A mum's gift of life

A mum's gift of life

Children of Mohd Ghazali Ismail's age would normally play under the sun, chase each other around a field, pretending to be policemen and thieves.

But then, 9-year-old Ghazali never had the chance. He spent most of his childhood and teenage years facing the same four walls of a hospital ward.

Ghazali was afflicted by a severe disease (Nephrotic Syndrome) which ravaged his kidneys. At the tender age of 9, he had lived for 13 years "chained" to kidney dialysis machines.

Ghazali's mother, Ruhana Talib, did everything she could to care for her son for those 13 harrowing years.

"My son was so weak from the endless treatments, he could barely move," she said, adding that Ghazali needed to go through dialysis four times a day, where each session lasted two hours.

"Because he did not even have the strength to open his eyes, I would read his textbooks to him by his hospital bed so that he could be ready for his examinations."

Ruhana said she did not know what else to do. Although aware that an organ transplant would alleviate her son's suffering, the procedure was rare and organ donors were also scarce then.

Ruhana said she remembered the difficult days when she slept on the hospital floor, but what was more difficult was seeing her son suffer.

"When we heard that it was possible to donate our organs, the whole family stepped up and offered to donate their kidneys to Ghazali."

After more than a year of cross-matching, Ruhana was told that her kidneys were best suited for the transplant.

"At that point, I did not care what would happen to me. All I wanted was for my son to be alive and well, living his life to the fullest.

"I have lived my life, it was time for my son to live his," she said, keeping her tears in check.

Ghazali, however, did not like the idea at all.

"I was hoping that my mother would change her mind and hoped that I had died so she would not have to go through it."

But the transplant surgery did not go as well as expected as Ruhana's operation suffered some complications. She sneezed right after her surgery wounds were stitched and the wound "burst".

When Ruhana was wheeled back into the ward, Ghazali sighed a breath of relief.

Ruhana had essentially given Ghazali the "gift of life" twice.

Both made a full recovery after the operation. Six years after surgery, Ghazali now 28, is married and his wife is expecting a child.

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