June 16, 2012

Everything changes

Oh what a crappy, emotional day it’s been, I can’t seem to stop crying every time I think about dear Aunty Sarda, who’s now in hospital.

We noticed a change in her behaviour this past week, she was forgetful, distracted, dazed, confused, giggly and starting to slur and drag her feet. She was constantly stroking her hair, or spacing out.

Swana suspected a mild stroke, I thought it was the onset of dementia because we had dinner last Sunday and she seemed fine, though a little quieter than usual.

But the symptoms and deterioration over a few days were too sudden to be dementia, and we sent her to SGH’s A&E this afternoon. They ran tests and scans on her including an MRI and after almost 6 hours, a doc came out to speak to us. Kaelash and Jeanette were present too.

I wasn’t prepared for the news she shared, I was expecting them to confirm a mild stroke which might have been better than the actual diagnosis, which is a brain tumour and most likely malignant. I was stunned.

They knew she had a history of breast cancer so they suspect it spread. She’s been warded and more tests need to be conducted to determine the kind of tumour but any tumour in the brain in my book is bad news.

There was swelling on the tissue which was mostly likely causing her acute disorientation, so they prescribed some steroids. She’s really not herself and I know she would hate having to go through this because being single, she prided herself on being independent and self-sufficient and as Kaelash said, she never wanted to be a burden to anyone.

This always happen, you take someone’s presence in your life for granted thinking they’ll always be there, but overnight everything changes. And now we don’t know if her memory will improve and whether her affairs are in order and I wonder, how much do I really know about her?

She’s one of those people who make an effort to stay in touch with all her friends and relatives, calling to chat and check up on us every couple of days. She was confidant to the maids, she’s soft hearted but has a sharp wit. I could always count on her to babysit when Mummy was sick. She’s reliable, funny, frugal and loyal. She genuinely cares for people and always remembers birthdays, even the kids’ ones.

When she lived with Pops, she was a big help to him financially by paying rent, and also helping about the house looking after his meals and the general upkeep of the house. I’m really grateful for all she’s done for us, never really showed my appreciation…I have to make it up to her somehow.

It’s scary to think that she won’t truly be independent again and how it all sort of changed overnight. There’s no way she can live on her own after this, we won’t let her anyway.

On top of her illness, the Father’s Day/Baba’s birthday dinner we scheduled for today didn’t go according to plan either. I had made a reservation at Ubin Seafood for 8pm and we got there slightly just before.

But the restaurant was very crowded and I didn’t see any empty tables set aside for us. When I enquired, I was told they were full and we’d have to wait for a table to finish and they couldn’t chase customers away but I asked then what was the point of a reservation?

We waited nonetheless, there was some confusion on which table to give us, at one point our hopes were raised when they said they were clearing one in the VIP room only to be informed there was a mix-up. Nick was getting edgy, he was already complaining about the ulu location.

Eventually after almost an hour, we got a table. I quickly wrote down on a piece of paper everything we wanted to order instead of waiting for them to come round and thereafter things ran a little smoother when the bulk of the dinner crowd started leaving.

Once the first dish came, everything else came out in quick succession. One of the staff recognised Baba from the army so that helped I think, we didn’t have to pay for our drinks in the end.

But the food redeemed the place somewhat and despite the wait, I think I would still go back. We ordered har cheong kai, kai lan, brinjal delight, the must-have salted egg squid, crispy pork knuckle, stir fried venison, special fried bee hoon, mee goreng, chilli crab and butter crab and crispy baby squid.

There was a crab promo of buy 2 get 1 free, so we split our crab dishes into 1.5/1.5. Most of the food was good, the salted egg squid was orgasmic. The butter crab was creamier than Mellben’s but tasted similar, only texture of the sauce different. The brinjal was delightful, sweet and spicy and almost tom-yammy.

The total bill was $240, which I considered cheap for the amount we ordered but the drinks were not charged, am not sure whether intentionally or accidental.

Another reason for meeting Baba was to collect the bak chang I ordered from Aunty Irene. It’s been eons since I had her homemade bak chang and I placed an order for 60, on behalf of me, Swana, Nick and Adriana who wanted to try some too. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into one!

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