Touched….by an angel

Yes.. really touched, moved by an angel – a 4th year medical student, Wai Jia. There had been scores of medical students interning at KKH and since I am a “permanent resident”  here, doctors and nurses love to refer the students to me for a case study chat. I don’t mind and actually welcome them ‘cos I sincerely hope they can perhaps learn something and be “doctors-with-hearts” in the future. Due to my long stay here, there are tons of doctors who attended to me (I am not seen by a specific doctor ‘cos I am in a subsidised ward). I came to realise that there are good and bad doctors! haa.. realism hits – ‘cos I grew up with the naive mindset that all doctors are supposed to heal and make people feel better. But my experience here really showed me that doctors are human after all.. some with lower EQ than the rest, unfortunately. 😦

 

Ok – Back to the “angel”- Wai Jia. She is one of the last medical student who came and approach me to share my story. Like many before her, they don’t dare to bring all the tough questions out till they knew I was comfortable to share. I had repeated my story umpteen times, so I knew what the students were looking for – how it happened, why it happened, where it happened etc etc…. Many took notes diligently. So I was a little surprised that she didn’t really take down as much notes as the rest before her.

 

As the conversation progressed, I realised that she was listening with her heart rather than just notes-taking! I assumed that she should be a Christian by the cross she wore on her neck. Normally, I won’t “over share” my beliefs and faith till I know the other party is comfortable – just didn’t want to appear flaky or unreal to the “real” world. Not sure why, but I felt really comfortable enough to share with her the spiritual aspect of this whole ordeal (something which I didn’t really share with the rest of the medical students ‘cos I am not sure if they will understand).

 

This “angel” is really so sweet. She listened and responded attentively. She prayed for me and Xi En before she left. 2 days back, she came let me know it was her last day of attachment here,wished me well and prayed for us again. She left me a really sweet letter which gave me a link to her blog too.

 

Letter from Wai Jia

 

After reading her blog, I came to realised this young girl is so amazingly full of drive, hope, faith, intelligence and a mission in her life. She wrote a really touching entry on her blog about Xi En – which made me tear and appreciate the blessings of God in my life. 🙂 I have taken the liberty to attach her entry below for easy reading. Please refer to her blog for all references.

 

 

Xi En

” Do you… worry about your child?” I asked in slight trepidation. She was very open about her situation, but still, I decided to tread carefully.

 

 

“Yes, sometimes. But I tell myself every single day is a miracle. God’s mercies are new every day!”

When she said that, I simply looked at her in amazement. The membranes in her womb had ruptured prematurely at 21 weeks (just mid-point of the full-term pregnancy of 40 weeks), and her baby was very possibly in great danger. She had an amniotic fluid index of less than 1, when the normal levels should be between 6 and 11. She had been seen by numerous doctors, and all but one gave her hope of her unborn child surviving. They had told her that her chances of getting past 24 weeks were slim and she ought to be mentally prepared for the worst, but here she was, still happy, smiling and going strong at 27 weeks. She was radiant, glowing with joy and had one hand on her tummy. The neonatology team had just seen her, to counsel her and her husband of the possibilities of having a child with severe abnormalities such as growth restriction, musculo-nervous problems, lung problems or cerebral palsy, what you may call in layman’s terms a spastic child.

“Aren’t you afraid?”

“Yes, at times… But who but God knows the outcome of my child? He still has a chance- Dr W said so.”

In light of the gloom and doom of the situation, her words almost seemed foolish, naive, even. But weren’t her words true? And who are we to deprive an unborn child a fighting chance at life?
Her positivity and radiance was sincere, with no sense of hypocrisy or putting on a front. “I’m going to name him Xi En.”

Xi En. It means “hope” and “grace” in mandarin.

Later on, as we chatted more and became more comfortable, I broached the question, “And did any of the doctors ever mention to you the possibility of… terminating the pregnancy?”

She laughed. “Oh yes, one doctor did, and I think my reply shocked her. Why would I even consider that? This is my child- my husband and I planned for him, he was a planned pregnancy. He has a heart which is beating inside me now, he is a life- how can I even think of terminating a life?”
He was a Planned pregnancy. Those two words shall never hold the same meaning for me again. I always thought babies were made quite easily-you get married, you do happy things and wala, you get a baby, easy-peasy right? I am learning, it is not quite so. Family planning is exactly what it is-it takes time, effort, consideration, and a lot of prayer and hope. And when those hopes are threatened, it can be very difficult to accept.

Little did I know that while she had been warded in that room for months, clinging onto every morsel of hope for her dear child, with more and more hope each day as her chances of delivering her baby rose, just upstairs was a ward full of patients, admitted for planned abortions. Amidst them, lay a twenty year-old girl who had met a “bad man”, now jailed for having sex with his ex-girlfriend, a minor. In the next room, lay another lady younger than me who had a two year-old child and who wanted an abortion because “my husband and I are not ready for more kids at this point. We’re unprepared. This is not planned.”

 

Perhaps it was the contrast of it all which startled me. One floor below lay Mdm H who would do anything for her child to see the world, for her Planned pregnancy to work out. One floor above her lay Mdm A who wanted out because her situation was not Planned.

 

And I wanted to cry when I read Mdm A’s medical notes, for I found copies of her ultrasound scans which showed not one, but two signs of life within her. She was aborting twins.

 

 

Downstairs, lay Mdm H, desperately holding onto the dear life of her unborn child, even though there was a chance of him being abnormal or sick, simply because she believed in the sanctity of life and God’s gift to her. I thought about the discussions she and her husband might have had, the months of them planning and trying to conceive, the joy of knowing she was pregnant and now… this. And upstairs, lay Mdm A, wanting to abort her twin babies because “they just weren’t prepared”.

Oh the craziness of this world.

It reminded me, that for all our dreams and plans, there is only so little within our control. Yet, hope is always available and in times of trial, it is our umbilical cord to God, a symbol of trust of His Best Plan, even though we might not know what it may be. Mdm H was willing to accept the outcome of her baby, whatever it was, because she knew it was right to put her hope in God.

On the other hand, when we try to control too much of our lives according to our own plans, disasters can happen- we terminate our lifelines to God, we abort our hopes in Him. Mdm A’s eyes were filled with grief, her face blank with despair. Somehow, something deep inside turned restlessly, refusing to give her peace.

I was reminded, that for all our plans in life, we ultimately have to surrender to the Plans of God. A lot of times I worry about the future, about medical missions, purpose, life partner etc-but I am learning, that instead of simply erasing these concerns from our minds (which is hardly possible anyway) or giving up on those dreams, there is place for holding on to them and hoping for the best. There is place to hope for God’s plans to unfold His way and in His time.
Hope, because it gives us life; hope, because it produces faith and because God’s grace often surprises us in ways unimaginable, if we are patient enough to wait; and hope, because, as Mdm H says, every dream deserves a fighting chance.

Xi En. Hope and grace. In times of darkness, there is always room for hope.

 

Hope does not disappoint us,

because God’s love has been poured into our hearts

through the Holy Spirit

that has been given to us.

 

 

-Romans 5:5

“For we are saved by hope:

but hope that is seen is not hope:

for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

 

But if we hope for that we see not,

then do we with patience wait for it.”

 

-Romans 8:24-25

Wai Jia – if you are reading this, thanks for crossing my path and being such a blessing. 🙂 Continue to pursue your dreams! 🙂

Week 24 to 25: Random Hospital Stories

We made it! 🙂 Baby and I had since moved on to the obstetric ward after passing the 24th week of gestation. Prior to that I was in the general ward catering to all women’s sickness + pregnancy cases below 24 weeks of gestation.

24th week is the “week of viability” – according to the medical world. Next hurdles are 28th and thereafter 30th, 32nd and 34th week… I am really counting the days, hrs, minutes even! Time do flies (I have been here for 4 weeks already!); but sometimes I feel that it crawls! Especially on days when I am really really bored of reading another book or sleeping!

Anyhow, just wanna share about a “life-in-a-hospital” from my eyes/ears (‘cos I can’t see through my drawn privacy curtains half the time; my ears have been trained to “see” things!). The hospital is a really interesting place…..

Random thoughts/stories

1) Meals: We are served 6 meals a day here. Made up of breakfast, morning tea (only barley water), lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and night snack (always a milo and wheat biscuits). No pictures to share – ‘cos I am so bored of the food (unlike my first stay at TMC). After 3 weeks of Chinese food selection, I decided to change to Muslim food selection for a change of variety. Guessed what.. one of the hospital food assistant who delivers meals kept staring at my name tag and finally couldn’t take it and asked me “ Are you a Muslim convert?” I am so amused.. guessed maybe I am pretty much the only Chinese asking for Muslim meals here or my skin is too dark!

2) Interesting patients:

Patient J: She was my first next-bed neighbour in Ward 43. A 40+ auntie who converse mainly in English. She was touted a “nightmare” to almost all nurses and doctors! On my first day there, the same young doctor who attended to me made some faces to me before entering her “cubicle” (trying to say she is a pain in the neck!). Nurses have also in turn made faces whenever they went to attend to her countless and almost unreasonable requests. J always has something to pick at and something “extra” for the nurses, doctors and attendants to do!

Lo and  behold! She is a self-professing Christian too! After knowing I am one too; she asked me if I know the pastors personally.. I say.. hmm.. yes – maybe some indirectly but not too personally. She lamented that her pastor doesn’t know her “personally”! aiyo.. she is one complain queen! But she became a friend to me; even after I shifted to another room. She came by to tell me stories, bring me the regular newspapers and also informed me when she was going to be discharged!

One week later, my mum saw the same Patient J in Chinatown, wearing a mini-skirt, sexy top, high heels and havoc makeup – going for a Chinese doctor’s appointment. 🙂 Did I mentioned that she was requesting to stay in the hospital longer or be transferred to a community hospital – which she was rejected. 🙂

Patient T: She is my opposite-bed neighbour in the new Ward 32. Suffering the similar predicament as me; she also has premature rupture of membranes (PROM). She has been here 2 weeks earlier than me. I am not a sadist but it is comforting to know that I am not the only “permanent resident” here. 🙂 We have since became friends who don’t talk! ‘cos both of us are confined to our beds; interaction are left to our husbands and mothers! I have been eating more veg food (thanks to her) ‘cos she is a vegetarian (sharing common interest as my mum!). There are many exchanges of food, information and maybe just that comfort that we are in the same situation……

Patient C: A pregnant women with twins from an IVF process became my neighbour for a few days. She came in for monitoring ‘cos one of the twins wasn’t growing well. I played a “counsellor” to her; comforting her and telling her that I have been here for 4 weeks already so she is much better off!

BUT actually, she isn’t worried about her babies. She just didn’t want to stay in the hospital because it frightens her that the next time she leave this place she will be bringing her babies home. She complained that she didn’t have time to put up the nursery properly! That’s why she kept insisting of going home. Hmm… Kim and I have already “resigned” to the fact that we won’t be able to get anything ready for baby to go home.. ‘cos we just need baby to be delivered safely and healthy first…. So I can’t really comprehend how she can just think of the nursery and not her little twins!

Anyway, in the end – she still signed an indemnity form (so that the hospital won’t get into trouble) and got herself out of the hospital…. I actually don’t understand how she might want to jeopardise the safety of her twins by not listening to the drs. Anyhow, she came over to say thanks and bye. All the best, C. 🙂

OK.. enough typing before I over-strained myself. Right now, please continue to pray for the rainbow after the rain. 🙂

rainbow