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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Eid'l Adha and beyond (part 2)

It is quite common in a typical Malaysian family for the parents to be amongst the first members of the household to perform the hajj. My family was no exception.

We were all very excited when Bapak and Mak (or Atok & Nenek to you my boys) received their invitation and confirmation letter from Tabung Haji circa late 90s. Each one of us wanted to have a piece of it somehow, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem - from sponsoring the whole kenduri doa selamat, a token in the form of a nicely embroided telekung for Mak, a comfortable pair of sandals each, a sturdy and safe luggage for Bapak, right down to the ribbons in striking colors that were to be tied to the luggage for easy recognition at the airport carousel. Without doubt each one of us also started calculating in our head silently how much more did we need to top up our savings if still insufficient and started to wonder out lout rhetorically when our turns would come actually in the very familiar tone of "bilaaaaa la agaknya turn kita pulak eh?".

Nearing the weeks that my parents were due to leave for the holy land, all of the children, most of their siblings, lots of relatives & close friends flocked down to visit them in JB; either to attend the kenduri doa selamat, to seek forgiveness, to wish them well for a safe return trip, or even to simply kiss their hands to 'ambil berkat'.

BUT .....

With this kind of story, there is always a but somewhere ...

Barely 3 days prior to their departure to Mekah, in the middle of the night, I received an emergency call from my elder brother (Uncle Bard to you my boys) about Bapak complaining of severe chest pains. That must be serious I thought. The Bapak that we know hardly fell sick during his entire working life. A retired marine police officer, our non smoking Bapak had a very high threshold level for pain and would never ever consider falling sick as an option for him. Such confession of serious pain from Bapak, what's more in the middle of the night, was a real concern indeed to everyone and no one in their right mind dared to dismiss that as trivial . My brother said, Mak and my 2 other sisters were waiting nervously for my steer. Somehow, despite being the younger sister, I became the final consult that particular night. And without hesitation I requested Bard not to risk waiting at the emergency ward at GH JB but to rush him direct to a private specialist hospital instead. It has got nothing to do with lack of confidence with the public hospital but time was of essence. My view struck the cord with everyone and we assured Mak not to worry about the medical bill. Ayah and I, being the only ones out of 'hometown', drove down to JB that very same night.

It turned out that Bapak had a heart attack; with 3 arteries blocked at 98%! The surgeon's advice was to do angiogram on one of them straight away. He said, due to Bapak's critical condition, one of the arteries must be unclogged as soon as possible as temporary measure to ease the blood flow; the other two blockages can be discussed later subject to financial consideration. The consultation, surgical and medical fees? RM5,000. For one and one blockage only. The doctor assured us he would help with all the necessary reports and paper work to enable Bapak to claim back whatever claimable from the Pension department or for us children to claim from EPF. We agreed without objection for the need of speed. We had to. We must. Who to bear how much and pay back to whom - belakang kira. First things first, better be safe than sorry.

The very next morning, my sister and I went to JB Tabung Haji office to report the incident and to seek advice on immediate next steps with regards to my parents' intended pilgrimage that year. Needless to say, the much anticipated planned pilgrimage for Bapak and Mak that fateful year had to be postponed until the next Hajj season or until Bapak recuperated well enough to be medically re-certified as fulfilling the "able-bodied" criteria, whichever is later.
Let me take the pleasure of repeating when this happened. Barely 3 days prior to Bapak's flight departure to Mekah, okay?. Yes, only 3 fingers up please and count: 1, 2, 3! Not many. 3 days only!

The officer@ Ustaz yang I dah lupa namanya, was surprisingly very calm. After taking us through all the administrative procedures, he shared with us one classic piece of advice, "Ini lah namanya ketentuan Allah; kita manusia hanya merancang, tuhan jua yang menentukan. Adik berdua pesan kat Mak, jangan risau banyak sangat ya? Mesti ada hikmah disebalik setiap yang ditentukan."

A very common advice. One so common that could have been heard anytime anywhere from anyone - even from the TV cerekarama. So common that it could have been easily taken for granted without much heeds. For me personally, that particular morning advice pierced right through my skin, bones and rib cage straight into the center of my heart; triggering a high pitch shrieking alarm bell that seemed impossible to switch off, sending an alert message throughout all my blood vessels and a wake up call to my active yet semi conscious neurons.

The irony of all this was that all the while before this particular chapter, it was always Mak who had to be in & out of the hospital or clinics, either for medication or emergency treatment for high blood pressure, migraine, pain in the knee or other joints and what not. It was as if the hospital and the clinic had a specially designed revolving door custom made just for Mak's frequent and unobstructed access. Yet, as fate had it, when it came to the moments of truth, it was Bapak who stole the thunder.

Bapak felt very guilty for the delay and kept apologising to Mak and all of us for all the unnecessary trouble he thought he had caused. Mak remained very supportive and played her household counselor's role to Bapak and all of us, reminding that every cloud had its silver lining and this kind of things that had happened could well be a blessing in disguise.

After the angiogram, Bapak went through angioplasty for the other blockages at the then Universiti Hospital (now PPUM). Cost? For police force pensioners, only RM6.00 for registration. He was heavily prescribed with medications though, some free, some expensive drugs on own expense and was recommended to follow a strict diet. Bapak recovered well throughout the coming year and was eventually certified medically fit to go for his pilgrimage with Mak the very next Hajj season, albeit with a reminder that he would be under close monitoring by Tabung Haji medical team. What was there to fuss? The closer monitoring the better, we thought.

Amidst all these, I found out that one of the heart surgeons handling Bapak's case in UH that bapak affectionately called as 'Tuan Doktor' turned out to be my once long lost class mate from college prep days who happened to be the husband of an old buddy from my alma mater. What a small world! Maka terjejak lah kasih dan tersambung lah semula tali silaturrahim antara kawan-kawan lama. A blessing in disguise? You bet.

Meanwhile, Ayah & Ibu still shuddered with the thoughts that hovered in our mind - what if we continued the typical planning for such a worthy trip to take place later for our golden years - you know, after we have lived our life to the fullest? When the pockets are not drained by the mega sales, long term loans fully paid, children all grown up and can take care of themselves, and the mind all prepared to go, YET with an ailment that surfaced at the 11th hour like what happened to my very own Bapak? The spirit ever willing because the end could be near but the flesh naturally weak because the end could indeed be around the corner.

With all these happenings, it only further entrenched Ayah's & Ibu's heartfelt desire to perform the hajj the soonest we could.

BUT then again .... kita manusia merancang, tuhan jua yang menentukan.

So there is another BUT? What now?!

To be continued.....



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17 comments:

warrior2 said...

One query i.e. if I am not mistaken, one of the requirements of TH is for a medical to be carried out before the haj pilgramage is confirmed. The blockages were not detected then?

D said...

Trust in the Almighty, and all worries will end...

Wah... ibu is on a roll at blogging! Cepat Part 3, Ibu...!!

simah said...

ish.. suka la tu dia buat orang suspense...

i think to be able to go for hajj the earliest possible memang yg terbaik..tapi tu la..muda muda mana mau carik pulus... budak budak mau tinggal kat sapa..unless la kaya dan boleh angkut satu family kan....

ni semua ketentuan Allah jugak..bila sampai masa..cukup rezeki..tercatat dapat pi haji... akan kita dapat pi la jugaaaa...

hope u n ayah dapat pi haji jugak soon.. iyea la..at least while ur mom still ada... boleh dia jaga ur heroes yg gagah gagah belaka tu :0)

take care!

IBU said...

Warrior2,
You are spot on! Yes, medical check up is one of the pre-requisities, which include blood test for cholesterol level & sugar content, and blood pressure too. However, those are symptomatic checks. Still won't detect if there's any clog, for example. And it's done quite early. So nearing departure dates, with all the kenduri & doa selamat, makan daging tu semua, plus other stress, apa pun bisa terjadi. So seeloknya kena banyakkan "plan predictive & preventive maintenance" early on. WaAllauallam...

IBU said...

D,
hehe... menyahut cabaran u la ni. Still terhegeh2. Draft since 25th Dec baru la ni siap. Cam mana nak buat PhD?

IBU said...

Simah...
Glad to see u here. Hope everything is going on well with you & family over there.
Eh! You suspen ke? hehehe... saja lah teaser sikit, albeit serious topic.

U're absolutely correct la dear. Memang banyak utk diaturkan, and need a lot of support & sacrifices. Nevertheless, memang kena instill the awareness & 'develop' the desire. Like you said too, insyAllah, sampai masa, murah rezki, dapatlah.... Amiiiinnn. U take care!

WANSHANA said...

I say, Ibu...Waiting for Part 3 dengan penuh debaran. Jangan tunggu Raya Haji tahun depan nooo...

Tuan Doktor still not used to Bapak calling him "Tuan Doktor" la... I pun tergelak besar when I heard him call Haizal that when I visited Bapak at the hospital last year. Could see Haizal going red everytime... Hehehe!

Anyway, hope Bapak and Mak are keeping well and healthy. Amin.

Take care.

And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Pi Bani said...

I think nowadays, those above a certain age must do the ECG test for their final medical check-up before they go for Haj. Dulu memang tak payah.

Anyway, memang in whatever that we do, kita cuma boleh merancang and berusaha (and berdoa of course), the end result tetap Allah yang menentukan.

Monster Mom said...

What a story. What a journey. Allah knows best!

Mat Salo said...

A timely story indeed, and may I add, an engrossing one. Problem is, you're killing us with the suspense!

Anyway, that's the greatness of God. Bila dah dapat seruan, better go and better hurry. But we have to wait our turn. That's why some people by hook or crook once the 'call' comes in, go outside TH. I've got friends who paid over the top money by utilising Phillipine and Brunei quotas. I think we should strive to go when we're 'able-bodied' like you suggested 'Bu. But I ni pun pandai cakap jer.. Kalau nak kata dah cukup syarat dah lama dah. Apa nak buat. My flesh is unwilling and my mind is weak... But glad to hear your Abah eventually pulled thru'...

ADIEJIN said...

cepat lah continue..ish

IBU said...

Shana,

Jgn berdebar sgt. Sebab, at the rate that I'm writing, part 3 lambat lagi la...hehehe...selow like senail.

As for Tuan Doktor, he'd better get used to it la. No way would Bapak call him anything else. And don't u realise, the other MT members have started calling him Tuan Doktor as well? hehehe... it's gonna stay. In no time, we'll have Puan Doktor too...yehaaaa!!!

IBU said...

Kak Pi,
ECG too?? Better lah huh? Better be safe than sorry. I heard paling ramai masuk hospital musim Haji selalunya Msians.... manja2 kita semua ni. Lain2 nationalities tahan lasak belaka.

True indeed, hanya Allah yg menentukan.

IBU said...

Monster Mom,
Thanks for dropping by. ditto, Allah knows best.

Mat Salo,
Timely heh? hehehe... so celebrate new year esok, ingat2 ler kat entry ni. hehehe... but hey, flesh is unwilling & mind is weak? hahaha, that's a new twist. How to bantu that one? Must increase intakes of nourishing 'diets' not just for the body, but for the hearts, mind & soul too... Bab suspense tu, sorry... bukan sengaja. But i'm not a natural writer you see... natural orator maybe. Baru nak start belajar menulihhhh...


AdieJin

Sabar bro... sabar... ibu tak pandai sgt nak susun ayat ni. But actually sebenarnya, rustic memory. so nak kena rendam cholorox sikit, bagi clear.. hehehe

p/s Jin quiz: bnyk2 jin, jin mana yg tech savvy & pandai berblog? hahaha

mad redo1 said...

Thank you for dropping by my pages.

It seems that we share quite a number of similar experiences, the heart and the hajj even though not simultaneously... btw, calit the little gooner from another gooner...

hehehe...

kc said...

tu la dianyer, belum ada rezeki nak pi wat haji walaupun dah ready sumer perkara...macam2 boleh berlaku...tentu ada hikmahnya kan?

cepat2 ler sambung citer tu ek? saspen ni weh...

mommyincrisis said...

jangan ditangguhkan benda yang baik...bak kataNya..segala sesuatu mengikut peraturannya tersendiri..takkan pernah dicepatkan atau dilambatkan walau sesaat andai sudah tiba masanya.....cepat ibu sambung part 3..tak sabar ni....:D