I was literally dumbfounded. One second was too long for such thing. Quick! Pick him UP! Allahu Akbar!!! I recited. What's happening to my grandson, Harith? I must handle crisis with Allah's words and help.
Just then my daughter, Zaza emerged from her bedroom with little Sofiya in her arms. Both have apparently just woken up from their afternoon nap.
"Ja, Harith's in fits. Quick, call Tasha. Ask her what should we do!!!" I yelled (?) at her and hastily picking up the stiffened body with strange irregular movements of my grandson. I verily tried to control myself from getting too panicky and irrationally thinking of my next move. Forgotten about the crack in my lower back and my two months old surgery, I held him in my arms as though I was losing him. I have never witnessed this incident since the birth of my first child and since I could ever remember in my life. Not ever!
"Where is the phone?" asked her and as she put down Sofiya onto the floor, the little one felt the sudden abundant and gave a loud cry.
"It's there on the table", said I. Still reciting verses from the Quran, I tried to remain as calm as I could because I knew it if I were just as panicky, things would be more hay wire.
"Tasha, Harith's fitting. What shall we do, where are you? Quick!!!!" I heard her strong and "out-of-breath-voice"... It was such a life and death 911-distress-call and the instantaneous response from the other end.
"Lie him on the floor, on his left. Take a wet towel sponge him over and over". Was her order.
"What are we going to do?" I found myself asking.
""We go to the hospital, now!" replied Zaza.
"Surely not like this. We have to change!" Said I.
"But this is emergency, we just go!" sounds like a good idea.
But who is going to drive? We have two sick children in our arms. Sofiya was also fevering. I put Harith on his RIGHT side on the carpet in my bedroom, a wet towel over his head, while I hastily changed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Something that worked well for emergency situation. A blouse and a long skirt that were already on the hanger.
"No, call my friend in the other apartment, if she could help us", ordered I.
Meanwhile Zaza had the time to change too. AND I have just realized, Harith was on his right side, not left. So I pulled him over and he made no movement anymore. I was a little calm. Then a slight fit recurred. I then picked him up another time, calling out his name but of course there was absolutely no response. His eyes were opened but stiffened. I have no idea at all how long this has taken place. Not looking at the clock but my eyes were fixed on his face and body. He was so pale.
"Ding dong!!!" there was my friend at the door. She arrived within minutes of the phone call.
"Quick, put this on his head. It's the black sesame oil... (WAS IT?) and get some ice and put on his head!!!" ordered her.
"But Tasha did not ask to put any ice" protesting, was I???
Anyway, Zaza took a small bag of ice, snatched a black computer bag from the table and holding Sofiya tightly in her arms. Tasha was on the phone telling, she and her hubby would straight away go and wait for us at the hospital. Little Sofiya was quiet then. It was a trip, an outing for her.
WE then rushed out of our apartment, I did not feel his weight but only his stiffen body! Everything seems so light and flying. Down the lift we went, out into the open. But where is the car? Oh dear! Farry was about 7 minutes away. She had parked further up. Once into the car, I put ice on his head, still reciting the Quranic verses and tried to wake him up. The journey seemed a bit too long since there were other traffics on the road which towed each other behind a bus stopping to pick up passengers. I remained calm and that's the least or the most I could do...
My friend was calling out Harith's name. But he did not respond. His eyes seemed opened but they were motionless.
AS I AM writing this, I could clearly see in my mind's eyes how was Harith during the attack. I feel the fright now. I feel my heart throbbing now. What IF things had gone wrong then? What would have happened?
When we reached the hospital, I saw his parents were waiting. We did not know the emergency exits were shifted. So, we went round and there they were...His Mama, came round to where we got stuck among the traffic congestion. Frantically she signaled to the car in front that we have an emergency case. They gave way. Thank God. Another fits had occurred as our car drew close to the emergency entrance. Papa was there waiting. As I opened the door, his Papa grabbed him into his arms. But, oh no! His fingers were holding my blouse... it was so tight. I tried to loosen them... I managed it. What a sight!!!!! A pitiful sight it was. My grandchild!
Once in the emergency ward, he was attended to by the Pediatrician on duty. His Mama was calling out his name. Her face was pale like there was no life! And nothing came from him. His eyes were opened but still stiffened. I found my way into the cubicle. I knew I could have done nothing to help. The nurses were busy too. Then I left his bedside and found myself a seat. Oh Ya Allah, I could have never forgiven myself if something were to happen. Like What? I don't know!!! I do not want to think about it. BUT!!!!!!!!!
I sent my second daughter and my friends off so that they could go home and get something for the night for Harith. Meanwhile, relatives arrived. I tried to describe as little and brief as I could. Sofiya who was fevering, obviously needed treatment. So, I told my son in law to register her and get her blood tested as well. He obediently did. He was obviously panicky. So did my daughter.
Apparently, Harith did not recognize them although it was more than two hours now. The doctor said, under normal circumstance, such a case would end within the hour or less. When we first arrived, it was 5:15 p.m or so. Now, it's already 8:00p.m...
I observed my daughter.
I observed my daughter.
She was sitting there quietly. Not talking to anyone. I could not guest what's on her mind. BUT suddenly she got up, Sofiya in her arms, tears running down her cheeks non-stop and she uttered me these vary words:
"Mummy, Harith did not recognise us at all. The doctor has done City Scan on him and the result was negative (of brain damage) ...but since this has taken too long and it's very serious, the doctor wanted to take his spinal fluid for further testing to make sure he is out of it"... (????????????)
"Brain damage??? Could it lead to that?" asked I.
"Brain damage??? Could it lead to that?" asked I.
...calmly she explained which sent my thinking head to an electric shock speed! I was adamant. I was in disbelieve. That serious!!!!!!! My grandson has to undergo such procedure? I hide my panicky state.
"That's what the doctor said. Quick, call friends and relatives who are in Mecca performing the Haj. Ask them to make du'a and pray for Harith so that he come out of the situation and that Allah spared all of us from such intended procedure!!!"
I rushed with my words as in a life and death manner. But of course. Spinal fluid? Operation? Spine? It was like when I first heard of the vary word "Caesarian" many years ago... It's a taboo to mention it even now.... So was the former.
"Have you done your Maghrib prayer yet?" I asked. \
Just then I saw my son in law passing by. Same question I shot at him and he said "Not yet" too.
"Please make solat Hajat as well, okay?", ordered I.
To which , I myself shot up from my chair and found my way to the corridor on my right... There were not many people praying at that time. So, I had the small prayer room all to myself, my daughter and another lady. They both left earlier than me. I remained in there for another half hour to wait for Isya' prayer time.
"Ya Allah, that was what the doctor said. That was what he thought was best at this time for him to do to solve this critical situation for Harith. I am sure, Ya Allah, I know it. This is NOT what you said and not what you have decided for Harith. Am sure you have other plans for him to come through. Ya Allah, please calm us down, please make Harith come round. Ya Allah, You are High and Mighty, The Most Exalted, your power is Absolute, you are the Most Knowledgeable. Am sure you would avoid the doctor from taking his spinal fluid...am sure you are testing us at this vary minute and want all of us to submit ourselves, to leave things absolutely to you and YOU alone and nothing else to handle... with Laahaula wa laaquwwata illa billahil 'aliyyil 'aziim."
TEARs from my eyes and from the depth of my heart were fast flowing, non stop. My prayer garments were wet. I was sobbing while making this du'a. Eyes swollen, nose getting red like an over- ripen tomato... How am I going out? Who cares???
I walked out anyway. Speechlessly walking while offering zikr with every breath it took. I remained quiet until at almost 9:15p.m we received an sms telling the latest of Harith' s progress. It was apparent that he finally came round. Those with him by his bedside, heard him asking for his "sandy pillow case". That was him obviously.
"Alhamdulillah, Allah is Great!!!". Finally all of our prayers were answered. Prayers from us in the hospital, from relatives outside and those far away across the horizon in Mecca. HE knew what was best for us. He has His ways of testing us - testing our faiths, testing our piety and testing our sincerity. This is also His way to show us the power of zikrullah and to leave things to Him to handle with absolute faith, tawakkal and purity.
Alhamdulillah, by that time, Sofiya's blood test results were out and there was nothing to worry about. We made out way to the children's wing and found Harith in the company of his Papa, aunties and uncles with wet towels all over his body to reduce his temperature. He was on drips.
Then began the two weeks saga. Taking turns to accompany Harith in the hospital, day and night. Who would be in the night shift? It was obvious, Papa has to. While Mama has to be home to accompany Sofiya since she is still breast fed. Day time, was Mama's shift. Came the time when Mama's leave were finished, grandma (ME) has to be in the duty roster.
For two weeks, we spent time doing colorings together, lots and lots of them... reading story books to him and of course the duties went on and on from sponging him, feeding him and accompanying him to the blood-taking sessions. Doctors, there were five to six of them in a team coming round daily to see him making progress. Indeed it was progress. Among other things he had to go through with tears and cries were blood taking! They were sent for TB testing (as he was excessively coughing), pneumonia, bacterial infection and many more.
I had my session too. There were paeds who came by interviewing me on the event that had started since and until that day. On the fourth day that followed, something had appeared on his back. It was right in the middle. A little watery blister which was thought to be a chicken pox. Soon we found our way into the quarantine ward which offered us to have the much-need-privacy from those other crying babies...
That ended our two weeks life in the privacy of the hospital.
On the day he was to be discharged, he was ever so excited to come home that he did not sleep a wink in the afternoon which he normally had. Alhamdulillah, all was well and Allah was with us n our hearts, prayers and lives.
Lessons learned: NEVER ever let him remain in high fever for more than 48 hours. Always have blood test as recommended by the health authorities as soon as the child fevers.