Saturday, 23 April 2016


"Confined in a room, I was awake, keeping an eye on my grandmother who was lying in the hospital bed, frail and waxen. She was in for an angiogram the next day, before the physician recommended an angioplasty for her. I was supposed to provide some words of comfort to calm her down but I let my emotions get the better of me. My grandmother was anything but calm. Following this failure, I realised that this job is not for the fainthearted (i.e. me)."

That's the opening of my Personal Statement when I was applying for university through UCAS.

My post-SPM days centred around fending for my Nenek in the cold room at IJN. The night before her scheduled angiogram, I couldn't have a shut eye. Every inch of me was consumed with worry, as I read about angiogram on one website after another. I was 17 then. What would a 17-year-old girl know about angio whatever? But I had to power through the articles, in my last-ditch attempt to comprehend what my Nenek was about to go through the next day. I had to assimilate the medical jargon of the articles and paraphrased it into layman terms so that I could explain to Nenek, I mean, how hard can it be right. Femoral artery? Left Anterior Descending Artery? What the actual hell?

The nurses coming in every few hours to check her vital signs only wreaked havoc in me.

The next morning came. As I wrote in my Personal Statement, I was of no help to placate my terrified Nenek. When they wheeled her bed into the operating theatre, I said nothing. At all. I just waved at her, and later mocked myself endlessly, why the hell did I wave at Nenek?! As if to say goodbye because she wouldn't make it through the procedure?! Clearly I lack the tact to be a doctor...

So that, kids, was how Nenek made me decide not to do medicine.

"But one year later and surprise! Here I am, deciding to study medicine."

Another line from my Personal Statement.

Long story short, yeah, I chose this path. But still, a small conundrum took residence in a corner of my head. Is this really for me? Really? Maybe I'm not cut out for this.

"Before exams ended, I couldn't wait for them to be over. I was imagining days ahead of A Level, all the post A2 activities that I assure myself to be exhilarating, the self pampering I promised to my body, the treats I think I'm entitled to. Now that I have gained the ultimate freedom that I was eagerly waiting for, it seems illusory.

On Saturday I graduated, tapped my student ID for the last time and bade adieu to the blue college. Immediately that evening I went to DEMC to pay Nenek a visit. She'd fallen and got herself a neck of femur fracture (the doctors decided to implant a dynamic hip screw on her). Eversince, I've been practically living off of Gloria Jeans on the ground floor of the hospital. So far my post A Level days are days of fending for my bedridden Nenek. Not that I'm implying she's at fault, it's just that I feel like I'm missing out on things. I feel like I've been estranged from my best friends. God knows when was the last time I hung out with Atika. Or the last time Amie and I had our minum petang together. 

I could be doing all those fun things, instead, I was asked to ensure Nenek takes all her medications, does her breathing exercises, goes to physio sessions religiously, has her compression stockings on. But all these turned into frolics because Nenek, oh my God, Nenek had her ways alright. She came up with 1001 hilarious excuses not to do everything the doctor asked her to do. One time she hid her tablets underneath the pillow. I wanted to scold her, only to be in stitches when she pulled a long face afterwards while complaining that I'm too garang. And then the doctor came and scolded me instead, while Nenek put her poker face on display, pfth. 

So I had to find a way to make her comply with doctor's orders, but without patronising her. I know it's painful for her, but it's imperative. My heart broke when I saw her face flinch at the slightest movement, but if she didn't try to move now, she'll never be mobile ever again. It was like teaching a baby to take her first steps all over again, but this was one old, giant, whiny baby who just wanted to watch her Indonesian sinetrons on tv. Man, it wasn't easy, but with Nenek, it was fun. Whatever consternation I had in the previous paragraph vanished into thin air, because I witnessed Nenek's recovery with my own eyes. Seeing Nenek loading herself from the hospital bed to the wheelchair, seeing her breathing get steadier & her inhalation longer, the feeling was sublime. I think I was the one who's more enthused about her finally getting on the wheelchair, I even pushed her out of the ward to say hi to the nurses, and then I pushed her to the lounge area near the lift where there's a huge window there, so she could see outside, after days of being cooped up in the ward. I was glad that for all Nenek's recovery milestones, I was there by her side, cheering her on, and recording her on my phone. I hope I never forget this feeling."

One of my old blog posts from 2014.

So that, kids, was how Nenek reassured me that medicine is the one for me.

Happy birthday to the bionic woman (because she has metal pieces on her hip now hehe), my most beloved Nenek, without whom my Personal Statement would probably be bland & the uni admission team would probably just toss my application in the bin & I probably wouldn't be where I am now haha! Ugh. I wish flight tickets are cheap so that I can come back to Malaysia every week to make sure Nenek's taking all her medications right.

Ah yes, I used to be skinny, guys. Look at Nenek's unimpressed face because I forced her to put on her tudung for this quick photo heheh.

Guys, my nenek has this Wardrobe Mismatch Syndrome. Exhibit A : Blue tudung + green baju kurung. I always nag her about this but she just never listens.

That time Nenek got sucked into the Looms craze vortex with my little cousins....


  1. This is 1 heartwarming post, Sheera. Its good to see yang dia being 1 of the person yang motivate you to study in your current path. She definitely should read this tho, haha. Anyway, wish you and her all the best and happy birthday to your nenek ^_^

    1. Thanks for reading, Sam! Doakan my Nenek panjang umur & murah rezeki & masuk syurga k! Hahah