Friday, January 06, 2006

IF ONLY........

Many a times, I am faced with the predicaments of not having the means and power to assist someone who is in dire straits. When I can't offer any valuable help, I am rendered helpless, just as helpless as the person in need of help!

Today, de javu strikes again! A 31 yr old lady, pregnant at 24 weeks with moderate persistent asthma came to see me, wheezing so bad, she looked so pale as not enough air was entering her lungs. This was not her first attack. For the past 3 mths, she had been coming every week for acute excercabations of asthma and had to be nebulised each time. Despite frequent administrations of ventolin inhalers, her asthma is still poorly controlled.

I know why it is poorly controlled. She has 5 small kids and a household to take care of. On top of it she's pregnant. Her husband works hard 12 hours in a day and can't help her with house chores. She's got no relatives close by to help.

Each time she comes, I'd advice her to be admitted and rest. I believe her asthma is stress-related and rest is the answer. But she can't afford it.

So today, when she had to be nebulised twice within 15 minutes, I sat with her and convinced her that she realy needed to be admitted. I took the referal pad out and began writing. I asked for her IC number. In between gasps she lamented that she's not a Malaysian citizen and still in the midst of making her IC. She said she was from Acheh, married to a local. And then she burst into tears, relating in between sobs, that the Tsunami had kiled all her family members and that she's now all alone! Not having an IC makes hospital admission all the more difficult and bills will be hefty which she can't afford paying with her hubby's meagre wage.

Flabbergasted, I only managed to rub her back, telling her to calm down or her asthma would get worst. To ease her mind, the least I could do was to write in the referal, telling the doctor, of her financial constraint and to please , please consider it when billing her.

What more could I do? I could only sooth her with my words. At times like these I wish I was somebody of high status who could command perfect things to happen. If I had the influence and power, I'd make sure that everyone despite their colour and creed would be entitled to all health benefits that are available.

She was so thankful that I cared about her and giving her my empathy, she took my hand and kissed it! And what did I do? Nothing much.....nothing at all....
may Allah swt give her strength to carry on...ameen.


nurul bahiyah said...

reading this entry reminds me how lucky i m..

abdullahjones said...


2wenty3hree said...

my heart goes out to her.

Say: "Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Maula (Lord, Helper and Protector)." And in Allah let the believers put their trust. - At-Taubah 9:15

you're a good doctor dr. alhamdulillah.

anggerik merah said...

Very sad indeed. Yes how lucky we are as copared to her to have family around us or still exist.

Em said...


Ur post ni sungguh reminds us how lucky we are...

Ku Keng said...

Just as Tuan Jones commented, :( and :(

easylady said...

CAn u control your emotion at that time? I have frequent incidence my eyes will become red an sometimes tears will flow down my cheeks..

Ikelah said...

Our MP's are not doingenough. The Malay leaders tend to theselves/family first compairing to other ethnic gp in malaysia.

rich gets richer and poor poorer. working in private sectors used to get more mony but not anymore for the semi skilled workers.the gov's offer is better.

its sad to see the semi skiled workers in factories are 'forced' to do extra hours. with the option to work or to quit, they dont mind working with the low pay.

the malaysian are not used anymore to kerja kampung, tangkap ikan, mandi sawah, toreh getah. all these jobs are covered by indons, nelayan makan gaji, pesawah kelompok, ladang with foreign workers.
there is no more kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang kampung. in pahang u can hardly find a kampung tradisi which is self sustained.

i still remember staying with my grandparent in a kampung along sg pahang. we used to duduk kat tebing in late evening watching the boats from the other side of the bank, orang kampung in the perahu pulling their nets, boys and girls playing n bathing at the jamban. the kampung people never failed to ask us, "ayoh mok awok tak datang weh?" i answered back, "dok, aboh keje. kome bedua je."

they were happy, lots of fish in the river, paddy at the sawoh, ayam itek to be slaughtered when needed, noreh getoh to get extra income and sell them to my grandfather who helped them in trading their getoh keping and getoh skrap, eventhough there was water or electricity supply. klinik kerajaan is nearby and we can hardly see people getting sick for thay eat healthy food. the nurse and bidan just goyang kaki because if just plain cold it will heal in a few days without medications. for bersalin, they prefered bidan kampung assisted by bidan kerajaan(to be lawful) without any complications. If there is an accident, seriously ill condition (uncommon), they will go to hospital mentakab.

orang kampung used to come over to watch cerita melayu since my grandfather had a power generator to light the house at night. therefore 6.30 -7.00 pm will be full of activities with my uncles or grandfather getting ready to start the generator, the women in the house closing the windows, takut nyamuk masuk, the youngsters helping to get the lembu or itek home, the man getting ready to go to surau but we the kids still at the tebeng waiting for the buaya to timbul.

they had these traditions; orang kampung, anak beranok, no competing among them, tolong menolong in almost everything, beri duit sikit-budok kampung nok bersekoloh, singgoh laa makan tengahari hari ini kome masok daging ruse etc.

All were happy; the kids, the adults with their life and what they have for they were not taught to be materialistic thus not slaves of luxury as we do.

isk... panjang pulak.. sorry dith.

Ikelah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
drroza said...

Nurul- that's very true

AJ :(

23- That's exactly what I told her: kan Allah dah janji hanya akan beri ujian yg kita mampu tanggung? Maknanya Allah tahu awak boleh terima. And she answered: Doctor, saya rasa macam dah tak tertahan sangat nak tanggung ni semua...more sobs...

AM- maybe it's a sign from ALlah to me to always be on my toes and be syukur for His blessings no matter little it may seem.

EM- perhaps a little reminder goes a long way

Keng- :((

Easylady- most of the time, my tears will well up and I'd quickly wipe before it falls...coz if not I'd be sobbing together with them...then it'll be worst! (worst still if the pt is a man...recently I had one who confided and cried and I was almost into tears as well)

iKelah- a good reminiscence there ad its ok coz that's what my blog is all about isnt it? Yes the good old days, free of worries, junkfood, bad politics, pollution etc...sigh

pycnogenol said...

No Drroza, you HAVE done something. You've touched her heart....and ours too...
May Allah bless the patient and the good doctor too.

Kak Teh said...

DITH - what u are doing is so noble. There is only so mcuh that we can do. I too get very emotionally involved in certain cases that I meet -and I am not a doctor - thus what I can offer is even less.

Count Byron said...

DITH. We are fortunate to have doctors like you and iKelah among us. Just to have a heart for the patients is more than we could ask for. There are constrains in administration which only them in power could ease the public.. that is a national concern. You have shown that a caring attitude towards the needy, those who need our attention, not necessarily poor or of different cultures, would lead one to a happier, less stress life.. and plenty of blessings from Him; which is what matters most really.

Well done Dr Roza.

Anonymous said...

I hope the hospital will help ease her burden as well and consider her plight. it's quite a pity indeed. hope mum and baby is doing fine.


Has said...

heemm, simpan sikit duit zakat, beli IUCD dan bui dan pakaikan free ke dia. It will help her tremendously or she will come again to your clinic in say next 12 months or more with same prob.

then motivate her to buat kueh2 and jual as sumber halal for her family.

kenakelayan said...

Kesiannya. It makes me ashamed that UK, a non-muslim country, in comparison has such a great benefits system to help out the needy. Through the National Health System, medical care is free for all, even though you are not a citizen.

Funnily enough, here in the UK prices of properties in the country are really really pricey, as families prefer to live in the country as soon as they can afford it rather than have their children grow up in crowded cities. Perhaps in the future the trend will start in Malaysia? Rural life appeals to me too. Living in Dungun is so relaxing (okay apart from som silly Mat Rempit that I don't want to live in KL anymore.
It's a pity that I have no memories of being in that old house on the riverbank. I wonder who does it belong to now, and is it being taken care of?

Queen Of The House said...

It is not called a noble profession for nothing, really. Alhamdulillah you are a most compassionate doctor and the country could do with more drs like you :) It is sad that our (public) health system differentiates between 'warganegara' and 'asing', 'govt servant' and 'swasta ... I guess we still have a long way to go before the country has a system like the UK's NHS .....
ARe drs in the profession of empowering people as well? Sometimes you wish you can, right?

Restless said...

At times, things are just beyond us and when this happens, be rest assured that an act of empathy is a million dollars' worth than a hospital bill's paid for. On the same note, external action is severely important as the one inside.

As a muslim, it is not a matter of saying "kasihan dia!", but more of "alhamdulillah, I am blessed with a better situation!".

Ku Keng said...

Puan Dr. Roza,

Eid Mubarak. Kullu 'aamin wa antum bi khair. Semoga Allah SWT mengampuni kita sekeluarga.

Anonymous said...

That was a very nice thing to do, Dr. Roza. May Allah bless you for your kindness :)

ayumi_of_mirkwood said...

that anonymous is me, Ayumi :)

Ikelah said...

Has, u kerja di hospital mana? u doc department mana? curious to know, but something to do with psy or mind... ... 'the exposed brain'.

hari ni a bit bz.. 2 bad cases tonight; a 3 yr old girl with hydrocephalus with ?meningoencephalitis ?SOL n 90yr old lady with massive brain haemorrhage with DIL issued. both admitted to ICU. the medical bill will be high for both of them. the girl has nothing to worry of since she has insurance to cover but the a'po, the children have to bear the medical expenses, a condition which is just supportive. the longer she lives the more they have to pay with an estimation RM2-3 K per day? no doubt it will cause a big burden to the family.

at the end of the day, doc dapat duit, hospital jadi kaya, pesakit meets her Maker, keluarga kena bayar big bill.

Nurelhuda said...

I think it is time I write my piece about men and their responsibility . I had a case where a woman was pregnant with her 10th child and she was so weak and pale , I asked her why she did not practice family planning and she said her husband did not allow it. I called him and told his straight to his face that his wife cannot take the pregnancies and overwork and God knows why I said , if she dropped dead , he would have all the children and housework to do by himself ..I said more than this but it would not be polite to repeat what I said..anyway, she simply dropped dead a month later..I knew because the police came for her medical records because it was a case of sudden death.

dr in the house said...

Pycno- perhaps you'd experience the same predicaments if you have practiced your vocation instead of lecturing?

KakTeh- Each and everyone of us can contribute to the society in our own way. If only we can do more eh?

Count-Yes we try our best to empathize and hope that future doctors would inculcate such value in themselves and not just see the $$$ signs in their eyes!

Rafthah- yes I hope the clerk in the billing office will not give her a hard time!

Has-forever with the motivational and practical ideas, :p

Kenakelayan- the British NHS can be applaud in that sense

QOTH- doctors can empower people by advising them within health issues but we also give ideas on how to better their lives economically especially those from low socioeconomic strata with little education whatsoever.

Anim- yes , true, we must always see these examples as lessons for us to always appreciate and bersyukur with what we have

Keng- Jazakillah hiaran kathira!

Ayumi- I ve replied at your latest entry regarding the origin of ....

iKelah- doc yang dapat duit adalah specialist lah bukan doc biasa...some specialists have lost all their innate good values and all they could see is the $$ signs

Nurelhuda- yes there are such men...they must have held to misunderstood maxims...that's its wrong to merancang etc..but they forgot that Islam is a religion of ease...

Nurelhuda said...

from an old poem of mine semasa frust ngan Doctors..yes I know I am one:


The wheeler dealer doctor

A new breed of men, a sign of the times!

Healing, your honour’s bent

Reduced to ringgit and sen

Integrity honour and skills

For sale for sale!

Loving sacrificing and giving?

All gone all gone!

And no one to mourn

But a dying breed

With a dying creed

The healer feeler doctor

Who knows more about healing

than wheeling and dealing
Noble profession, your creed a religion---

From whence your salvation from perversion?

Ku Keng said...

Doc, read your first blog and interestingly we crossed path, albeit few years apart, in two places. First when you were in Penang of course next to my school. I used to walk past Waterfall Road, the Moon Gate and down to Pulau Tikus (just like you had explained) with my GP teacher, and of course with other friends, who played softball as you mentioned. She, the teacher, would recite poetries as we walked and talked about life and why she did not get married then. (Now she is in the US and happily married I supposed). Then you went to Kolam Air, again my former school. It was the TI's premises until they moved to Cheras. I did my form 4 and 5 in KL and the 6th forms in Penang. In fact I went to SP just two years ago to walk along the corridors that I used to play about before, and surprisingly the semi-wooden teacher's quarters that we built as students as part of our practical training, still stands strong. This is the building just outside the fence opposite the school hall. Nothing much in the premises have changed except of course the hostel, that is now expanded. Did you meet the ghosts of the area as well?

Your are right, memories of the past stands strong in us. I was much senior to you.

crimsonskye said...

You are everything that I imagine a doctor should be. I just hope that the country will provide a better health system for everyone, not only in the conventional but also alternative medical fields.

Anonymous said...

I second that, Skye!!

dr in the house said...
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