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“Empathy is about finding echoes of
another person in yourself” – Mohsin Hamid
months in the hospital, my body was still weak and my legs were still painful but I was
starting to be able to stand long enough to be transferred to a wheelchair. One
evening, my sister put me on the wheel chair to visit the nearby convenience
store located at the hospital.
she was about to leave me outside and enter into the store alone (the store was
narrow and filled with goods, hence it was not convenient to bring the
wheelchair inside), a tall Malay boy in his late teens or early twenties came out
of the convenience store. Suddenly, he stopped walking and started to stare at
me. Then he approached me.
noticed that his head was misshapen, had stitches and was dented at one side,
an indication that he had undergone a brain surgery.
He looked curious, “What happened to
you?” while pointing to my head which was covered in bandage.
I was startled by his blunt and direct
“She was burnt,” my sister replied.
could feel my sister was hesitating to leave me with this boy outside of the
Waving my hand towards my sister, “Don’t
worry, I will be OK. You can go in.”
However, my sister was still in a protective mode.
Before entering into the shop, she gave a warning to the boy.
“You can talk to my sister but
don’t touch her, there are a lot of germs.” She was not actually trying to
scare him, I was having MRSA infections (a type of super bacteria that is
resistant to common antibiotics) every now and then.
I narrated to the boy about the gas
explosion. He then asked, “How long have you been in the hospital?.”
I replied, “Around 8 months.”
Suddenly, I could see tears coming out
from his eyes falling to his cheeks.
“Don’t cry.” I said to him without
thinking and started feeling emotional myself.
I then asked, “How long have you been in
Wiping his tears away, “3 months” he
At that moment, there was a short
Although our sickness and pain may not be the same, it felt like there
was a sharing and bonding between us, a connection of suffering between 2
Trying to comfort me, and also perhaps
comforting himself, he said, “have patience”. At the same time, a woman came
out of the convenience store and he quietly followed her.
person who has suffered is able to relate and show empathy towards those who
are suffering. I find this true in hospitals, especially among the patients.
Last week, I
visited a friend who is suffering from Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), a hereditary condition that causes her body to produce multiple tumours
throughout her life. Link to Yvonne's blog .
Photo was taken from her Facebook She
was supposed to go to the United States of America in May 2018 for a
cervical spine surgery. Unfortunately, before the trip, she fell on
her back and hit her head. She had to undergo a critical brain surgery instead
in Kuala Lumpur. The money she collected for the surgery in USA was all spent
on the brain surgery.
When I saw her,
the first thing I noticed was the protruding feeding tube at her stomach. Food
had to be
inserted through the feeding tube. Yvonne is deaf and blind. She is still bedridden and immobile as
a result of the fall she had in May 2018.
with Yvonne, I had to write an alphabet at a time, slowly on her palm. If she
doesn’t get the word, it must be
written all over again. It is best to use few simple w…
The birth of Patrick changed my marriage life from the two of us to the three of us, a family. We were excited, happy, worried followed by all kind of emotions for our baby son. So many things to learn, to experience. Breastfeeding, constant thoughts on our baby's well being especially when his jaundice appeared to rise during his first month. The lacking of sleep. There were moments I observed his breathing while he slept. We were amazed by every new mannerisms that Patrick displayed. We were so charmed when he first smiled to us. I would observed how gently my husband would treat Patrick and how Patrick would looked up to him, listening to his every word.
We were enjoying ourselves as new parents until something happened in the middle of November 2017 that changed our lives forever. "There is something not right with his stools."
My sister in law remarked to me while I tiredly changed Patrick's diapers. Mentally I can be exhausted as new mothers would be. We visited my s…
We could not believe how fast the funds came in after we uploaded our video appealing for funds to Patrick's liver transplant surgery fees.
I admitted that money was one big worry for without it, the surgery would not proceed. Once HOC set up the appeal on our behalf, I prayed. I prayed hard to God.
Suddenly a thought came. A video of us as a family, making a plea to friends, family and public. To save Patrick by donating to his surgery fees.
So, we quickly set it into motion on 22 May 2019.
I could not imagine the responses came beyond Malaysia - Australia, Singapore and more. From people whom I had not talked to for a few years, willingly came forward to donate, send a kind word, prayers and spread the video to their friends.
Before we go forward to the public, another worry I had was my mother. She has anxiety over Patrick. There were times I had to calm her down, assure her everything shall be fine when I admit I do not actually know whether it is so. I don't wish for my mu…