Saturday, March 10, 2007

The night before surgery

Friends and relatives kept thronging in and the situation peaked on the night of surgery when his secondary school-mates jammed the room in one go. I was at my wits end and couldn't stand the commotion anymore. I was purely reticent. I shut myself up and totally ignored them. I was almost in a state of stupor. My eyes were closed but my ears could hear the multiple conversations around me, only that the sounds were reduced to irritating noise with a capital N!

Astonishingly, Azmi managed to entertain them albeit sitting on the hospital bed, enduring his headache. I knew I was rude and utterly unbecoming. In short, I wasn't my normal accommodative self. Suddenly, I felt a sudden wave of anger inside me, as though I hated them for taking the precious few hours I have left with my husband before surgery. When there was no sign of them leaving at all, I left the room and sought refuge in the corridor, all alone.

I know I was behaving rottenly but I was also rueful at the same time. I just couldn't help it. Sorry folks!

10th Feb
It was the surgery day. I was feeling rather apprehensive. The atmosphere in the room was almost gloomy, as though the sky outside was casting dark clouds. Unspoken feelings of worry and apprehension kept creeping in my mind and I assume, in the others too. I can't recall vividly what explicitly happened that particular morning but for sure, everything went around in a blurry fashion.

Late in the morning, close relatives trickled in, with the intention to see him off for the surgery. As always, Azmi's brother's were good at cracking wise jokes, making us forget about the surgery momentarily but much to the chagrin of an uncle who prefers to adopt a somber mood as he feels (I think) a serious occasion needs to be addressed appropriately.

To avoid the same commotion as the night before, whereby visitors swarmed the room like bees, i begged for the no visitor sign, only allowing close relatives only. Once, a family of friends came, bringing a bottle of water blessed with Surah Yassin. Letting Azmi rest in the room, I entertained them outside. In between conversation, I entered the room and wet his face with the blessed water. When he knew of their presence, he adamantly went out and greeted them. Sigh. One might wonder what the no-visitor-sign was for eh?

It was already 12.30pm and I signaled to Azmi that he needed to get ready. I requested one of his brothers to politely ask the rest to leave the room as we needed time for ourselves. after shaving and making ablution, Azmi waited for dzuhur to perform both dzuhur and asar combined. Azmi jokingly said that it was as though he was preparing for wukuf at Hajj. After praying, he made use of what time left to make small talks with my kids and also to beg forgiveness from my parents. When he uttered that he have always treated my mom like his own, she reacted vigorously and cried. My dad was more composed and even made an insightful remark,"Insyallah, you'll get through this unscathed. You still have got heaps more to do in this world".

At 2.15 pm, the nurses came pushing in the OT bed and made him lie down. Wearing the OT gown and cap, he was set to go. I moved alongside the bed, holding his hands and saying whatever dzikir I know. It was at this moment that I couldn't hold my welled up tears anymore. At the OT entrance, i gave my salam and in between rolling tears I told him that insyallah I'll be seeing him back after 3 hours, the estimated surgery time. Then, everyone else, whom by now was teary eyed, gave him a final embrace. Dr Zurin who was observing patiently at the side, must be thinking that this was the longest sending off goodbye he had ever witnessed!

It was probably the longest 4 hours of my life, in which I filled with saying dzikir in an adjacent waiting lounge or resting in the ward upstairs. At one point, I became so restless and paced the corridor endlessly, disregarding of what people might think of me. I kept checking the OT entrance, wanting to know of the surgery progress.

At almost 7 pm, I saw a sudden glimpse of Dr Solahuddin and in all excitement, I almost ran towards him. "ALhamdulillah, all went well" he said. He was in a haste to go back to Tawakkal to perform a tracheostomy on a patient. Moments later, Dr Zurin beckoned my children and I, towards him and showed us the specimen of the tumor. It was resected piece-meal and looked very much friable. "All in, the operation was a success" he said, conveying us the good news. Minutes later, Dr Helmi, the anesthetist, pushed Azmi out, still intubated and unconscious. As he had difficulties to wake up after the anesthetic reversal plus being not accustomed to breathing through the mouth (trans-sphenoidal surgery requires nasal packing to arrest bleeding), they had to keep him intubated till in the ICU. As they needed time to extubate him, we were adviced to go back and perform our maghrib prayers.

When I got to see him later, he was still in a very much drowsy state with a very slurred speech and incoherent gestures. However, he still managed to extend his hand towards my mum's when he saw her. As visiting hours was over for ICU, we left him to the nurses. Apparently at 2 am, he became fully awake and alert and asked for me. However in spite of his condition he was still thoughtful and cautioned the nurses to not wake me if I was asleep.

3 lines: 2 I/V lines, 1 Arterial line, another I/V line on his right leg. Another line: a lumbar drain at his lower back.

The CSF drainage

Next: 1st day post-op: Looking out for Diabetes Insipidus


pycnogenol said...

I’m sure all those people who came to visit you and ikelah are all well meaning, but some can be totally misguided. I must confess, I have been like ‘cacing kepanasan’ myself, not knowing what to do….whether to visit you everyday, or to just call, or simply sms.

You know something? I even told Bea that perhaps I should start preparing a list of: old friends who irritate us beyond belief, new friends who we feel like we've known a lifetime, family members we'd rather forget, and mutual friends we accept on tolerance, and then decide on who to come when, or not come at all…should something like that happen to me....he…he… :)

dith said...

:p that was a cute thought. But when it comes to such perilous life moments, you'd be grateful if Allah swt meet you up with an old foe and getting the chance to make up and forgive like what happened to ikelah , recently.

Actually, on hindsight, I was behaving very badly but only because I worry of his wellbeing. Anyway I have asked for their forgiveness later when I saw them, alhamdulillah

Has said...

he he you bad girl!

actually; the one going for op don't suffer as much as the one waiting; this from my experience. Rasa macam sekelip mata tapi bila buka mata, tuhan saja yang tau bertapa sakitnya.

belum masuk OT I dah lena; dah mengucap dan dah bersedia jika tersedar di alam lain. Oh, aku masih di sini.

dith said...


Yeah, baddie one!

Before the op I pepped him up a bit regarding GA experience. I told him it's like falling into deep sleep with no memory whatsoever of that time span and suddenly you here people waking you up. How convenience eh?

And yes, dont forget to say your syahadah, just in case.

simah said...

dlm all the commotion...sempat lagi snap kerja sapa ni akak?
in such a condition, no body would blame u for not being experience u wont want to repeat eh akak? :0)

dith said...


Gambar tu semua hasil tangkapan peminat fotografi (bukan saya) dan ianya hanya selepas second op. Selepas first op, nobody was in the mood to take pics.

Mama Sarah said...

i've been meaning to write you an email. i know i owe you an apology. Coming soon! Tunggu.

OK said...

Dear DITH,

Wow.. a very detailed account... You should start a career in writing if you ever tire of waiting on people with naughty children, paper cuts and the chronic panadol swallower(ie hypochondriacs).

Maybe send the article off to Reader's Digest to get printed.. who knows.. can get money to buy that spanky new iMac. ;)

Boogey said...

I remember I took some shots with Ikelah's cam after the 1st Op while Ikelah was in the 4th Fl CICU.

dith said...


Dont worry! Thanks

hehe, hopefully too! Would RD really accept this?? Yeah iMac , what bliss!

easylady said...

hehehe itulah dia sebabnya kita org tak mau datang awal-awal. Ingatkan ok-le datang beberapa hari lepas op waktu habis kerja. hehe rupanya salah timing juga datang pukul 9.15 malam. Nasib baik tak kena marah dengan DITH. Memang saya puji Ikelah dalam sakit-sakittu boleh lagi nak bercakap melayan org yang datang.

Queen Of The House said...

I must confess I am bad at visiting - tak tahu bila patut melawat, tak tahu patut ke tidak, tak tahu lama mana nak stay, tak tahu nak stay sombre or buat jokes to alleviate the seriousness, tak tahu itu tak tahu ini. If I ask KOTH, he'll just say "Let the sick person rest". There may be some truth in that. And when it comes to stressful pre-op timing, we must think of the family members who want some private time. Hehehe that's probably why I only sent you sms's :P

dith said...

Boogey- email la ke kawe gambar tu

Easylady- Tak kan lah saya nak marah koot. hehe. But thanks for coming . I was happy to see the both of you. Jo nampak cam tak comfortable tho, hehe

QOTH- Kita sama la...banyak sngt qualms. Ku Keng wrote me this : I miss the chance of meeting Allah SWT as His reminder in the Hadith al Qudsi. "Don't you see ME by the side of your brother when you visit him on his bed when he is taken by illness?"

Eliora said...

Keep up the good work.

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