Guest Contributor – Sharon Ong
Article submitted by Sharon Ong
Winning article for “A Chance To Bring Home Medicine Buddha — For Free!!”
On June 2011, our world was forever changed. Mum suffered a massive stroke. When we arrived at the Emergency Room, we could not believe what was happening. Our Mum could hardly speak. Her left limbs were paralysed. My heart broke when she did not acknowledge me when I called her. Then, I realised that she could not hear or see me from her left side. Even in this condition, she asked my husband, “Why did you travel so far this late to come here? How’re the kids?”
I did not sleep a wink that night. I was so afraid that she would die. I felt utterly helpless and all I could think of doing was to chant “Om Mani Peme Hung” over and over again by her bedside. I lost count of the rounds of my chanting beads went through my fingers but it helped me stay sane and focused on the task at hand which to pull my family together to help my mum through this.
Somehow, she pulled through. Although she was physically paralysed but her strength and positive spirit were thankfully still intact. She had difficulties in swallowing and when we made jokes about our porridge, she would say that it was yummy and kept eating. It was hard to see our Mum so helpless but it was even harder for her to see her children “camping” in the hospital and tending to her every need. Although her prognosis was grim, she kept herself positive. This rubbed off on all of us. We could only imagine how hard it was for her to go through exhausting physiotherapy sessions but she gamely did all her exercises. Every little progress was a celebration for us.
One of the hardest things for her was to be dependent on us for her bowel movements. It must have been so uncomfortable for her. I have had my fair share of diaper changing but nothing prepared me for diaper changing a stroke patient. During the first few days, Mum patiently endured our clumsy and sometimes disastrous attempts at diaper change. Diaper changes were really exhausting for her but she was more concerned about us getting tired. Many stroke patients would just lie there passively and let their caregiver change them. Not our Mum. She made it easier for us to change her by actively moving her body as much as she was able to.
Just 4 short months after her stroke, my Mum surprised her doctor by walking into his clinic aided by our nurse and a walking stick. Her neurosurgeon told us that she may never walk again or move her left limbs. Her positive spirit and resilience proved him wrong.
It has been about a year and a half as I write this. While my Mum has made tremendous progress given the severity of her stroke, she was recently diagnosed with dementia. It really pains me to see her suffering with each physical and mental faculty slowly but surely deteriorating. I have been finding ways to try to help her ease her sufferings. From making her physically comfortable, cooking her nice food to buying Dharma related books/DVDs. I see that she is keen to learn more about the Dharma but in her current mental capacity, she has difficulty trying to understand and let alone remember even the basics. I have been encouraging her to keep chanting the only mantra that she is able to remember which is “Om Mani Peme Hung”.
I have accepted that it would take a miracle to cure her condition. I am not too sure how but I think that a Medicine Buddha will help bring her some healing. Maybe not to her physical body but to her mind. And to me, the healing of the mind is more important and if my Mum is able to find some inner peace, I am grateful.
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