“I am going to die. This is it.”
Thoughts run through his head like wildfire. A few nurses and a doctor hurriedly tend to him in the emergency room. They ask him a deluge of questions. His panic stricken face responds with either a nod or a shake. There is no other way to communicate his response given all the medical paraphernalia they had hooked onto him.
“Your oxygen level is too low at below 80%,” the man with the stethoscope says. “We’re going to have to transfer you to the Intensive Care Unit where there will be a machine to help you breathe. You understand me?”
He nods. “I am going to die.”
He trembles, undecided if it is the nerves or the thermostat in the ICU. He looks through the transparent sliding doors of his room and finds familiar faces. His parents, siblings and even extended family despondently look in on him. Tears stream down his mother’s face as she raises her hand in a tiny wave. He tries to wave back, but the needles and tubes on both arms stop him. He responds with a single drop of tear that glimmers in the light.
He is reminded of Mimmi – she was hooked up to similar machines. The beeps of the heart rate monitor bring him back to the dreaded day in Mimmi’s hospital room.
The alarming high-pitch sounds of the blood pressure monitor snaps him out of his reverie. “Calm down; calm down. You need to bring your blood pressure down,” he reminds himself. He easily takes a few deep breaths, thankful for the abundant supply of oxygen coming through the tube.
The doctors had diagnosed him with pneumonia. X-rays showed that his left lung had almost collapsed due to an infection. He later found out from his sister that the doctors weren’t sure if he was going to survive the night. That explained the grief-stricken faces of his family the other night. He spent 5 days in the ICU before he was transferred to a normal ward for final observation. He went home with a full recovery just a few days shy of the new year. What a way to end the year Twenty-Eleven!
Before he was discharged though, he was first subjected to a rude awakening by his doctor.
“During the tests that we ordered, we discovered other secondary findings as well. You have hypertension – which is an abnormally high blood pressure. The scan also revealed that you have an enlarged liver, or also known as ‘fatty liver’. I believe these are weight-related conditions. You are 130kilograms and your BMI is over 40 – that is morbidly obese. The only way you can help yourself, medically, is to make better decision with regards to your lifestyle.”
He understood. It wasn’t as though he had not seen it coming. Nevertheless, the only good thing that emanated from his predicament was his resolve.
“I am going to do something about myself,“ he makes himself a promise, “I swear I will become healthy.”