Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Flight Of Inspiration

Pegasus in the clouds at Parents' place

"Su, Imran's here already!" Mom hollered for Dad to hurry-up. Sitting on the sofa while busy fixing her scarf. Her handbag and a plastic carrier full of Dad's medical documents in two SGH folders were ready, placed on the coffee table.

I cannot seem to remember why Mom call Dad with his nickname "Su." Was it short for Sulong - GrandDad's name or was it short for "Bungsu" - Dad being the youngest of 8 children in his family? I think it is the latter.

Dad was still in his bedroom, putting on his shirt when I saw him once I entered my parents' home.

"I have been sweating profusely nowadays, it's crazy." Dad told me as he closed the living room windows in preparation to leave the house.

I went to the kitchen to get Mom's wheelchair out and placed it at the front door. Mom was ready to inch her way out, holding the gate tightly as she went down the steps and safely sat in her waiting chariot.

Mom can walk in short distances without any aid, but she finds comfort to hold on to the walls or chairs or anything to stabilize her with every step. Once outside the house, she prefers being in a wheelchair because "it's faster to move around with you all."

Like always, once Dad locked the front door, he insisted to push Mom around in her wheelchair. Giving exceptions to steep slopes for me or any of his children to do it.

Though it has been going on for years, I cannot help but feel a tat embarrassed when passers by looked on at us with a frown. They must be thinking that I am a heartless son with no initiative to help out his own parents pushing the wheelchair for his Mom.

No matter how many times Mom told him to let their children push the wheelchair to save some stares and embarrassments, Dad always insists that he is the one to do it.

Two things that he thinks he should be the one.

One. It's his right because she is his wife.

And two. Dad doubles it as his walking stick. Without which he tends to loose his balance a little at times while walking. He refuses to use a cane.

National Cancer Centre 2nd Floor Atrium

My half day leave off work this afternoon was to accompany Dad for his first oncologist follow-up check by Dr. Loo SK at National Cancer Centre or NCC since his discharge from the Singapore General Hospital a little over a month ago.

What was to be a first routine CT Scan done after 3 complete Chemo cycles, the X-ray turned out to reveal a blood clot in his heart. Dr. Loo included and X-ray to his heart after Dad's complaints of numbness and at times, intense pins-and-needles feeling he had been having around his left shoulder region.

The blood clot could have traveled to his brain and caused a stroke! It was uncertain whether the Chemo had anything to do with the thickening of his blood, but old age was a major factor too.

"Tell the doctor what I have told you so far." Mom reminded me secretly, not letting Dad hear.

Mom has been feeding me on Dad's health and any abnormality that concerns her. Dad told her that he "don't want to tell so much... like the last time" it landed him warded in SGH for telling the doctor about the numbness he felt on his shoulder.

I do not think Dad failed to see the bigger picture here; perhaps in denial, but most importantly not the feeling of giving up. I know that he knew by "confessing" to the doctor about the pains he was suffering from, it had saved him from something more dire.

It is a blessing in disguise to get warning signs and given time to act upon it.

National Cancer Centre Clinic C Blood Test Room

Well, we reached NCC at 2:00PM for Dad's 2:30PM appointment with Dr. Loo. Instead of the usual Clinic C Room 7 on the 2nd level, today was at Clinic B Room 5 on the ground floor.

As always, a warm smile and a "Selamat... errr... petang" greetings to Dad as we entered the room. And as always, I updated her of Dad's condition and our concerns. He is still in National Heart Centre's care and under Warfarin medication.

For the past week, Dad still has runny nose, coupled with the frequent coughs during the day since he is without his cough medication during his waking hours.

To avoid the effect the cough syrup may have on his anti-coagulation medication, upon Dad's request, the Cardiologist allows him to take only once at night, before his sleep.

NCC Pharmacy Registration

Though Dad feels fine and alert during his waking hours, he cannot help but cough incessantly during the day. Lots of phlegm too, with small traces of blood. This concerns Dad and definitely us too.

Dr. Loo was able to put our minds at ease - the anti-coagulation medication tends to make Dad bleeds easily whenever he strains while coughing. Moreover, without the usual three-times-a-day dosage to suppress, the coughs and chances of him straining are even more frequent.

"Nothing much to worry about..." Dr. Loo explained, "we still can do his blood test to find out more." She arranged for Dad's blood to be drawn right after the consultation.

"I'll call you if there is anything abnormal." She assured.

NCC Pharmacy medicine collection

No news is good news. Dr Loo did not call after we had Dad drawn blood at Clinic C and collected 8 weeks of cough syrups and laxatives, plus a week's medication for his runny nose which totaled up to about S$25.00. Another S$25.00 was for the blood test and the consultation fee.

Both journeys between Woodlands and NCC by cab cost S$19.80 each direction.

Had our early dinner at Banquet in Causeway Point Shopping Mall and did some grocery shopping at NTUC Fairprice in Civic Centre.

We spent the rest the afternoon with more talking at my parents' place until going home time.

I was tired and the journey home from Woodlands to Tampines was a long one on board bus Service 168, but it was worth spending that half day with my old folks anyhow.

From the chats, the jokes, their concerns and their contentions, they inspire me with their resilience and patience, insights and faith they navigate all through their lives.


  1. It's good to hear that things went well this checkup, Imran. You are a good son with true and loving insight into the hearts of your parents.

  2. m.p. said what I was going to say. :)
    the 1st picture- that's beautiful!!

  3. Love the horse formation in the clouds! Great timing with very observant eyes.

    Good to hear that things are going well.

  4. It's his right because she is his wife & using it as a walking stick. Now those are 2 excellent reasons. They'd inspire me too. What a lovely family, and what a grateful son. ~Mary

    ps I hope it stays "Nothing much to worry about."

  5. Hello ... I haven't been on in awhile, neglecting my blog ;o( and I just also saw the beautiful cactus photos before this post. All beautiful! I am glad your folks are still hanging in there and doing well and you are still at your job. I may have missed a post but I thought you had lost your job(?) I hope all is going well with you, Friend. We are finally getting some nice 70 degree F weather and sun today and with blessings, the weekend is supposed to be more of the same. Sweet! Peace!

  6. What a great son you are. Glad that things went well with the appointment! Lovely photos!

  7. So glad things went okay...and the clouds are gorgeous.

    I do hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Don't worry about those people passing by...let them think what they want...you know that you have tried to push your mom around! :)

    Lots of love to you and your family!


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Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger