Stories of my Father: The Amputee
My father lost a leg to Diabetes. There was an ulcer on his right foot that would not heal for months and we were in and out of the hospital all those time. We were taught by the hospital nurses how to do a dressing for the wound every day.
Eventually the infection got on to his bone and he had to amputate his right leg below the knee.
For a man who lost a leg, he never lost his sense of humour.
From the time they wheeled him out of surgery, the first thing he said to his anxious family was,
" Now I can join the cacat (handicap) race."
Another time, we were talking about buying shoes. He said he should look for another amputee who wants only a right shoe, then they can save a lot by sharing a pair of shoes.
"But," I said, "That's not so easy, coz you'll also have to find a GUY with the same shoe size."
Hmm.. and we had not even thought of style and colour preference yet. What about those offers where the second pair comes with a 50% discount. Could we just claim for one side for free?
Of course, because of his sense of humour, we would sometimes tease him.
There was a period he was worried about finances and would frequently complain aloud that he had no money. To that my younger sis and I would say, "How about playing your guitar in the pasar malam (night market) and we'll give you a bowl to collect charity from passers-by? You could even have the dog with you to pose as a blind-seeing dog (he was really losing his eye sight too)... or he could just guard over your collection.
An incident he found funny was when he took a trip to a temple in Klang with my mother and brother. While they were inside doing their rituals, my father sat on a bench under a tree waiting for them. A lady came up to him and offered him RM10. He laughed but very politely declined. He laughed for the rest of the day recalling this incident and we teased him that he should go get a lottery ticket.
One things he would say about his amputated leg was it's a "mow-ying-geok". In Cantoneses means "a leg without a shadow". More accurately, it refers to a kung-fu where the kick is so fast you don't even see a shadow of it. And with that he would be moving his stump around, mimicking some kung-fu moves while resting on his bed.
One of my father's lessons on life was to always be brave, to have courage. This was definitely courage in a circumstance of life beyond himself.
May we all find courage in our dark days too, and still be able to see the funny side of life.