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During my stay in the
ICU, I couldn’t remember any of the self-motivational books that I have read
before my gas explosion accident that could help in my situation. The only book
that I could recall at that time was some bits and pieces from “Man’s Search
for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. This book chronicles the experience of the
writer as a prisoner in a few concentration camps including Auschwitz during
World War 2.
Trying to recollect what was
read previously, I was reminded that the right love and hope is crucial for
prisoners of war. Being dependent on others for my every needs and basic
necessities, confined to the hospital bed, it does feel like I am a prisoner
instead of a patient. Immobile and at
the mercy of others. Pain inflicted at every dressing change.
I recalled that during
one cold icy night, when the prisoners were forced to walk in the forest to the
worksite, Viktor Frankl remembered his wife to sustain him throughout the
exhausting long walk. Excerpt from the book:
mind still clung to the image of my wife. A thought crossed my mind: I didn't
even know if she were still alive. I knew only one thing—which I have learned
well by now: Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It
finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or
not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases
somehow to be of importance."
Viktor Frankl (Image Source: Wikipedia)
Remembering that love is
important for survival, I reminded myself that I am indeed lucky that my
parents and sister are alive and that I do not even have to imagine that they
are alive. That my situation was definitely better than what was faced by the writer.
In the concentration
camp, the intellectuals or those who frequently used their brain for a living,
outlived those who does labour work or jobs which requires less thinking, even
though the latter initially started in a physically stronger state. I remembered
telling myself that my mental faculty needs to be in good shape. Luckily, I
have my sister who visited me every day and constantly gave me ideas and
questions to jog my memory.
Viktor Frankl’s book, “ Nietzsche's words, "He
who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how".
For Viktor Frankl, choosing the right hope is very important for
survival, especially with regards to future, “The prisoner who had lost faith
in the future—his future —was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he
also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to
mental and physical decay.”
In his book, he illustrated the story of his senior block warden who had
a strange dream that the war will be over by 30th March 1945, he was
full of hope and convinced that he was right. However, as the date drew nearer
it was unlikely that they would be free on that date. On the said date, the
senior block warden became delirious and lost consciousness. On the 31st
March 1945, he was dead and to all outward appearances, he had died of typhus.
This book contains nuggets of
wisdom which arises from the suffering of the writer and those that he had crossed
path with. Despite the horror and atrocities of war, the writer could find it
in himself to bring out the humanity and courage within him and see the same
from others as well. I sincerely feel
that everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime as it is
one of those books that is indeed worth reading.
In my mind, I have
already been saved twice, the first time was during the explosion itself when I
felt something had shielded me during the blast, especially my head area. The
second time was in the ICU, fighting between life and death, when I thought I
was dreaming and heard a voice calling me back to my body, “Come on, come on, take your
I know for certain in my
heart that God had saved me from a more terrible fate. I have yet to know the
full meaning of the words, but I do know that one of my responsibility is to
live this life. Not to give up on myself that easily. That gives me hope to
continue on living as I have been given a second chance or even a third chance
to live. Life is indeed precious.
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…
International Women's Day is here once more. Some celebrated it. Some feel should not as a celebration of womanhood should be everyday. To me, these days can be served as a reminder to us. We can be preoccupied with our responsibilities, activities, our families and of life that we sometimes even forget our own birthday.
Today I reflected on the women who have impacted me. Because of these women, they inspired me to write a woman song in 2018.
Women Song sang on 8 March 2020, dedicated to all women readers here. I wrote it in 2018. There are so many women out there who made a big impact on me over the years since a teenager until today. Let me list them whom I can remember offhand:-
1) Anne Subashini - founder of The Inclusive Outdoor Classroom. I have the privilege to get to know her since drum circle days. Her passion is infectious. Her faith, her belief that there should be no division between children no matter of their backgrounds, no matter of their health conditioning is emp…
looked at his pale face and frail body on the hospital bed. Lines and tubes on
his legs and neck. There was a bag at the right side with yellowish looking
water inside. The liquid was not urine but water which had to be pumped out
from his stomach cavity. It was difficult
to see someone whom you have known since young to look so weak. He had lost
weight and aged considerably. It
was the second day of Chinese New Year. My sister and I took a trip down
to Kuala Lumpur to visit relatives. We visited a cousin at the High Dependency Unit,
he had liver cancer and was complaining of diarrhea. Visiting hours were 11.30am
to 1.30am and 5.30pm to 7.30pm. We had to take turns going in as only 2 guests
at a time are allowed.
having the experience of a prolonged stay at the hospital and being immobile, I
was tongue tied. I didn’t know what to say or how to comfort him. I could
only share with him of my previous struggle at the hospital. On
our second visit before our trip back to Penang, …