A White Lie- about an ostomy
Don’t tell lies, ever. No matter what – not even little white lies. –Margaret Keane-mom
(Bahasa Malaysia translation
Mr. Ponusamy was accompanied by his daughter
to see a stomaltherapist.
Although the care of his stoma
and the skin around it was excellent,
he made many complaints about them.
It must have been difficult for him to accept
having a bag on his tummy to collect his faeces.
The surgeon would not reconnect his intestines
nor close the stoma as proposed six months earlier.
“They said that it was a barium sulphate blockage in my colon.
But it has been removed already. They should be able to re-attach
the intestines and close this ‘thing’, this stoma,
so I can defecate naturally from my anus!
But they cannot give me a good reason
on why they won’t operate to revert my condition!”
The daughter called the stomaltherapist aside.
“All his children agreed and told the surgeon
not to tell him that he has cancer of the colon.
He is 88 years old and had two heart operations before!
We are afraid that he may have another attack!”
“I’m retired, but I’m a well-read man.
My fatigue or feeling tired all the times;
alternating bowel habits of diarrhoea and constipation;
sudden weight loss; blood in my stools;
all point out the signs and symptoms of cancer, aren’t they?”
“…you have just said it, yourself!
This is the report of your biopsy.
Yes, it’s true… “
Mr. Ponusamy kept quiet.
The two ladies glanced at each other, worriedly.
“Do keep an eye on your father at home!
Call me or your surgeon whenever necessary!”
During the following months,
Mr. Ponusamy would drop by the ward
whenever there were patients scheduled for ostomy surgeries.
His daughter would standby dutifully, from a distant,
as her father went on to explain systematically to a new patient
about how to care for a stoma.
We found a prolific speaker in him, too.
Mr. Ponusamy shared his experiences
at seminars for healthcare professionals
and patients with intestinal cancer and stomas.
“I have a successful career, loving children and grandchildren.
But, I would be happier if I was told the truth from the beginning
so that I can make plans and do the best I can, with the time I have left.”
A white lie, no matter how well intended it was meant to be,
should one tell or not tell, a white lie?
– Serena Chen S.P. @ TPTan –
26, October 2020