Friday, June 4, 2010 ;
I have a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. Her sister is also my dear friend and sister. Her parents have known my parents for years. Her son was born around the same time as my niece. Since we were young, we have seen each other around church, attended the same camps/ lectureships/ gospel meetings...
She also shared some similar interests, like music/ piano/ Biology. She graduated from Pharmacy at NUS. She is just a year older than I am. She used to love going to concerts and buying good classical music CDs. She bought me several great ones. She is very generous and I end up receiving many precious things from her. She always thinks of me when she goes shopping, it seems.
After she became a mom, we became even closer. She loves her food and often buys me treats. When I told her I loved the Thai iced tea at Thai Express, she told me there're even nicer ones and brought me to a really wonderful Thai restaurant downtown. It's unique and expensive, but she is just so nice to me.
Whenever we confide in each other, and sms and email about parenting issues, we'd always marvel how much our kids have in common, or rather, how the problems we have always seem so similar. We often explored solutions together, give each other advice, or just listen to each other.
Even while I was in Utah and Tianjin, the emails never stopped. She even sent parcels and letters, and beautifully decorated cards (all self-made) to me, across so many miles.
We've often talked about going out together with our kids. We seldom did because both of us were just too busy. She still works as a pharmacist at SGH, way too busy, and I just gave birth to yet another baby.
But she managed to come to ds2's birthday party. Even though she just found out she was sick then.
When we returned from Tianjin last sept, she still hasn't found out she was sick yet. That was only a few months ago! After she found out, we were all devastated but we thought we still had time. The doctor said up to 5-10yrs maybe?
We trawled the internet. I sent her links in an email. We talked about the treatments available. She asked me about this clinical trial. It would give her free treatment but she may not know which group she is in (double blinded) but she would be given free checkups all the time. And these medicines are not cheap. But there are side effects.
Yet she bravely went for it. We supported her. But it affected her appetite greatly. She lost so much weight in such a short time. She had gastric problems. She was so tired. Yet she still turned up week after week at church. She still came to my house for the birthday party.
She still wrote me a beautiful card, no reason, just cos she bought nice stock paper. I feel so bad about not making a card and writing at once back to her then. I smsed a reply then. I was "too busy". She told me how much fun she had at the birthday party and how much her son enjoyed it too.
Then her birthday came and I gave her a gift but I hadn't written a long nice card like she did.
And then my birthday came and in her extreme pain and suffering, she still remembered me and 2 weeks before the birthday, presented me with a package of Toy Story 3 tickets for me and my kids. Plus herself and her sis' family. She was excited over it (it would be on June 19th), and I was too. It has been so long since we last went to a movie together.
We smsed about it and talked and laughed over how the kids would enjoy it and we also laughed at the organiser's email reply (cos it was quite funny).
That was just 1+ week ago.
How did it happen so fast?
Since I received her last sms on Sat night telling me she feels really weak, she has not had any more chance to sms me. I am not sure if my reply to her on Sat was read by her. I only know on Sun, she did not turn up in church as usual, but she was still resting at home.
On Mon, I received an sms from her sis that she has been hospitalised. And then after that, the smses came one after another. Each one bearing worse and worse updates.
I heard from her mom that she was lamenting in the hospital (about the Toy Story movie) and at that time still hoping to go for it.
By Wed afternoon, she was unconscious and requiring machines to help her breathe. Evening, things looked up a little when they said she breathed on her own for a while. But then later the same night, I again received an sms saying she was back on the machine.
Thurs morning, they said her heart failed and then liver as well. So more tubes were required, more machines hooked up to help her perform all those functions.
I think I started crying Wed night. After that, every time I had a quiet moment (ie not talking to the kids or caring for them), most frequently when I was nursing dd, I found myself tearing up again. I can't help but keep thinking about the Toy Story movie.
How I wish to hear her wish me happy birthday. This year is the 1st yr in at least a decade that she didn't wish me. She always remembered my birthday every yr.
Initially I didn't go visit cos the family said not to visit. Then on Thurs my mom called her mom and her mom let my mom go just to keep her company outside the ICU. My mom said her condition didn't look good. So I knew I had to go. The family was ok with visits by that day.
So Fri morn (this morn), Dh took a day off and drove me, ds1 (on hol), dd, my friend's sis, and my mom to SGH. Kids below 12 are not allowed into the ICU area, so my mom stayed with ds1 and dd in the carpark area while we went up.
I met my student at the ICU but didn't talk to him. He's a doc there, and was rushing to get radiologists to do an urgent scan.
Then I saw her. They say her kidneys have also failed, and so an additional machine - for dialysis- has been hooked up.
I prayed as I looked at her. I know she is suffering but how can I pray for her to go in peace? I know heaven is a good place, but I can't bear to tell her that. Perhaps I am selfish, I just wish I had more time to treat her better. I just feel I haven't treated her as nice as I could, yet... I wish we can have many more outings together. I wish we can watch our kids grow up together...
So I prayed hard for her to come through.
I prayed and I talked to her in my heart... I asked her to wake up because she hasn't wished me happy birthday yet. I said "it's ok you are late, just wish me a belated one. And please, you have to get well soon cos our movie date is on the 19th".
And then she opened her eyes. Just for a sec.
The doc says the eyes can give mixed signals, according to her sis. That sometimes it can get dilated so it opens up involuntarily. However, the doc did say he noticed her straining to open her eyes when he called out her name.
Could it be a glimmer of hope?
The doc did tell her family members the scoring system for ICU. If 3 organs fail, then survival rate is 1%. She has 4 organs down now. And pupil dilation may be a sign of lower brain stem failure.
I don't know... I only know the doc says the machines will be on for 7 days. We can only pray, and wait...
rainbows every day, do not worry for the morrow