Wednesday, 8 May 2013

An inspiring man I met

It's been ages now. But I wanted to share something with you guys. I'm sorry I didn't wrote sooner rather than later. I haven't had the time to write.

I met this man who was taking care of his mother in a ward. He is in his mid 20s, barely older than me. But one look you knew there was a deep feeling in his eyes, thoughts racing in his mind. When I came to the bed where he was sitting beside, he stood up and offered a handshake. Quite unusual for someone his age to be doing that to a man with a labcoat in a hospital. From my experience, they would just stop whatever they're doing and sit helplessly as if a police or someone in authority came.

but he was just.....fearless, I would say. Not that I was being intimidating or anything. I was being friendly.

He asked for my name. And I told him what he asked along with consent.

I saw his mother was too ill to talk but yet she smiled. She smiled even though you could see the effort she has to make, just to smile. I pulled up the curtains and started the history taking. Just few minutes then, the son said...Let's talk someplace else.

So I walked with him to another place, some sort of a lobby you could say. I sat there with him in front of me and we started talking.

We talked about the clinical stuffs first. The timeline of his mother's illness and the treatment she got which I don't want to divulge in here.

In the end, after all that finished... I saw him reluctant to go. Maybe he was just lonely and wants a company. But something in his eyes, I saw there really was something inside. So i asked .. "How do you feel about all this?"

Surprised and shocked. "About all this?"

"Yeah, about your mother in the hospital. I can understand it must be really difficult for you to go through all this. Would you mind talking about how you feel?"

"Wow. Do you really want to know? I didn't think you would ask. No one asked before. Do you have time?"

"All in the world if need be"

All the while I was thinking about his mother and the illness. Running through diagnosis, running through investigations and  management plan. But I've somehow lost the fact that it's more than just all that. Its about people and how they feel.

So we sat and chat. Just chat. No one is better than the other. I'm me and him as him. We were two ordinary people sharing stories with one another.

He told me that his father had passed away just 3 years ago. It was too sudden. His father had lung cancer and passed away when he was sitting for his final exam. He told me that his family changed ever since then.

And now, his mother is going through cancer. Stage 4. Terminal and considering palliative care. Its only a matter of time.

He told me...

"You know, it's not like in the movies. Where a tragedy comes, and you get all sad, crying and gets better after it passes. Or maybe have someone to help you around. It doesn't work like that. In real life, after a while you stop feeling anything. All there is, is just a fact that she's gonna leave me. Me and my brother. Only the two of us."

I can almost hear tears from his voice even when there isn't any coming out from his eyes. It was not sadness but tears. I know it's ridiculous but I felt it, I know it even when I can't prove it. I know he was sad but he just maybe, couldn't bring himself to cry. Maybe because he had enough of crying.

"My mother is very ill. And even in that state, she could bring herself to smile. Why can't I? When she is the one that goes through all the pain of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and battling all that herself. So why can't I smile?"

I talked to him for an hour and a half. We just talk. No notes, no pen. Just talk. Sitting in the lobby just the two of us.

"I'm really glad I met you. I appreciate for letting me talk to you. For sharing you stories with me. I can't say that I've been more inspired by any patient's story than yours." I told him.

"No one really asks me about what you ask. I never met any doctors like you."

"That's because I'm not a doctor yet."

He smiled. I smiled.

I asked him if it is okay for us to meet again in the future. I just wanted to check his mother's condition. And also to see how he's holding up with life.

I supposed we, in the medical health care professional point of view, always think about what we can offer to our patient. Treatment, management etc etc. But we often forget what the patient has to offer to us. Not the fact that they are and will be our bread and butter in the future, but rather how they would teach us in life.

I learned a lot from this man. And it all makes it even more amazing when he's just 3 years older than I am. It feels like he's been through and experience a whole lot more in life. I admire his courage and his view on life itself.

To all doctors and doctors-to-be out there...If any of you are reading this, I'm sure you've been touched by one or more patients before. Let that not die in you. let this be a reminder that they are people and sometimes their family are going through a difficult time and all they need is.....someone to talk to. Spare 5 minutes. That 5 minutes is the difference between a caring doctor and just a doctor.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Gift of Life : The story of a baby

Hi everyone. I've just finished my paediatrics rotation and now in my obs & Gynae rotation. Things are going pretty well so far. But these two rotations, without me knowing and realising, taught me something about life.

I was in NICU the other day. Stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Mostly for babies who were born prematurely. So, I was strolling around, mainly observing the other day. Wasn't going to do much. I went on from one cubicle to another watching these small babies sleeping.

But this one baby in his cubicle that got my attention the most. He was born just a few days ago with a birth weight 990gram. That's insanely low. He's about 26 weeks gestational age. He was lying down on his back and looks so small. Got the feeding tube down his throat. And all the wires and fancy gadgets to monitor his vital signs.

What struck me the most was that he opened his eyes and stared at me. At first I was glad he was opening his eyes and make some silly face hoping that he would be entertained. But the longer he stared, the more I felt there was something in his eyes. It wasn't sickness or disease. It was more to that. As if saying or making a statement to me that he's trying his best to make it.

It's like he said "I can do this!"

I stood there for a whole 15 minutes just looking into his eyes. Oh the wonders! That very moment I see a small premature baby, battling all in this world to live on and be someone. And yet, I realised that there are people in this world that just simply throw away their gift of life.

I guess life's unfair. It's unfair for this little baby. But hey! It's not for me to decide what's fair and what's not. I guess we just have to accept it and realise that the good will always be rewarded somehow in the end.

And I've watched a number of times babies being born in this world. Maybe soon I would deliver one myself. Personally I don't feel much when they were born. It's all messy. And noisy I suppose.

What more surreal to me is that when I stand at a corner and looking at a father reciting azan for his child. The happiness was just blooming. Even from his voice you could tell that it was no ordinary azan. It was special. I guess another gift of life that we all have is religion. It's what connected us all in the first place.

I do not know neither the father nor the mother. I've only seen the baby for a few minutes and yet that happiness came to me as if it was meant to be. I can feel that the azan would give me happiness even when it's not my child.

I hope that child knows how precious his gift of life. I hope we all do.

Thank you everyone. For reading. I hope this makes sense to you as it did to me.

Thursday, 14 February 2013


Hi everyone. It seems it has been a very long time since I last update on this blog. I hope there are people out there who are still reading this.

I apologise for not being able to update anything because time is really not my friend right now. Third year in medicine is packed with reading, clinical examination, history taking and more reading. Plus presentations and clerkings. I hope I can find time to write here somehow.

Apparently I'm too sleepy by the end of the day and can't be bothered to do anything. Even then, I still don't get enough sleep. Waking up at 6 am is the usual routine and I go to sleep at 1 - 2 am every night. Just to catch things up. Still, there are so many things to catch up.

Now I'm in my paediatrics rotation. So many cute babies around. Some of them cry, some of them smile. Nevertheless, they are cute in their small figure. There's so many reading in paediatrics. I guess that's why its very exhausting.

I still have presentations to be completed and present them this Friday. Apparently, I'm being assessed every week for presentation. I couldn't care much. I feel free when I don't really give much thought to it. Anyhow, this is just a routine update. Probably will write more if I have better ideas other than just medicine. I hope I'm not boring.

Thanks! See ya!