It was on, yes, April 17 to be exact. The first two dates earlier had to be postponed upon constraints relating to venues. Since this was going to be the first gathering following our adoption of Geni.com everyone were all excited.
The scenario was one of anticipation and awareness. This was prompted by exchanges on the Geni.com network of new-found relatives complete with their pictures but were still strangers at that point.
With this sort of feeling I had left on Friday the 16th afternoon to put up in Seremban for the night. The next morning I would just need to take a leisurely drive to Kuala Pilah for registration beginning 9.00 am. I need not have to rush.
The trouble started Friday evening itself. I suddenly felt a chill and a slight temperature that worsen as the night progressed. In the morning after prayers I still could not claim to have recovered. I told my loving wife, Shadah that we must make an appearance. “I want to be there,” I insisted. This was the Inaugural meeting. It was important to be there.
She agreed. I gulped my medication, rested awhile after breakfast then off to Kuala Pilah barely making the registration before the session began.
It commenced most appropriately with the Organising Chairman’s speech ( by my nephew Ano), doa ( by my nephew Abu ) and a walk through of the matriarch, Saamah who was fondly referred to as ‘Wan Kulu’ as what I had remembered ( which strangely was not mentioned that day)
The narration on 'Wan Kulu' ( my late father's loving mother)was done by our elder, my cousin Bang Ngah Jamal who also touched on Idris Abdullah (known fondly as Atuk Itam Oyek , my late father's loving father) and Yusof (known fondly as Datuk Dagang) both of whom were married to Saamah ( at different times, of course) thus the Family Tree of Hjh Saamah (Oyek and Tok Dagang)
( I would request Bang Ngah Jamal to get someone to transcribe the contents of his narration later as the sound system and acoustics in the hall that day left much to be desired.)
Then followed the crux of the matter - a narration of the structure of the family tree and the naming of the head of family and all decendents from top to bottom and identifying them if they were present then. This was ably done by Ano who later requested that amendments be updated and a corrected version later distributed. This took a major part of the morning.
This was necessary , being our first gathering, the information were all new knowledge heard for the first time by most of those present. There followed then a group photo snapping session of the whole family and the sub-families which took quite a while.
During this session, we the elders were seated in the front row while the crowd at the back were replaced to make way according to each respective family’s appearance as a sub-group.
It was then about 1.30pm? It was at this point that I suddenly experienced a very funny feeling. I kept yawning every other minute, my eyes watered, my head spinning and my throat dried and I felt a soreness of my muscles. It must be the heat outside, it must be the bad ventilation (only fans were running), it must be the carry-over of my fever from the night before, it must be pangs of hunger ( no appetite the night before) , just two pieces of bread before leaving that morning.
All sorts of things ran through my mind then.
After some while, it was then announced food was ready. I asked someone for directions to the ‘Gents’, when still seated. Others got up for lunch so did I. They got to the food spread, I didn’t!
The moment I got up, my head spun , my mind twirled and I heard a dull thud and I then heard nothing more ( the dull thud was my fall from a standing position on to the hard floor)
When I came to, after about 5 minutes I was lying on a row of 'folding chairs' after being picked up from the floor. The first thing I did was to touch my forehead and the back of my head (to check if my head hit the floor) I did not cushion my fall, I did not remember falling, only the dull thud. I had a black-out. Apparently I landed on my left side, my left shoulder took the brunt of the fall (still sore today, after 4 days)
A crowd built up around me. ‘give some water to drink’, ‘get a sweet drink for energy’ ( I got both drinks) ‘unbutton his shirt’, ‘take off his sandles’, ‘you need to go to the hospital’
Amidst my protestations that ‘I’m ok, no need hospital’ that we heard the wailing siren of the ambulance and within 5 mins it was parked right at the hall entrance.
I was very lucky. That day there were 2 doctors, 1 matron, a few nurses (I was told , but not fact checked) They were in the crowd and all were my waris. My cousin Azizah, even though retired still wielded strong influence and got the ambulance and an accompanying doctor in it within minutes. When I thanked her she later quoted what her father ( my late uncle Ulung Sulaiman) had wisely imparted to her, ‘ Take care as any of those signs and symptoms are impending warning signs of medical emergencies’ How true it was!.
An ambulance ride is out of this world. Even for barely 3km it put the F1 Grand Prix drivers to shame. I was tossed left then right then left and luckily was conscious enough to cling tightly on the stretcher railings for dear life.I wonder if they strap-up those who were really sick and bedridden. Otherwise they would not survive the journey.
I was put on drips at the emergency/trauma centre straightaway and later wheeled to the wards for admission.
While my ego (health ego?) took a dent ( considering I was given a clean bill of health by IJN no less, as recently as March 04, 2010) there was a sense of appreciation that it happened, though.
As to my waris, they had a real life emergency situation enacted right in front of their eyes and seen how they had rallied together in high drama, cool and composed with no panic.
It was a field day on Facebook of nephews and nieces who fished for news of the gathering but stumbled on news of my blackout, extending concern and 'get well soon' wishes.
As for me, it is a wake-up call. As my nephew Alifi had rightly said, ' it was a way of God the Almighty’s indication to show that we were extended solace and affections in sickness so that we should enhance our submissions, piety and goodness when in a healthy state'
What to make of it as an outcome ? It was recorded at the hospital as a viral infection arising from the fever the night before. It was not a stroke nor any of the current illneses making the rounds. It is just the tail-end of a fever compounded by dehydration. Nothing serious. The remedy - a round of antibiotics, salt/saline solution and paracetamol/panadol, nothing heavy nor any kind of spectacular kind of medicine - and a good rest!
I wish to extend our congratulations and record my appreciation to the Organising Chairman my nephew Ano, the committee comprising my cousin Mus, nephew, Zain, niece Nor and others not named for their excellent efforts. I was told there were projects discussed to be undertaken later. Considering, there were Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Professors/Lecturers, Economists, Entrepreneurs,Public Relations practitioners among us ( to 'fact check' for numbers),things look good not that far off in the ensuing years.
Here on a personal note that I wish to record my sincere appreciation to all those who helped me and showed so much concern and some later visited me during my one night sojourn at the Kuala Pilah hospital namely, my cousins Bang Ngah,Kak Ngah, Kak Limah,Mus,Azizah,OP Yusuf,my nephew Ano, niece Nor, my daughter Adura, son Hafidz, Zaf, my wife Shadah (all the while by my side), my sis Aishah and hubby Alias, my Induk Maridah (bought food), my brother Jai and wife Normah, my cousins Rohaya (brought home-cooked food) Bang Ngah Hashim – all in sequence and order of visits. And last but not least my bosom buddy OP Zam (who unfortunately came Sunday afternoon after my discharge)Thank you all!