Saturday 10 April 2021
There is good news and bad news with the Chinese Patient.
The good news is that the doctors have pumped my father so full of restorative liquids by intravenous drip that he has perked up no end. The nightmare scenario of him fading into oblivion, a serious reality at the time of admission, has fortunately been averted.
The bad news is that in this new state of alertness he cannot stop talking. If you have ever been locked in an enclosed space with a young child (airplane cabin, motor car) then you understand what it is like. All their thoughts come tumbling out in no particular order because you are a captive audience.
Anyone who has a Chinese parent knows that getting value for money is hard wired into their DNA. My father wants to know how much this hospital room costs per night. I am vague, because his last room here was miserably small and noisy. This time, I opted for a slightly bigger room. If the last room was Economy, then this one is Premium Economy.
So I say that the cost of the room is very reasonable, it is the medical treatment and care that makes up the bulk of the bill. They give you free meals with the room and now even a complimentary fruit basket.
Really, what I want to say is: please don’t fall ill again because the next time you are admitted I am going to ask for a Suite.
Hospital room number 2: now with a better view
My father hates eating alone.
I quite like solo dining when there is so much activity going on in the hospital room throughout the day.
Here is the dilemma: in order to get my father eating again I need to sit with him. This takes a long time because he takes one bite then talks for a few minutes before the next bite. He says: I like your company!
By the time he finishes it really is not the right time to eat a separate meal at one of the hospital’s many local food stalls. Just so you know, there is a roti canai and teh tarek stall here.
So I had to change tactics and divide his meal in half, and eat with him. I am an Asian child, so he gets the solid plate and metal cutlery and I use a disposable plastic tupperware and plastic cutlery.
Come dine with me…Chicken in a Brown Sauce with Parsley Potatoes and Roasted Vegetables
The universe is so big, how will you have enough money to buy everything?
That was the question my father murmured in his half awake half asleep pensive state.
I was too exhausted to reply: why is it that you must buy everything?
Of all the things that have eluded my father I feel that it is contentment and joy that he lacks most in his life.
I think he is happy. He is happy because he loves the stock market and he has been a speculator and investor for nearly 55 years. That is as long as I have been his daughter.
But I don’t think in all that time he has ever been contented.
Friday 16 April 2021
Good Lord, how did I end up here again?
This is turning into a farce. If you have ever watched Fawlty Towers with Basil Fawlty getting himself into the same scrapes again and again, this is what my life feels like at the moment.
I left the hospital on Sunday 11 April and was relieved to regain some normality in my life.
A few days later I find myself once again at the back of an ambulance rushing to the hospital, this time in the middle of a heavy tropical thunderstorm.
Haven’t we met before? You seem familiar.
Good chat up line if is wasn’t coming from the nurse administering my covid test, to be admitted to the ward as a carer.
So here I am. My father was readmitted yesterday for another bacterial infection and dehydration. Oh yes, constipation as well.
Once again I decided to stay with my father because a) he works best with me b) I am the keeper of all his medical notes and c) I can now pack my hospital bag on auto-pilot.
As before, we are put in an isolation room pending our covid test results. Despite my earlier threat to book a Suite next time I am here, I resist doing so
Nothing to complain about the food I guess, it is like returning to your regular restaurant
After 12 hours on an IV drip my father (like a just-watered plant) says something earnestly to me: I trust you with everything. You handle it all. You know where my money is. Whatever you want just buy ok?
I am thinking: KL Sister could do with a new family car. A BMW four by four?
He adds: What do you like? Coconut water…nangka…bao, just go ahead and use my money to buy.
Then he asks for his phone to call his broker. Surprisingly he does not ask for the doctors who treat him regularly.
Somewhere at the back of my mind I have a niggling thought that if my father had called his doctors more often he would in a better shape than he is now.