Friday, 10 August 2007

The Story of Little Hisham and the Red Balloon...









Today, I would like to share the story of one little boy I met and worked with while in the hospital...


This boy's name is Hisham*, and Hisham is an Orang Asli (OA) boy who had met with an MVA...In the hospital, everything is either in the form of an acronym, or an abbreviation...I sure had a hard time when I first started, because it seems everyone spoke in short-hand, and for someone who knew none, they sounded like Greek...


MVA, as I found out, stands for Motor-Vehicle Accident...



I met Hisham in the Pediatric Rehab unit, and the first time I saw him, I was astonished, and in many ways, frightened...

You see, Hisham had half his skull missing...



The first time I saw Hisham, he was in a wheelchair, his head drooped to one side, and his right-side of the head, was oddly sunken...Sunken, and pulsating...


Not wanting to stare, but all too curious, I ventured a tiny whisper to Pn Yasmin, who is the Pediatric Physiotherapist about the who, what, why's...



Pn Yasmin: "This is Hisham. OA, MVA...9 years old...Half his skull has been removed; doctors removed the skull to ease the pressure on the brain as it heals..."



I later learned that the removed skull is usually put back after a year (different cases have different durations), and it seems, some are never put back (This I'm not sure)!


And the question I was deadly curioused about was: Where do they keep the skulls?!?!?

Pn Yasmin, smiling: "Skull Bank lar...Where else?"



Oh...Like lar I knew...I'm still reeling from discovering people can survive without the whole skull!

To those equally curious, the head (with no skull) is soft to the touch, sunken, and yes, it it is like putting your hand against a beating heart...A soft one...*Shudder*



Anyway, I later learned that Hisham was riding pillion on a motorbike ridden by his uncle, and they met with an accident...The boy was flung of the bike (he wasn't wearing a helmet), and his head was the most badly hit...


Hisham was obviously in alot of pain; Tears were rolling down his cheeks, and at every attempt to get him to move (when I met Hisham, it was a month plus since the actual accident), would result in him screaming...



I was told that although his head was badly injured, his limbs were not too bad, and none were broken...The screaming was mostly due to Hisham being traumatised, and he was afraid of getting out of the wheelchair...


Can you blame him? The poor kid was only 9...



And then I met Hisham's mother...

And I was even more shocked...

I called her Kak...


Kak was heavily pregnant, and I found out that this was her 8th child...

So why was I shocked? Because Kak, is 19 years old, and Hisham is 9...

Which means, she carried her first baby at the age of 10 years old, when she was a child herself...



I continued calling her Kak, eventhough she was younger than me...I thought having 8 children qualified her as a Kak...Till today, I never got her name...




For about 5 months after that, I regularly visited Hisham in his ward (Pediatric Surgical)...I found out he loved to eat (all the children I work with love to eat!), so every time I went to see him, I used to bring him a little something...Sometimes, little buns, sometimes cakes (he loved Chiffon!), sometimes biscuits individually packed, even dodol!




Works Everytime!




That was the time when I was still with Chee Keong, who loved Cadbury chocolate (he won't eat any other, the smart boy)...So Hisham usually got a bit too...



Getting Hisham to go for rehab was a tedious affair...Although Pn Yasmin was very patient and kind, it seemed that the very sight of the room made Hisham cringe...And so it happens that we used to go to him...I either tagged along with Pn Yasmin, or visited him on my own (Note: Mostly to help bathe, keep him company or encourage him to move...Nothing complex since I am no professional)...



I used to have to 'bribe' Hisham in efforts to get him to move...You know, if you promise to flex your fingers (both hands!) for 5 times, you get a wafer...


It was the only way I knew which would get him to cooperate with me...The 'bribing' worked, sometimes...



Although Hisham was skinny, he was heavy...

It was quite a challenge to bathe him...Often, it would be me, and another student nurse, or a student nurse and his uncle...Because his mother was so heavily pregnant, it would have been unfair and dangerous to make her carry him...(Hey, I think I developed some tiny little *Ahem*, muscles with all the carrying! Hehe...)






Hisham never spoke througout the time he was in the hospital, we suspect, because of the trauma...According to Kak, he was a real chatter before...

The nurses were always trying to get him to talk; simple things like "Panggil Jie-Jie (me)!"

He never called me, but at least, now, Hisham smiles...








One day, my best friend, Yean Mei and I threw a balloon fest in the hospital...(Full story, another post!)


Hisham, too got one, a red one, with his name on it...



The balloon stayed at his bedside till one day, I found that it had shrunk to the size of my fist...When I walked in, Hisham pointed to the balloon...I asked if he wanted another, and he nodded...

Ah, so balloons it was the next day...




Unfortunately, the time came when I had to leave to further my studies...


The week after, I went to say goodbye to Hisham and uncle (Kak was on maternity leave, with a baby girl)...


After some chatting between me and uncle, I turned to say goodbye to Hisham...



As I turned to leave, I heard a tiny whisper: "Bye Jie"...

It was barely audible, but I heard it, and that two-words (The first time I had heard Hisham's voice) gave me a lump in my throat...


Ah, so it was the red balloon that did it...



Note: *Name has been changed...



PS: I went back to the hospital two months later, and found that Hisham had been discharged...I don't know what has since happened to dear Hisham, or if he ever got his skull back, but I think I'll ask the next time I go back...



29 comments:

PrincessJournals said...

bukan 'blackmail'. thts called bribing/encouraging. ;)

Daphne Ling said...

Ah Princess Journals,

That's the word...'Bribe'...

Thanks! I've changed it...Thanks again...

Pi Bani said...

Jie Jie!
Nanti I report you to BPR for bribing!! Hehehe... but ya lah... sometimes it's the only way to get the kids to cooperate - although I'd call them incentive instead of bribe... :)

And adoi, 19 years old and already 8 children??!

IBU said...

daphne,

it's called "positive reinforcement".
yes - for encouraging (as described by princess journals) or incentivising (as described by kak pi) desired behaviour / action.

good one dear!

minxie said...

you put a lump in my throat too. =)
write about the balloon fest!! =D

love,
tiff

mott said...

Again, thank you.

But, the body is an amazing vehicle. One can actually survive with half a brain..and that doesn't even mean you'll be half stupid. In fact, you might be smarter!!!!! Coz one is forced to utilize all their brain cells!!!! Imagine, us fools walking around with a full brain...only 1% used? HA HA HA!

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

yo jie jie,

this certainly aint for the faint-hearted!

yes he's traumatised, by the whole incident and in pain but apart from physically-scarred for life, i believe there isnt any permanent injury. thank God for that.

personally i think if his spinal cord is intact and not in any ways affected, he should be alright, or it would be a burden to his parents, and especially his young mother.

how old is she again, 19? whoaaa...

will drop by again from time to time.

thanks daphne.

Shahril said...

Daphne, first time here and very happy to stumble on your blog. I came from MarinaM and am blog jumping to all the blogs on her roll. That was a great thing you did for Hisham. Whether you want to call it bribe or incentive or positive reinforcement, still means the same thing wtiht the same 'motif' which is to get Hisham to move. As long as the boy moves, it is ok! Keep up the good work deary and thank you for sharing Hisham's story here. I'll be back! And write about the balloon fest!

Shahril

P.s.: How old is the boy's father?

Anonymous said...

NO SKULL??????

OMG!

And his mother is 19! With 8 children!

Fooyoh!

And you use to give him Cadbury and cakes and bathe him?

Fooyoh!

I like you! You are nice!

Good blog!

winniethepooh said...

working with traumatised children need a lot of patience, love and sometimes 'bribes' huh Daphne ;)and one of the 'reward' u get, hearing him whispered 'bye jie'...i'm sure its not just the balloon that did it, but ur love and care for him over the times.

As for the young mom, 19years old and 8 kids! my jaws nearly dropped.


U have a great weekend Daphne gal :) *hugs hugs*

Steve O' could be a nice guy but chooses not to be said...

good job :)
its not a bribe, its pavlov's conditioning :P

ruby ahmad said...

Hi Daphne,

Ooh! As I read terasa sedih sangat. You did a great job indeed. I would prefer to replace the word 'bribe' to 'incentive'. By all means...kids need incentives, all sorts. We simply must put on our creative hats to give them all the incentives.

That 'Bye Jie' was so touching. Duh! You sure did a good job...as it came from your heart. Take care sweetie.

ruby ahmad said...

Daphne, I did not read any other comments, and now I did...ha ha, Pi and a few others have alternatives too. Takpe..we learn from one another.

Daphne Ling said...

Aiya Kak Pi,

Itu BPR nanti tangkap you for kacau'ing them...;)If the tangkap you adi, who's gonna take care of all your clients? =)

Incentive ar? Boleh jugak...But that would mean that Hisham did it willingly, and I felt that he 'deserved' to be rewarded...Keke...That's why the word 'bribe' is in '...'

Heh ;)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Ibu,

Positive reinforcement huh? Boleh jugak...Thanks, and am sure glad Salhi has been found!


Hey Tiff,

This Hisham just had to save the best for last huh? Had he spoken earlier, I guess the lump would be er, no lump...Take care, and good talking to you again the other night!

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Mott,

Yes, the brain is an amazing organ...Did you know that when parts of the brain die from a stroke, the other parts (after swelling has subsided) can slowly learn to take over the function of the part that died? Cool huh?

As for the part about us using our brains, I read somewhere that humans only use 10% of our total brain capacity...

But did you know, that super-genius Albert Einstein (whose teacher in school said he was useless and will never become anything in life!), used only 5 % of his brain? 5% and he is of course one of the smartest people recorded in history (Wonder what the teacher has to say now?)!

But then again, research shows that Albert Einstein's brain (which was hand-carried in a jar to some research facility after his death for people to study) is actually bigger than an average human brain!

Haha...Terpesong jadinya from the actual topic of Hisham...And yes, I do read a lot of rubbish, so I've been told...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kerp,

For his spinal cord, you're right...As for the physical-scarring, actually, when I first saw Hisham, teruklah his looks (the head)...But as time went by, the hair grew back, and once his skull goes back and the hair re-grows, no actual (physical) scars will be visible...

Only time will tell how badly scarred Hisham was emotionally and mentally...

And thank God there was no spinal cord injury, because had Hisham been stuck in a wheelchair, things would be very bad, because his kampung deep in the jungle would make things very difficult for him and his family...

To digress, some of this OA children, when they fall sick, their parents have to track a few days by foot before they can come to the place where the trucks and ambulance can reach them...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Shahril,

Thanks for coming by, and yes, I will write about the balloon fest one day...In fact, I hope to throw another one this November/December! We'll see how things go...

As for the boy's father, he was in his mid-30's, and real proud of it (that his wife is so much younger)!

I only met him once...

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Anon 1.11pm,

Yes...

Amen...

Yes...

Actually, I was sorry her childhood was robbed...Having a child so young when she had barely grown up herself is no joke...Having 8 is another thing...

Yes...

The least I could do...

Thank you...

And thank you again...

=) *Grins*

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Winnie,

They say 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach'...And 'they' usually (subtly) mean man as the male you like...

I'll like to add woman, girl-child, boy-child, baby, mother, father, and me! to the proverb...

Cos food, is universal!

Your "jaw nearly dropped huh?

Mine did ;)...

And now I think of it, if food is the way to a man's heart, I am doomed, because I can't cook to save my life...

Mummy! I'm going to be staying with you for a very, very, very long time...;)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Steve O' Could Be a Nice Guy But Chooses Not To,

Adoi...Your nick ar, getting longer and longer!

Pavlov's Conditioning?

Haha...Sounds more like Operant Conditioning to me...

He never moved when I brought out the food...

I always have to bargain with him, before he moved...

So if you think about it, Operant Conditioning pun tak boleh lar...=)

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Kak Ruby Ahmad,

Welcome back from your sojourn!

Haih...Hisham's story, in many ways, ended well...The progress he made was good...I do wonder how he is now...

And yes, with budak-budak, creative hat must wear 24/7...The things they do! Sometimes semua mau kasi cekik, and then, they go do something which melts you from head to toe, and you feel like a devil for wanting to cekik them before...

Whatever it is, welcome back!

Mior Azhar said...

Daphne, first time here too. But what can I say, this entry is touching and inspiring all the same. Thanks for sharing.

And now where are my daughters, must get them to read this.....

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Mior Azhar,

Thanks for dropping by, and another thank you for taking the time to put your comment. I appreciate it =)

Found your daughters yet? ;)

Hehe...

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

daph,

yea i cant really imagine how one OA is confined on a wheelchair. so thank god in hisham's case, things will only look up for him. the reason i'm saying that is bcos to me, if he is badly affected, he can still be counselled. just my 2 sen.

great job, no doubt. yamseng to u, daphne.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

oops, missed out one word.

i meant if he is badly affected, mentally.

thanks.

J.T. said...

Lovely sharing, Daph (Jie Jie). :)

*shudder* - half skull. Poor boy.
And then the mother - 8 children by 19 years old. Adoi... (like Pi Bani).

Great job, Daphne. You will be blessed a lifetime. :)

Daphne Ling said...

Hey Kerp,
Yamseng huh? Boleh...But fill my cup with Ribena, will ya?

Daphne Ling said...

Hey JT,

Haha...I should have kept my mouth shut about the Jie-Jie...Now I'm going to have a few of you calling me that!

Yes, half skull...Believe me, I starred all right...Was just too shocked...

Thanks JT...