Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On Hospitals

*from my other blog at Dilla Speaks Out

It’s just that we have been in and out of hospitals too many times this past two months. And I am getting a little freakish about it. The patients? There has been a few.

Patient 1: My mom

My mommy has been complaining about having a difficult time hearing these past few months so ZZ insisted that she goes over to see the consultant ENT for check up. True enough, after some tests, it was discovered that she has lost 60% of her left hearing. At 57 years old, that was not normal. So, she had to follow-up with an MRI just to be sure. The session was rather a daunting one and mommy was accompanied by ZZ, Illa and yours truly. She had to do the MRI scan twice, once with the dye injected to her bloodstream. We knew that it was not a good sign immediately coz we were told that the dye would only be injected if they suspected something was wrong with her. It turns out that mom has acoustic neuroma , a benign (meaning : not cancerous, alhamdulillah) tumor which is slowly growing in her inner ear. The tumor is now 1.5cm in size and it is slowly encroaching into her brain and is sitting on her hearing nerves. That was the true root cause of her hearing loss. Next, a series of consultation with many many specialists ensued. We were kind of overwhelmed by all the information and I couldn’t particularly process the magnitude of it all at once.

There were basically 3 options at hand: 1. Do nothing. Just monitor the growth of the tumor, ie periodic MRIs to ensure that it is not getting TOO big. In the end, when it does get too big, we’d still have to remove it. However, there might also be other consequences as the tumor is sitting very near to the facial and balance nerves as well. 2. Removal. Go in there and get it out. Finito. There are basically 2 ways to go about it - through the ears or through the skull. Either way they are major surgeries, one that would take at least 12 hours and however you try to word it, it was a scary option for me. 3. Radiosurgery. It involves focused radiation to stunt the growth of the tumor. We were interested with the CyberKnife program in which mom had to come for imaging, both CT and MRI,and then the doctors will do the planning on dosage etc. Mom would only have to go to the place 3 times for the treatment, averaging about 1 hour each time. She didn’t even have to admit herself as it is considered as outpatient treatment. So, she has already booked for an appointment early January 2007.

In a way, I was very pleased that we actually met with a few consultants from different fields. We got the chance to gather enough info to make the right decision for mom. The consultants seem to recommend treatment that is related only to their specialty and not every consultant is familiar with what treatment is available in the whole of Malaysia, you know. Eg, the CyberKnifeis a part of Radiosurgery but there are other methods too such asGammaKnife, XKnife etc. Each procedure is different , some is more technically advanced than others. Imagine if we didn’t know about this CyberKnife thingy, mom would have to fix a metal frame on her face for one of the procedures. Nasib baik, kan? I do think the support from her children, in laws and husband were vital in maintaining her positive attitude and made it that much easier for her and us to accept what has actually happened. I just pray that the treatment would go well for her and in the meantime, I promise to be super nice to her. ;)

Patient 2: Khaleeq

Khaleeq has been getting nose bleed since he was small and occasionally waking up to a pool of dried blood beside him has been quite a normal sight. In this one particular incident however, he was bleeding quite a lot and it didn’t seem that it was about to stop. So, we rushed him over to our panel clinic and got a referral letter to check him out with the paed. Well anywho, it happens that the pead we chose in Pantai was also a neurologist. So, we casually mentioned that Khaleeq is also a little slow in the speech development as he is not actually talking just yet. It’s not that he doeesn’t speak at all. Ada la sikit sikit.. Lately ni, he’s been saying "Oh No!!!" Complete with his hands on his ears. She diagnosed him to have the expressive availability of 18mths and understanding ability of 24mths. That’s a little behind his real age of 28mths. She told us that there are 5 reasons why kids actually talk later than they should. 1 - Deafness, 2 - Deprived / Understimulation 3 -Dysphasic (Impairment of speech and verbal comprehension, especially when associated with brain injury) 4 - Mental retardation 5 - Autistic. Khaleeq is free from cause 3, 4 and 5. So, we only have to be weary of cause 1 and 2.


This is Khaleeq at the Audiologist’s place. He had to undergo the play audiometry and later the sleep test to check his middle ear function. It turned out that nothing is wrong with him. So, that strikes out cause number 1.

Well that leaves us with cause number 2 to be concerned with. The good doc prescribed a change in diet — more complex carbohydrate (wholemeal bread etc), less sugar and chocolate; less TV (yup, believe you me!), more one-on-one interaction and it would do him good if he was enrolled in a playgroup. I guess, there is less excitement in taking care of Number Two. He’s basically screaming for attention and I have been too lazy to give it. I should have known better, I am a Number Two myself! So, on my part: No more TV for the kids once I get back home and there will definitely be more one-on-one interaction with my dear Khaleeq.Kesian anak aku.. Oh yes, and he’ll be going to Khadra’s school next year! :) My parents cakap, "Biarla.. He’ll speak when he’s ready.. " I think so too.. but going to school would really help speed it up.

Patient 3: Hubby

Following my mom’s footstep, Azrul went to see the ENT to check out the nagging problem he has been having with his ears and nose. So, did up the CT scan etc and it turned out that there was nothing wrong with him. Case closed. :)

Patient 4: Yours truly

Not wanting to be left out, I jumped on the bandwagon of meeting up the consultant ENT. After my initial CT scan, the doc told me there was some indication of blockage of my sinuses which may have resulted in my previous headaches and my morning sokseks. I have a terrible case of sokseks that I have been living with all my life. Every single morning I would be sniffling , my ears and nose will get blocked, I’d let out a disgusting noise and whatever consistency of mucus that is clogging my nose. Not a very pretty sight. Lately, add the headaches that I have been getting on my fore and behind my head. (?) Whatever. Basically, it is very annoying. So, I do agree with the specialist that I do have a problem. The solution? He would open up my sinus opening and that would make better drainage for the mucus. He then put me on a Steroid Challenge to see what the effects would be after I get the operation done. After three days on the steroid, I suffered fom massive frontal headaches complete with vomitting. I called up the ENT and he asked me to cut down on the steroids pronto. On my next follow-up session, we scheduled for my operation to be on the 27th of December 2006. We also took some blood for a complete work and a chest X-ray as well seeing that I have an underlying asthma condition. Anyways, I will be doing the FESS (functional endoscopic sinus surgery) and the septoplasty. I did ask the good doctor if rhinoplasty (buat hidung daa - ni Nip/Tuck la yang ajar) is also on the table. (kidding only..)

How am I feeling at the moment? Pretty mixed up, I guess. Fear for one, relieved that I am finally getting it done and that it is not something worse, restless, anticipating the unknown and mainly afraid of what is to come. Still got a lot of reading to do on the procedures and stuff. I will catch you later, then.

-dillz blogging out-

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