It’s the first day of the year, and I decided to start the year off with a house visit. No, I wasn’t visiting any HIV families, although the visit was to give support to someone in need, and to assess the family’s situation. My visit this time was to the home of a young TKCian, who should be going to form 5 this year.
You see, 2 days ago I was informed by a senior that a TKCian had been warded in Ipoh GH for brain tumor. This senior didn’t have full details though, and so I had to ask around. After getting a bit more info, I decided to visit the girl, Izaty, at the hospital on New Year’s Day.
Luckily I remembered to invite along another TKCian in Ipoh, Yati, who just completed her SPM recently (I had been in touch with her since last year when she sought my help for something). Yati agreed to tag along with Aunty Pi. Good thing she called Izaty’s mom first and was told that Izaty was to be discharged from the hospital yesterday and would only be readmitted again next week. I told Yati to get Izaty’s home address so we could visit her at home instead.
I initially thought Izaty’s house was in Ipoh, but when Yati got the address, I found out that Izaty stays in Malim Nawar. The kampong? I’ve never heard of the kampong. Searched in my GPS – the kampong’s name doesn’t exist. Googled… again doesn’t exist. Search through a paper map of Perak, found a few kampongs in Malim Nawar, but not Izaty’s kampong.
Since Malim Nawar is just about 35 km from Ipoh, and I knew how to get to Malim Nawar at least, I figured… ah well, belasah je lah! Sampai sana nanti, ada mulut, tanya!
And that was what we did. Before we reached Malim Nawar town, we stopped at a petrol station to ask where this kampong was. Good move I must say, for the simpang to the kampong was before reaching Malim Nawar town. Got into the simpang as instructed, it was a kampong road alright, but the signboard showed a different kampong name. We then decided to ask a kampong folk by the roadside, and was told that the kampong we were looking for was further in. Waaah… got to go through one kampong to get to another kampong!
After driving further in (which we thought was far enough already), we decided to ask again. And again, we were told it was further in. And it took us one more stop asking for direction before we finally saw a signboard showing the name of the kampong we were looking for.
Easy from then on? Nope, not that easy either. Apparently it was quite a big kampong with lots of small simpangs here and there. The address given was house no. 50, but when we looked around, we were nowhere close to such a number. After asking 2 more people, we got to a dead end. That was when I told Yati to call Izaty’s mom. And that was when we found out that Izaty and her parents weren’t home. But there were people at home (Izaty’s siblings and grandma) and Izaty’s mom said they should be home in 2 hours time. So we decided to just find the house first, then go out for lunch before we came back again.
The direction Izaty’s mom gave to Yati was to “jalan teruuuus aje, jangan belok-belok”. At that point I couldn’t help singing Bujang Lapok’s line of “jalan lurus, jangan bengkok-bengkok, lalalalalala…” :-)
So yes, we went luruuuus… and got to another dead end. Haha! But by then we had already been told by Izaty’s mom to look for the surau and then ask for “rumah makcik Noni”, so at least our search was easier. And so yes, after asking one more person to ask where the surau was, then upon finding the surau, we asked another person for “rumah makcik Noni”, we finally found Izaty’s house! Yayyy!! After asking 8 people (not including the call to Izaty’s mom), we finally found the house. It felt as though the house was sooooooo far in from the main road.
Anyway, after chatting with Izaty’s Opah for a while, we decided to go out to town first to have lunch. Izaty’s Opah did invite us to have lunch at her home, she’d cook she said, but we were there to visit orang sakit, takkanlah nak menyusahkan tuanrumah pulak kan?
After lunch, we went back to Izaty’s house, this time without much problem. And by this time I found out that from the main road to Izaty’s house was just about 2.5 km. The first time we went in, it felt as though we had driven about 10 km!
Izaty and her parents were not back yet. So we decided to solat zohor first. I did apologise to Izaty’s Opah, dah lah datang tak bagitau, menyusahkan pulak lagi tumpang solat apa bagai. But no, it was obvious that her Opah was so berbesar hati with our visit.
Izaty and her parents finally got home about 2.40 pm. She had to be helped by her father from the car into the house. Despite her weak condition, she stopped to salam us first. Sweet young girl.
Izaty had actually been having headaches but she and everybody else thought they were just normal headaches. Telan panadol, settle! Although in Izaty’s case, most of the time, telan panadol tak lut. During the recent school holidays, her mother decided maybe it’s best if they brought Izaty to get her eyes tested. Who knows, maybe she got the headaches because she needed glasses. But the optometrist said Izaty’s eyes were okay and suggested that she be brought to Ipoh GH for other tests.
At the GH, as always, without a referral letter, you’d only be seeing the MO. And she was passed from one dept to another, and finally one MO suggested that she goes for eye check-up (which was the first thing that she did before she went to GH). Pi mai, pi mai, the family decided to bring Izaty see a specialist at a private hospital. Got to pay a bit more, but at least, they got to the bottom of things. With the referral letter from the private hospital, they finally got to see the specialist at Ipoh GH, did the MRI and whatever tests, and before long, a surgery was conducted to remove the tumor. But the tumor is an aggressive tumor with the initial site being in the mid brain, the doctors couldn’t remove the whole thing. The surgery itself was successful, but they only managed to take out 94% of the tumor.
Izaty will have to be readmitted to Ipoh GH by Tuesday next week, and by Wednesday she’ll be brought to GHKL for further tests and for radiotherapy. Frankly, I don’t know if she’d be able to sit for her SPM this year, given her condition. Her parents too are still unsure. The important thing right now is to help her get the necessary treatments to get better.
But she seemed like a tough girl. Right before her surgery, she was the one who called her Opah at home to say, “Opah jangan risau ya, Opah kena kuatkan semangat.” Emotionally she seemed stable, although right now she may seem a bit “slow” in getting her brains to “compute”. When her parents brought her out today, she asked, “Nak balik TKC ke ni?”
However, it was really heartening to see her smile. In fact I also saw her laugh. With that kind of spirit, I am hopeful that she’d be able to come out of this.
I know her parents are going through a tough time. Izaty is the eldest of 5 siblings, all schooling. Her mother isn’t working, and her father’s a lorry driver whose pay depends on how many trips he makes. Ever since Izaty was diagnosed with brain tumor, her father had to spend more time with her at the hospital. So they definitely didn’t earn much for the past month. With school reopening soon, it’s going to be tough for them. But when I saw them today, they certainly didn’t show any signs of helplessness. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!
When we wanted to leave, both Izaty’s mom and grandma really hugged us. They really appreciated our visit although we didn’t give them any form of material help. Our presence alone was good enough to make them feel the support.
So yes, go people! Go visit that someone who may need your moral support! You don’t lose anything by visiting them.