TUN DR Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali has not left the IJN from the moment Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had his second open-heart surgery on Sept. 4. And that's where I found her last night, on the fifth floor of the IJN.
According to Mokhzani, one of the sons, her mother has been camping at the IJN from Day One, and doesn't look like she's going to take a break by going home or doing something else other than tending to her husband, the former PM.
By now, she knows her way around quite well already in the IJN. She's either on the first floor where the ICU is, or on the fifth floor where the Bunga Raya ward is located. Tun M is now in the ICU after undergoing a second surgery intended to facilitate his recovery process.
The fact that he had to undergo another surgery, and it being done at night, had somehow led to some rumours that the surgery didn't go very well. By Monday evening, the rumours went as far as saying that Tun M had passed on. Text messages were being sent and replied and forwarded, each seeking confirmation and asking for any news of the former PM.
I got calls and text messages from all over the country asking if I know of his condition, and whether there's any truth to the rumours. Others later gave their version, saying they too had received similar enquiries.
When I got to the IJN with two other former newspaper editors, Mokhzani told us that his dad is conscious and able to communicate with his doctors and immediate family members. He too confirmed that he had been receiving similar enquiries from friends and acquaintances, including those from overseas.
If you must know, a police station did call the IJN asking if there were any truth to the rumours!
But such is the concern for Dr Mahathir. He's very much in the news. As far as I know, three Cabinet ministers visited the IJN wanting to know his condition while a few more made phone calls asking similar questions. Former Cabinet colleagues of the Tun also visited the fifth floor wanting first-hand information.
Our doa for the Tun's speedy and full recovery has not stopped. God willing, Tun M will continue to walk with us soon and continue to serve the nation in whatever capacity possible. Get well soon, Tun!
As for Tun Siti, I hope she paces herself well too. She was wearing an IJN pullover when I saw her last night. She wore an expression of concern but the look was not of real worry. Tun Siti knows that she's not alone in her vigil of her husband. Our doa is with you too.