Monday, November 26, 2007

Matters of the Heart - Part 1

It has been more than a month since my last blog. It is not that I have nothing to update; on the contrary, that's so much to say that I don't even know where and how to start.

I've titled this blog "Matters of the Heart", cos it's really all about that.

My mum, with the exception of a persistent high blood pressure and being mildly diabetic, has always seemed fit. When she was taking care of Mayenne over the last few months, she did complain of some tightness in her chest, but she brushed it off, citing old age and lack of exercise. Nonetheless, the tightness apparently developed into breathlessness and pain, but she didn't tell anyone.

On the Saturday of 20 October 2007, she went to a sinseh for a quick rub for her aching wrist. On her way home, she experienced symptoms of angina (pain in chest, nausea, cold sweat etc). But she didn't see a doctor immediately and went home to rest instead. But the pain got worse, and I only found out that she was unwell when I called her to chat with her.

Her being home alone, I was worried that she may collapse anytime, so I called my brother Cedric to go over to Mum's place to take a look as I was also home alone with Mayenne. When my brother arrived, he was very worried with what he saw - a very pale face, very shallow breaths, and she couldn't even stand without support. He rushed her to SGH A&E (actually she saw a doctor at TTH prior to this attack, which makes blood boil even thinking about it - I will talk more about this in another post).

The doctors and nurses at SGH promptly ushered her to do all the appropriate tests, to determine if she has a heart failure. While the preliminary results revealed that there are no enzymes in her blood, ie her heart is still ok, doctors were concerned about the irregularities in her heartbeats, reflected in her ECG. They recommended for her to go for an angiogram, to see if there are any blockages to her arteries.

All this while, I was at home with Mayenne as I couldn't really bring Mayenne to the hospital and it was logistically challenging as Chester took the car out for work. I could only rely on my brother to update me on my mum's progress, which was not very much.

She was then scheduled for the angiogram within the next 2 days. We didn't think too much about it, cos my dad went through the exact same procedure a couple of years back, and went on to do an angioplasty to open up the blockage he had in one of his arteries.

Now that the sole care giver of my baby was indisposed, I have to take leave to take care of Mayenne myself. Fortunately I still have a couple of days of my annual leave left, so it wasn't such a big issue. The problem I had was that I need to be at the hospital to accompany my mum, but I couldn't bring Mayenne with me (hospitals are no place for infants this young).

Then my MIL offered to take a few days of urgent leave to help me take care of Mayenne. I am very grateful for her kind gesture as I know she wasn't accustomed to taking care of infants (it's been a long time since her kids were babies), but yet she was willing to try and help me out.

On the day of the angiogram, after I sent Mayenne over to my MIL's place, I took a cab and headed to SGH. On my way there, I received an SMS from my brother. It read:

"Not so good news. Angiogram shows all her main arteries are seriously blocked. Cannot do angioplasty. She needs a heart bypass."

I cried in the cab.

(to be continued .............. )

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