to share this beautiful story with my fellow friends.
For All the Mothers Out There
Most of the time I take this for granted, but I am truly blessed to be working where I am. Sure, the long hours, the lack of sleep, the constant worry that I'll screw up and kill somebody have taken their toll on me, but I also get to see miracles. Miracles of life, miracles of death, miracles of recovery when the prognosis is bleak. Above all these, however, is the miracle of mothers who love their children unconditionally.
I have conducted deliveries before, and I have performed Cesarean Sections. Not many people can say the same. Even so, I cannot even imagine, much less comprehend the agony a mother goes through during childbirth. But it doesn't stop there. A mother willingly sacrifices a part of herself to raise her children, to protect them, to nurture them, to prepare them for a brighter future than what she has.
So what brought about this sudden appreciation to mothers? Almost a month ago I operated on a young lady who was a road-traffic accident victim. Her brain injury was severe, and I didn't think she'd ever wake up, much less function normally again. Her mother was hovering by her side, tears threatening to escape her eyes, gaze darting about when not focusing on her daughter. Before we wheeled the patient in, we let the mother kiss her. She needed to do it. She kept on whispering the same words over again, like a chant. A mantra. And her voice broke; she cried. Then she looked at me, her eyes sharp. "Selamatkan anak saya, doktor," she pleaded. Save my daughter, doctor.
I ended up doing two surgeries on the patient, the latter a major life-saving procedure. Every single day after the first encounter, the mother would run up to me whenever she saw me, asking how her daughter was. I even had to use a different route to get to the ICU because I had nothing new to tell her, and that was breaking my heart.
Four days later, the patient woke up. She was unable to speak, but she obeyed commands. When I found this out, both the parents were by the patient's bedside, and they thanked me profusely. I still don't know why they did; I only did my part, my job, standard surgeries for head-injury patients. The patient woke up all by herself, with the help of her mother, who stayed by her side every chance she got, who held her hands and whispered words only a mother and her daughter would understand, who in her eyes, a grown woman had become her newborn baby once again.
That afternoon I sat back and watched as the mother showed the patient family photos, cooed her to lift an arm, coaxed her to sip from a straw. She used gentle words, kind words, words a mother typically use to persuade a toddler to take his medicine. And every day after that, she approached me to inform me how her daughter was recuperating.
Then there was another instance last night. I was reviewing a patient who was waiting for surgery when I overheard a lady instructing the nurse to do this and that for her son. The nurse, a new(ish) staff, was at a loss. After reviewing my patient, I took a quick look at the other patient, whose mother was making a fuss. He was one of my patients when he had been in the ICU, a teenager, another road-traffic accident victim. The collar he wore was three sizes too big, and for his injury, it was as good as not wearing a collar at all. I asked the nurse to get one of a proper size from the ICU. When the mother saw me instructing the nurse, she bombarded me with questions and demands. I wasn't in a hurry, so I stood opposite her, with the semi-conscious patient between us, and answered her questions the best I could.
After a few minutes, her voice quavered, and she struggled to keep herself from crying. While caressing the boy's face, she told me that she had never gone through this before. She left the sentence hanging, open-ended. I knew what her silence indicated. She was afraid, she was worried sick, she wanted for her son to wake up again. That moment, she stopped becoming a demanding family member, and revealed herself as a mother who felt helpless for not being able to do anything for her son. I didn't have the heart to confirm her fears; part of me is still wishing he will wake up soon.
Throughout my short years in Neurosurgery, I bore witness to mothers taking care of their comatose children. I even published a story along this line. They don't seem to care if their children will never wake up, so long as they get to care for them. Among my most heart-wrenching experiences: telling a mother that her son or daughter had just passed away. It never gets easier. In fact, the more I learn in this field, the harder it gets. What if our best wasn't good enough?
To top it off, whenever I go through such instances, I think about my own mother, how lost I will be if I ever lose her. I get angry when she complains of new pains and aches; those are signs of aging, and she's not supposed to age. She's supposed to be here for all eternity. She's always wistful when she talks about wanting high pillars at the porch, but what she doesn't realize is that she already is one, the single strong pillar in my life, in the lives of my siblings.
For all the times I've broken her heart, for all the times I've made her cry, I hope my mother knows how blessed Kasha, Faiz and I are to have her.
For making me what I am today, I love you, Mama.
I love you mama... I'm thankfull for what i am now, coz of you.
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