Wednesday 20 September 2023

A Very Difficult Time

Long post ahead.

Last Sunday mum took a turn for the worse. On Saturday she appeared to have slightly improved after her initial fever on Friday.

Sunday early morning I received a text from my brother informing me that mum got weaker and to come spend the day with her. So my partner sent me after we went to the pharmacy to pick up supplies for dad.

Mum was in bed and she was obviously weak and lost her ability to walk. She had diapers on but insisted on going to the bathroom to pee. So I had to help her up to walk the short distance to the loo. It was very challenging as she was weak  and walked with much difficulty.

Then getting her to sit and then get back up from the toilet was another challenge. The short walk back to the bed felt like ages. This is my first experience helping someone infirm to go to the bathroom. Supporting her weight (mind you my mum is not that big, about the same size as me) and making her take a step at a time was very trying.

About 20 minutes later she need to do her big business. I told her to go in the diapers but no, mum refused and insisted on the toilet. Again, the tough process of getting her up and slowly making our way together to the loo. I stood outside the toilet, with the door slightly ajar (she wanted privacy).

After she was done, she wanted to go to the shower to wash up and that's when I had to tell her, no way Jose! Using wipes, I cleaned her up. That's when I realized she had removed her diapers. I had to sit her down again (there was much resistance as she was afraid of falling) all the time reassuring her that I will not let her fall. Then I managed to put the diapers back on for her. Again the slow and difficult trek back to the bed.

My cousin and her hubby have been in touch with my family and they arrived to assess mum. Both are doctors and we are very fortunate to have these two very caring people in our lives. My brother made the decision that mum should be taken to the hospital immediately. So an ambulance was arranged to come get mum.

I quickly packed mum's clothes and supplies into a bag and got ready to accompany her in the ambulance.  Another new experience for me, riding on an ambulance. What an action packed day!

At the ER, mum was taken to the waiting bay and a drip was set up for her. Meanwhile I went to the admission counter to register. My cousin's hubby (I will refer to him as my cousin) is a doctor at the hospital and everything went very smoothly. The waiting was long (which is usually the case but comfortable) and mum was taken for an MRI (no stroke detected yay!) and X-ray.

When she was returned to the waiting bay, my cousin suggested getting lunch for mum (I was fasting). The easiest thing to eat (and less messy) is a sandwich and he brought me here.

I have never been to O'Briens and I simply tembak one Tuna and Egg Sandwich for mum. Then it was back to the ER.

Mum ate only two pieces and I decided to break my fast by finishing up the remaining sandwich. It was going to be a long day (besides the sandwich cost RM19.90) and I had better eat first. 

It was almost 3:00pm when mum was taken to the ward. Her blood test result came back and she was positive for dengue. Oh dear. No wonder she was so weak. Shortly after, my other brother (YB 1 = Younger Brother #1) and his wife came to visit.

Mum was so exhausted and fell into deep sleep. So we adjourned to the waiting room so as not to disturb her. My brother decided to stay back (he spent the night with mum) and my sister-in-law very kindly sent me home.

I got home about 5:30pm and my chicken wings which were marinating since Saturday evening had to be roasted. 

So that was my dinner (not the whole tray lah) and I was so hungry.

The next day (Monday) I went to the office very early to do whatever that needed to be done. Then I made my way to the hospital to visit mum. 

There is a bed provided for caregivers and that's where my brother slept. He told me that mum was restless and was talking in her sleep. Mum was sleeping when I got there. So my brother left to go home to rest. 

This was mum's lunch. Adoi. So miserable. She refused to eat. So I suggested to get something for her and she wanted sandwich and coconut water. 

I wasn't going to get another sandwich from O'Briens for sure because for the price paid, there was so little tuna and egg in the sandwich. So Family Mart it was.

Mum almost finished the sandwich (not much appetite) and enjoyed the coconut water.

Not wanting to waste food, I ate her "delicious" hospital food (without the rice). Actually the taste was not that bad. Then I went downstairs to this 10Ten Kopitiam to get iced Kopi O.

Cost me RM5.00. The Kopi O was ok lah, not something I would want to drink again, if you get the drift.

Next thing we know, a decision was made to transfer mum to the HDU (High Dependency Unit) for better care and monitoring. Again a long wait before the transfer. YB #1 came back in the afternoon and we both waited. YB #2 was stuck at home looking after dad. 

I packed up mum's things before she was taken to the HDU. My brother and I waited at the visitors lounge and were later able to see mum. The visiting hours at the HDU is restricted and we had to leave shortly. My brother dropped me off at the office where I continued from where I left off in the morning.

The next day (Tuesday) I had to made my way to the hospital. But before that, my stomach had to be taken care of. I was very hungry (I think stress related) and the only place convenient around 10:00am+ is Red Kettle @ The Starling

I noted that they served me an abundance of ham and very little bacon (maybe they were short of bacon?). I would have preferred the other way around heh..heh... 

After the hefty breakfast, I went back to the office as it was still too early to go to the HDU. As I was about to leave later, I got a phone call from my brother. He needed dad's IC because dad needed to be sent to the ER. Alamak. Luckily I had mum's wallet in my bag and dad's IC was inside.

So it was a mad rush to my brother's house to hand him the IC as the ambulance was on the way. What a day! 

Then I was on my way to the hospital (mum and dad are in different hospitals) to visit mum. She was all right, well taken care of at the unit but she has some issues with her cognitive function. She was confused and not her usual self. I hope this is a temporary effect from dengue. We are all hoping for a full recovery soon.

Mum was eating lunch when I got there but she could not eat much. The nurse requested for me to get Vaseline for her because of dry lips. So I went downstairs to the pharmacy.

I took the opportunity to look around.

GE Mart for snacks and drinks.

Auntie Anne's for yummy pretzels. I don't eat this anymore.

This is the pharmacy I went to.

This coffee place is everywhere.

This restaurant serves popcorn chicken meals. 

There is another section of the building that houses these eateries.

I went inside for a look see. Very crowded.

Another place to get sandwiches.

On my way back to the HDU I spotted this gift shop.

And a book shop.

After another hour or so with mum, I had to leave as visiting hours were over. I did not mention anything about dad as I did not want mum to worry. As of time of writing, dad has been warded and hopefully all will be well.

Today, I am eating something else as I cannot afford to let the carb creep affect my mental health. I have to be calm and mentally sharp to deal with this double whammy of having both parents hospitalized.

Well, I feel better after updating this blog. Now you know why I have been missing. Till next time, take care! 


  1. Please take very good care of yourself! No wonder your mom suddenly got so weak, dengue! Who would have thought it is dengue since there is no dengue alert in that area I assume. It must be so so so so very very tiring for you. Please take good care, all your siblings and spouses and partners too because they are supporting you all to support your parents. I read online that confusion in Elderlies could be due to dehydration so perhaps it is something simple like that and not something serious. Hugs! Please take good care! 🫂 💕

    1. Thank you! I am doing my best and so are my siblings. We are fortunate to have a good support system in my cousins.

  2. Thank you also for taking the time to write a long post for us, your readers. We did miss you over the weekend. 🫂 💕

    1. Writing helped clear my mind and improve my mood. Thanks!

  3. Pray that all will turn out well. Been there done that. My dad was worse - he suddenly had dementia - wanted to go upstairs when he was already upstairs, wanted to go home when he was at home and he said his home was in New Zealand, in Christchurch and he kept doing all kinds of funny things, dunno what. We were at our wits' end taking care of him. Went on for 3 months. My mum was bedridden since 2007 for some 20 years - quite hard to take care of her but no, it was not that bad. Just had to be around to do this and that and going in and out of the medical centre, that's all...even though we employed a caregiver. Cannot leave everything to her.

    I had O'Briens at Mid Valley, very nice.

    Yes, feeding the old folks was a chore when they did not want to eat. In the end, my dad was admitted into the hospital, put on drip and was relying on the oxygen via a mask to breathe. Two days later, the doctor said he had not been eating, had to put a tube down his throat and force-feed him. They took off his oxygen mask...and of course, he died there and then!!! I did not want to say it but actually, they killed him! My dad was a temperamental man and wanted to pull off the mask all the time - everytime he did that, his face turned black! We could tell that he was completely dependent on that oxygen supply to stay alive. Well, it's all over now. may he rest in peace.

    1. Thank you! And thank you for sharing your story.

  4. My heart was beating faster and faster as I read along. I guess I could feel the stress, rush and anxiety involved as it brought back memories of my own experience having to handle both parents at the same time. My BP shot up to the skies unknowingly.

    I love the food at O'Brien's for years until last year when I saw their prices got too ridiculous. High 5! I have been eating sandwiches from Family Mart as they are cheaper and more delicious when eaten cold.

    I could recognise the location of your photos. I am not proud of having to visit so many hospitals throughout my own battle. I have almost developed phobia after getting over 300 injections to date.

    1. You have been through a lot and you are still standing. I salute you! This morning I bought two sandwiches from Family Mart and my mummy happily almost finished one sandwich.

  5. You take care too, PH. Don't get yourself tired!!!

    Pray that everything is alright for both of your parents. Really an eventful day.

  6. May your parents getting better and everything will get back to normal soon.
    You take care too, PH .

  7. Fully understand your situation! Make sure you take care of yourself. Everything will turn out fine, not to worry too much.

  8. Oh dear, wish your mom a speedy recovery. You must take good care of yourself too~

  9. Wishing both your parents a speedy recovery. Take good care of yourself too. *hugs*

  10. So sad to hear both your parents are not well and warded in hospitals. Hope their situation improves soon. I know it can be very taxing on caregivers (you and your brothers) to take care of one elderly sick person (especially if they're not mobile), let alone two, who are dependent on you all for everything. It will eventually take its toil on caregivers so a solution will have to be sought in due course. In the meantime, take care...and wishing your parents a speedy recovery.

    1. Ah, such is life! Thank you for your wishes and we are trying to cope as best as we can and will hire help when necessary.

  11. It is challenging & stressful especially juggling a full time job. I took care of my sis who had cancer- it was tough eventually she stayed at a nursing home. Going forward maybe have to consider getting extra help to care for your parents. I know you love your parents very much. Stay strong ,hang on & take care .

    1. Thank you so much! We will try on our own first and if it gets too much, we will consider getting help.

  12. I can feel the anxiety and the stress, good that you and your brothers/cousin are very supportive... that is what a family needs in times like this. Yes, take care of yourself too... I was stricken with anxiety when one of my love ones fell sick and I was not prepared for it mentally. Anyway, family siblings support is very important at this time... take care and God bless your parents!

    1. Thank you and I am glad you survived the difficult time.