[ 18.02.2015 ]

After several hours at A&E, Mom was re-admitted. The cause of all the hallucinations: a severe drop in her sodium caused her to lapse into an ‘altered mental state’.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Trust me when I tell you how powerful the simple curtain can be in certain circumstances. To be totally honest, I was really glad when the nurses told me to wait outside because they needed to change her. After an intense night, it was a good and necessary break. And seriously, there was nothing we could have done to help her, other than to leave her in the hands of the trained medical staff.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

A young Dr Tay, the on-call doctor at ward 48, attended to her in the wee hours of the morning.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Six hours after her admission, Mom was well enough to go for her last radiation therapy. The staff at the RT department asked if we wanted the mask Mom used for the sessions as a souvenir and my nephew gladly accepted it on behalf of the family.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Phyllis Wong, a senior medical social worker and family friend who has known Mom since she was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago, played a very important role in Mom’s journey. She was the one who taught Mom to throw away the bad and take in the good. Phyllis was also the one who explained the ‘altered mental state’ to us.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

My nephew Boon Yi​ started playing with my Leica in the early days of Mom’s hospitalization. I don’t like pictures of myself in general but I love how he captured something very precious here. Mom and Helen were laughing about some images I made previously.  Everyone looks so happy here. The young man certainly understands ‘The Decisive Moment’.

I think by now, you can all guess what we were all laughing about. I showed Mom pictures of her hallucinations and she asked, “Oh dear, did I go mad? What happens if I do that again?” She didn’t remember very much.

We promptly told her that it was one-off and laughed with her. But we were not entirely correct.

Picture by Quah Boon Yi

[ 18.02.2015 ]

It was always Mom fussing over us and not the other way round.

[ 17.02.2015 ]

I think she must have sat there for two hours before I arrived. I thought I could persuade her to come out of the toilet but it took a long time.

[ 17.02.2015 ]

Very few of us knew where Mom stashed her stuff but my second sister patiently obeyed her instructions, but we still didn’t know what she was really looking for.

[ 17.02.2015 ]

After some effort, they found a folder of documents. I think in it was her will, which I only learned about a few days earlier, and some other banking papers.

[ 17.02.2015 ]

In the end, my sister unearthed a bag within a bag, which was hidden in a pocket in a coat. We still have no idea what was happening to Mom. I had been so confused that I didn’t even remember that it was Dad’s death anniversary.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Meanwhile, my nephew found a quiet corner in the dining room to enjoy himself. As a kid, I used to hide below my parents’ bed, waiting to be found. My nephew, on the other hand, prefers to find his own corner with an iPad, and hopes that he is not interrupted.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Just shortly past midnight, part one of the ‘mystery’ was solved. Earlier, she had made us wear the chain around her neck, reminding us that everything needed to be done before 12 midnight. Then, I was asked to cut the chain to release the diamond pendant. She handed it over to my second sister with the instruction, “This is for Helen.” Trust me, it was not funny at all. In fact, we were all quite terrified because we had no idea what had happened to Mom.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

With the first task settled, Mom finally agreed to go back to her room to rest.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Task 2: she insisted on waking my brother up to give him a lecture on growing up and how he needed to learn how to look after himself because she was going to go soon.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Task 3: Mom said that there was something evil behind the door and instructed us to find a red cloth so that my brother could step on it repeatedly. My nephew and I, wanting to spare my brother, volunteered to do it on his behalf but we were told to stay out of it.

[ 18.02.2015 ]

Totally confused, my second sister called the ward nurse and was told to bring her in immediately. Luckily for us, Mom agreed to let me drive my sister’s car to SGH, although she kept saying that I drive very slow and I would not be able to get her to the hospital in time to save her.