Saturday, 15 June 2013


Memories can hurt. Just ask anyone who has recently lost a loved one. Every relic of the past are reminders - not mere objects. I live with it everyday - golf clubs, shoes on the rack, wardrobe, knick-knacks, books, toothbrush etc - everything she had serves as memorabilia. Every journey I take, such as the usual supermarket, the homes of in-laws or annual trips remind me of past events. But now we are dealing with Miranda's memory. Our memories define us. From birth everything we learned formed our basic cognitional skills. Then as we grow our personalities were built on it - what we retain and what we learned to forget. Her brain is damaged. Does she have a basis for recognizing faces and making simple conversations? She has yet to regain meaningful use of her limbs. What is her sense of space and time? Her eyes does not track in a meaningful way when we talk to her. Most of all, she does not convey what she wants or need or give feed-backs in any way. Everyday as I minister to her needs I get a blank wall. Nobody knows what is most comfortable for her - except when she shows anguish in her coughs and heavy breathing then we know that she needed help. In short, how do you give proper care to a coma patient? I don't know how. And I'm supposed to have given her care for 20 months now. All this time she was not the Miranda I knew - she was a non-person so to speak. Yet sometimes when I look right into her eye, I get the feeling  that she knows me.

 "O Lord turn and have mercy...change the natural order of things by your miraculous healing power, just as You did as recorded in Your Book"
"Memory is the slender thread of our civilization" - Oliver Stone 2013

11am: Eyes continue to look restful although only 3 hours' sleep. Has been putting on weight - feed reduced.

Tuesday 18 Jun 7am: Today her eyes neither seem to want to connect nor respond to me. Must encourage her will to live on. A difficult week of stiff tonal muscles and heavy breathing. Been a challenge to exercise or even to bathe her. But later in the evening her look improved, even turning to her right and tone normal again.

Friday 21 Jun 3pm: Even as Singaporeans retreat to their air-con burrows in this haze she's still coughing indoors. But at least she's coughing (and sleeping).

June 22 8.15 am: The only time you can look at our precious Sun, the Red Star, with the naked eye at PSI 179. It was 10% smaller than that at the same time the next day with PSI reading 79

Monday 24 Jun 3 pm: So the medical review today resulted in shunt adjustment to reduce flow because of the sunken skull. She is classified "vegetative" due to thalamic damage in her mid-brain. Pray that the thalamus will heal in time (the neurosurgeon thinks it is usually permanent damage but concede that slow eventual healing is possible but a miracle) so that she will begin to respond to stimuli of sound and touch. Only then will meaningful rehab can start.

Saturday Jun 29 8 am: I don't care what the doctor said - for me Miranda is responding in a very slight emotional way, through her eyes, for now. And she will improve, God will heal, albeit very slowly.
Haze on the sun same time on 30 Jun psi 31

Wednesday 3 Jul 2 pm: She is still not able to direct her eyes to external stimuli. But I can sense emotion through her eyes when looking directly at them.

Sunday 7 Jul 9 am: She was catatonic despite the bacclofen, Today's physio was hard, but she stood well on the exercise.

Thursday 11 Jul 8 am: Her eyes seem to move in and out of focus, as if the brain's on some neuro-leptic drug.

Sunday 14 Jul 8 am: Another hard physio session of stiffness, despite having bacclofen an hour earlier. I'm tired. Either increase to therapeutic dosage and risk drowsiness or abandon it altogether.

Wednesday 17 Jul 8 pm: Despair at her not being able to turn to my attention, yet when I feed her a spoonful of coke I could see satisfaction in her eyes. Her throat must be really dry as she's not able to close her mouth during sleep. Just found out the reason for all those chest congestion - poor oral hygiene. Now I've become a strict oral hygienist.

Monday 22 Jul 9 pm: Continued to turn more to the right. Good - waiting for eyes to focus right side. Her tone getting rather stiff despite medication. Want to believe that maybe her brain is trying to recover. After doing physio on her I might need one myself!

Sunday 27 Jul 5 pm: Still waiting for her eye to focus on her right side. Proper brushing to teeth have led to less phlegm and throat congestion. I didn't know that for over a year now.

Friday 2 Aug 10 am: I like to report that she can stand supported for up to 25 minutes if she slept the night before. But nothing about her memory returning.

Sunday 11 Aug 11 am: Just to be sure that people don't optimistically mistake that Miranda is standing up on her own, I've been carrying her on her toes for the last 3 weeks. Sometimes she collapse and I with her. I now appreciate what the neurosurgeon said that she is still vegetative and will remain "unless a miracle happens". I wish not to say this again by ending the blog here.

Sunday 18 Aug 10 am: Continuing to make her stand should improve her motor memory, despite my wounded knee. Then when all seemed lost comes a silver lining - I could feel her toes move. But that was yesterday.

Sunday 25 Aug 7am: Happy Birthday! Still no sign of memory to recognize her well-wishers. May God continue to heal - progressively, no matter how slow it seems. And farewell NUS.

<End of  post - next: On thin ice>