I have been reading up many articles lately after seeing too many deaths of patients and close friends. When I was a volunteering as a caregiver at Hospice, I had to fetch endless of terminally ill patients to different hospitals around Klang Valley for various chemotherapy and nuclear treatments. They were all suffering from cancer's final Stage 4 and passed away eventually, not after having many heart to heart talks with me about their whole colourful and miserable lives of regrets. They would share their many hopes that, should they ever recovered, they would be doing a long list of things they have missed out. They would wish to turn back the clocks and probably remained single too. I was providing free transports at my own accord as most of them had children or family members who were not free, unavailable or not bothered to send these patients to hospitals. It was not an easy task for me as I had to juggle in between my working hours to fetch them to & fro. Each patient had their own special needs & attention to be handled and I had to provide small comfort pillows and disposal bags inside my car, in the event when they threw up vomits of blood and toxic phlegm from time to time.
One Indian lady named Preema, had 15 grown up children and all 14 of them were married with sound financial background while several had retired. None of them were available to fetch their poor mama who was diagnosed with throat and thyroid cancer for weekly treatments. This old lady in her 80s had money but lived near Putrajaya and no taxis wanted to fetch her back and forth. That was long ago before the Uber and Grab taxis were available. So I was her complimentary taxis. The treatments had closed up her whole throat until she could no longer swallow food & liquid. She had to be fed through the tube and carried the attached bag on her stomach everywhere. Her unmarried daughter accompanied her for every trip and would speak to me on her mother's behalf. The most shocking thing was that Preema would be greeted at the hospital's entrance by a young handsome doctor during her every visits. This Indian doctor was doing his housemanship at the hospital and would greet Preema by going on his knees ritually to kiss her feet using his hand's gesture. I was shocked and speechless to discover that he was Preema's own grandson!! WTF?? Why nobody was free to fetch her?? We caregivers had all been well trained to carry out our duties diligently without conditions and with so many do's & don'ts. We have to refrain from preaching religions, asking personal questions, discuss their sickness, talk politics or even sell them any MLM products. We can only engage into these conversational topics if the patients themselves spoke up. Preema passed away peacefully in her sleep at home a few months later after all treatments had stopped.
John Lim was just 38 when I met him on his death bed. He was from my hometown Penang and had been a successful top salesman in Selangor. He was a macho sweet talker who sold all the imported brands of cigarettes to all the distributors. Naturally he was a chain smoker himself to be able to trade so well. He could brag to me that he smoked at least 4 packets of cigarettes daily since they were all free samples for him to enjoy. He was heavily sedated with morphine to ease the horrible pain of both his lung cancer. We chatted a lot in between his sleep when his eyes closed for 2-3 minutes where he was being drifted out with his soul floating about as claimed. John repeatedly swore to me that he wanted to regard and join me like his own brother to be a caregiver volunteer if God heals him back to robust health again. John passed away 2 nights later, leaving behind his mother, young wife of 30s and a primary school daughter. I went to his funeral at the Section 17's funeral parlour and John's face looked peaceful & free from pain inside his coffin. That was my first time seeing white lights of angels dancing & hovering in circles above his coffin as the church members sang all the hymns for him. John's smiles and words still echo in my head today after more than 10 years.
Selva was just 32 when he was diagnosed with Stage 4's lung cancer. He lived in a flat in Puchong somewhere opposite IOI Mall. I had to fetch him to UH and HUKM on different days for his chemotherapy sessions which had to start at 8:00am sharp. Imagine the traffic crawl and stress for having to drive hurriedly to beat the jams and even red lights so that my patients would not be late for their life treatments. The hospitals would be full of patients waiting and when you are too late, you have to come back again another day after making a new appointment. That is the difference between a private and government hospital. Selva was very talkative and could not accept his fate that he was dying. He would often scream in acute pain and burst out crying inside my car. I had to hold the steering and used my left hand to comfort him. I would give him a small pillow to hug while he crouched his body to lessen the pain. The smell of his decaying lungs filled my whole car whenever he breathed out hurriedly in pain. He asked me why his colleague who was in his 50s was not suffering from cancer since he had smoked much longer than Selva. I could only stare at Selva's eyes and wiped his tears away without any good words that could pacify him. I could only advise him to be brave and continue the treatment since many patients had recovered or managed to live on for several more years. That was a white lie as the number of recoveries were quite slim and small. Selva begged me to tell all my friends to quit smoking as he did not want others to suffer and go through the severe & hellish pain that was like tearing up his lungs with knives. That was Selva's own words! He passed away a month later and left behind his wife in her 20s with 3 young children.
That's all my case stories for today and it could run over 100 but it might bore my readers. So I will continue to recall the stories for part 2 & 3. All the stories are real incidents and non fiction using real names.
Besides cancer, the next deadly sickness that took away most of my friends was heart attack. You might think that it was a quick and sudden deaths but they all died too young. The other surviving friends often tried to analyze the whole lifestyle of the deceased and I would conclude that they all had very successful career that came in a package of unhealthy diet, big stress and no exercise! I need not elaborate on this topic except to look at my own lifestyle. The recent case of my close uncle who had multiple strokes really frightened and saddened me. The fact that he may have to be a vegetable and bed ridden for many years is scary and too troublesome for everyone. I am not a doctor or physician but merely sharing my own thoughts for my own well being.
I don't deny that I often eat out all the time with groups of different friends
and we would eat just anything unhealthy & nice. When I eat alone, I would
try to eat more vegetables to detox and balance my diet. Today I went to my
favourite Rimbun Restaurant to eat their Malay food. The whole plate costed
me just RM3.50 with a Limau Panas drink at RM1.30. You can only find cheap
meals like this in Sungai Buloh. I ate raw cucumber, tomatoes, long beans, okra
and acar pineapple-cucumbers with lots & lots of fiery hot sambals.
I told myself that I must drink fresh coconut water at least twice
weekly to cool my system and build my immunity besides
lowering down my blood pressure which had shown significant
One coconut is just RM4.00 and that could bring abundance
of goodness for one's health.
I read up some health articles which ranked this pomegranate as
the best fruit juice that would greatly help to clear up all our
clogged arteries. That would cost me RM18.50 just for this
bottle of fresh pomegranate juice. This is really a bomb price
for me, so I would drink it probably once a fortnight.
I have been reading all these healthy juice charts like a bible.
I would probably print them out and paste them on my doors
and all over the house as reminders.
I do drink many other juices from time to time
and eat some supplements daily besides
increasing my exercises at the gym & pool.
Health Is Wealth.