the fuss with the urgent appointments... I worry for Dad who until this day, together with Mom who only know that the growth Dad had surgically removed from his large intestine 3 years ago was benign. In fact it was cancerous and at stage 3.
Dad did exceptionally well after recovering from the surgery and passed every colonoscopy for the past 3 years... taking care of his health and eating right.
I kept my calm outside but my inside was crying for dear old, Dad. While we were outside the doctor's room, I silently prayed for him while I sat beside him when we waiting for the plastic needle in his arm to be removed.
He looked at me and smiled... "Praise The Almighty for this good news!" As he shook his head, "I'm OK."
I smiled back and put my had around his shoulders, "Alhamdulillah."
Tomorrow is another day...