I can't remember half of my patients' name but with a name and character like Jimmy Teca, it's really hard to forget.
Jimmy is actually the husband of my denture patient.I can't remember her name. She came in with him one morning, last June, a couple in their mid 70's, walking hand in hand.
She was a bit weak and frail, always smiling and polite and counting on Jimmy for support, physically and emotionally. Jimmy was jolly, constantly cheerful with everything positive to say and thinks the world of his wife.
Jimmy would charm us with his joie-de-vivre. He would often enlighten us with anecdotes of his early years. He would walk in with a steady gait, left hand firmly holding a walking stick and when asked why, he would say it was for the 'look'. Jimmy would often act as a translator as he could speak perfect English, perfect Malay and perfect Chinese. He would never forget his 'Good Mornings!" and 'Thank Yous' and would always know how engage us in the most interesting conversations..
He would proudly remind us of his only son ,married and working successfully in Singapore . Jimmy always made sure that their visits with me would always be pleasant. It is hard not to love Jimmy.
All Jimmy Teca wants is to enjoy the rest of his life with his lovely wife in this so-called-retiree town.
The last time I saw Jimmy Tecca, he was doing perfectly fine.
I noticed his name in my appointment book. My assistant informed me she saw him as an outpatient, an old wheelchair bound senior citizen and didn't have the heart to put him in our denture waiting list. So she immediately booked him under my appointments.
I was confused.
When they wheeled him in, I almost didn't recognize him. He was frail, a little more skinnier than I last saw him, his right leg in a cast and left arm in a sling. His right eye had that crossed-eye look and he came in sans dentures which made him look ancient.
" Uncle Jimmy, what happened?"
He told me he got struck by a car, almost a month ago. Near the Lake Garden. While jogging.
He is now wheelchair bound, his right hand which has always been weak since he was a child is almost useless now, and his left arm is broken. He needs someone to do the simplest tasks for him. He can't even put food into his own mouth.
He is now alone in Taiping, living in an old folks home. He sent his wife to Singapore to live with his son.
But he is fortunately, still mentally sound.
I guess my face crumpled a bit when he told me his story.
" It's okay. It's not so bad." he smiled his toothless grin.
And I resist the urge to give him a big wholesome hug.
" Life's like that." he told me.
But I'm so mad. I'm mad at that person who ran him over.
It was a jogger's path. In the Lake Garden. It was a 30 kmph road. The signboard made it clear. I know because I've ran past the signboard many times.
But he was ran over at an estimated speed of 70kmph
His caretaker told me that accidents like that happen all the time.
" Some people just don't care about joggers there. They don't even care if it's a one way street."
I'm so angry of this carelessness. A man's life is almost ruined just because some stupid sod thought he would get away bending the rules.
I hope the perpetrator will get what he deserve. I hope karma will bite him back hard.
Or at least, at the very least , he has learned his lesson.
Jimmy laughed as I took his impressions. " You treat me like a kid" he said.
My brows furrowed as I worry.
" It'll be okay" he reassured me as he is wheeled out of my surgery.
His hand limply flopped on his lap to imitate a wave, "I'll see you in a bit, eh Doc?".
I sure hope so, Jimmy Teca.
I hope by God's fate, somehow you will bounce back.
I hope for your sake and for everybody else's sake, that we will ALL be more careful behind the wheel.
And I convey to all pedestrians, runners, cyclist, please make your self visible while on the road.
We can only try.