It was yet another routine Thursday night when I decided to nestle in bed after a long day’s mundane work and running errands and doing the chores, and since my parents had flown to KSA for my elder sister’s confinement and to perform Umrah(pilgrimage), I’d wanted my newly-wedded brother and his wife to rough out at our rather capacious house that would totally fit us youngsters. With all energy drained on the demanding weekday, I’d fallen into deep sleep only to be awoken to an alarming call at the most ungodly hour of one o’clock in the morning; it was my grandma. “Kake (grandpa) has collapsed and I don’t know what to do,” she shrieked!
In double-quick time, my brother, his wife and I drove down to our ancestral home two to three blocks away at Enderamulla in Wattala. As we dashed down almost ramming into the gate, there lay Kake, feeble and frail, unable to budge an inch. Leaving behind my sister-in-law to keep company with my bedridden grandma, my brother and I, along with my father’s youngest brother Malik who had lately been living in our ancestral home, rushed him to a leading private hospital in Hendala to be immediately warded at the Emergency Treatment Unit (ETU) and been given a drip and stag dose. The doctor who ministered to Kake ruled that he suffered from acute diarrhea and Sepsis (caused by a bacterial infection) and as a result blood pressure had plummeted to as low as 79/39mmHg. After three hours of medical attention, physicians managed to nurse him back to health. Later, we returned to our ancestral home, made Kake rest for a while and proceeded home to nap.
Even before 20 minutes lapsed was another emergency call informing Kake had collapsed, again! We hurried to study the situation and this time around, his condition was worse; he was almost unconscious and peaky, gaunt and cadaverous. Kake’s florid face dropped below his chest as he blenched and struggled to regain composure. His sturdy, muscular physique retained from daily physical exercises waned to a puny, doddery outfit in no time. Witnessing him transform from being a man with a burly, herculean stature to someone who could barely communicate was gut-wrenching; it was a hard pill to swallow. Without further ado, my brother, uncle and I gently lifted Kake to the car and sped away to the same private hospital. This time too, he was warded at the ETU with a myriad of nurses thronging to minister to him. The time now was 4.45 a.m. and Kake was in excruciating pain and utter discomfort. Afflicted with diarrhea, Kake found it nigh impossible to control bowel movements and hence repeatedly discharged stools in liquid form. This ordeal hampered blood pressure augmentation, crippled mobility and confined him to a wheelchair. Kake was given a drip and Jeewanisolution to expedite convalescence.
The clock ticked 7.00 a.m. and the warden who treated Kake on both occasions was now ready to take his leave to be replaced by another for the next shift. Within a short stint arrived a physician to take over duties. To him, Kake was a new patient and as his predecessor had failed to document a health literacy report, he was compelled to delve into and peruse Kake’s condition afresh. Subsequent to a good few minutes of thorough observation, he ruled that Kake suffered solely from acute diarrhea – ambivalent to his predecessor’s diagnosis of Kake being afflicted with Sepsis, a life-threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. Although his ruling appeared to be less severe than that of his predecessor’s, he recommended rigorous medical attention. Adding insult to injury, we were told Kake needed to be transferred forthwith to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). We remained perplexed as to why a patient afflicted merely with diarrhea required intensive treatment.
In the interim, my brother acted as the point of contact to inform our extended family circle of Kake’s ill-health. The news went viral and Kake’s second son Ramzil who happens to be an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) sprang into action. He ordered several police personnel to call on Kake and liaise with the medical staff until arrangements were made to transport him to Police Hospital in Narahenpita by an ambulance belonging to the Special Task Force (STF).
By now, my brother and I had rattled our dags to discharge Kake, collect his medical reports and correspond with relevant individuals to ensure he was safely transferred to Police Hospital. Over an hour later, the STF ambulance arrived with four officers to witness a pale and haggard Kake in an almost paralysed and lifeless scale inert to a wheelchair. His usually brushed hair had disheveled and immaculate garbs ragged and drenched in faeces. Once a doyen of Sri Lanka Police now lay scrawny before his servicemen. It was such a pity. Yet, what is admirable is that despite his pathological state and subsequent to 19 long years of retirement, Kake was greeted with salutations by the orderly and well-disciplined officers.
Nevertheless, Kake was oblivious to the whole picture as he remained insensible. After striving and failing to place him in a gurney – stretcher in the ambulance – we had to lift wheelchair-bound Kake to the vehicle, thereupon the ambulance rushed to Police Hospital; Uncle Malik travelled with Kake while my brother and I tailgated in our car.
During his tenure spanning 40 long years, Kake served in many if not all parts of the country and was instrumental in combatting terrorism. Not only was he a disciplinarian and an honest officer who spoke truth to power, Kake was also a terror to wrongdoers; he wouldn’t spare anyone whatsoever!
With lights and sirens on, we cruised through traffic snarls and reached Police Hospital in 40 minutes or less to be received by quite a few relatives. By that time, Uncle Ramzil had informed relevant medical staffers of Kake’s arrival. No sooner we produced the diagnosis report provided by the private hospital, Kake was hurtled to the sixth ward (third floor) for an immediate drip. The competent medical staff made treatment efficacious. Their attentiveness was the need of the hour to rescue my ailing Kake from the jaws of death. Within a brief spell of time however, Kake had dozed off to the change of a conducive atmosphere.
It did not take hours for fellow patients to acknowledge the revered statesman of police milieu. Most if not all of them had worked under Kake. They encircled and gazed at him; with despondency to his health condition and with exhilaration to his presence. Just when they were returning to their hospital beds arrived Senior DIG M.R. Latheef, one of Kake’s proteges. Moments later, Uncle Ramzil and family called over at the hospital. These visits gave Kake a psychological boost and kept him distracted of the fact that the situation hasn’t returned to normalcy; not as yet. His low blood pressure alarmed and prompted doctors to increase the dosage and keep him on injections and saline. Every now and then, attendants reviewed and reported Kake’s condition to the warden.
With the evening sun dipping below the horizon, Kake gave an inkling of recovery with efforts to raise his head. Observing such movement, I nimbled to his hospital bed as Kake stared at me in awe; quite lost he seemed. “Are we in hospital?” he quizzed in a hoarse voice, to which I nodded. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten me, I thought, as he failed to respond, even in sign language. In the twinkling of an eye, Kake had fallen back into deep sleep as his body still remained frail, sapless and dehydrated, ensuing from dearth of nourished solid intakes. Although doctors encouraged Kake to consume solids in a bid to expedite recuperation, Kake was vehemently opposed to the idea; afearing his body would reject solids and exacerbate diarrhea. However, with much reluctance, Kake switched from fluids to solids with adult diapers keeping at bay the involuntary discharge of stools. This brought the situation under control but led to Kake developing an infection between his loins. He was treated for it and partially cured after the lapsed of one week. The recovery process that was at a snail’s pace had now gained momentum. Kake’s blood pressure soared to 100/70mmHg. He was able to actively move about and converse with medical staffers and visitors and even telephone grandma to keep her updated on the progress. This was certainly a beacon of hope.
In the meantime, a component in Kake’s blood indicated a steep rise and doctors reconsidered the prescribed antibiotic. Adding to this were patches of discoloured skin on account of an injection spree. We feared these complications would impede the recovery process, but Kake endured them with great fortitude; all praise to the erudite and incredibly-talented medical team led by Dr. Dushmantha and Dr. Harshani Fernando. Their clinical acumen, diagnostic prowess and effective treatment invigorated Kake’s well-being. Among the many efforts to nurse him back to health, I recount how the attendants aided me to walk Kake to the washroom, change his diaper and bathe him; they were truly obliging.
By now, Kake had made tremendous progress and regained stamina. He felt buoyant and confident and was full of vim and vigor. He was transferred from the general ward to a private room. It was during this stint that Kake’s daughter from Pakistanarrived. And four days later, Dada returned from KSA leaving behind Mama with my elder sister for her confinement. Their visits fully recovered Kake and after over a fortnight’s stay in hospital, Kake was told he could be discharged.
It is noteworthy that even in the absence of state-of-the-art equipment with engineered finishes, the hospital staff readily doled out all their resources to restore Kake’s health. However, the hospital requires a multitude of amenities and medical apparatus to house and treat patients. Against this backdrop, Kake’s humble plea to relevant authorities and all serving and retired police officers is to lend a helping hand towards the development of this medical institution that has always rendered yeoman services.
Retired SSP Fajurdeen Noordeen is a stalwart who belongs to the cream of Sri Lanka Police. Treading along the footsteps of his father and elder brother, Kake joined the service as a Probationary Sub-Inspector (PSI) in 1960 and rose to the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) at the time of retirement in year 2000. During his tenure spanning 40 long years, Kake served in many if not all parts of the country and was instrumental in combatting terrorism. Not only was he a disciplinarian and an honest officer who spoke truth to power, Kake was also a terror to wrongdoers; he wouldn’t spare anyone whatsoever! A gentleman par excellence, Kake imparted his know-how and years of experience to his subordinates and mentored them in the right path – it should be mentioned that a plethora of his mentees have held and continue to hold top-most positions in the department. Kake’s legacy shall continue to live on till the end