Book Review : Lone Wolf by Jodi Piccoult

20161008_110450.jpg

Beside the book are my notes for the topic I was supposed to present during the ‘Jom Ikrar’ course

A few weeks ago I received a book from a friend. It was Lone Wolf by Jodi Piccoult. This was my second book from the same author – the first being My Sisters Keeper. The sender gave me the book with a wish hoping that apart from learning about wolves (which I did – and will never look at them  the same way again), I had to reflect on 2 important questions;

What Is a Brain Death?

What Would I do?

Background Story:

It’s a story of a broken family of four. The parents divorced. The father (LUKE) continued his obsessive studies on wolves while sharing custody with his exwife (GEORGIE) of their teenage daughter (CARA) and now estranged son (EDWARD). Georgie remarried and had kids from her new relationship and Edward, who was just over 18 years old, was a thousand miles away in Thailand teaching English to the locals. Cara on the other hand became close to his father and together they enjoyed caring for the wolves.

Like it or not, they had to come together as a family when Luke and Cara got involved in a terrible accident. Cara survived with curable injuries but unfortunately for Luke – he never woke up from his coma. Or will he?

The dilemma now lies in the hands of 2 young adults – the siblings who are not on the same page and thrive on different sets of perspectives and moral values,  to decide the fate of their father. Will they wait for him to come around or would they have to legally let him go? And if they chose the latter – on what grounds?

What is Brain Death?

Simply put, it’s when the control command of your brain dies. The death of a particular part of your brain (the brain stem) which keeps you alive and aware of your surroundings, that controls your eye blinking, your act of swallowing and some as simple as breathing. Upon which once the function ceases – the person is theoretically dependent upon mechanical ventilation and medication support. Chance of recovery – almost nil.

What would I do?

Because I understand things better now – if I am certified as brain dead. Please let me go. And if I am still a suitable candidate for organ donation, then kindly proceed as planned. I would do the same for my family members.

20161008_110618.jpg

since 2014

Thank you for the book Zawani.

Advanced directive – no public photos

Nowadays, its a world where a photo means everything. It would be damn impressive if I could describe a rash using its very elaborate and exclusive terminologies to the dermatologists. But a picture is easier to Whatsapp for a specialist consult.

Taking a selfie with a cannula taped to the hand means that you’re sick. A selfie of you shivering under a blanket with a cup of cocoa in your hands means you’re cold. A PDA with your beloved ones means that you genuinely care for each other. I have nothing against selfies – I love taking one myself but sometimes it just gets too much.

For instance, I observed an alarming trend of young people in a family taking photos of say, a dead grandmother after resuscitation – ‘as proof’ that this nenek is dead and wants to share it with the other family members in their so called Watsapp group. I was appalled. Apa ni? Kau bersungguh2 nak suruh aku pelihara kehormatan and tidak sakiti arwah and yet you open their keaiban for other people to see. I had to put my foot down and say “NO pictures”

But then I couldn’t help thinking about my own end.

Will it be honorable? As in having a husnul khatimah.. or otherwise?

I thus pray that Allah will take me when He is most REDHA with me – during the moment when He is most pleased with me .. 

wp-1469889207803.jpg

In the mean time – I will work like I’m living forever and at the same time performing my ibadats like I’m going to die tomorrow. Should one day , Allah decides my ajal is up –  I hope my following wishes would be honored. My advanced directives are as below at this time of writing;

Should I be involved in an accident or any form of resuscitation situation – please note that I do not need the whole hospital to come down and LLB (look like busy). Just let the key people do their job while the rest (who loves me as a person) pray hajat for me so that I’d get to utter the syahadah at least, with my last breath. Get hold of my family. Tell them whats going on. Stay outside the resus area – just let the team in charge do their job. Just because you are not in the room, it doesn’t mean that you don’t care. I would know that. Express your concern through prayers and effective communication with my family members.

Unless I have untreatable cancer – please intubate me, stabilise me accordingly and alert the organ donation team once you see my condition going downhill. My husband is aware of my intentions – please let him know of my last wishes for I’d like to bring a new meaning to life to at least one person before I finally pass. On the other hand, if I have Stage 4 cancer – let me go peacefully.

Finally, please do not take pictures of me being sedated, intubated or just plain ill. I understand the power of VIRAL through social media – so you could ask more people to pray for me. But please don’t snap that photo. Use words instead. Kind words to describe me to other concerned people if you must. An honest prayer should be between you and Allah – not a du’a status or INNALILAH in capslock. Yes, it makes you feel better but I’d rather hear and receive your du’a after solat.

InsyaAllah.. 

 

A gift of life

“The measure of life is not its duration, but its donation” 
Peter Marshall 

I have had my hesitancies before, regarding pledging as an organ donor. Religion never hindered me. Islam is not against organ donation. I was worried that I would be buried ‘incomplete’. Quite a self-centred reason actually. Not that living people would actually care if my hair looked messed up in the grave anyway. After my own talk the other day on Organ Donation, I was more well informed.Funny, huh?  Hence at 30 years of age, I decided to become an organ donor.

I logged onto the NTR website on New Years day. I registered online. In a few days, I received my card. I made my wishes known to Mr Husband that I would like my corneal tissues and kidneys to be donated once I’m gone. To which he happily acknowledged.

Here is to The Gift Of Life.

donation card

 

 

Her name is Saraswathy

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names”
Chinese Proverbs quotes

And by calling people as how they were baptised.

I make it a rule upon myself to learn the names of the staff  and my own colleagues I work with by heart. I feel it is very fundamental in creating a harmonious environment which in turn would stimulate motivation and enthusiasm in giving the best output ever. Furthermore, it is more polite to address one by name rather than just a ‘Kak’ or “Bang’ eventhough they’re just a staff nurse or a medical assistant.

Despite my best ruling, I tend to forget two groups of people in the unit. While they come from a private organization, I still see them day in, day out as we both perform our duties to the patients. That would be the Cleaners and The Security Guards. Our contacts would be a mere Hi or Selamat Pagi.Occasionally, they would shyly come up to me requesting a prescription for Paracetamol or cough syrups to which I would happily oblige.

One fine day, after a cup of coffee to start the day.. I was approached by a young female security guard.

“Tigers die and leave their skins; people die and leave their names”
Japanese Proverb quotes

I have had written a few prescriptions for her in the past for what I regard as trivial illnesses and had thought that she would want a repeat of that. Instead, it turned into a brief moment of awe.

[translated version]

She : Dr, I was meaning to ask you something about organ donation

ME : Yes, how can I help you

She : I registered myself as a donor a year back to give all my organs away. however, I had a change of heart recently.. and was wondering if instead giving away all of my organs.. can I choose which to give away?

As mentioned, I was struck with awe. Here, in front of me was a young female security guard from a not priviledged background who has a very big heart. Who had the conscience to donate something back to the living once shes dead. Nevermind the fear of the thought of giving away all of her organs, the act of signing up as a donor in the first place was something to be applauded on.

Thus, I was inspired.

And I learnt her name. Her name is Saraswathy.