The Saadhu Testament
Chapter 7 : The Surgeon
'I can't find anything wrong, in these reports' Tan told his friend and colleague, Ariff.
'I thought that the lab had made a mistake and i got three separate tests done from three hospitals. All reported the same readings' Ariff said.
'What did Prof. Stephens tell you' Tan asked.
'I have done all the tests that he wanted. He could not find anything either'
'What are you planning to do now?'
'I don't know. I don't want to give him any more drugs. We have tried everything available'
Ariff was one of the leading surgeons in Kuala Lumpur, attached to the KL General Hospital. He had a very good private practice at several leading hospitals. He accepted only thirty patients a day at the Tung Shin Hospital in the evening and another thirty at the new Putra Hospital. Unlike several other doctors who allowed appointments to be taken a few days ahead, he had given strict instructions that appointments were given on the same day. People had to queue up early morning to get an appointment because he would not see even one additional patient. He charged ringit 100 per patient at Putra and 50 at Tung Shin, giving a minor concession for the less affluent.
For surgery he always recommended Putra and the charges depended on how rich the patient was or which company was paying the bill.
Patients came from Johor and Ipoh, even from as far away as George Town, though there were equally qualified, experienced consultants available at the hospitals in these towns.
He did not entertain any representatives from pharmaceutical manufacturers. When he did not allow them into his consultation rooms the salesmen tried to meet him at the carpark, as they used to meet other busy consultants, but Ariff ignored them completely, and one by one the salesmen gave him up. When the foreign suppliers came to Kuala Lumpur and were informed by the local marketing teams about this problem they tried to meet him, but were not given any opportunity.
What the medical representatives did not know was that some foreign manufacturers, the multinational conglomerates, were in touch with him direct, and had agreed to keep their associations confidential. The local market believed that Ariff prescribed drugs without any favoritism. When he traveled overseas, nobody in Kuala Lumpur was aware who had sponsored these trips.
His daughter was studying in London, while his son was expected to sit his 'o' levels that year.
One day he got a frantic call from his wife that his son had taken ill at school and had been taken to the Putra hospital. He called the hospital director and rushed to Putra. His son Jisty was in the MICU. He was unconscious. His pulse was low and so was his blood pressure. The physician in charge of the MICU and the nursing sister came upto him. He grabbed the BHT and glanced through, but there was hardly anything on it.
Ariff's wife, Halima came in crying. The nurse took her hand and led her away from the patient and tried to calm her down, before she came near her son.
For the next three days the doctors ran all the possible tests available and known to them and tried whatever treatment was required for several possible diagnoses. There was no improvement in the boys condition, the only bright sign was that the condition did not get any worse. They could at least say with satisfaction the condition was stable.
While Ariff wore his shoes out, walking up and down his room thinking of the problem, his wife, her mother and his mother and sister kept on praying to Allah. Ariff attended the Friday prayers at the mosque, but he did it out of compulsion and habit and less from conviction. He did not expect that prayers could help his son. The solution lay in medical science and he had to find it. He was in touch with several doctors in UK and the United States and France, and some of them were searching past records for similar cases.
'I heard about your son only this morning from Raja. How is he now' Tony ho came to Ariffs room. Ariff looked up, but did not answer.
'Is there anything i can do?' Tony asked from his long time friend.
'No. Unless you can diagnose his illness or recommend a cure' Ariff said.
'You mean even you can't find what is wrong with him?'
'We havent been able to, yet'
Tony sat down and watched Ariff walking up and down once again.
'There is one person who may be able to help Jisty' Tony said suddenly.
'Who is that?' Ariff asked.
'Who is the Saadhu. Is he a doctor?' Ariff wanted to know.
'He is a swami in India' Tony told him.
'Oh. One of those. I have heard of many of them' Ariff began pacing the floor again.
'But he is not like all the other Rishis, Gurus and Swamis in India' Tony tried to explain.
'That is the claim made by every one' Ariff was not interested.
'Ariff, please let me explain. You have nothing to loose' Tony got hold of his hand and made him stop his pacing.
Ariff was not convinced.
'Where is Halima? I think she should be here' Tony asked.
'She must be inside, somewhere'
Tony went in search of her and found her in the garden, seated on a bench, her eyes staring at the sky. She did not hear Tony come into the garden or calling her, until he came upto the bench.
'I came to see if there is anything i can do' he told her.
'What can anyone do. They have tried everything. It is Allah's wish' she told him.
'May be there is a way i can help. Will you come into Ariff's office. I want to show you something'
They went into Ariff's office room and Tony asked Halima if he could use the computer. Ariff did not say anything and when Tony looked at Halima she nodded yes and Tony sat down at the computer and switched it on.
Can i have your password or will you get into internet?' Tony asked Ariff.
'I don't know why you want to play with the internet at a time like this. Why don't you go somewhere else to play your games' Ariff raised his voice, but came to the computer and keyed in his password.
'I am trying to find some way to help you. That is all. Just give me a few minutes.
Tony accessed http://www.saadhu.com. He searched for a list of Saadhu Jana samaj members, even though he realized that all members did not show on the list. He called for the list of physicians from Islamic countries.
'Can you go through this list and tell me if there is any one among them is known to you' he pleaded with Tony.
'How could that help us' Ariff asked.
'That is what i want to ask them. Please, Ariff, you are doing this for your son' Tony said again.
Ariff looked through the list which went into three or four pages.
'I know most of them' Ariff said.
'Select one. Try to find one who is very good as a physician and also has a strong faith in Islam'
'Try Dr. Iqbal, then'
Tony got his details. He was based at Ruwi, in Oman.
'Will you talk to him, if i get him on the phone' Tony asked Ariff. He did not reply.
'Ariff, he is only trying to help us. Please talk to him. Let us see if he can help us' Halima went up to Ariff and pleaded.
Tony dialed Iqbal on his mobile phone.
'Dr. Iqbal, may Allah be with you, and may Saadhu be with you. I am Tony Ho from Kuala Lumpur. I am with Dr. Ariff who wants to talk to you. His son is lying unconscious for the past three days in hospital' he told Iqbal and passed the phone to Ariff.
'Ariff from KL. Remember me. A faint smile appeared on Ariff's face, at something Iqbal told him, and he continued, 'my son is ill and we have not been able to diagnose what is wrong with him' he explained all that had been done during the past three days. There were interruptions from the other end, and Ariff went back over some details. Halima stood by Ariff's side, her eyes on his face, which now was showing a glint of hope.
'Yes, we have teleconference facilities at the hospital' Ariff told Iqbal.
'Good. I will contact you in one hour from now' Ariff gave the phone to Tony,' he wants to talk to you'
'I will be there with Ariff' Tony assured Iqbal after listening to him.
'What does he say' Halima asked them. When Ariff did not reply Tony explained to her, that as soon as Iqbal reached his hospital, he would be in touch with them through televideo, so he could go through all the records and see the patient and they could discuss what could be done'
'So let us go now' Halima was excited, as hope surged through her blood, drying out her tears, for a moment.
The MICU had its own teleconference room, where they were all gathered, including two senior physicians from the hospital. Iqbal came on line and Ariff greeted him as old friends and introduced the others. They discussed the patients history and went through all the reports. The camera focused on the unconscious child and the computer fed the details on the bedside monitors to Iqbal.
'I don't think there is any new contribution i can make as a physician in this case. You have done even more than what i could have done in your place. I am sorry' Iqbal told them in a slow apologetic voice.
'But isn't there anything you can do?' Tony asked him.
'Only one thing. I can appeal to the Saadhu and request that you do the same, to intervene with Allah to save this child' he told them.
'Who is the Saadhu?' the senior physician wanted to know.
'Some bogus holy man from India' Ariff dismissed him. Halima was crying again.
'Tony, what should we do, to contact the Saadhu?' she asked.
'We can't contact him. We can't get him on the phone or go and visit him just like that. People wait for days and sometimes weeks just for an opportunity to meet him close up. We don't have time for that'
'Then what are we to do?' Halima asked in a desperate voice, through her sobs.
'We can pray to Allah and seek the Saadhu's blessings. You will also have to make an appeal on the internet, i have shown you his website'
'Then let's go' Halima got up, thanking the hospital staff for all they were doing. Ariff followed them grumbling about wasting their time. Tony left, promising to return within half an hour.
Tony came back to Ariff's residence and they all went into his office room, where Tony once again accessed the Saadhu website and typed his message and asked Ariff to send it across.
Once that was done, he picked out a CD from his briefcase, worshipped it and inserted into the drive on Ariff's computer. The virtual reality image of the Saadhu appeared in the middle of the room. Tony knelt before the image and worshipped. Halima looked at him for guidance.
'You don't have to worship him. He understands' Tony told both of them. Just pray to Allah and think of the Saadhu and appeal for his help too, at the same time. Saadhu is here, everywhere and he does not belong to any religion and we are not praying to him. We pray to our own god and according to our own religious rites and traditions' he explained, more for the benefit of Ariff.
Tony knelt down and prayed making the sign of the cross, while Jisty's parents said their own prayers. As they finished, and the image disappeared, Tony could see that both Halima and Ariff looked calmer and she was no longer crying.
'I will come again in the evening. Till then i will leave the CD with you' Tony took his leave.
In the afternoon, when they visited Jisty, there was still no change, and his condition was stable, as the house officer informed them.
They had a Saadhu session in the evening with Tony and another Saadhu devotee who was introduced by Tony as a dentist from Thailand, on a short visit to Kuala Lumpur.
The next day morning after their prayers they went to the hospital. The head nurse ran upto them with a smile on her face.
'Dr. Ariff, this morning he opened his eyes and tried to say something'
Halima ran to the boy's bed side, took his hand and started calling him, in a soft voice. Ariff walked up slowly. Halima stroked the child's head and kept calling his name and after about five minutes, they saw a slight movement of his fingers trying to grip his mother's hand and his eyes fluttered. She kept talking to him. He opened his eyes slowly and then closed them again. They waited, Ariff watching the monitor for any change in the readings. He saw that the pulse rate was getting closer to normal. His temperature and blood pressure was already normal.
Jisty opened his eyes, looked around and fixed them on his mother. He tried to move his lips. Ariff watched in silence while Halima hugged the nurse who stood close to her.
Halima asked for Ariff's mobile phone and ran out of the MICU, to call Tony and give him the good news. Tony asked her to thank the Saadhu, and to continue to pray.
By evening Jisty was fully conscious, could speak a few words. Halima did not leave his bed side even for a moment. Ariff was in touch with the nurses station and also with the MICU physician, ready to come at a moments notice, but till then attending to his patients.
'How do you explain this?' the physician asked Ariff the next morning, away from Jisty's bedside.
'I don't know. All we did was pray to Allah and ask for that Saadhu's help'
'Have we just witnessed a miracle?' the physician wanted to know.
'Yes we have. The Saadhu must have intervened on our behalf' Halima came and joined in. Ariff did not say anything, but he continued to attend the prayers and with Halima started attending the weekly Saadhu Jana Samaja sessions.
Within a week Jisty was completely recovered and after another weeks rest at home, they flew to Hyderabad via Chennai and arrived at Ananthnandi. They were there for four days, and saw the Saadhu on three days at the amphitheater on his morning appearance, but did not get a chance to speak to him. On the fourth day, the Saadhu looked at them and beckoned them inside.
From that day, Ariff became another devotee of the Saadhu, thought of him every morning and sought his help, whenever he had a difficult case in hand, or he thought that the patient did not have a chance of recovery. He found that his diagnosis had become more accurate and his rate of success in surgery had increased far above the normal.
In the evening he always thanked the Saadhu for his guidance and help.