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Friday, August 8, 2014

Patients Whom I Met At HKL

While waiting for hours at the waiting area outside the ultrasound scan room of the pediatric unit of HKL yesterday, I made friends with some of the parents who were also waiting for their turns.

One particular baby caught my attention. Throughout the ultrasound scan, everyone who was waiting outside could hear his wail. When he was brought out from the ultrasound scan room, I noticed how scrawny he was. While the baby's aunt was cuddling him and seated next to me, I started a conversation with her. I asked her what was wrong with the baby, to which my heart dropped when she told me "dia ada cancer buah pinggang" (he has cancer of the kidney).

At 3 months old, while this lady (who is the baby's aunt cum babysitter) was bathing him, she noticed a fishball size lump at the side of his abdomen, where the kidney was. The next few months were a whirlwind of events. The baby boy had the kidney removed and went for a series of chemotherapy sessions. When I met him yesterday, he was 14 months old. He has to do regular scans and check-ups to see if the cancer cells are still in his body. He has stage 2 cancer of the kidney. I felt so sad for the family and was teary-eyed when they left.

Seated next to me was a girl about 10-11 years old, who had to do a CT Scan. She was there with her mother and grandma.  The girl  has cancer.

And seated opposite me was a 9-year old girl. She was very adorable and did not seem anything like a sickly girl with pain in her abdomen. According to her father, the girl has 3 problems. First is diabetics. Secondly, she has a huge 7cm growth in her stomach. Third, she has problem  emptying her bladder completely. She is due for a surgery today to have the growth removed from her stomach. After the surgery is done and after she is discharged from the hospital, she will need to go to another hospital for treatment of her other ailments.

Back at the Urology Unit at the specialists clinic building, I saw a girl of about 13 years old. I think she has polio as her gait is not normal and looks like someone inflicted with polio. At the room with my Urologist, this doctor was discussing about the girl with polio with another young trainee doctor. This girl has problems urinating and has to have a catheter inserted whenever she pees.

At the waiting area of the Urology Unit, I saw a baby girl about 14-15 months old who has an enlarged head. I think she has urinary problems too as her mother was waiting to see a urologist.

While Cass was waiting for her blood to be taken by the nurse, she peeped through a curtain separating us and a bed to see what the nurses were doing to a young man. Initially, she thought that the nurse had to insert a long tube/catheter into her hand when she saw the nurse removing it from a cupboard... and she gasped and said "OH MY GOD, that tube is SO long!! Is that for me??" LOL! The catheter was for the male nurse to insert it into the penis of the young man.  He hobbled out of the room with a urine bag attached.

In the shuttle van that we were in, a lady in her fifties was with her daughter.  The lady was very pretty but her daughter in her early twenties was born physically handicapped.  Her face was badly disfigured and she could not walk normally. She was also coughing badly and I had to hold my breath in the stuffy van each time she coughed!  She sat next to Cass in the van. I did warn Cass not to say anything and ask me anything about the disfigured lady, as this would cause only uneasiness to everyone.  The older woman and I chatted for a while.

So friends, if you have nothing to be thankful for and feel that your non-health related problems (financial, work, marital, kids problems,) never seem to come to an end, thank God for your good health.  Being blessed with good health is one of the best gifts that you can ever ask for from God.

If you want to feel thankful for what you have, if you want to make your existing woes seem insignificant vs. what other people are going through, I challenge you to take a trip down to a hospital. Best is to go to a government hospital. I'll bet you will go home with a thankful heart, thanking God for your good health and for having your loved ones in your life :)

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