‘Stand tall-think tall’ was the advice of Allan Lohaus’s physical therapist, as Dr. Lohuas was wanting in spirit while having just caught the road to convalescence. Earlier came in Dr. Lohuas’s life course a painful period of intestinal surgeries and dependency on medical aid. As he came out of the nearly helpless anguish, memories of pain and distress became the subject matter of his short book Mayday! A Physician as Patient (Synergy Books, Texas, 2006).
Allan Lohuas himself was moved by the agony of his mother, a cancer patient, and he decided to become a doctor. Becoming a gynecologist was sparked by his observation of mothers losing their lives to death in the process of creation. ‘Salvaging infant life’ was the spirit behind the choice. All went well till his late adolescence when abdominal pain struck him. Later a boat accident reserved him a place in hospital for months demanding patience and endurance. No doubt, the doctor’s mettle was down as he witnessed his own decline.
The psychological scars, however, that came with Dr. Lohuas’s condition were deeper. A sudden reversal in social roles brings its shock. In Dr. Lohuas’s case, the shock was stronger since it threw him into a writhing thing looking for someone who he himself was supposed to be. Enduring the pangs of silently watching a doctor operate on you is the crux of Dr. Lohuas’s story. The stages of healing are always looking the patient’s way; only the latter must keep hope: with family, friends, and memories of the good old days.
Physical healing is not the only point in Mayday! As Dr. Lohuas finds during his illness, the spirit needs as much care as the diseased body. The doctor cum patient turned to prayer and feeling a superior being when his courage to cope with the pain started to yield. In the end, we read him drawing parallels between his regaining health and the Resurrection. It’s this walking out of a nearly dead state that makes our patient a voice of hope.
First-hand experience gives Dr. Lohuas’s voice a genuine sound and his autobiographical nonfiction story is moving and strengthening. The great thing is that the convalescent doctor regains his humor. We do hear him calling his stool a ‘bomb’.