The most remarkable phenomena that rose from this test was the profound gestures of relatives and friends. The support, care and reassurances that they shower upon us were invaluable. From this point in life, we now know that we have relatives and friends whom we can count on in times of direness.
Whilst packing the next morning, more close friends came to well-wish and see us off. They even conducted a small doa ado. Since the early morning, Azmi began receiving phone calls and sms-es from all quarters: primary school friends, secondary school friends, Belia group members, Abim friends and also medical friends. You see, he has been in constant contact with his old school friends via their alumni's e-mail forum, by which, the news had travelled like fire. Perhaps what triggered their deep emotion was Azmi's persistent heart rendering statement that ended each conversation: please forgive me for all wrongs that I have done to you. Some even scolded him for the cheek to mention such words in such desperate moments. But he felt compelled to do so as no mortals know what looms ahead.
The endless thoughtful demonstrations by friends had rendered us flabbergasted and we thank Allah for bestowing us with beautiful friends. One, who badly wanted to see Azmi before we left for KL, waited patiently for us by the road side, before the Bukit Goh exit. Another, had experienced a premonition of some sort when he was bogged down with a deep urge to call Azmi. This friend would often call when he needed medical advice. The day prior, Azmi received a missed call from him. Thinking that he was in need of another advice, Azmi returned his call. When Azmi told him the news, he cried. Subhanallah! Azmi couldnt hold his composure and almost cried too. Everyday, he would sms to enquire of Azmi's progress and before both surgeries he had arranged for 70 tahfeez students to perform solat hajat for Azmi's wellbeing.
And yet another, whom we haven't met for more than 20 years, came all the way from Kulim and back, making a day trip. 2 good friends , husband and wife, from KB had traveled through the night to KL in an effort to see us. They even extended their stay to send us off to the next hospital.
Amongst our most treasured acquaintances are those we found through blogging. Some have become close that we take them as family friends. Pycno and Bea came before and after the surgery, asking us if there was anything they could help. Immediately after the first op, they visited Azmi at the ICU. After the second surgery, they continued with their kind warmth by remembering my birthday and brought me a sumptuous chocolate cake. Simah called me all the way from Istanbul. QOTH sms-ed, reassuring me with her prayers. Nisak and Mynn were so kind to help Muhammad in his rendezvous. And the rest gave comforting words via e-mails. Thanks to all!
We left our house with a heavy heart and quietly prayed that everything remains in order in our absence. Little did I suspect that I personally would feel as heavy hearted to leave the hospital 2 weeks later!
Before pushing off to KL we made a last stop-over at my father-in-law's where Azmi filled his dad on his condition. At one juncture, when Azmi was not near him, he whispered to me, asking whether Azmi was fearful of the surgery, to which I answered, "I am sure there's some iota of it but he doesn't show it" However when I posed the exact question to him much later, he denied being scared of undergoing the surgery at any point in time. "I purely believe that whatever Allah has destined for us will happen and none can stop Him. If He has planned for the surgery to be successful, then , all praises are for Him. If not, it's beyond me and as a human being I have to accept it".
Even though we have finalized on the choice of surgeons, the GM of the hospital where he works was adamant that we saw Datuk Dr Rani, a renowned neurologist at Ampang Puteri, and sought his opinion for the best treatment available. We complied and headed straight to see him once we reached KL. We were glad that he approved of our choice, saying that they are amongst the best surgeons to go to.
Finally, Azmi was admitted at Tawakkal under Dr Solahuddin. That night we had an in depth discussion with both Dr Solahuddin and Dr Zurin regarding the operation.Both are old varsity friends and after long years of losing contact, I was so touched on the amicable treatment they gave us. Tying the features of the MRI and the severe headaches he had, Dr Zurin concluded that Azmi had a condition called pituitary 'apoplexy' caused by bleeding inside the tumor. In essence, we were actually sitting on a time-bomb!
It was also decided that night for the surgery to be conducted at Damansara Specialist Hospital instead due to certain logistic reasons. Which meant that we had to shift hospital the following afternoon.
As the pituitary gland secrete many important hormones, the first thing to do was the various hormonal assays, prior to the op. Another important assessment would be his visual acuity and field. Both were planned for the next morning.
In the morning, I accompanied him for a thorough eye perimetry. Detailed examination with the Humphrey visual field analyzer revealed a classical finding of bilateral hemianopia, a text-book case of pituitary tumor. All this while, we attributed his visual impairments to an earlier diagnosis made by not one but three ophthalmologists i.e. age-related macular degeration, an eye disease which currently has no satisfactory treatment. CT-scan was not suggested at that time as the eye-examination sufficed. Amazingly, the funduscopy this time showed no macular anamoly whatsoever! When I posed this query to Dr Zurin, he said that from his experience, the visual disturbances in patients with such tumor tend to change with time and they can't offer any explanation for the phenomena. What's more important is the high likeliness for his vision to improve in manifold after the surgery, once the tumor is removed.
In the afternoon, we drove to DSH, a well-equiped state-of-the-art hospital which we would call 'home' for the next 12 days.