1st October, yesterday. I felt happy– new month, new challenges. Many birthdays including my Bapak in Singapore, Mutti here, Tante Lore in Germany and Ayman in Australia are all happening in October. It would also be a month where my fitness program will begin, which will end on 31st December. But that’s for another blog post.
Early in the morning, after subuh, my happiness was a bit stunted. I got a msg from my best-friend in Perth saying that one of our old time friends since we were 12, let’s call him Fi, is severely ill. He is currently on life support in SGH with one by one of his organs failing. Some quick messaging around to the rest of this group of childhood friends to confirm the story, this was what I gathered:
1. He got married on 1st April 2012. (we all laughed about it as he is the last from amongst us to get married and joked that it may be his April Fool’s trick upon us all)
2. He had gone for his honeymoon, where both him and his wife got dengue fever. His wife had a swift recovery while he had complications, which raised questions among doctors.
3. Shortly after all the test etc, he was diagnosed as having lymphoma.
4. Wanted to keep the illness to himself and close family members hence none of us knew about it.
5. Two days ago, he collapsed, after months of treatments. His body just gave way, his organs are slowly giving way and at this point, Khaz, our on duty ‘updater’ and the closest from amongst us to Fi said that he is not getting any better and had not regained consciousness. His kidneys had failed.
So having to face that kind of news so early in the morning puts me into a cocktail of emotions.
1. Sad. He was an old friend. This gang, we went to lots of camping trips together. We went to Tasik Chini outward bound camp together. In the old days when there was no internet, I remember that when I was in Secondary 2, we used to ‘bergayut’ on the phone for hours on ends on weekends and when our parents aren’t around, on weeknights too. He was part of the gang of friends that I have, who have seen one another through the awkwardness of the pre-teen era, the zaman Obit teenage years, the exhilarating junior college years and well, adult life (by this time we are not so close already, just keep in touch online, even then sometimes). We have seen one another through our first pimple to our first real boyfriends/girlfriends and then spouses. Through PSLE, O Levels, A Levels, NS. You get the idea.
2. Shocked. He is young. My age. Trim and fit. Lymphoma? At the back of my mind it’s for the pakciks and makciks in their ‘usia senja’. That’s me in denial speaking.
3. Scared. If this already happened to him, it can happen to anyone of us. Wake up call. Sudahkah aku bertaubat?
4. Scared. He has not gone yet. But we are bracing ourselves for the worse.
5. Down. I am not at the SGH along with all our other friends. Many aren’t as many of us have left the island. But those who are there are kindly giving us updates. If I feel down, what would his wife feel. So I tell myself, doa, doa, doa… that’s the only thing I can do now. Doa.
6. Stressed. His family members wanted to cut down on the number of people visiting as doctors have warned against too many visitors for fear of infections. So sometimes updates are not always efficient. And I am always on the edge, waiting for updates from the whatsapp group that has been formed for this purpose.
7. Devastated. Him? As in one of us? As in him, really? I can’t believe it. Maybe this is all a bad joke. Just that no one is laughing so it must be real.
I don’t like to get emotional especially in front of others or generally anyone other than to myself and then to my husband. So kindly do not ask me if you meet me these few days if I am feeling ok? I would like to think I am.
My only hope and prayer now is that if this is his means to exit this world, let his last words in his heart or in his mind, since he is fully unconscious, be the syahadah. That’s all I hope for him. That’s all I am asking YOU for him now Ar Rahman, a good ending by bearing witness to Your Oneness.
I don’t have any recent pic of all of us together. And I was not at his wedding in April. So I conveniently stole this from Khaz’s FB page (sorry Khaz, next year raya aku mintak maaf ok? :P) . Khaz had written as a caption to this photo as ‘The nicest guy I know”. Well, having literally grown up with this bunch, I couldn’t agree more with Khaz. He is the nicest one amongst us.
#Update. Hours after I wrote this post, I chatted with Khaz on FB chat
Lina: kHz How is it?
when i left last night, fi was heavily sedated. they’re trying to find the source of his infection. basically his body’s immunity is weak due to the chemo he’s been going through but his cancer was in remission. but low immunity meant susceptible to infection.
he was stable yday, not a bad thing but not that great, but better than deproving.
doctors are still running tests. main issue now they can’t pinpoint the infection and the bug is quite aggressive.
anyway, the family is just trying to control the crowd a bit, letting close family and relatives mainly. otherwise it’s really crowded and there’s that risk of infection and stress etc.
Lina : Thanks
Lina: Were u at the hospital tadi?
Khazmin Juma’in : yo. yeah i was there today. just got back not long ago actually.
Lina: how are things ?
Khazmin Juma’in: anyway the good news is they managed to identify the bacteria causing the infection so that will help them in the recovery process because e.coli is not difficult to defeat though it is resilient. just that Fi’s low immunity made him susceptible.
he’s breathing easier now and vital stats looking better. but they need to lower his body acid level and right now cos he’s on breathing tube and dialysis, trying to get his organs to function normally again while taking off the machines.
Lina : actually, what is the whole story? being away, me and Khalidah get bits and pieces from here and there
How did all these start?
Khazmin Juma’in: it’s not something he wanted broadcast to be honest. not many ppl knew about.
anyway he was diagnosed w stage 4 lymphoma cancer after coming back fm honeymoon. he was sick after that. been going through chemo, responding well and he was out and about already.
cancer in remission. just happened that he collapsed on saturday after his chemo cycle (which is most vulnerable cos of no immunity)
then sitn just rapidly deteriorated saturday n sunday. weren’t sure he was gonna last 24hrs but he pulled through. they were trying to buy time to identify the source of the infection mainly.
finally succeeded today.
Lina: I find it a bit terkilan no one mentioned it to me esp those who knew i was in Makkah the entire Ramadan!
i could have made lots of prayers for him there.. 😦
Khazmin Juma’in: guess it never crossed our minds i suppose… to be honest, i didn’t know about his situation till 1-2 mths after. really not many ppl knew maybe 4-5. i found out by accident. but respecting his wishes, didn’t tell anyone cos i suppose he is also still digesting the situation
Lina: how is his wife taking in? kesian..
Khazmin Juma’in: yeah she’s a trooper la. but obviously been hard on her.
today she finally managed to smile after the good news. and fi managed to show a bit of response.
Lina: so he is still unconscious eh?
Khazmin Juma’in: but tough la. that’s why these few days also they wanted to limit visitors to family and relatives. cos stressful on her and her family too. but i have to say they’re really good folks.
he has been heavily sedated basically. with the tubes and all…
so not very responsive.not exactly unconscious.
sat or sunday he cld still sort of respond. yday we kinda panicked abit cos he wasn’t looking as good.
Lina : his kidneys not working i heard?
Khazmin Juma’in : but today after noon…improvement.
think was because of hte infection. most of his organs weren’t functioning properly. but they’re planning to take him off dialysis and get his kidneys etc to start working again.
same with the breathing. he was on respirator. and you could see it was very forced breathing. high heart rate, low BP.
one battle at a time now.
the key thing was identifying the infection cos they didn’t know what.
Lina : I thought about coming back to see him but you said the family don’t want visitors kan.. I shall respect then
I will just pray from here lah. Korang-korang siapa yang datang hari-hari?
Khazmin Juma’in: yah not don’t want but you can’t really see him anyway because he’s in isolation and ICU etc. they didn’t want to risk infection etc and stressful on the wife cos she doesn’t know everyone. Rezal has been helping to filter some of the guests.
Hairul flew back last night. when I left, Faiz just arrived, Asmizar coming down because Wira staying over at his place.
Lina: Hairul flew back from Sydney? Wow..
Khazmin Juma’in: yeah.
Lina: In a morbid way, that’s some reunion of our childhood geng. heh 😛
Khazmin Juma’in: yeah it is. i mean, we only just met up at his wedding.
Lina: I mean if it happened to some pakcik or makcik, it wont be too shocking to us..
But it happened to Halifi, OUR Halifi and maan.. we all watched one another grew up in the most awkward years. tsk..
Khazmin Juma’in: yeah. it came as a shock of course. but stage 4, meant it was there a while just unnoticed.
pretty aggressive type, so his chemo has been aggressive too. but seemed that he was responding well and cancer was in remission according to the wife so that was good news. after this incident, the key thing is to continue treating the cancer mainly. but still i’d think he wouldn’t want you guys to make a big fuss out of it.