"Damn that Ah Heng!" He cursed his younger brother under his breathe. Ah Heng was to have taken in the old lady but he called last night to tell Mr Tan that he was on his way to K.L
"You know lah, my wife complain hardly see her parents. So school holidays, I can bring the children all over. No so lucky like you ok, stay with mother!" His younger brother told him.
With that, Ah Heng was out of the question. Mr Tan tried calling his younger sister but she was busy with her sick father-in-law. "Some more there will be no place to sleep for mother! You think my place like your condo? I stay 4 room flat can?!"
He could have kept her home with the maid but his wife already has her hand full with the two older boys. They needed the maid to look after the youngest of the three, a two and a half year old toddler. "I don't care, the maid must come along. You try feeding the little one and see!" His wife had screamed at him earlier on. Indeed, only the maid can make that rascal eat.
So once again, Mr Tan had to resort to that last trick up his sleeves. He drove his mother in his MPV to Accident and Emergency. On the way there he was rehearsing his excuses, fabricating symptoms with his limited medical knowledge. Well, they were not really excuses. "Mother really had been coughing for the past two weeks. What if it was pneumonia or something? Better play safe, send to hospital. No harm getting another check up by the doctors..... "
They had arrived at the A and E at about 1pm. Mr Tan was getting increasingly anxious with the long queue. He had to go back home, pick up his wife and kids and rush to the airport. He took a peek at his mother who had been quiet all this while. She hasn't been talking much after the stroke which left her wheelchair bound. Flashes of memories of his mother bringing him and his siblings to Tao Payoh park appeared in his mind. Those days she was a big strong woman. When he saw his mother turning to look at him, he quickly turned away, afraid to look at the old lady in the eyes. At 4:30pm, they finally saw the doctor.
"Sir, I don't think there is anything serious enough to ward your mother for." The emergency doctor rejected his request. But he came prepared.
"What???!!! After I spent more than a hundred dollars on the private ambulance to bring my mother here, you say don't admit??? Can you be responsible if something happens? I want to complain!"
The part about complaining always worked. Mr Tan left the A and E at 5pm.
"What's the story?" The Medical Officer asked his Houseman.
"75 year old lady. History of CVA with left hemiplegia. Social admission lah." The Houseman replied.
"Oh yeah, now is the September school hols. Season for granny dumping. December even worse!"
The Medical Officer spoke in Hokkien to the old lady, "Aunty how are you?"
Of which she replied in her slurred speech," Can have Milo? I never eat since morning."
As the two doctors walked away to ask the nurse for some food, Mdm Ong struggled to take out a picture of her grandsons from her pocket with her good hand. She missed them already. All she wished was that they had a good time in Hong Kong. It was just one week. One week later they will come, pick her up and she can go back home again.