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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The visit at UM Hospital

The collection was an awesome success. I have been chasing time purchasing more than 79 gifts and collecting more than 20 donated gift parcels the last 4 days precedent to the day of the visit.

I stopped counting at one point and just purchased gifts based on the donation banked in as and when because donation were still pouring in on Friday itself. I had been out most days and hadn't time to put up a notice to state the last day of donation. So as at 9pm I was still purchasing last minute gifts but fortunately, had them all wrapped just in time by Saturday.


I can't thank Nancy, the gift store's owner, enough for helping wrap most of them without any service charge. She says it's her contribution to the charity. She also gave 20% off all wrappers and went down as much as she can on the prices of some of the gifts I purchased from her store.

We grouped at the entrance of Menara Timur at UM Hosp at 9.30am on Saturday morning.

When Ros came and unload her other 100(?) odd parcels and donated cupcakes from her 4 seater, and adding some more gifts that the volunteers brought along, it came to this awesome pile. This is amazing considering that the project were initiated only 10 days before. Some of the parcels which we thought weren't substantial enough in term of appearance, we combined 2 parcels into one.


The datuk pengarah of the hospital, Professor Ikram Shah, came out to have a look and we took this group picture together, although picture taking wasn't the main priority of the visit. This group picture is probably the only one most of us volunteers have for the visit.


My apology if some of the faces were blurred out. I distorted the features of the volunteers at their requests.

The volunteers who turn up to assist in handing out the gifts besides Ros and me were Salwa, Montessorimum, Sofhib, Geok Hong, Shamira, Wai Han (home birth consultant), Wai Leng, Suzette, Pauline, Gladys and Ellena.

We split into 2 groups. One for the ICU and pediatric ward, and one for the maternity ward. Although I have assisted My Moms Best forum in purchasing and wrapping gifts before, I have never made trips to the ward to hand out the parcels. Ashley was still very young then and I had been maidless for 2 years before this.

So this is my first visit. Nothing prepares me for the heaviness in my heart resulting from these ward visits. At our first stop at PIC One, (ICU Ward One), we were greeted by heart wrenching cries of a child. The cries sounds tired. The child must have been crying for a long time, and consistently. It echoes through the corridors. I imagine the child must be in extreme pain or in constant discomfort, and I imagine the mother of the child and the nurses must be offering the child the best comfort in whichever way they knew. It was a shadowy beginning which accompanied us throughout the rest of the rounds.

We weren't allowed into ICU One, although we were allowed in the other wards. We chosed the best gifts among them ie. those Russ Pillows valued RM52 which Nancy, the gift store owner had obligingly reduced to RM28 being her further contribution to the project, some Hello Kitty pillow unsnapped into blankets, some bolster unsnapped into pillows and other gifts of higher value, (of which the higher value were made affordable from Lilian, the founder of My Mom's Best's bigger cash contribution for 5 gifts) and the nurses pushed the trolley into the ward to distribute among the mothers.

We were instructed to just hand out, wished the mothers a Happy Mothers Day and proceeded along. Even then, it took us till noon. During the round, I note one child of around 3 years old wearing a mask over his face while cruising around his bed. It was thick and it looks heavy, like those scuba diving mask, except it covers the whole face, including nose and mouth? It was heavy enough to compress into his tender young skin. To have to endure constant discomfort at such young age, isnt that sad?

On the next bed, a wisp of a little girl of about 5 years old with puffy white skin all over her face, her neck and I presume, her whole body.

I had thought that it was calamine. On second look, it is the colour of the skin. And there is a layer of skin like tight plastic sheen over her skin. It looks as if any accidental poke or tear in her tight white puffy shiny skin would result in a spray of body liquid. Very tender and fragile looking. She has only one hand and someone had placed an old worn out bath towel over her handless shoulder. Her other hand, peeping out from under the blanket, is terribly swollen, deformed and hasn't any fingers.

This is the most heart-wrenching experience I have ever encounter. She was labouring to breath. And her mother had stepped out during the child's nap, I suppose to run some errants. I note that under her closed eyelids, her eyes were bloodshoot, a line of red running along her closed lid. Looking at the little one, I felt this tightness at my throat. The little girl's suffering haunted me till today. I wish I could do more for her and her mother than just handing out a donated parcel and a cupcake.

We ended about 12.30 noon and had a drink to quench our thirst downstairs at the deli one floor below before bading each other goodbye. I know I haven't added the links to the above-mentioned names yet. It's my sister's wedding today and there will be stuffs to do. will add them as soon as time permit. And will upload the links of the others' blog soonest possible as when they have time to post.

Anyhow, all in all, this is a leadladen-heart experience, of which although I had prepared for it, I still have a hard time dealing with. I would still visit again the next project though.

But, thank you, all, for all your kind contribution ! And thank you to Lilian and Ros for initiating this project again this year.

May the next Mothering Mother project be as successful. Have a great Mother's Day today, all !


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