Thinking back about the heart rendering scene I saw last week, I am reminded of another sad scene 2 years ago when I was posted to Hematology.
She was a sweet girl, only 16 years old but inflicted by the deadly disease called Korstmann Syndrome. It is an inherited disorder where her bone marrow failed to produce mature neutrophils, a type of white blood cells, vital for immunity and fighting infections. Throughout her life, she has been in and out of hospital frequently, being victim to one infection or another.
I remembered her as a sad girl and who could blame her? She was only happy when her family members were around, particularly her father. I think she was the apple of her father’s eyes. She usually begs to go home even before her infection could be properly brought under control or cured. She also has this little pillow that she brings with her all the time, the corners well worn by constant friction as she rubbed it constantly. It soothed her I guess. The Malays would call the pillow ‘bantal busuk’ (literally meaning ‘smelly pillow’). Time and again we warned her that the pillow itself may be a source of infection as the cover was seldom washed. She wouldn’t listen to us.
I was on call the day she passed away. Her body, ravaged by years of repeated infections, could no longer stave off another wave of deadly infection. This time, her body gave up, resulting in severe sepsis with disseminated intravascular coagulation. She bled from every orifice in her body. We spent almost 4 hours trying to resuscitate her when she collapsed very early that fateful morning.
I shall never forget her father’s sorrow and anguish when he was told that his daughter was no more. He lifted her lifeless body, hugging it tight to his chest and cried, and he cried and he cried. I can still remember his words so vividly: “Oh God! Oh God! Why? Why? Why does my daughter have to die? Why can’t I die in her place instead? Oh God! Oh God!!”.
It was the cry of a father’s heart. A cry of deep sorrow and great pain at the loss of some one so precious to him that if possible, he would be willing to take her place so that she might live.
The scene affected me profoundly that day. It’s not too difficult now to comprehend how God, our Heavenly Father, would do the same for us and indeed He did….
Wed, 020806 @ 0734