Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bye bye 2009

I wonder what it is that compels us to be reflective at the end of the year. Perhaps it is the increase in the number that shocks us into realising that time has passed by and we haven't done as much good as we possibly can in the past 365 days.

To me, the year has been a pretty good year. I don't remember a lot of downs - but maybe that's just me, despite the grumpy person I am, I tend to forget bad things rather quickly.

Career-wise has been pretty good. Despite still not wanting to pursue a masters programme, I can finally plate a femur bone myself (did one - skin incision to skin closure - within an hour, a personal record which I haven't been able to break since), K-nailed numerous femurs, and can totally be left alone doing carpal tunnel and trigger finger releases.

After about 8 years of working in various specialties, including a stint in a KK, I can safely and surely say that SHOULD I decide to take a Masters programme, it will be something that I enjoy rather than something that I had ended up in just because it was my final posting of my housemanship. Or, even worse, something I am taking up just because the work is easy and allows me to be home when oncall.

I am thankful that I haven't had much trouble financially. Finally got myself to acquire a property, much to Ma's relief. This year, money seems to come in from unexpected sources, Alhamdulillah. I have been able to travel a bit, something that I hope can continue this year.

On a more personal level - there's still only the two of us. I am happy with my uncomplicated life - so far. I hope my relationship with Abg for the past year had been more than simply two adults tolerating each other just because they're married.

Yup, it has been a very good year indeed, and here's to an even better one in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Grumpy post

Excuse me, but I am postcall and I am irritable today.

Someone had named their baby ISAAC and I got to thinking if there is anything wrong with ISHAK. Tak cukup glamer kot. Kang dah besar, spoil pulak kalau member dia pakat panggil anak dia SAHAK je. Ah well, your kid, your choice I guess. Iskandar is Alexander. Yusof is Joseph. Whatever.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I was trying to get my ATM card replaced at a Bank Islam in UM when I came across a banner with this word on it: FI. Tiada FI tahunan.

Seriously, FI?

What was wrong with the word YURAN?

I am kicking myself now for not taking a picture of that banner.

Somewhat closer to home, a boarding school near home had an even weirder word: KLUSTER. KLUSTER Sekolah Cemerlang. Hello...? Kelompok not hip enough for you izzit?

Where do you people come up with words like this?

So much for memartabatkan bahasa Melayu.

Told you I was irritable.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Where oh where...

...has my Ciku gone?

We went to KL for a weekend break, and to welcome Ma home from her pilgrimage. Arrived at FIL's house late on Monday and according to Abg, Ciku was well and jumping all over the place, as Ciku is known to do.

The next day when I went to let them out, Ciku looked listless and was sitting on the floor. Which, if anyone knew Ciku, would immediately suspect something is wrong.

Anyway, I left him be, hoping some fresh air would do him good. I chatted with Abg and the next minute Ciku was nowhere to be found. I went all around the house and couldn't see him anywhere. Ciku never leaves the compound. There is nothing that Ciku loves best than getting himself all caught up in my clothes, and getting his head in my handbag so if there was anywhere Ciku would go is into the house but nope, he was missing.

and he hasn't returned.

Someone told me once that cats will never die in front of their owners. I'm not sure how true that is but Ibu Kutip whom I brought home with two kittens from work never left the porch. She was old; I can tell by the lack of teeth in her mouth. One day she just disappeared. I know she didn't get hit by a vehicle because Ibu Kutip never goes to the road.

I wish I hadn't let Ciku out of his cage yesterday. Perhaps he would still be with us today. Now, who would I cuddle when things are stressing me out? Ciku is my only cat who seem to recognise his own name, never failing to mew back when I call it out.

Be well, Ciku and come home....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Edisi lepas geram

If it is one thing that I hate, it's confrontation but I think sometimes it is just inevitable.

It is a pity that we live in a society that prefers to talk behind someone's back rather than say it out loud in front of the person we have a problem with. I used to watch MTV's Real World and would be impressed by the way how the Mat Salleh's could lay it all out and settle things once and for all.

A staff at the hospital had been trying to get us to write a memo about her relative's condition. All this while she had been passing the message to us via the staff at the clinic so we told our staff to tell her that we would like to speak with her ourselves and could she please call us?

But no call came and apparently one day Her Royal Highness came huffing and puffing to the clinic and lay her fiery wrath towards my staff and got another MO to write the memo.

Yang aku peliknya, if she was so mad, she had passed my partner on the way into the clinic and she didn't say a word! Kalau nak marah, marah directla weh. Don't let it out on the staff - they were basically following orders.

So I called her the next day. As she wasn't in, I got her staff to pass the message that I was looking for her. Did she have the courtesy to call me back? Nooooo - I had to call her back and this time she was in. Aku tau la kau pakai baju biru and kau rasa kau lagi tua dari aku - memang pun kau lagi tua sebenarnya and sebab kau tua la kau dah hilang pertimbangan kan.

When I told her off (nicely, mind you) she went on to sulk mode and merajuk ngn aku la pulak. Aku nak marah pun tak jadik. Tah pape tah. Nak mintak tolong org tapi nak suruh org pulak cari dia....bengong.

Tu la masalahnya bila kerja district hospital - it is full with old dinosaurs who think just because they have worked there for yonks, that they own the hospital and are exempted from having manners and courtesy. and one more thing, just because kau pakai baju hijau atau baju biru, it doesn't give you the right to be nasty to your lower ranking staff, ok?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


...I wish I can lay caution to the wind and spend all my savings on the things that I WANT rather than the things that I NEED.

LASIK surgery so that I won't bother with glasses anymore.

A holiday to the UK with Abg.

A Prada handbag, much like the one Sandra Bullock was using in The Proposal.

taken from My Women Stuff

Staying in the most expensive hotel in town whenever I'm on holiday.

A solitaire necklace and a tennis bracelet.

One can dream, yes?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My post Raya on call rant...

Being on call on a Raya in Kelantan is just an invitation into insanity, but someone has to do it, and I'd rather be on the first Raya than the second.

Kelantan, being the Malay dominated state it is, has absolutely NO clinic open on Raya. It is equally impossible looking for an eating place as looking for a private clinic. Hence, the madness that is the hospital's casualty department.

It was rather quiet during the day - funnily enough on other days when you may have up to ten yellow babies waiting to have their levels of jaundice checked, on Raya there are absolutely none. All we had were people with abdominal pain and headache and giddiness.

The madness started about half eight-nine pm. People popping by would have thought that we were having a year end sale or an open house judging by the number of cars and patients and kids jumping about in our waiting area.

I heard people who registered at 9 were only seen at midnight. and they ALL waited. For mundane trivial things like a runny nose and an itchy foot and an upset stomach. My poor MAs finished seeing them all at about 4 am.

This has become the norm that no one complains anymore. Of course we still do see a few unreasonable idiots who insist that their relatives are more ill than the kid who ended up being intubated but making a fuss WILL NOT make us see you any faster, so unless the patient is blue in the face, that kid will be our priority and not you and your three week cough and not taking your heart medication for the past 5 years. If you cannot be bothered to care about your health, tell me if other people should?

On an even more depressing note, Ibu Milo's litter has now been reduced to only three. The three smaller kittens have died, for seemingly no apparent reason. I have seen watery stool with worms in the cage so maybe that is the cause. Six was too many for poor Ibu anyway.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just passing time...

Of all the names you can come up with for a supplement....

By the by, I was doing wound debridement and insertion of a Steinman pin on a 16 year old who was carrying a friend on a bike and ended up breaking a femur each, when Abg called to tell me that Ibu Milo's smallest kitten has died.

I sort of expected it - it has been having a wet bottom the past few days and Abg said it vomited this morning - but it still doesn't make it less painful. Having 5 other bigger siblings and being the smallest of the bunch doesn't help with your survival chances, I guess. But life sure is simple in the animal world. Being strong and big and healthy means you live and vice versa. There are no sly tricks or cheats to help you along.

It certainly makes it hard when you are always rooting for the underdog.....or in this case, undercat?

Musim banjir sudah tiba wehhh....

This was the view that greeted me yesterday morning as I opened my bedroom window. and It is even worse today. I wonder if that small road overlying the small calvert that passes water from one paddy field to another has collapsed yet? Then I might have to abandon my partner and let him plate that femur by himself.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ibu Milo

I am postcall, though by right, I don't think what I had last night should be considered being oncall. All I did was insert a peritoneal dialysis and escort a 28 weeker to NICU and after lounging in the oncall room for about 20 mins, went to see what my oncall partner is up to.

Turns out he was just lounging around in the drivers' room and we spent the following hour yakking about nurses and student nurses and such.

The baby's bilirubin which had been 430 previously came down to 379 and I went to bed a happy cat and woke up with the Azan before freshening up and doing rounds for the Ortho cases.

It is the monsoon season again. Sometimes, when I am in my car, with the airconditioning on, I look at the grey skies and feel the chill on my skin and it's almost as if I am back in dreary Belfast.

View from the 2nd floor in HTM.

The holes which turned up during the last monsoon which was resurfaced has turned up again - with even more vengeance than the last, I seriously think - and because of the rain water covering the said holes, one has to be even more careful when driving; I had a headache focusing on holes and avoiding pools of water on the road.

I brought back a family of cats about two weeks ago.

I was in a course when my nurse called me up and mentioned kittens. When I went to look, they were in fact mummy cat with 5 newborns, looking much like giant baby rats. The box they were in was already soggy from the rain. I left them be, only periodically coming by to feed mummy cat with the kibbles I keep in my car for purposes like these.

A few days later, staff at the A&E Department called me and told me about 'the most beautiful bunch of kittens ever' - maybe if they stressed on the word beautiful, that I would immediately take the cats home. Turns out it was mummy cat relocating, sans one kitten. We searched high and low for it - luckily a Radicare worker found it in the bin. Talk about having nine lives.

Incidentally, another staff mentioned that she saw kids playing with kitten in a box in front of the Peads ward. Out of curiousity, I went to look.

It was a tiny kitten, about the size of my palm and it was just sleeping in the box. I didn't see any mummy cat around. So I brought it home and now mummy cat has 6 kittens.

They have opened their eyes and just discovering that they have legs. Occasionally I see them playing with each other, unaware of the fact that mummy cat is still restless surrounded by my other cats that she still snarls when one of them comes over to say hello.

I've called the mummy cat Ibu Milo - she is white with splodges of chocolate. I don't really know why I name my cats - they don't respond to their names anyway.

Happy Aidil Adha everyone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post call rambling

Nothing is as satisfying as seeing the two bits of bone clicking into place as you manipulate a limb.


My partner in Ortho and my boss went off for a symposium in KB today and the boss had posted a case of fracture femur on the elective list. Now, I had done plating of a femur before but always with my partner and in all the previous times, he had done the reduction.

One never realises how difficult it is to reduce a fracture site until one does it him/herself. My partner makes it look so easy. I am starting to feel the dull ache in my biceps and triceps after pulling on the two parts of the broken bone. Thank goodness I had my two trusty MAs who, unlike me, were not postcall and were in a better shape to do all the traction and countering.

However, nothing is as irritating as having your patient sent back to ward because a caesarian section trumps everything else in OT land, and then having to wait 30 minutes before that patient finally arrives and having to listen to her scream for 10 mins because she wanted to pee in a toilet instead of into a bag.

And also, having to wait 2 hours for an appendectomy to finish because your makcik had been fasting since 4 am and it was already 6 pm and you just didn't have the heart to cancel her case. So, there I was suturing a piece of skin graft on a diabetic foot at 7pm on a postcall day.

You just have to love your work, I say.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A holiday story

I was in Indonesia recently, for my final holiday of the year, and on my last day, I managed to watch something on their local TV.

Basically, they had this actor going around asking passers by for a cloth in exchange of a bundle of old newspapers that she had.

Apparently she has a child at home and she needs it to protect her child from the cold of the night. They recorded her approaching these people and they all gave an excuse or another; one just simply changed the topic completely and totally ignored her request.

The actor was never pushy, and always said, "It's okay if you can't help me." and none of them did. Until the last person she came to.

This lady was carrying her child in a 'sarung' wrapped around her body, like you may see some Indonesian bibiks do with children under their care.

When the actor asked to 'borrow' her sarung, in exchange for the newspapers, she hesitated for just one moment before saying yes. When the actor asked her, "But won't your child cry?", she shook her head and proceeded to untie the cloth from around her body and gave it to the actor.

These two chatted and we discovered that the lady is a single mother (Don't know where my husband went, she said) and she makes a living by selling rice in her kampung. It is obvious that she was also poor and did not have much.

Her child did cry and so this pretender wanted to give it back but this lady said "Ngga apa, ambil lah" [It's okay, just take it] and turned her child and distracted him with something from her basket and passed the sarung from behind her back.

Seriously, here my eyes started to well up. I had a microwaved instant meal in front of me and immediately lost my appetite.

The actor then left the scene and the generous lady walked home. The camera crew followed her home and then showed a staff from the TV show knock on her door.

When she came out, he asked her if she had indeed given away her sarung to a stranger? When she said yes, the guy asked her, "Did you just lend it to her or simply gave it to her" and she replied "She told me that she wanted to borrow it, but if I don't get it back, it's ok".

Then the TV staff took out a bunch of bank notes and just pushed them into her hands and said, "Because you are so generous and helped a total stranger, this is some money for you" and quickly walked away.

and Do you know what this lady did? She actually ran down the lane, chased after the guy and wanted to return the money!

"Apakah maknanya ini Pak?" [What is the meaning of this?] - She kept repeating as she tried to return the cash.

"It's a little token of appreciation for your kindness and generosity" the guy said before leaving.

As the TV programme ended, it showed how she used the money to buy 'keropok' to sell around her neighbourhood and some rice and treats for her child.

Basically, I was in tears, and Abg was speechless.

In a world where people die after wanting to help people after they're mugged, where politicians only care for the size of their pockets and you think everyone is out to cheat you (or maybe that's just me, hahaha) - this really gave me a wake up call.

One, I am really lucky. I am lucky that I have great parents who gave me all the comfort of life and guidance so I may make the right decisions in life. I had great teachers who inspired me to do well and taught me how to. I have friends who made the journey so much more enjoyable. I found my soul mate (who may be suffering quietly and I know is reading this - despite all that, I love you Abg!) and I have a job that I (most of the time) love.

Really, if I think about it, there is nothing else that I need!

(Well, a smaller number on the weighing scale wouldn't hurt, hehe)

Secondly, poverty is some thing that people tend to take for granted, especially when you don't come across it on a day to day basis. While I was there, they even had reality TV shows where they feature three people and showed the state of their homes, and let the public vote via SMS on who should receive a new house!

Kids, as young as my niece were hanging about factory outlets, selling newspapers - and on rainy days, held out umbrellas to shield you from the rain as you walked from one store to the other for the smallest amount of money.

People were so happy to receive a 37sen tip that I was ashamed that that was all we gave them.

I kept thinking of the green-shirted Ibu, and remain touched by her kindness. I wonder, if I were in her shoes, would I have done the same?

and I become hopeful, despite my jadedness of what the world has become, knowing that there still exists kind people who are willing to help other people for nothing in return, in the world.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sucker for a lost cause

Another of my little strays died today.


As bitter and jaded as I can be, I'm just a sucker for abandoned cats. Everytime they die due to some illness, I tell Abg that that will be the last time. Abg will just look at me with a little twinkle in his eye for he knows that the next time I come across a mange covered scruffy little thing at the hospital's walkway or at the canteen, it will be riding in my silver Kenari home.

Two weeks ago I came across a small kitty near the lab. It was about half six and I had just finished operating on some limb. She came running to me as I called to her. She was as ugly as anything - thin, bloated worm-infested tummy and covered in scabs of mange. I put her on the front passenger seat and there she sat quietly as I drove home.

I applied the mange medication that I always have ready at home, gave her a bowl of kibbles and placed a hot water bottle to keep her warm in the cage.

In the course of the next few days, most of her scabs fell off and she looked much much better. Once I let her play in the house and she spent an hour pawing at a piece of string hanging from the ironing board.

As we were leaving for a holiday, I left her for boarding at the clinic nearby.

When I went to get her, she just looked ill. Foam was dripping from her lips and she resembled nothing like the kitten I left a week before. The vet assistant actually had the nerve to reassure me, saying it was a natural reaction to a deworming medication.

She died the next morning.

So I cried a few tears and apologised, as I always do with all the kittens I couldn't save. and I vowed to never take in another stray for it to break my heart again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Aksi kucing terlampau

I always tell Fizzy (yes, I talk to my cats) that he is one of the luckiest cats around. To think if we hadn't stopped at the Pasar Ramadhan three Rayas ago - it was drizzling and usually we'd avoid places like that during bad weather - we wouldn't have found him huddled up under a car which had just driven away from a parking space we were eyeing.

Now he is an extremely fat cat who likes to sleep in between our legs. Anytime he catches us sleeping in the prone position, he would immediately plop himself there and make himself comfy till we push him away.

All he does is eat, sleep, walk around the house like he's the boss and then eat and sleep some more. He sleeps on our bed at night, unless Abg's sister is back for the holidays and then she drags him to sleep with her instead.

With our other sweetheart, Bubu who is no longer with us.

Tidur lagi.

Tidur jugak, tapi posisi tutup muka.

Nie tak tau posisi apa - posisi peluk kaki kot.

Fizzy accompanying me FaceBooking.

Did I not tell you he loves to sleep?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Kitty update

It's been a while since I last wrote about my furkids. Sometimes work can be overwhelming that I start to neglect everything. I can't remember the last time I ironed Abg's shirts, in fact sometimes, he does the ironing for me. I am spoilt.


Anyway, a staff nurse at the labour room offered two of her kittens to me about 2 weeks before Ramadhan. I was hesitant at first. I've always made it a point to not take in kittens who already have homes, but on the other hand, I was pretty chuffed that she would consider giving her kittens to me. I know I wouldn't be able to give away any of my cats - regardless of how anti social, or untoilet trained they are and even if I had to, I would ensure their future owners would adore and love my cats as much if not more than I do.

So, Qisty and Betty joined our already mad household.

Qisty - the tortie

Betty - the black spot is not a grease stain by the way.

Betty fell very ill during the week after Raya. She was moping and refusing to eat, and whenever she was resting, her third eyelid would cover almost half of her eyes. We took her to the vet and I made sure she was drinking and kept feeding her high calorie gels. I put her indoors, in a box with hot water bottles to keep her warm. Every night I would say to Abg, "I don't think Betty will make it to the next morning" and every morning she would still be alive.

Muka budak sakit.

Tak larat sangat dah nie.

After the 4th day, I opened my bedroom door and Betty just ran right in! and now, about a week after, she's been running all over the place. Still a bit thin but at least she's eating. She is now very attached to us and would never leave our sides for long.

Qisty on the other hand, runs away like lightning when we approach her. We have to resort to bribing her with freshly boiled fish in order to get her into her cage.

Anyway, apparently my 'anak-anak dara' - Nafas, Malisa, Mini Me and Cinta - has been seen socialising with the stray tomcat. Me thinks its time for a visit to the vet soon.

Of being non-judgemental....

I haven't forgotten to blog, really. It's just that the hospital has blocked certain sites on the server including the blogspots.

Thoughts usually come to me during the lull in between dawn and the end of the oncall period. I like to ponder upon the patients I saw and how I was with them. Not having an internet connection for me to put my thoughts in cyberspace has been such a damper.

I have to admit, I am not the friendliest doctor. I used to be, when I just joined the hoolabaloo about 7 years ago, all naive and innocent; sometimes I wonder whether it was really that bad that I have become so jaded and disillusioned by it all.

I had a patient last week, who had a history of heart problem. She had been followed up at the Physician's Clinic and had been advised for bypass grafting but she had refused.

She was brought into our casualty at 5 am severely distraught, literally screaming for every breath. Apparently she had had two days of on and off chest pains and had persevered at home. Fifteen minutes later she flatlined. Her son adamantly ordered us to stop our resuscitation efforts.

Later, her daughter approached us and told us that they had gone to the KK and no one responded. I wasn't really sure what she wanted to tell us actually. Was she implying that if someone at the KK had seen and attended to her, that maybe her mother could be saved? I told her I couldn't comment but she has to understand, by refusing the operation, her mother was simply a walking time bomb. The daughter did not look appeased, I have to say. I never had the magic way with words.

When I was working in the OPD, I met many patients who had been admitted time and time again for chest pains and was advised for angios and further work up of their heart problem. They would smile at me and say, "Takpe la doktor, berasa segar lagi nie.." and I would say, "No, it is when you are well that you should get everything checked out. When you are grabbing your chest and could not even lie still for an ECG, you are basically leaving your life to chance."

Yet, they would smile again and say thank you after I have written their monthly medications. Thank you for what I wonder. For letting you leave my room and wait for the next attack of chest pains?

In a way, I have a lot of respect for MOs who are in charge of OPDs - those who are really committed towards making sure that their patients are thoroughly educated and making an informed choice. How do you cope with stressing the same thing over and over again and still have your patients come in with hay wire blood pressures and blood sugars? At least when I plate a femur, I can see the proof in the check x-ray post operatively.

HTM's Ortho team have been pretty washed out the past week. We expected it to be bad, but not this bad. Broken femurs (thigh bones) have been wheeled in almost daily and my boss have resorted to doing them 2-3 days post trauma rather than have the patients on traction as we normally would. I can still feel the ache in my arms after reducing the fracture of this 80+kg man a few days ago.

Yesterday, a scrawny kid of 12 was riding his motorbike and collided with a jeep. He broke his femur rather badly and sustained a HUGE wound over his shin with his broken shin bone peeping nicely under all that mess. He was whining as I was changing his blood-soaked bandages; saying how I was rough and pulled his leg too hard. You can safely assume that I had many things to say at the tip of my tongue, all with complaint-letter-to-Pengarah inducing potential. I was rather proud when I left his bedside in silence. I honestly think one of the hardest things about being a doctor is to not be judgemental.

Never mind that another kid who broke his wrist last week was riding a motorbike and ran through a red light. I bluntly told him to run though another red light and get hit by a trailer next time; I attempted to soften my sentence with my sarcastic smile but it was lost on both kid and his mother.

Ho hum.

I'm sure there was a point of this blog entry but it seems to have gotten lost somewhere. Perhaps I will make better sense in my next entry, whenever that will be.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

You never know.....

how useful your side mirror is until you break it.

Driving back from work has been absolute hell. Now that you stupid inconsiderate drivers have clogged up the roads by forming two lanes on a one laned road, there are even more stupid drivers who think they can be clever by overtaking using other people's lane! Kau ingat kau sorang ke nak cepat?

It's safe to say that I made full use of my horn for those stupid drivers yang dgn muka tak malunya amik lane aku nak potong an already jammed, almost unmoving traffic.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

7 hours and 2 cakes later.....

...and I think I am feeling better.

Out of the seven deadly sins, which one do you think is the deadliest? Is there such a thing as a deadly sin being deadlier than the other?

There is WRATH, ENVY, LUST, GLUTTONY, PRIDE, ANGER, GREED and SLOTH. I was chatting to a friend and I remarked that I personally think ENVY is the worst of them all. Without envy, you will not get greedy about accumulating wealth, or be angry that someone is richer than you and be proud when you are richer than the person living next to you.

Perhaps I've got the concept wrong, but I think it all starts with being envious. I was trawling through FB (something that I really should stop wasting my time on, since there isn't much on it apart from looking at other people's VIRTUAL farms) and people are driving beemers, and having gorgeous houses that should belong in between the pages of Impiana and flying off to exotic countries for the sake of their careers. For a second, I felt envious.

Well, to be honest, it lasted more than a second and I wasted a few hours of my life being up there on my angry cloud, lamenting on how my life should be more exciting. That I should be driving a bigger car, or have a nicer house or own a Prada handbag or two.

and then I thudded to the ground - reality check. I thought about that Thalassemia patient, whose Hari Raya clothes were bought by her teacher and who could barely scrape enough money just to get her blood levels checked at the hospital. I remember a child who was admitted for pneumonia who was wearing clothes that looked worse than my dishrags. I remember that pakcik whose knees hurt so much that he could barely walk, yet despite us insisting that we could get him financial help on the prosthesis, is still thinking twice about it because he couldn't afford to pay for the hospital admission.

I remember a particular kakak who lived deep in the kampung that she has to pay a 'kereta sapu' RM50 just to get the family screened for TB at the hospital after her husband died from it - an RM50 that a lot of us take for granted yet this woman can barely pay.

So I will drive my battered Kenari because it still serves its function as a vehicle carrying me from point A to point B. So I don't own an Aryani or a Ratu or Fareeda or whatever-the-current-trend is tudung because I still own a drawerfull of plain bawal headscarfs because it still covers my aurat no matter how cheap or out of date they are.

I will think of these people that I have met and I will remind myself to stop being envious of things that I don't have but to be thankful for the things that I do have.

and with that, a more cheerful Selamat Hari Raya everyone.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Of exhaustion and a blocked nose...

The Facebook is akin to witnessing a horrifying accident, complete with torn up limbs and severed heads. You don't really want to watch but you look anyway. It's just the voyeur in all of us. You know you will probably hate what you see but you just HAVE TO.

I do find it 'amusing' reading status updates saying so and so is going to bed now, or that he/she will be going shopping. Perhaps some people find that interesting, I don't know.

Apart from being exhausted, I've also got a cold. My throat is dry as I am breathing through my mouth. I have barely spoken 10 words to my husband, an indication that my call has gone really badly and I know I am in a bad mood because I am on leave tomorrow and that doesn't cheer me up.

Perhaps it is the coming festivities. I've long learnt that festive occasions are more appreciated by people with kids, not for a jaded auntie with 13 cats. If not for Abg, I would be celebrating it by sitting in front of my Wii, surrounded by my furkids.

I started this post with a long rant in my head but I guess it's not worth it. I figure I am just feeling sorry for myself after that particularly bad call.

Selamat Hari Raya everyone.

Post call blues

There are calls that when I am off home, I feel satisfied, knowing that my patients are okay and are getting the treatment that they should.

and There are calls that I've left feeling exhausted and depressed.

Yesterday's was one of those.

The 60 plus pakcik had been unstable since the night before and he was already very ill by the time I reviewed him yesterday morning.

Unsurprisingly his condition deteriorated. Nothing I did appeared to help and the worst thing was I didn't really know what was wrong with him.

Finally I told his wife that there was nothing much that I can offer. He passed away at about half eight this morning and I'm left feeling dejected - was it my ignorance or lack of knowledge that contributed towards his demise? I hope not, but I am feeling pretty down nevertheless.

Friday, September 04, 2009

An oncall story

I was oncall last night. My partner had a horrendous one where he couldn't sleep much due to the trickling in of cases all throughout the night. Hence I was not in the best of moods when I started to be on call.

During the early evening, it was pretty quiet. There was a patient waiting to be wheeled into the ward, an elderly pakcik who was being nebulised, and an anime character look-a-like who looked like he was about to collapse from exhaustion and fever.

I was told pakcik requested to be admitted. Apparently he was fit to be allowed home. The male ward was already one bed short of being full and I wanted to save the bed for someone who really needed it, rather than someone who thinks he needed it.

Despite being told that he could go home, pakcik threw a fit and sulked. Apparently he sat on the floor and dragged himself all over the place and finally went outside at the waiting area. One of the security guards then actually wheeled him in again later that night, put him on stretcher number three and there he stayed for the rest of the night.

Needless to say, pakcik had a better sleep than me despite having construction work going on merely a few feet away.

The next morning after sahur, I went to clerk a case of abdominal mass (since when abdominal mass of 8 months is an emergency, seriously lah) and pakcik was still there.

and I wondered, how bad can it be that this pakcik would rather sleep on a stretcher in an emergency department, rather than go home?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How time flies....




No wonder I feel so old.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pet peeve

Noted during patient registration at casualty while on call last night:


Why why why??????

I'm going to start a campaign against the wastage of vowels in kids' names soon.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Things that were left unsaid

To my sister who got married a few weeks ago, Selamat Pengantin Baru. I am writing here the words that were left unspoken in all the chaos that was your wedding. You know how it is; no matter how prepared our mother is, she will always find something to do at the very last minute and end up being very very hassled.

I love you Ma, but you are what you are and those are the things that makes you, you and we love you nevertheless.

I am jotting down here little things that I wanted to say but ended up being masked behind silly remarks while clowning around. Things that you may want to take to heart or maybe not; it doesn't really matter for these are things that you may go through yourself but I think I should mention because I am your big sister after all.

I will not go as far as calling them words of wisdom, for I know, with only 5 years of marriage, wisdom is far from what I have.

Enjoy your married life. Enjoy the companionship, the love and laughter that will definitely adorn your lives from now onwards. I hope the man you married is not just your lover but also your best friend; someone who will not judge you for making a harmless remark on someone who was mean to you but who will accept it as a part of the person you are.

I hope he will share your happiness and also your sorrow, who will hold your hand until the pain has passed.

Have at hand bucketfuls of love and affection, tonnes of sense of humour and unlimited patience - there will come a day when you will have your first big argument and I hope during these times that you do not ponder on all the things that are bad but to concentrate on the things that are good. Having had a few big arguments ourselves, I know that that is easier said than done but try anyway.

Take time to enjoy each other - to celebrate all that you have in common and to appreciate those that you don't. Have respect for each other's opinion, no matter how radically different it can be. Afterall, someone who agrees with you all the time can be pretty boring after a few months.

Always find time to make each other feel special, no matter how hectic life can be. The gestures doesn't have to be grand or OTT but small things can make a difference; like remembering his favourite kuih or making his favourite drink even when he doesn't ask for it.

Being a wife means that sometimes you have to bite your tongue - in an argument, refrain from saying things that you may regret later, no matter how much satisfaction you think you might get from 'letting it all out' - you can never take it back, and the harm would have been done.

I wish I could say that 'happily ever after' starts now but you and I both know that the fairy tale concept doesn't exist in real life. But I've always believed that one needs a few glitches in their lives to truly appreciate all that is good in life. Have an awesome journey and make every moment count!


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For just a moment....

I took the afternoon off work to run an errand in KB today. Had to look for a gift for our boss in conjunction with his new bundle of joy.

Initially I was just browsing around, hoping for something to catch my eye. You always want to give someone something that they would find useful, so I always end up buying something that I would buy for myself. Anyway, as I was looking at the tiny shoes and mittens and caps, I suddenly found myself welling up.

There is a pair of tiny mittens and a cap tucked away at the back of my closet. They have been there since about a year ago. Also hidden away is a pregnancy book and a book of names.

For just a moment I let myself cry silently for something that wasn't meant to be.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Bad taste in the mouth

I had a fantastic thought earlier today, surprisingly while scrubbing up for an operation, but NOT surprisingly, have totally forgotten about it now. Must seriously consider idea of hanging a notebook on my neck.

I was oncall last night. Not a drop of rain and in comes four motor vehicle accidents. One was totally unconscious, smelt of vomitus and had bits of kuey tiau, bean sprouts and cabbages hanging off his dark green sweater and it was the first time I saw my colleague sweat (WKY, it's because you are usually the epitome of coolness!).

But anyway, I am feeling bad right now.

It was 7pm and I was still in OT. Felt like I was a houseman all over again. Suddenly my mobile rang, and the OT phone rang. A staff nurse was asking me whether I wanted to do the discharge.

DISCHARGE? At 7 pm? Are you seriously serious or seriously out of your mind?

Firstly, I hate it when the staff take it for granted that I will answer all calls from the hospital, regardless of time and day. Last weekend, I was in IKEA and a staff nurse called to ask me about removing the stitches on the leg of a patient. Hello? Patient mati ke kalau tak buat STO tu??

I make it a habit not to accept phone calls from the hospital outside office hours unless when I am oncall, but it is still disturbing to know they called because, y'know, what if it was something urgent? Heck, that's what oncall people are for!

and the thing I am totally pissed off about is, that THEY actually make me feel bad about telling them off about calling me about minute matters like that.

Secondly, at about half two just now, as they were changing shifts and exchanging reports, I had called EVERY ward and went through all my patients and asked if there were things that needed to be done, i.e. xrays to see, discharges to do etc etc. So, tell me, if I shouldn't be mad if you call me at 7pm to ask me to do a discharge (which wasn't planned for that day anyway!). You had passed over at half two and you couldn't have called me over the next two hours to confirm if that patient was indeed for discharge.

Aargh! Seriously lah!

and don't even get me started on how gobsmacked I was the other day when a STAFF NURSE didn't know how to do chest compressions!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nonsensical ramblings

I have this strange habit - well, I wouldn't call it a habit but more of an observation - of thinking that medical officers can tell what their calling in professional life is by looking at the type of cases that come when they are on call.

For instance, I noticed that when the senior Peads MO is oncall, somehow it is on that night that kids usually come to our casualty.

Last weekend I was on call and I noted that there were mainly surgical based cases that turned up that day as my partner is the current Surgical MO.

Now, what deduction should I make when I'm on call, and no cases turn up?

P/S: The above statement is by no means me "bercakap besar" - after all I still have one on call left this month.

Friday, July 17, 2009


...for the blocking of blogs on the hospital internet.

I mean, at nights when you are on casualty call, and you are just sitting there waiting for the results to come back, at least that gives us something to do. Besides, I write best in the middle of the night when the patients are just thinning and sleep eludes me.

Anywho, last night's call was one of those weird ones. It was practically patient-less from about 5 to about half ten. Yes, it must be one of those blue moon nights. My partner, however, wasn't so lucky. She was riding on the ambulance escorting an ICB case and only came back at about ten, only to be woken up at about 2 to escort another case. But of course, TM being the place it is, patients started to come after midnight. For a three day fever, can you believe it? Have some mercy people?!

It is a shame when the public misuses the casualty department like this. They have learnt that staff at district hospitals will call you ASAP when you turn up after midnight as they want to settle all cases as quickly as possible. It doesn't help that TM has an abundance of a night life for all the nocturnals. Hmm.

Anyway, I was woken up at half twelve for a case of assault and an MVA where a boy cracked his forehead open. The skull was exposed and I swear I can feel a crack yet the CT scan came back normal i.e. no evidence of a skull fracture. Good news for the kid but kinda embrassing for me. However, my partner that night examined the wound and totally agreed with my assessment.

I will be oncall again tomorrow and hope I won't be as unlucky as my partner.

My parents must be pretty happy right now as all three grandkids are back. Apparently my niece has become a minah salleh (Hi Hannah!) and Ayes is still being Ayes. They are expecting their fourth grandkid any moment now. Seems like kids are popping everywhere. Sigh.

There are times during the year when work starts to bore me. Perhaps I am one of those people who get excited about something for a short while and then grow out of the phase. Kinda risky when it involves work what with an apartment in KL to pay for. Maybe what I need is to get out of Kelantan. There are times when I wonder how I ended up in a life that is so vastly different from what I am used to. I've been informed that my family members wonder about this on a regular basis.

I had a conversation with a colleague not long ago. Among others it centred on our lives and how not having kids affected it. I've long discovered that I no longer care if we have kids or not. I look at other people's offsprings and I am relieved that people won't be able to judge me based on how my kids look like and how they behave. We're already being judged on the job we hold, the car we drive and the number of jewellery we own - life doesn't need to be so complicated.

I also decided that I will make a lousy parent. I can't even get my cats to respond to their names. They all come running on "tsk tsk tsk" so I might as well have called them all "tsk tsk tsk"- hahaha. Jokes aside, should it is fated that we remain childless, I am content. I believe that my marriage is strong enough to withstand this and I consider myself lucky as not many married couples can say the same thing with the same amount of conviction as I have.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fuming mad post...

I received news of this last night but was down with fever so only managed to write this down now. My youngest baby brother is doing his pre U course in UM. Yesterday, in one of his chemistry practical class, a friend accidentally knocked a test tube filled with undiluted chemical and it spattered on his back.

Do you know what the stupid teacher in the class did? He dabbed on it and said it would be ok. OK????? My brother now has a gaping hole in the skin of his back, what do you say to that? I thought the first things you learnt when you enter a lab is basic first aid? Whatever happened to letting the skin sit under running water you idiot?! and you don't even have the decency to send your student to the health centre. Idiot.

and at the Health Centre, another idiot nurse let my brother sit for an hour unattended without any further treatment while the chemical was practically burning a hole in his back!

However, kudos and thank you to this Burmese medical officer who saw the urgency of my brother's case and actually sent my brother to UMMC.

So much for being the top Uni in Malaysia. I suppose this is where we are when we only run like headless chickens to get everything in order only when the Accreditation Survey is going to be held.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I heart Singapore!

The number of hours my KBR-KUL flight was delayed - 5

The amount of time I said "I heart Singapore!" while I was there - many!

The number of steps we took travelling up and down escalators and buses and walking - gazillions.

The number of times we went to VivoCity but did not go to Sentosa but instead went to Candy Empire - 2

The number of times we saw a Mat Salleh and his SPG nearly getting into a physical fight with a scrawny chinese guy with very frightened girlfriend - 1

The number of keychains I bought at Bugis Street - 30

The number of fridge magnets I bought - 5

The number of wallets I had planned to buy - 1
The number of wallets I ended up buying - 0

The number of handbag I planned to buy - 0
The number of handbag I ended up buying - 1

The amount of bruised knee I got as a result of stumbling off the ramp in front of the Singapore Science Centre - 1

The number of people Abg said saw me fall - 0
The real number of people who saw me fall - probably EVERYONE there!

The whole Singaporean experience - priceless.

It's nice to be home......

...but Singapore was fantastic!

There were all these 'signs' that I kept coming across, as if telling me that I shouldn't be going on the trip, but I am glad I did.

There was the 5 hour plus delay on our flight back to Kuala Lumpur where we ended up arriving at Ma's house at nearly 2 am, but otherwise the rest of the trip was smooth sailing.

However, is it me, or is this guy wearing OT trousers?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Things to do when you are post call... scrape half the length of your already battered Kenari against a moronic lorry whose driver couldn't be bothered to find a better space, hence blocking half the road.


.....and then go home irritated because of the above incident and snap at your other half.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Of working till dusk and wrinkly clothes

Yesterday I spent 12 hours at the hospital. Working.

I left home at half six, arrived at work and punched in at about 7 and only punched out at 7 that evening.

It's been three days in a row when I have driven home in my OT clothes, simply because after finishing our cases, I just couldn't be bothered to change back into my work clothes. I now have a feet high heap of OT clothes on the floor of my bedroom.

Don't get me wrong, I love being in the OT. There's just something about the sensation of the suture needle piercing the skin and seeing your knot opposing the wound that just relaxes me. I love the crisp feel of the scrub and the quiet sigh of the sterile cloth that we drape on the patients. I'm weird, I know. I blame it on my star sign; I'm an Aquarian and we're supposed to be weird.

But, my household have suffered as a result of me coming home late everyday. Two basketful of clothes are waiting to be ironed and hung. Don't even get me started on my bathroom floor! Tsk. I can't even imagine people with kids coping without help. By the time I get home, usually near dusk, I'm already too exhausted and my feet are sore from standing so much while doing the cases. At least I have the liberty of not cooking dinner if I don't feel like eating and there aren't kids to bathe and feed.

So, if I am already so exhausted just working in a small district hospital with specialists, tell me how am I supposed to cope with joining a Masters programme?

and THAT is something that I will ramble on later when I have the energy to do so.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Things to do when you are sick

I am at home sick today.


It used to be that I get sick once a year and would last for maybe 2-3 days. Now, it's 2-3 times a year and lasts about a week. I've had this cold since Thursday, been on call with a cold, had a clinic with a cold and the lack of rest has resulted in a temperature of 38 last night.

Double urgh.

Anyway, I was feeling sorry for myself this morning and ended up watching Oprah. She was having a 'Pay It Forward' campaign where she gave everyone $1000 and urged them to give it away. So this morning's show was about what everyone did with their money.

One story had me sobbing like a kid. There's just something about seeing people do good or animals that turn me to jelly.

One member of the audience advertised in a local newspaper asking people to write in and nominate someone whom they thought deserved the money.

So one first grade teacher wrote in about Alferd (yes, his name is spelt that way), who is 68 and comes to her class. Yes, Alferd is the oldest student in her class.

Alferd is the oldest of his 9 siblings and he never went to school because he had to take care of his brothers and sisters. So, at 68, he decided that he wanted to learn to read. Now he can read first grade books.

So this teacher's letter won and they used the money to buy Alferd books so that he could read to his heart's content.

I've always thought that we tend to take things for granted. Being able to read, ride an escalator, order KFC without looking at the menu, having a colour TV - but here is a 68 year old who could have easily gone through his golden years not being able to read (he has gone through 7 decades safely without the ability) yet he took the effort to approach someone and asked to be taught.

That put my flu into perspective, somehow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Snippets of a holiday

Welcome to Jakarta....!

View from our room in Cikini.

Bronze elephant in front of the National Museum.

The chaos that is Tanah Abang shopping area.

What Malaysians love about Tanah Abang.

Very informative cartoon on buying food in Tanah Abang market.

Set ikan gurame bakar.

MONAS - Monumen Nasional

Writings on the bust of Husni Thamrin.

What I managed to catch of Senayan City before I was told taking pictures is prohibited. Hehe. Nice mall though.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Of substance

Sometimes I wish I could write great things. Things that make people think and things that teaches people and change lives. All my blog does is serve as a platform for me to rant about my work and my mundane life.

Though I hope mine is a tad more interesting than the ones who give a complete description of what he did and what he ate bla bla. I prefer blogs which give an insight on what people are thinking and what makes him/her do whatever it is that they do.

Jaded as I am, as I trawl through this massive cyberworld, all I seem to come across are mindless youths, whom, when asked about a memorable quote from a film, would volunteer "You've got to move it, move it" from Madagascar. Maybe it is the generation gap, but come on....!

I stumbled upon this blog after someone in the forum pasted his article on "Why do we get married?".

Below is an extract:

Satu soalan paling kontroversi: Kenapa kita perlu berkahwin?

Jawapannya: Untuk memenuhi fitrah manusia yang mahukan seks. Ini hakikat. Sigmund Freud mengatakan ini dalam istilah saintifik dipanggil sebagai 'libido', iaitu kemahuan paling dalam dan tersembunyi dalam diri manusia yang dipanggil 'id'. Pemikiran manusia secara dasarnya dibahagi kepada tiga: id,ego dan super-ego.

Id adalah kehendak yang paling asas seperti makan, minum, pergi jumpa Encik Tan untuk pelaburan*(ini ke tandas), dan seks juga tidak terkecuali. Seks adalah satu aktiviti pembiakan kalau dalam bahasa saintifik, untuk terus mengekalkan speisis untuk terus berkembang. Dalam kes kita, homo-sapiens.

Ego adalah peraturan yang kita sendiri cipta untuk mengawal kemahuan id kita. Ini seperti prinsip hidup dan kepercayaan diri sendiri. Manakala super-ego adalah undang-undang yang dicipta oleh negara atau agama atau adat untuk mengawal kemahuan id kita.

Jadi dalam kes seks, itu adalah id kita, dan super-ego (agama) melarang kita melakukan seks kecuali apabila berkahwin. Manakala ego kita pula ialah kita malu kalau masyarakat tahu yang kita lakukan seks sebelum kahwin.

Bearing in mind what I usually come across, here is a malay male youth, freshly graduated who has actually read Freud!

So I spent a few hours reading his entries. At one glance people might brush him off as an angry rebellious young thing who has decided to blame everyone and everything around him but read a little deeper and you will discover an intelligent, well read and most importantly passionate person. and what passion he has!

He constantly states his dislike of our current education system, who seems to produce regurgitators than thinkers. Which is something I can relate to.

A few days ago, radio Era had a mini competition for parents to win an opportunity for their kids to go on air. One parent, when asked which of the following is a famous equation - E=mc(squared) and E=my, confidently gave the wrong answer. Another parent couldn't give the correct scientific formula for water.

Is it me? Am I sounding a teensy bit snobbish because 'of course la you cannot expect to remember something you learn in school ten years ago' or 'of course la you think it's easy, you did science in high school' but - seriously?

Maybe what is really worrying me is that, these same parents could have easily told you who the last winner of One in A Million or Akademi Fantasia. Whose home is filled with Media Hiburan, URTV and Mangga.

I digress.

To me, he is an example of what a well rounded Malaysian youth should be. Sure, he has radical opinions, but most importantly, he actually has one! In a world where we are surrounded by 'Tidak apa' attitude, here is a young man who is passionate in what he believes in.

and reading his blog showed me that there are more like him and it gives me hope.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Is it me or....

Is it me, or do other people think the following is weird, not to mention inappropriate?

A man, having a conversation with an unrelated female, whom is not his wife and saying, "I wonder what you look like pregnant?"

or is it just me?

Monday, June 08, 2009


Why is it that I always come up with interesting things to say/write about when I am away from the computer yet when I am sitting here, it never appears? Maybe I should hang a pen and notepad from my neck so that I can jot it down each time a brilliant idea comes about.

It is of course, on call day and it has been pretty quiet. My partner has warned me to keep my 'mulut celupar' shut...hehe. I've also been called a worry wort, which I admit to being one. I can't help worrying about the most severe, and unmanageable cases which don't exist....if that sentence makes any sense.

I think there is something wrong with me.


Lately I've been finding things to occupy myself. Before my trip to Java, I had occupied myself with researching about the place. I spent hours and hours on the internet reading up on other travellers' experience and which places to go and which to avoid. I think I was researching too well that I was beginning to neglect Abg.

and I thought my restlessness would subside after having that trip. Nope, I was wrong. After a trip to KK and a week later, I was fidgeting once more. I wanted something to think about, a project I could keep myself busy with. Though I may appear sedate and calm on the outside, my mind is racing here and there and everywhere.

One moment last week I was determined to get a Nintendo Wii. I am not sure how that evolved into another trip overseas. I am like a bee that was buzzing all over the place and now have settled on a flower - for the time being, that is.

Abg is keeping his opinions to himself. I think he has learnt from the past that his wife does not like when people disagree with her. But I think sooner or later, Abg should put his feet down and say enough is enough. Sometimes I think my husband spoils me and I don't think that that is a good thing. What is weird though, is that even though I know it isn't a good thing, I would still make him go my way and he does. Surely there is a limit to his manoeuvrability.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Small talk

I'm never very good at small talk.

Whenever I am in a situation where I am faced with spending some time with a stranger, I am more than happy to sit in silence and think about other stuff than making small talk. Perhaps other people are uncomfortable being in complete silence. Perhaps they find the lack of conversation unnerving, that they'd rather talk about mundane stuff that they will definitely forget in the next moment, rather than sit quietly.

Have you noticed the topics that often crop up during small talks? What do you do, where are you from, what does your husband do, how many children do you have...yadayadayada. Wouldn't it be interesting if, for instance, while waiting for a taxi, that the complete stranger says to you, Do you prefer KFC or McDonalds? Wouldn't THAT be a great conversation opener?

A few weeks ago I was in this situation. I was heading to KK for my conference and was in the plane with another MO whom I know by name only. He joined HRPZ's Ortho Department after I had left. He ended up sitting next to me. I smiled politely as I introduced myself and acknowledged him. Anyway, we were sitting at the airport waiting for our transport to take us to the hotel when he started asking me things about myself. I answered politely, with just enough information without being too chatty. I tend to do that when I am nervous, then you will find me yapping about my cats and how expensive litter is.

When people ask me how many kids I have and I answer none, I noticed that almost all will follow that answer with, "How long have you been married?". Why is that, I wonder? Maybe if my answer was "Oh, just recently", they will feel relieved that they had broached a potentially sensitive matter?

One other guy whom I was talking with while waiting for a court case came up with an unconventional response to my answer. He said, "Oh, don't worry. I only have one and have absolutely NO intention of having more!"

Anyway, I digress. After he asked me that and I gave my answer, I found myself adding, which sounded more like an afterthought, "I had a miscarriage last year" - and I am wondering now why at that time I felt compelled to explain my situation by divulging an information as personal as that.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Superwoman

My Ma is the 'garang' type. I would jokingly tell bro Wan how lucky he is that Ma has mellowed down so much over the years.

There is not a month that passed that we didn't have markings of beatings on our legs. I totally understand her, we were a bunch of (sometimes) naughty kids and she was working till she had Yaya so it was stressful, being a mother at that stage. Though looking back at our childhood, we were practically angels compared to kids nowadays.


You know how when you have people visiting and their kids would be breaking your child's toy, and jumping up and down your sofa and all their parents seem to do is sigh wistfully and say 'Budak-budak......'? Ey, if we were like that, one stare from Ma and we would be reminded of what was in store for us once we got home. Ma did mention though that we were very well mannered when we were visiting other people, never needed prodding to behave; we always knew what was proper and what was not.

Anyway, you mention it, we've been beaten by it: rotans, rubber hose, hangers, rulers - so I think you can probably picture how naughty we were...hehehe.. and how 'garang' Ma was. But, regardless of how bad a beating we got, Ma would always make sure we knew why we were punished. I remember once, after a really bad spanking, I was crying on my bed examining (and actually counting! Hahaha, 'modal' for feeling sorry for oneself) the welts on my legs when Ma came into the room to apply soothing cream on them. She would be telling me what I did wrong and how badly she felt after each beating and I remember how stubbornly silent and angry I was. She would always mention that each beating hurt her more than it hurt us. It sounded ridiculous to me at that time but I'm sure every parent knows exactly what she meant.

It didn't help that I was a very stubborn child. Everytime I got punished, I would retaliate by sulking in my room and refusing to go out to eat and I could be stubborn for a very long time too.

When I was in my teens, something happened and Ma and I ended up not speaking. We were like US and Soviet during the cold war. It was as if I didn't exist in the house. Ma would not leave out any food for me nor did she wash any of my clothes. In the end, Pa was the one who could not bear the hostility and forced me to apologize. To this day, I can't recall what was the silly thing that made me act that way.

Unfortunately, as Abg would gladly admit, the hard headedness have persisted till now.

I digress - presently, I look back to my childhood with absolutely no regrets. Ma and Pa have provided us with everything we wanted and did not leave me wanting for anything. The only reason that I would have a kid, if I could, was so that he/she/they could have the childhood I did, beatings and all.

I may sound like I condone physical punishment, and in a way, I do - but in the sense that IT being only a minor part in bringing up your kid. It MUST come together with love, respect and patience. I think, most importantly, in order to be a decent human being, one must be able to differentiate between good and bad, and have a conscience. Without a conscience, one will not be able to feel bad when he/she has done something wrong, and if you don't feel remorse, what will stop you from repeating your mistakes?

There is one memory that I am sharing here, that Ma will or will not remember.

When we were younger, Ma would make us bring food from home and most of the time it'd be boring stuff like jam sandwiches. Maybe she did give us 'cool' food sometimes, but all I can remember right now are the horrible jam sandwiches. At MGS, we had a really huge canteen, selling iced water (10sen per glass only!) and ice balls to wantan mee and nasi lemak. The nasi lemak booth is right at the end and next to it is the ice cream Auntie. The best thing in the world at that time was having asam boi ice lollies on a hot day. They were only 10sen but it doesn't really matter how much they cost when your mother doesn't give you any spending money.

What I would do (Urgh, I cringe as I am recalling this, such is the idiocy of youth!) was to 'collect' any small change Pa had in his work trousers. Pa would always leave his work trousers on the bed (something he still does now) and whenever no one is looking, I would go through his pockets for coins.

I know! 'Teruk', right! Hahahaha.

and the next day, there I would be, enjoying my asam boi or kopi ice lolly.

This went on for a few weeks and one day I was just swamped with guilt. I decided enough is enough but in order for me to feel better, I just had to come clean to Ma. I can recall exactly what happened: Ma had just finished her prayers and I told her everything. At the end of it, Ma simply told me not to do it again. Was that what happened, Ma? Hahaha, but definitely did not get beaten lah.

I knew that what I did was wrong. I could have easily went on 'collecting' loose change from Pa's work trousers, right? But my parents raised me well enough that I had the ability to feel bad about what I did.

THAT was the only thing I remembered from that snippet of my childhood. Despite the way I am telling this, I am NOT blaming it on my Ma for not giving us spending money (I'm sure she did because I do remember buying nasi lemak and wantan and sarsi but my mind is so befuddled that I can't recall whether it was because Ma gave us money or was it due to my unofficial 'toll'), and I certainly DO NOT remember going through primary school with longing or feeling that I lacked something.

Whatever it is, I hope my parents are comfortable in the fact that the bottom line is, they raised a bunch of decent human beings. It's definitely a bonus if your kids are geniuses or famous or rich but surely it all starts with decency.

I often wonder if my parents have regrets about the way they raised us; I certainly have never asked them this but if she does, then I say don't because to me you surely did one hell of a job.

Happy Mother's Day.

Jumping all over topic

The best oncalls are the ones where no matter how busy you are during the day, you still get uninterrupted sleep later on the night. Even a mere three hours should be okay to get you going the rest of the day.

It was one of those days when you had a whole bunch of stable patients, but they came with weird complaints. Luckily for me, I could always clerk them in for observation. Should nothing is wrong with them in the first place, the MO in charge can always discharge them.

It's just a few minutes after 7 and already the A&E is starting to get patients. It's usually MVA patients this early. I hope that at least the patient's conscious, unlike the ex YB who yesterday was involved in a head on collision.

You can tell how important a patient is in the hierarchy of the society by the size of the crowd that is hanging about the hospital. The last time we had a VIP, a crowd the size of a small kampung (including all four wives, apparently) came to see him.

My sister is getting married this August. Weddings have become really expensive nowadays, don't you think? Maybe it's time we stepped out of the box and do away with wasteful habits such as fancy invitation cards and do a Maya Karin. You do realise that most of them end up in rubbish bins?

The other thing is the door gifts. Remember a few years back when everyone started using those pearly-multisheened ceramic egg holders? Too ugly to use to decorate but too 'sayang' to throw away? When I first got married and moved into Abg's house, I was soooo itching to get rid of them. They were just gathering dust in the old cabinet anyway.

I think a good doorgift should be useful, and if not, at least recyclable. Ma used to save every bunga telur she got whenever she went for weddings and 'cukur jambul's and 'maulud nabi's, that after a while she would have a HUGE bunch of non matching ones displayed right by the phone.

What she did was, when it was time for her to host a maulud of her own, clean up every single one and use them as doorgifts. Jimat, right? and they actually looked nice on the bunga pahar stand, despite being missmatched and all.

I think the problem with our society is that we are too scared of 'losing face' and wanting to please everyone else, BUT ourselves. Relatives are the worst. Especially when it comes to weddings. Everyone wants to give their idea on how much 'hantaran' money the bride should get, where the wedding should be held, how big the event should be and beware should you just brush off any ideas, or you would find yourself being given the cold shoulder come next family gathering.

Talking about recycling, after that three day conference in KK, I've now ended up with about 4-6 bags and a tonne of leaflets. I've decided that from now on, the bags will be coming with us on shopping trips so that we don't end up with plastic bags. The bags that they were giving away at the various booths were the cloth type, and rather sturdy too. We had a trial run at the recent pasar tani, and the bag I had easily carried 4 small papayas, three bags of onions, a bunch of long beans and a few other stuff. One makcik was really impressed when we insisted, no plastic bag please. Besides, they were more comfortable to carry and were less painful on the fingers.

Good eh? I think Ma would be proud. She's always tried to make us reuse things when we were younger, though at that time it was called being frugal rather than recycling.

Now, if only I can locate a paper recycling centre in KB......

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oncall nonsensical ramblings

I've just returned from two trips and I think I need another holiday to wind down from them. It used to be that I could travel on overnight third class trains and still be excited for a weekend trip but I'm beginning to accept that I am no longer that sprightly young thing.

I used to reminisce about my backpacking trip to India and Nepal and often wondered if I could do the same thing nowadays.

I think I know the answer and the answer is I probably can but I will probably end up hating it and can't wait to go home.

and it isn't just holidays, but oncalls too. I remember that we used to do compulsory EOD (every other day) on calls during our O&G attachment and postcall, I still found time and energy to meet Abg.

Get me to do EOD calls now and I'll be bedridden after a week!


Am I getting old?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shall I..?

Shall I write about pakcik in bed 15 who started to have difficulty breathing suddenly at about half seven last night? He who deteriorated and became so blue that we had to intubate (and re intubate) and for whom I spent 3 hours looking for a bed and ventilator for?

or shall I write about sleeping at half three, after eating my cold rice and waking up at half four and then five and then half five to check on the patient with low blood pressure and was told about another supposedly stable patient who became breathless and restless?

or shall I write about the fact that a bunch of us were supposed to sit for an exam this morning and with only 2 hours of sleep, I am in no shape to be answering questions?

Shall I also write about my oncall partner who also only went to sleep at three, and then woken up to resuscitate another patient in the ward and then called to attend another case of shortness of breath at casualty?

Shall I write then about this son whose father passed away unnoticed in the midst of the chaos that is the male medical ward, whose puzzled face when I told him that his father had passed away is still etched in my mind? I hate it when it gets too hectic that I've become such a nasty MO to my staff nurses who are already overworked, that a death is just another number in the statistics that I forget about the grief and the loss.

Shall I write about this particular staff nurse who totally ignored my orders to push the emergency trolley when the above patient stopped breathing - simply because her shift had finished? I was so shocked at her (non) reaction yet too busy to attend to the case that it is only now that I am overwhelmed by my anger.

These are the things that five years of medical school can never teach you and whether it makes you into a better person or otherwise is totally up to you.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why I sometimes hate my job...

It is 1 am and I am just sitting down to eat my dinner. It's mee hoon, so that's a good thing. It's only been three days since my jaunt in Java but it already seems to be in a distant past. Almost like I dreamt it all. Reality sure can give you a hard slap on the face.

But, good thing is, three days, one on call and one PTK exam later, I will be off to KK for the MOA Conference. I've already looked at the programme and made plans during the times that I can skive off. I wonder if boss will notice me missing.

Abg will be joining me on Friday and we'll only be flying home on Sunday so that gives us about 24 hours to go pearl and 'ikan bilis' shopping. I remember having good memories of KK so I hope this trip won't spoil it. I'm already salivating over the mee hun sup ayam in Sinsuran that we had the last time we were there.

Anyway, we had a patient who was complaining that we were late in attending to his son who had bleeding from the nose. He had come this morning and since the bleeding subsided some, I allowed him home and told him to come again should the problem recur.

When he turned up at about 10 thirty just now, all the beds were full. Basically all the lethargic pakciks have run out of 'ok' power (ok - Kelantanese for persevere) and have decided that they will turn up at the casualty that day. One relative of my staff had had bilateral lower limb weakness for 2 weeks and was just now insisting on being admitted. I had just pronounced the death of a 4 year old with malignancy and was still tying up loose ends but then proceeded to deal with the case of the bleeding nose.

Just as we had registered the case to be admitted, then comes the 'oh i am so pandai and so mighty don't you dare play play with me' father who started to boss my staff around telling her that she's doing things wrong.

Suddenly he came puffing and huffing wanting to bring his son to HRPZ II. Apparently we are all idiots here in HTM. Well, good riddance and good luck mister!

Seriously lah...? How obtuse and how selfish and ridiculous can you be? A mother had just lost her 4 year old daughter to cancer and a pakcik is lying on the stretcher fighting for each breath and a kid just broke his thigh because of his stupid parent who couldn't be bothered to strap him with the seat belt (but that's another story) - get some perspective la.

It is people like this that make me hate my job sometimes. Thank god they are far and few between.

Roasted chicken wings, here I come....

Monday, May 04, 2009

Did I not say so..?

I wonder what has kept Abg. He's usually not late. I've just been lazing around surrounded by my kids. Che'Tam looks lethargic. Friends are humoured by the fact that I use medical terms to describe my cats' condition.

Anyway, I fed Che'Tam her deworming medication during the weekend. She hasn't been herself since. She seems to devour my KFC chicken though, so I hope that means that she's not that bad.

Unlike how her master is feeling.

Last night's call was not that bad, considering. A bad call is when more than 2 patients collapse on you. One is acceptable. Two is still not bad but more than 2 means that you really need to 'mandi bunga', as we like to joke.

There was a relative who brought his wife who complaint that she was dizzy. He had just arrived as I left to shower, leaving the casualty to my partner that night. As I turned up about an hour later, he was just leaving. He turned to us, and said in an unusually loud voice, "THANK YOU DOCTOR. HAVE A PLEASANT NIGHT" - it was said in a way that clearly indicated that he meant otherwise.

I've long learnt, in Kelantan, if a malay speaks English with you, he/she is trying to say "I'm educated you know, don't mess with me like you mess with the kampung folk". Urgh. Stupid. What have we become; learn Mandarin to get a job, learn English to intimidate people.

According to my colleague, he had sat at the counter and was babbling away while she was clerking her cases. She wasn't in her friendliest mood as the cases were many and waiting. Was that why Mr Moustache was so sarcastic? You think by loading your sarcasm on us, it will help us improve our service? I don't think so!

Anyway, we ended up resuscitating a patient at about 1am. Despite our efforts for the next couple of hours, he was still hanging on by a thread. He was too ill to be transferred and we both knew that he was there because of the medications that we were pumping into him. Bleurgh. Regardless of how ill or how bad premorbidly my patients are, I still feel bad when they expire. Definitely one for the mortality meeting.

Ah well. Shall deal with it once I return from my long awaited holiday.