So yeah: It hit me over a weekend. It was March 1997.
I don’t remember details, all I know is that I felt like s##t the entire weekend.
Crawled to work that Sunday*, and sometime that morning dropped by the office of one of my few pals there, only for him to take one look at me and go “Lynne, your eyes are YELLOW! You better go see a doctor!”
So I crawled to the klinik… and the doctor seemed totally unsurprised at my symptoms, immediately diagnosing me with Hepatitis A (I think? The once-off, non-chronic, food-borne kind..). It seems that a whole bunch of people were coming down with it.** I wasn't just yellow-eyed: now that it had been pointed out, yeah I was kinda yellow all over: jaundice!!
With that diagnosis came the “sentence”: you need to be hospitalized.***
But I had to decide there and then: which hospital did I want to go to? The closest one was in the next state, in Kuantan. And my transport to there would not be covered. Hmmph! If I’m going to be warded for a week or so, I might as well be warded closer to home (home being in KL, over on the West Coast of Malaysia!), right?
So I chose a hospital in the KL area.
And got myself an evening flight outta there.
Called up my parents to inform them of the latest developments (they had seemed worried for me: after all, I lived all alone on the East Coast, far away from family and friends, and I’d been in pretty bad shape that weekend…). As far as I was concerned, if I needed hospitalization, then I might as well get it asap. So I hoped for them to get me from the airport and drive me to the hospital emergency room (that’s the only way to get admitted after regular hours).
Silly me to think that they would think such hopes were important.
It turns out that my arrival in KL would clash with their plans to watch Evita that night. It seems that they had had a tough time getting the tickets booked, and they were so looking forward to watching it, it was a shame to let them go, so could I just get someone else to ferry me from the airport to the hospital?
Reread the above please:
- They hadn’t even BOUGHT the tickets yet, only booked them.
- There wouldn’t be any money lost by them not turning up to get the tickets
- The friggin movie was more important than their sick, needing hospitalization, daughter.
So that night, a friend of mine got me from the airport, took me to the hospital, waited with me to get admitted, but in the end they didn’t want to admit me and asked me to come in during regular hours (probably because the doc & nurses on duty didn’t want the bother of paperwork??!) without even taking my blood sample to see how seriously hi/low the billirubin (I think?) count was. Amazing, I suppose they must have X-ray vision or something to be able to miraculously determines that I’m “not a critical case, maaah!”
I’m feeling too crappy to care: crappy from the hep as well as still reeling from the parents’ (in)action.
I’m driven “home” (ha-ha), I’m asleep when the parents get back.
The next day my father drives me to the hospital, I get admitted, and am there for like 5 days. Once discharged, I get another 2 weeks off of work to properly recover, and I spend it in KL (well, PJ lah actually, kan?). Then I'm back in Terengganu.
Story over? Not quite.
Not sure how soon/later after being warded, I remember my mother confessing that they actually hadn’t been able to enjoy the movie much that night, because they were worried and feeling guilty about “not being there for me”.
Hmmph. Is that supposed to make feel better? To me it doesn’t matter whether you felt guilty or not: the bottom line was, when you needed to make the choice, you chose a movie over me.
Thanx for helping me see where I stand, folks!
Doesn't matter that you visited every day, and "kept me company". I'm fine being alone, spacing out, letting my thoughts run free. I remember I was also taking advantage of that downtime to re-read The Mists of Avalon. I didn't "need" the visits. But if they helped you with your guilt, good for you lah!
Okaylah, that is just ONE situation that I’ve described. ... and there are probably other examples where me / us kids were "chosen" over other junk... but still... this is one of those things totally branded into my memory, one of many many many things that have led me to NOT be a “fan” of these parental units of mine.
I could go on, but I think that’s enough ranting and dirty laundry for the moment.
But. I feel the need to point this out before I end:
So for those who - when I bluntly say “I need to minimize exposure to my parents in order to keep my sanity” - laugh embarrassedly, and then say dumbass things like “You don’t mean that lah! You mother so [insert positive adjective here], your father so [insert positive adjective here], you don’t mean what you say!” that essentially dismiss what I say, I do hope you have begun to comprehend that no matter what you think you see & know of a person (or in this case, a person’s parents), what you see are the masks these people put on for ya (Billy Joel has an excellent song about these faces we put on… do listen to it sometime).
Oh, and please don’t tell me what I think (i.e. “you don’t mean that!”) Hey, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t SAY it, okay??
Okay, let’s end this ugly post here, shall we?
~ ~ ~
* I was in Terengganu: the weekend is Friday+Saturday.
** Obviously some carrier had been sloppy with food preparation: it was the fasting month at that time… so you know lah, almost every Tom, Dick and Harry (or in this case, Mamat, Ali & Abu?) had some sort of food/drink stall at the pasar ramadhan … and standards are, errr, well, don’t ask… Nowadays, the few times I do patronize these places, I go for the well-cooked stuff (never never go for the drinks / cendol / iced stuff). No way am I going to risk something like this happening again!
*** So I got “educated” on the convoluted process of getting myself the relevant paperwork: first the doctor (“just” a GP) had to write a referral letter. I would bring that to the HR/Admin Dept, in order for them to issue a Guarantee Letter (GL). Only with that would I be able to get into a hospital and not worry about the charges – all taken care of by my employer. Yay for that! I just needed to get my butt to the hospital lah!