Bapak, Oh Bapak -- October 30 2007
So many odd things flashed through my mind as I stepped on the gas along the Damansara highway enroute to Bapak's last Thursday evening.
Adel and Shaira sat quietly in the car. I could see that they were visibly shaken.
I was on the road some time after Maghrib.
Ya Allah! Is this an auspicious time and day for someone to leave us?
What an Eid we would all be celebrating this year. And what a year this will be, I thought as I traversed the traffic.
Didn't we just lose Kak Eda in March?
It was the call I received from Nina earlier in the evening.
If the turn of events or the entire situation had been different, this would have been a very sad posting.
"Kak Ena, Bapak has not stopped going to the toilet...I am so worried. I am at work and I will be going home after I have put the phone down," Nina said, in an unusually low voice.
This frequent-visit-to-the-toilet affecting the elderly during a certain time in their twilight years worries me.
At least three elderly people -- our relatives -- peacefully died after their more-than-three times visits to the loo.
I'm not a doctor, and that is probably why I got worried. Little or no knowledge about bodily functions prior to death, but having your mind littered with unconfirmed medical "knowledge" based on limited witnessing of events, often leads to assumed knowledge.
Er..you know what I'm getting at?
Ok. We all thought this was bad news. That Bapak was going to, you know, "go" that night.
I can write about it so blithefully now, But that Thursday "malam Jumaat", my mind was racing with thoughts that Bapak was very very unwell.
My dear niece, Sara Hamidah (Nina's eldest child) was the one who called up her mummy.
So worried she was about her Datuk's frequent bathroom visits all in one afternoon.
"Mummy, already 10 times. And now he's is going again," the 10 year-old said over the telephone.
Sara has amazingly taken the welfare and wellbeing of her Datuk to be her responsibility while her mother is out.
In fact, that of all the occupants of the house.
Adel and Shaira wasted no time in getting dressed when I called them from my office to say that I'd quickly buy some packed nasi goreng from Rasta (a food court in Taman Tun Dr Ismail) and then fetch them to go to Datuk's because Datuk "may not be well".
"What do you mean, mummy," Adel responded, alluding to a need for elaboration and clarification.
I did not want to set the alarm simply because, in all honesty, I didn't know the "prognosis", as it were.
Bapak could well be having just a tummy upset/stomachache.
Then again, was his system signalling the end?
"Datuk sakit perut. We'll just see him and make sure he's ok. He's very old, you know".
However, deep in my heart, I knew that Bapak would be okay. I mean, I am no saint. But I didn't think that Allah SWT will be taking Bapak away, with us all being prepared for it.
I think we have to earn that kind of "sign" from God Almighty. He was not going to let us have it easy.
Still, the doubts and concern were there.
"Nina, should we tell everyone?"
Nina said she'd call the doctor, Dr Baljit Singh, (a very very handsome doctor, WE ALL might add), have him come over and check Bapak and see what he had to say.
THEN, we will call the others.
But, it was not to be. Worried that Bapak could indeed be unwell, everyone was informed and everyone went to Bapak's.
The handsome doctor must have rushed to see Bapak after he got a call from Nina because when I arrived, "the doctor had just left".
Which means -- not that we have missed the handsome doctor, no - but that Bapak was okay, after all. At least that was what I figured.
"So, how Bapak?" I hollered to Kak Olin who was at the gate with hubby, Azmi and her children, Khairil, Khairena and Marissa.
They all did NOT look sad or woeful.
"Sakit perut. Constipation. Too much lying down, lack of fluid, lack of movement......"
"Thank God!", I said. What a relief.
Kak Olin and her family were already about to leave.
Apparently, I was late. Everyone else came and went. Nina was smiling. My step-mom was shaking her head, and smiling.
Oooh. I just love good news.
I went to see Bapak in his room. He was smiling. Now, let me correct that. He was grinning.
"Bapak....what happened to you?", I asked.
"Tak ada apa....." He grinned, ever so widely now.
Nina pulled me aside.
"He is wondering aloud what the fuss was all about! But I told him he went to the toilet, at the last count, 25 times..
And you know....he was such a good boy in the presence of Dr Baljit. He even swallowed the ubat that was given to him, in front of the doctor.
The doctor said, Tan Sri, you must do this and must not do that, and so on. Bapak smiled and nodded his head.
The minute the doctor left, he said to Mak Cik -- aku tak nak makan ubat ni. Back to being the stubborn old man," Nina said, heaving a sigh.
I looked at Bapak and smiled. Bapak had never liked to visit the doctor. He hated hospitals.
"It's the smell," he used to say.
Like I said. I love happy ending. I said that to Kak Ton too.
I had earlier told Kak Ton: "Kak Ton, you just started blogging. Let's hope and pray that your second posting is not about Bapak....."
Yes... we all like happy endings.
I'm off to Kak Ton's for our Mee Rebus on Tuesday.
It's still the Eid and here's a warm Salam Aidilfitri.