Do check out The Scare – Part I right before this post. But I guess you can read this first, if you happened to come across this.

Lessons that I learnt from the health scare:

(1) Appreciate your health. With a good health, we could think more clearly, have much less worry (because being unwell gives you sooooo much anxiety, you can’t imagine until you become unwell yourself), serve others around us and plan for the future. Try to avoid all those lifestyle-related problems like diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive lung disease, obesity, alcoholism, drug abuse. Please leave the healthcare system for those who could not help being sick – like those who had cancer, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, errors of metabolism, epilepsy and so many other serious conditions. We all need to learn about caring for ourselves better.

(2) I know most doctors (and other healthcare workers) know this, but I need to stress this to myself and others: your smiles mean THE WHOLE WORLD to your patients. Even when they are so worried or in pain that they could not smile back at you. A smiling face makes a world of difference. Encouraging and positive words, even more so. We all need to smile more, say more motivating words. Life will be better for all of us.

I really need to say this: all the staff in neurology ward and clinic have been very kind to me, from the consultants to the staff bringing in food to my room, and the cleaners were all so polite!! They lifted my spirits in ways that I did not expect. The nurses updated me on the MRI waiting status, put in my IV line (even distracted me by chatting with me so that it would not be too painful), prepared my room. The attendant who pushed my trolley towards the MRI was also friendly and encouraging. It was great service for me, and I do hope they do this to all patients.

(3) If you know you’re going to be admitted to the hospital, or going to wait in a specialist clinic (government or private centers), do bring a book to read and some food to munch on. I occupied myself with a book during my MRI wait, and although the day was still long, I could tolerate it. In the neurology clinic, I had to wait for almost four hours, which would have been excrutiating if I did not have anythig to read in my hands. I also found that watching TV actually makes one more angry. So a book is the way to go.

(4) Positivity should become our best friend that we bring around everywhere. For the past few years, I have been struggling with a few life issues that made me sometimes too lethargic to go on. I managed to keep my nose above the water by giving myself positive thoughts everytime I find myself almost drowning. Personally I would usually listen to speakers like Nouman Ali Khan and Sheikh Yasir Qadhi. They give lectures about the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) life that changed my perspective of life to a more fulfilling one. It doesn’t mean I don’t get anxious or have depressed mood, but by reminding myself, I could get out of it fairly quickly. 

It is worth every effort of whispering ourselves good words. There are times that we might not feel convinced, but after a while, it gets easier. Once we have positive thoughts, things get easier for us.

(5) It is a very very VERY good habit to say our thanks and gratefulness the first thing in the morning, when we wake up. Just think about the things that we are thankful for, and along the day, the list will keep on growing.

(6) Indeed, with difficulty comes multiple ease. Good news, it only happens if you truly believe in it. 

(7) How to survive MRI if you’re claustrophobic? I guess it depends on how claustrophobic you are, and my techniques may not apply to everyone. It was scary at first, I had palpitations. The informative radiographers actually helped the whole process; they knew I was supposed to be given sedation, but since I wanted to try without, they explained to me what it is going to be like in there. 

My good friend told me, when she did her MRI, the tunnel was very close to her face, and there were vomit stains in there! Yikes!

It was certainly NOT like that when I had mine done. The tunnel was clean, and although it is narrow, I could still look towards my feet and hence outside the tunnel. So that is the first technique – look at the light at the end of the tunnel!

It also helped that the lighting in the MRI room was soft yellow, it gave quite a calming effect. 

As soon as the ‘bed’ moved in, I started reading those Quranic verses that I could remember, and the focus I neeed to recite those verses managed to distract me away from the noise and the narrow tunnel. They said they would put on music but I was thankful they did not, it would have interfered with my recitations.

The thing that was not so easy to overcome was…the on and off itchiness on the knee or on the head; we’re not supposed to move!! So deep breathing exercises was the answer. 

(8) If you truly believe in Allah, believe in the power of du’as, then you’ll know know that whatever He puts you through at that time is the best for you. Like I have been thinking of whether or not I should let anyone know about the scan date, but I didn’t want to trouble anyone, on top of not wanting to feel frustrated if nobody came to accompany me. I have to say, I felt rather lonely, but looking back, I’m glad I made that decision.

I did wonder though, why am I alone? Of course, I told myself that I am not truly alone (as evidenced by the MRI success without needing sedatives), and that there is a goo reason behind the whole situation. Turned out, I did not need anyone. Everything was fine, in the end.
(9) What’s painful? I had so much body aches after being in the hospital room for 24 hours. I did some reading, I repaired some of my clothes (brought along my clothes that needed stitching here and there), went out to talk to the nurses and some of the doctors there, but yes, I was sedentary enough to cause some serious muscle aches.

And tissued IV line. I knew it must be painful but I did not know it could be THAT painful. The first person who tried to put in the IV line that morning was a bit nervous because she thought my veins were a bit small (the room was cold!). For me they were acceptable. So she was unsuccessful during her attempt, and called her colleague to help. The second person succeeded.

However, the site of the first attempt almost bruised – I pressed it for a long duration so that it would now swell so much. But the pain…it was even painful when I washed my hands. Without anything touching it, it was bearable though.

On a side note, I do NOT like poking patients. In fact, I HATE it. It is painful, it takes time, and sometimes it can be really difficult.

There are a few other lessons but I guess I’ll stop for now. Will probably add them on some other time.