Friday, June 20, 2014

The Merry Month of May That Was (Part 1)

Star Commander Lee Ahau Ben Anoor-Antares in 2004

It was Bob Dylan’s 73rd birthday. My artist-astrologer friend Melissa Lin had invited me to dinner at Rimbun Dahan where she was on a 4-month residency. Met up with a few dear friends and renewed my acquaintance with the hospitable Hijjas family. Decided to continue to Bandar Utama where some young friends were hosting an open mic session at Paradox CafĂ©. We had a jolly jam session; met up with two old friends and made a few new ones. Got home around 3:30am and, as usual, didn’t get to bed till around 6:00. Heard my Vandalusian songbird Ahau Ben chirping merrily away. The sun wasn’t even up but my only begotten son was already at his laptop, doing his YouTube routine. It was a cheerful sound to fall asleep to.

Ahau asleep on 12 October 2012

Sunday, May 25th, 2014, around 11am: rudely awoken by Mary Maguire screaming at the top of her lungs, I grabbed my sarong and rushed over next door to find Ahau on the floor, having just puked on the mat. He looked wild-eyed and frightened and his hands were like claws. Mary said she had popped in from the kitchen a minute ago to find Ahau’s eyes unfocused and his fingers rigid. Thinking it might be an epileptic fit (though he has no previous history of that) she put him into recovery position on the floor so he wouldn’t swallow his tongue and suffocate.

As I knelt down and immersed him in my energy field, Ahau vomited again and his body went into spasms. While I whispered star language in his ears, Mary picked up the phone and called 999, hands trembling. She managed to keep calm as the police operator began interrogating her with absolutely no sense of urgency instead of passing her call to the nearest ambulance service. Finally, she got through to the KKB District Hospital and they said an ambulance would be despatched. Bonzo Dog came running in and sniffed Ahau all over, nudging him with his canine nose. He seemed as concerned as both Mary and me.

Anoora just looked dazed. I got her to take my place beside Ahau and ran back to put on some clothes. There’s nothing more nerve wracking than for a parent to contemplate the possibility of losing a child. True, I view life and death differently than most people and have never been inclined to wallow in grief and misery - always opting for the most inclusive, most all-embracing, and the most uplifting perspective.

Jolly joy boy Ahau Ben
Indeed, when Ahau was only 7 a psychic friend had warned me that Ahau may not survive long past puberty; that he had come on a specific mission and when he was done he would simply leave. I deeply resented hearing that but nonetheless took on it board.

In December 2010 when my beloved canine son Roger Reginald Putra was brutally murdered by a demonically possessed Orang Asli, probably for chasing after his motorbike, I was utterly grief-stricken. Imagine how much worse it would be to lose a human offspring.

Seeing Ahau in that scary state, not knowing the cause or outcome, I was prepared for any eventuality - but decided unequivocally that I would opt for our darling son to stick around, no matter what difficulties may arise around his “disabilities” and his almost complete dependency on others. It was a pivotal moment that brought into clear focus the totality and unconditionality of my love for that very special boy.

The ambulance arrived and we had to carry the unconscious Ahau down two flight of steps in his duvet because they had no stretchers with body straps. It’s a 12-minute drive to the KKB District Hospital but that ambulance was so horribly bumpy I was compelled to mention it to the attendant who said the problem was that the Health Ministry bought goods vans and converted them - instead of ordering customized ambulances with high-grade suspensions. “We are the ones who use these vehicles every day but nobody bothered to ask our opinion,” he confided.

Mary and Anoora arrived at the Emergency Room shortly afterwards while Ahau was being stabilized by the hospital assistants. Knowing the situation was no longer in our hands, I calmed down and held the beam for those attending to Ahau who appeared on the verge of another fit. They sedated him but his body resisted it and they increased the dosage. Finally the doctor had to switch to ketamine to knock him out so they could intubate him.

A bit of an overgrown baby
I kept popping into the emergency room to see if they had finished but the procedure took a long time. Dr Sashi explained that he had problems inserting the tube down Ahau’s throat. “I’ve never seen anyone with vocal cords like his,” the young doctor said. “One in a million!”

No wonder Ahau has had difficulty with human speech and opts to emit an incredible range of birdlike or dolphinlike sounds when he isn’t speaking his own take on human languages, Gobbledygook.

The KKB District Hospital isn’t equipped to handle any but the most routine of medical situations. Dr Sashi began phoning around to see which big hospital would admit Ahau. Incredibly, every ICU bed in hospitals within 2 hours of KKB was occupied, but Ahau was sent to Selayang Hospital anyway, in the hope that a bed in the ICU would become available when he arrived.

Ahau at 2: a very cheerful baby who loved water
Another bumpy ambulance ride, though minimally better than the first, and we were at the Selayang Hospital emergency and trauma ward, where the heavily sedated Ahau was wheeled off for a CT scan. The doctors at Selayang were young and reassuringly professional. They reported that the scan showed there was a slight edema (swelling) and there were symptoms of viral infection. Three doctors in particular had friendly, helpful auras – Drs Zetti, Haris and Amar. It was the latter who accompanied Ahau and me in the ambulance along with a nurse when Putrajaya Hospital agreed to take him. By the time we arrived at the southernmost part of Selangor state it was close to 11pm.

After 48 hours in the Hospital Putrajaya ICU Ahau was transferred to Ward 4A

Mary arrived at Putrajaya Hospital with Anoora and our dear friend Soon within minutes of Ahau being wheeled into emergency prior to being sent directly to the ICU. As I was taking the first watch Anoora had packed a small knapsack for me. Amazingly she had seen fit to include my Peruvian poncho and a book I had just started reading. I must have cut a surreal figure at 3 in the morning walking about the hospital grounds in my rainbow poncho. Dr Radha who was in charge of the ICU that night had taken my phone number and assured me that no news was good news as far as Ahau was concerned. I knew he was in excellent, dedicated hands. Dr Radha herself had the sweetest face and an angelic aura. It was hard to reconcile the cold-blooded colossal bureaucratic monstrosity called Putrajaya with the warmth and humanity of everyone I had met at the hospital.