Recently I visited a friend in hospital. Let's call him W in his late 30s and he was already hospitalized for more than half a year.
Tragedy strikes W during what was supposedly a happy day on his Daughter’s birthday when for no apparent reason (to others) he was hit with brain stroke. In one moment everything is just fine and in the next, W had to go through emergency brain surgery and had tubes through into his skull and neck. He was unconscious for months, aggrieved with frequent fever, sufferings and incredibly thin physique under critical condition in the ICU. What could have been worst is the high chance of severe brain damage that doctors warned even after he regained consciousness.
Can you imagine the pain and stress the family members have to go through during this period? It is just mind boggling that brain stroke can occur to someone still relatively young.
Tremendous progress now
W recovered fast. Today, medical tubings were all taken off and black hair grew. Although still bedridden with weak and misshaped legs and hand, W is able to talk slowly, eat solid food, and undergoes physiotherapy each day. Radiance on the face regain and most important of all, there was no brain damage.
During my visit, I tried to lighten the whole atmosphere by cracking jokes. I wanted to be as normal as possible just like when we were having our "coffee shop chat" in the good old days. We also watched Euro 2016 highlights on my phone together. I asked, if W wanted to eat "Char Kway Teow" and if yes please recover fast! The response, "KFC!" I jokingly told him I will eat and he will watch, he smiled. Without permission from the medical staffs, I also bought him a packet of cold isotonic drink to quench his thirst. He sipped and felt “shiok”. It's been a long time since he last drank cold isotonic drinks.
It was cheerful and jovial atmosphere! No signs of tragedy!
Being a hospitalized patient myself before, I knew the last thing a recovering patient need is to feel pitiful. On the contrary, it is incredibly important to feel happy. W is able to join in the fun in my joke. It exudes remarkable positivity and to me, that is the light in the tunnel for a speedy recovery.
Love will keep us alive
When at his bedside, I also saw his auntie cleaning up for him. At the same time, W's neighbour also visited him with her kid, holding tight to W’s hand while talking to him! Yes, it’s only neighbour! W's “ang moh” boss also visited him regularly with his wife. W’s auntie was singing praises of how lucky he is to have such a good superior. I spoke to W's boss lately since we were in the same industry. I can sense his strong compassion towards W and up to today, he has yet to go out and find a replacement for W despite him finding it hard to cope in the area of his work with one good worker short. I was told by W's auntie that throughout this mishap, aside from his loved ones in the family, W always has many friends and relatives visiting him. And because no man is an island, he always feels so happy to see visitors.
Love is all around!
At the opposite bed of W, is an old patient, known to me that his children rarely visited him. The old patient was mouthful of frequent loud vulgarity and the nurse had to close the curtain around his bed. Perhaps this is the result of emptiness. It was a pitiful sight, much more than the illness a patient had to go through.
This visit to W brought back memories of my own hospitalization experience many years ago, as well as another friend who had his leg amputated from a traffic accident. While my sickness is definitely nowhere near to what W or my other friend had to put up with, there exist similarities that all of us are very positive during our hospital stay. Today, I am up and kicking well. My friend who has his leg amputated was married and has two kids now. I am sure W will be able to recover fast too.
It led me concluding that the most important thing that kept us alive when we are bedridden is not money, nor our success in career! These are no longer important. And it is definitely neither self-pity nor crying over why God is so cruel to you.
It is LOVE from people around us that keep us alive and look ahead!
I often think that sometimes everything happens for a reason! Perhaps if one day W were to recover back to his usual state, (which I strongly feels he will), he will be able to amass enormous strength both mentally and spiritually. Nothing will then be any tougher.
With that, I shall leave a song from from Eagles - "Love will keep us alive"...