Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chronicles of a 'caregiver'

I boarded the Cebu Pacific flight last week with a heavy heart. My most favorite person in the whole world has been severely sick for some time now. Finally after several postponement and long delays mostly due to work which entails that she travels most of the year, she took a hiatus from work to attend to her medical woes.

I was really apprehensive about the operation even though it is a standard medical procedure for women - the removal of fibroids from the uterus. Mostly the fear came from the fact that there was a possibility a hysterectomy would be performed. But I was also glad that this procedure will contribute towards making her healthier. It was the first step in a long journey to get her back to normal.

April 15, 2011 - we were at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital before 7 am. The procedure was scheduled at 8:30 am.

After 3 long agonising hours waiting outside the operating theaters, my sister was taken to her private room at the 7th level Ward 72 room 12. A big private room with an attached bathroom, a sofa bed (where I slept) and a nice view of the main street and a park located nearby.

The operation was successful, all 12 fibroids were removed with the uterus intact. But the wounds were pretty sore as they were extracted aggressively and the incision was pretty deep. She was in so much pain. Despite being hooked up to a morphine drip and having painkillers round the clock, the pain was quite intense.

She couldn't move much and just sitting up to take her meals was quite a strain. Her meals were served 3 times a day and looked like room service food in hotels but they were quite tasteless. Blah!

For 5 days I was her 'caregiver'. I did everything from feeding her, helping her go to the toilet, dressing her and each time she moved she would wince in pain. It was heartbreaking but I had to be strong for her sake. Every day I would accompany my parents to the bus stop after they visited and pass by the park, nearby. I would sit on a bench and just let my mind wander as I stared into the lily pond. It was serene and quite reflective and I admit I got pretty emotional several times. But it felt good to just let my inner fears flood out in tears.

But I managed. There was this mall just downstairs where everything was available. From baby supplies, pharmacy, a bakery, food court and a 7/11. The food court had stalls which served delicious food. Plus you can take them away and eat at the room. My fave was this fish ball noodles soup which I overdosed on for 5 days.

It is tough to be a caregiver especially for a patient who cannot move much and is in constant pain. It was also difficult to be stuck in a hospital room without much entertainment except for a cable less TV and a book which I hardly had time naman to read. Yet I relished the role because I would do anything for my sister.

We just got back to her apartment today. It feels good to be back in the comforts of home but the long path of healing has just commenced. She was given roughly 6 weeks to get back to normal. The hospital stay was quite an experience. A mild confusion of stern doctors issuing various medications and a whole gamut of nurses of different races administering them. Everything felt so clinical and methodical without the extra nurturing we usually are used to back home. But after all is said and done, I'm just glad this ordeal is over. Time to move onwards to a healthier path!

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