Guest Contributor – Chew Hui Sing
Article submitted by Chew Hui Sing
Winning article for “A Chance To Bring Home Medicine Buddha — For Free!!”
18 January 2010 was a day when the life of my family changed within minutes – when we came so close to losing our dearest father and husband. It was a usual Monday morning when Daddy woke me up from bed to prepare for school. Minutes after he left my room, I heard a loud thud. I shouted out to Daddy but there was no response at all. Immediately, I rushed out of my room. What appeared before my eyes sent tears streaming down my face. My dearest Daddy was lying motionlessly in a pool of blood at the base of the stairs. His face swelled and blood was flowing out of his nose. I called the ambulance and sent him to hospital.
His Glasgow coma scale (GCS) was 3 (the lowest) upon arrival at the hospital. The CT scan done showed severe bleeding in his brain and multiple fractures in his face and cervical spine. The prognosis was extremely poor and we were told to be prepared for the worse. The decision by the neurosurgical team was for comfort care and it meant watching him go. Given such brain injury, the only treatment was to decompress the brain as soon as possible and drain out the blood before further pressure built up. The surgeons felt that given the severity of his injury on the scans and his clinical status, he would never make it through and that decompression might not help either. We were in such despair but we could never accept letting him go just like that. We kept praying and calling out to Daddy to show some response so that the doctor would grant him a chance. I appealed to Daddy not to forget his promise to watch me graduate. Fortunately, Daddy heard my pleas, teared and started moving his limbs. Seeing that, the surgeon made the decision to give Daddy a chance, quoting a less than 50 percent survival.
While Daddy was fighting for his life in the operating theatre, my sister and I rushed down to a Tibetan Buddhism Centre to pray and seek the monks’ assistance for pujas to be done for him. We chanted ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ and Medicine Buddha Mantra throughout his operation. Thankfully, his operation went on smoothly. He went through two further operations on his head within the same week.
He made small but gradual improvement during his prolonged hospital stay. One day, we were totally elated seeing him lifting up his fingers and another day we noted that he smile and laugh when we told him a joke. He underwent intensive rehabilitation and was finally discharged four months later. Though he was bedbound, on tube feeding, still couldn’t speak, we were glad he was able to respond by nodding or shaking his head. He was very cheerful and would laugh at any jokes that we cracked.
Unfortunately, the road ahead was a real emotional roller coaster for us. Just when we thought my daddy was recovering, a lot of complexities set in and throughout 2010, he was admitted to the hospital for six times and spent eight months there, going through multiple operations and surgeries. It was a time where one realized that there is just so much medical science can do. And it was through the prayers that gave us and him strength and healing power to overcome all the obstacles and create the miracles.
It didn’t help that his brothers brought a medium to our house during that time. He told us that Daddy would not be able to make it through. Fear was instilled in our hearts when he kept telling us to let go. Despite all these obstacles, our faith did not falter. We did not give up. We chanted by his bedside and told him to listen and chant in his heart with us daily. He was finally discharged in Dec 2010. Within months, he made dramatic gradual recovery, learnt to talk, fed himself with assistance and even learnt how to stand with assistance. That was the happiest period for my family.
Just when we feel that everything is going on smoothly, something will happen and we will be brought back to square one again. In 2011, we thought everything was going on well and we were even planning to take Daddy on a cruise, the misfortune landed on him again. Dad suddenly had fits in July and he was again in a critical condition. However, prayers once again saw us through that difficult period. Due to the prolonged hospital stay and multiple surgeries, Daddy was very deconditioned and drowsy. It has been 1.5 years since the first admission. Daddy is still bed bounded and is sleeping most of the times. He is unable to talk as he doesn’t have the strength to do so. He is back on tube feeding. Recently, my uncles came again and told us that we could not hold on to Daddy anymore. Though we were positive that my Daddy is protected by Buddha’s blessings, fear still crept its way into our minds and hearts.
Though we hate and felt painful to see my dad suffering, his strong resilience to survive keeps my whole family going. I really hope to invite the Medicine Buddha and invoke his blessings on my dad for his recovery. We earnestly pray to receive Tsem Rinpoche’s blessings as well. As a young doctor, I also hope that the Medicine Buddha will guide me to heal others in the course of my work.
With folded hands,
Chew Hui Sing
I am the youngest in the family. One of daddy’s greatest wish is to attend my graduation ceremony. It was a difficult time sitting through the final exams with daddy critically ill in hospital. The mental and physical stress from daddy’s health and exams. Living in fear and uncertainty every single minute. But i kept my promise to daddy that i will try my best and told him that he should keep to his promise, be there for me and watch me graduate from university. this is one of the things that i used to motivate him everyday during that critical period. We kept our promises. I passed my exams, and daddy made a miraculous recovery. He wasn’t able to attend my graduation ceremony as he was again hospitalised for chest infection during that time. But we never gave up. I brought him to studio for this graduation photo in sept 2010 when he was fit enough.
With cute cheerful daddy at dinner at changi airport singapore in June 2011. Dec 2010 to July 2011 was the period where he made dramatic recovery- started to talk, eat, feed himself, even stand and walk with 2 man assistance. We learnt how to transfer him into car, and bring him out whenever possible. This is one of the happiest period of time for our family.
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