Monday, February 23, 2009

Hospital is a Great Place to Exercise

No parking is allowed in Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The hospital's car-park building where I grumpily put my Kancil, is almost one km away across four lanes.

I carry one big picnic basket in one hand and another hand, a small bamboo basket. I bet I look like an auntie about to sneak into the hospital to sell kuih-muihs. ( As a matter of fact, some vendors somehow managed to sneak in under the security's nose and sold guavas to hospitalized patients ). These days there is a major renovation going on so I am not sure about the route. First I try using the overhead bridge that leads to some new buildings only to find all doors locked. So I turn back, descend and walk around the renovation site, ascend the hill behind the emergency ward, climb another two flights of staircases which turned out to be the longest route to reach the bed of my brother-in-law.

He is all curled up, nostrils plugged to a huge dirty oxygen tank, entirely absorbed in the misery of the unknown ailment plaguing his right lung and myriads of discomfort of two kidneys failure.

Suppressing my panting breathe, I placed the baskets as quietly as I can on his crowded desk.

As I turn back, my sister has also arrived. Even though I have volunteered to bring him dinner, she cannot bear to leave him alone for one meal.

She immediately massages his backbone, speaking soothingly to her husband. She has been styling dozens and dozens of coiffures the whole day and right after work, she takes care of him. She's literally working to death.

He adamantly refused medical insurance. He has been on hemodialysis for two years, complications, two young sons and his apathetic family. All burden is on my sister.

Girls, never ever marry a man who refuses medical insurance.

I bring some homemade fresh portobello mushroom soup for them. But the soup has become cold by the time I walk all the way up there. I felt bad. Next time must put the food in thermos.

I try to help sister to massage him. The vein on his left hand with the catheter is swollen to almost 1.5 cm in diameter. It's as if there's a thin green snake adhering to his arm which has been subjected to countless needle pokings. Then there's rashes on his back due to recent onset of arthritis.

She has to run up and down the hospital to locate a wheelchair to take him to the toilet. During my one hour stay there, he doesn't have the appetite to eat dinner. At that point, I leave. It is getting dark and I am nervous about returning to a gloomily-lit semi-deserted car-park.

The trip back to the car is another km.

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