Mr S passed away last Tuesday night of heart failure. I have known him ever since I was a Medical Officer in this hospital many years ago. He was one of my favourite patient; intelligent, fluent in English, well read and blessed with a witty sense of humour.
He was afflicted with acromegaly due to a tumour in his pituitary gland many years before I met him. He had surgery since then to remove the tumour but the damaged has been done.
As the disease’s name suggests, everything about him was big! His features were coarse (much like The Thing in Fantastic 4), his voice was hoarse, he had big lips, big gums, well spaced out teeth, big tongue, coarse sebum filled skin, big nose, big ears, big spade like hands, big feet. Within him, all the internal organs were big as well. His big (but weak) heart had to undergo valve replacement surgery and he had irregular heart rate (atrial fibrillation) and hypertension.
He was a favourite candidate that we called again and again for the undergraduate exams. Students cringe when they get him for exams because he simply has too many clinical findings!
When I met him again, after being away for 4 years, he still remembered me and we talked as if I was never away. He has this habit of calling me ‘Prof’. Many attempts at correcting him was futile and so I let him be.
He was admitted into my ward some time last month and stayed for a week. His heart was failing and he had frequent chest pains. By the end of the week he felt well enough to go home. We made arrangements for him to be seen by a cardiologist soon.
I saw him again on Tuesday morning when I happened to walk into the other male ward in search of patients for my student’s end-of-posting exam. I saw him sitting up, panting on his bed. He saw me, lifted his left hand slowly to greet me, forced a smile and then told me “Prof, I don’t feel well at all. I’m not good”
I stopped to talk a while with him. He has become breathless again with intermittent chest pains, this time it was much worst than before.
I was in a hurry (4 students were waiting for patients to be alloted to them) and so I bid a quick good bye and wished him well. I assured him that the doctors in his ward will take good care of him. I felt like I was abandoning a friend.
That night he breathed his last. He was survived by no one since he lived alone.
I wish I had time to look in on him.
Good bye Mr. S. I’m going to miss being called ‘Prof’, your smile, the witty dry humour and most of all, your friendship.
Sat, 160607 @ 0814; in KL again for the 2nd day of the Team Building Training. What joy to discover wi-fi here so I could pen these thoughts.