Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My second ecnounter - 2nd Muslim Patient...

In my course of volunteering, I had two Muslim patients. Aisha is gone and now left with Nora.

When I first got her file, I realized that this lady leads a traumatic life. She married three husbands and they all left her. She was at that time living with someone 10 years younger than her. I was arranged to visit her. She lived in the East.

On that day, I left with my partner after taking the file from the office. We arrived and knocked on the door. A young Malay man opened the door and we introduced our self. He seemed to speak little English so I attempted speaking in Malay.

Lian : Hi, Nora ada di rumah? (is Nora at home)
Man : Ada, silakan masuk. (please come in)

He led us to a bedroom. The room was neat. The color was purple and the bed linens were purple in color too. I saw a lady lying in bed. She wore a sarong, aged around 40.

Lian : Hi Nora, I am Lian and this is my buddy Steve.
Nora : Hi. Thank you for coming to see me. (She smiled. From that smile, I saw a good looking woman. She was charming.)

Nora indicated that we could sit on the bed. As usual we asked her conditions, is she comfortable and is there anything she needs. (That young man who showed us in went back to the living room watching TV.) Nora mentioned that she craved for mee goreng(Malay fried noodles) so Steve went to the nearby market to buy it for her.

During my conversation with her, she mentioned she had vaginal cancer. Unusual. This was the first time I came across someone with such tumor. I asked her how she discovered. She said that she had difficulty passing urine. Urine came out bit by bit so it took her a long time to clear her bladder. She also realized that something is growing out from her private part so she went to a Malay witch doctor. When the growth did not subside, she went to a specialist. She was diagnoised and she had final stage Cancer. She had medication to control her pain. Mostly her pain was from the backbone.

Steve came back with mee gorang and pisang goreng and all the Malay kueh kueh. We ate on the bed. This lady was very clean. Her bedroom smelled fragrance and clean. No smell of urine like some of my patients' have. Nora mentioned that before she fell ill, she loves to eat lobsters. She would buy herself a lobster and cook it whichever way she likes - butter lobster, grilled lobster, deep fried with oats, sambal lobster - lobster was her first love. Because she cooked very well, she gave us a list of her best gourmet recipes. So talking to Nora was talking food. I am curious why that young man did not join us. Seeing my unspoken curiosity, Nora mentioned that he was her boy friend, he was 10 years younger and he understand little English. They met at a Pasar(market) when she went to pick lobster. We took our leave. We promised to see her the following Friday.

Come Friday, Steve and I took some Malay cakes to Nora's house. The door was again opened by the young man. Looking at him, I wondered whether his mother taught him how to smile. He was stern and spotted an Osama's beard. He spoke in Malay that Nora was in the room. However Nora heard us and she spoke to us from closed door.

Nora : ' I am passing urine and it will take some time. Please wait in the living room.'

Steve and I sat silently watching Channel Suria. A Malay variety show was on and was interviewing Anita Sarawak. We waited for 25 minutes and Nora called for the young man. He disappeared into the bedroom. We heard toilet flushing so probably he was cleaning her up.

Lian : How are you today? (She looked frail. I was wondering why she deteriorated so fast.)

Nora : My pain is getting worst. Sorry you guys waited so long. As you know Malay ladies need to wash our private parts and in my condition, it took longer. (Yes, I understand)

Steve : Do you want us to mention to Doctor so that she checks and changes your medication?

Nora : Thank you Steve. Can do. I will also mention to the nurse. ML is coming tomorrow.

With that we were silent for a while. This time Nora spoke again. What she said took us by surprise.

Nora : As you both know that I had cancer of the vaginal, it is painful when I urine. The growth is painful.

Looking at Steve...she said.

Nora : Steve, I am going to show you and Lian my cancer. Because it grows from the private part, please see it as an education. Nothing dirty about it. Are you comfortable? (Steve nodded his head)

Slowly Nora undo her sarong. She wore nothing underneath. She was shaved and clean. What shocked me was there was a red angry looking piece of flesh sticking out of her vaginal. It curved upward and it looked like half the pincer of a lobster. Steve looked and me and I looked at him. In my heart I screamed 'Oh My could this.....' We were speechless. She must be in tremendous pain with this alien looking thing sticking out. It grew from inside out. Every time she urine, she insisted that she wanted to wash up herself without assistance. When she did, she will surely touched this painful looking 'flesh'. I admired her for her endurance. After 5 minutes, she tied up her sarong. Steve and me still in the disbelieve stage of shock.

We took our leave. When we were driving home, we knew that we both were thinking about the same matter. We are Buddhist and we believe in Karma. Nora loves lobsters and she liked live lobster. To Buddhist this is breaking the precept..this is killing. How can 'that piece of flesh' looked exactly like half a the crab, like the lobster's pincer?

We did not get to see Nora again. She passed away three days after our last visit.

No comments:

Post a Comment