WHAT'S the big deal in climbing stairs? Well, for Karim Sulaiman, our friend who's down with scleromyxoedema, an extremely rare skin disease, that's one hell of an achievement!
I got hold of him on the phone today and could hear him speak loud and clear. He's gained another 2kg (46kg now) and is full of self-confidence once again. We spoke for several minutes and here's what he said:
"Firstly, I must say Alhamdulillah (Praise the Almighty). From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank EVERYONE who has helped me one way or the other. After you wrote about me in mid-December last year, I've been getting a lot of support and words of encouragement from many people, even those whom I don't know! I've received donations, both in cash and kind, and I'm very grateful.
"The doctors and skin specialists at Hospital Kuala Lumpur are just marvellous! Led by their Skin Specialist Head, Puan Sri Suraiya Tun Hussein, I've been getting all the support I need. They've been very thorough and goes about their job treating me with much patience and care.
"Cik Mad, I dah boleh naik tangga sekarang. Dulu semasa Cik Mad melawat saya, saya tidor di ruang tamu di rumah. Pergerakan saya sungguh terhad. Sekarang, saya tidor di bilik tidor biasa dan saya naik ke tingkat atas rumah tanpa bantuan!
"You know Cik Mad, now that I'm not so bed-ridden, I can now even turn the faucet in the bathroom on my own, something which was simply impossible a few months ago. You don't know what joy that brings!
"At HKL, I was photographed, video-taped, measured and all that. I'm very pleased with the way Puan Sri Suraiya treated me. I know everything about me is being recorded for research> I hope something productive can come off this. Mesti ada hikmah dalam semua ini (there must be a silver lining in all these)!
"If all goes well, I'm probably going to be featured at two international seminars on skin ailments this year. One in Kuala Lumpur some time in June, and one more in Seoul some time in August. It'll be good if medical researchers can benefit from my sickness. I believe every aspect of my disease will be scrutinised in due time."
Karim's confidence and renewed hope comes out quite clearly on the phone. When before one can hardly hear his words, he can now speak very clearly, meaning his vocal chords are functioning well. He eats better too, now that he can swallow his food better.
Let's wish Karim continued recovery! This previous winner of the Kajai Journalism Award (year 2000) is a fighter all the way. Let's walk with him too! By his own admission, he looks forward to a new day everyday, compared to several months ago when his spirit was down. Get well Karim, there's a futsal tournament I want you to attend! Salams brother!