We often don’t realize how much we take someone for granted until we almost lose them.
Last Christmas day, on 25th December 2014, I found myself in that precise situation – my mum had suffered a heart attack as a result of clogged arteries, and was in the midst of a stent operation back in Singapore. All I could do then was to pray as hard as I could where I was in the province of Buenos Aires that her surgeon would be able to keep her alive.
Thankfully, God answered my desperate prayers for her safety and after a 45-minute operation which felt like forever, mum was wheeled out of the operating theatre, tired and groggy, but conscious and alive. Apparently, my mum’s heart stopped two times during the surgery, and it was truly God’s grace that brought her back.
When I called my Aunty Adeline, who was at the hospital to give my father emotional support, she passed the phone to my mum, and the first words out of my mouth was “Mummy, I love you,” my voice cracking with emotion – from pure relief and the shock that I’d been so close to losing her.
My beautiful mum, who is this strong, wonderful woman that puts everyone else before herself, told me, “Don’t worry darling, I’m OK.” Her voice was weak, a result of the anesthetics and the ordeal her body and heart had just gone through, and as I listened to her speak, my eyes glistening with tears on the other end of the line, I was determined never to take her for granted anymore.
Later, when her doctors ran a couple of other tests, they found that my mum had an extremely high resting blood glucose level, and they diagnosed her with Type-2 diabetes (also known as “adult diabetes”), the condition in which the pancreas is unable to naturally produce sufficient insulin to metabolise the carbohydrates and sugars digested by the body, resulting in dangerously high blood sugar levels.
When I got over the initial stage of shock, the question that came to my mind over and over again was – “How did that even happen?”
My mum took her vitamins on a daily basis and neither drank alcohol nor smoked.
How did her arteries end up so clogged that she experienced a heart attack, and how did she end up becoming diabetic?