Monday, December 19, 2011

Digging a hole in the rain

Six cats in three weeks.

I am never rescuing strays ever.

It must be that scrawny yellow tabby who came meowing for food. I noted that my younger kittens started to get sick after that. We didn't see him for quite a while when he suddenly appeared at my door last night, pathetically thin, drooling at the mouth, tail crusted with dried feces. His eyes were almost completely shut by the discharge, he was meowing pitifully but I could not risk my older cats getting what he has.

He was still under my car this morning, and still on the porch this afternoon and already dead by the time I got home.

A dead cat always makes me sad - even when it's not my own.

So, even with the drizzle outside, I took the 'cangkul' and dug a shallow grave for the nameless cat.

I learnt that the 'cangkul' isn't built for digging graves. After about 10 minutes of digging (I wonder what the neighbours were thinking, this baju kurung-clad lady huffing and a puffing digging a hole in the rain at dusk), I placed him in it and buried him when I noticed his two hind feet were protruding through the soil. I managed to redistribute the soil so the whole cat is covered.

May you rest in comfort, yellow one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rest in peace sweetheart - you will be sorely missed.

Post tak puas hati

This morning in the ward, a bunch of innocent looking chaps were lounging around, occasionally being led by sister looking at god knows what - later I was informed that they were future medical students, waiting to be flown overseas for their education.

As they were leaving, they thanked one of my housemen for showing them around and I was tempted to say, "Remember to come home after you finish - you are there on Rakyat's money - jangan perasan nak jadi mat saleh" but of course I didn't. It must be the age but I am finding that I am much better at keeping my mouth shut nowadays.

I reckon the government should just save their money and just let all students study locally. Bila dah study overseas, rasa macam bagus, that you are not good enough to work at home. Crap.

Some say, when sponsored to study overseas, the first thing that they try to find out is, apart from where the nearest halal meat store is, how they can stay permanently. Patut la Malaysia is the way she is. Dah la ahli politik tak berapa cerdik, rakyat selfish, pentingkan diri.


Monday, December 12, 2011


Tell me again why I let myself get attached to my pets - all I wanted to do is make sure they have enough to eat and not sleep in the rain but when they die, all I can think about is how they would play at my feet and get on top of us whenever we're watching tv. All it takes is a crumpled ball of paper, and they are entertained for hours.

They would never let a debilitating condition keep them down. As long as they are fed and warm, they are happy.

I don't know what happened but once in a while we would have an outbreak of viral infection and my cats will die at such a rapid rate that I am left helpless.

After 4 dying in quick succession, now two of my constant companions while I was stressed out with exams preparation aren't feeling too well. All I can do is keep them warm with hot water bottles and keep them hydrated and hope they are strong enough to weather through the worst.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Bliss is....

...checking in into a hotel, ordering room service and knowing that you REALLY don't have anything to do but to take it easy.

My friend said, he went home after getting the results, (he had passed by the way) and felt empty because for once in a long while, he didn't have to hit the books and make sure he knew the differences between the three types of muscles. It had actually felt weird. I, for one, (call me strange) had wanted to keep on studying!

The exams had been pretty straighforward. Unlike the exit exams which would require the candidate to have read beyond the recommended text, the entrance exam (we call it Part 1) basically tested how much you know the fundamentals. I had dreaded Anatomy - for the life of me, I still can't tell the difference between the intrinsic muscles of the hand! One takes one hand for granted; until you work in a hospital which is a Hand centre and you will never look at it the same way.

With hindsight - despite all the tears and frustrations and threatening to quit 'once and for all' - it was all worth it, just to say 'I passed' - and there had been MANY times when I came this close to throwing in the towel. If not for my wonderful wonderful colleagues, I think I would have done it. Just knowing that someone else felt the same way was enough.

To all future candidates, I cannot stress enough how important having a study group is. If I had to write it a million times, I will. It isn't just the studying, but the support system it provides. Just knowing that other people too felt crap was comforting. Of course, it helps heaps if they turn out to be the best group in the world. Seriously, I wouldn't have wished for a better group of mad mad people.

Mad because we had actually voluntarily put ourselves through it! Mad!

However, jokes aside - with everything now water under the bridge, I am glad I persevered. I wouldn't have been able to look at myself in the mirror if I had chickened out and quit before I knew how far I could go.

I know this sounds like a cliche, but SERIOUSLY, if I made through it, then ANYONE can.....

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

and now what....

I can't remember the last time I felt like vomiting, having to PU and BO (that's a number 1 and a number 2 respectively, in English, hehe) at the same time and it was not good.

Why and a thousand more WHYs came and passed unanswered. I vowed to get myself out of this, I must have been mad to even think I could.

But when the good news came, I had to ask my HOD to say it again, just in case, you know, all that lack of sleep had made me delirious. The fact that not everyone made it put a damper on the celebratory mood and of course Abg's the first person I called.

Syukur Alhamdulillah. So this old hag still has it in her, huh.

So now what? Will I be able to do this all over again in 3 and a half years?

Crap crap....

crappity crap.

Why did I put myself through this?

Ah well, terima je lah......padan muka sape suruh buat sangat.....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

New additions to the family

Harry and Cat - sambil tgk Masterchef Malaysia

Learning hemostasis with Harry.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The last stretch

Loyal companion

This is it - the last month before the part 1 exam and I am going full steam ahead. Am I regretting I didn't start sooner? A little bit, but there's no use moping around about something I can't change.

Doubts, I had more than I can count and repeatedly I have moaned to Abg about quitting but apparently this is common - whether one acts on it or not is what makes each person different I guess. The only thing that is keeping me going is the fact that someone must have seen something in me that justifies me being chosen out of the so many that have applied. Some candidates had applied as many as three times and still didn't get in; I applied once with absolutely no expectations and had this given to me on a plate, so am I going to mope around and feel sorry for myself? Heck no!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ramblings of an insomniac

It is half three in the morning and I can't sleep. We're planning to drive to KL in about 3 hours time but my phlegm-filled chest is killing me.

I had suffered from coughing since the last one week which subsided after Abg got me special sinseh medications that were recommended by a friend. Lo and behold the cough improved but now I can't get the secretions out. I guess even coughs have a purpose. I wonder if it is possible to initiate coughing like making someone sneeze by making him/her sniff pepper

I've always found it ironic that I can barely keep my eyes open beyond 9pm on a working night, yet be so energised at 1 am on a weekend night. Similarly, on a working day, the snooze button gets hit at least 3 times before I groggily make my way to the bathroom, but come weekend, I am up half an hour before the alarm is due to go off.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Self doubt is a dangerous dangerous thing

I am not only having second, but maybe third, fourth and fifth and to the nth thoughts since I joined the programme.

Am I too old, am I too stupid, am I really good enough, why did they choose me, or am I just plain lazy - doubts like these crept into my mind over and over and over again and it is driving me nuts.

Why did I leave my wonderful life behind? I didn't need the extra money, I could rescue as many cats as I wanted, my home was near to completion and Abg would come home to me every day - sigh. When they say you have to make sacrifices joining the masters programme, I must have forgotten what the word meant.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordy Wednesday

I have had a couple of weeks of hecticness lately. Travelling to and fro Machang, Kelantan to Kuantan, Pahang may seem fun when I was 5 years younger but now it is just a hassle.

Though, having said that, the thing I love most about it is the amount of time I get to spend with Abg. Even after all these years I still find it very interesting finding out what he thinks about certain issues and the goings on in the world. At home he may be busy with meeting up with friends and running errands but in the car, he is all mine.

Sometimes he would tell me about what his mates have been up to. I still get surprised (maybe naively so) when he tells me so and so who has gotten married to wife number 2 or 3 or 4 - or maybe I am that naive. or when he tells me of the antics of a particular acquaintance who is old enough to have grandchildren, in a club - in the name of entertainment.

Sometimes he would tell me about his childhood, memories of his late mother and what he plans to do in the future. At times like this I am glad that both of us are genuinely enjoying each other's company - interrupted only when I doze off and go snoring my head off (which I do quite often nowadays - must be the age).

I pointed out to Abg recently that I think men just love having a sweet young thing (SYT) by their side - hanging on to everything they say and looking up at them with adoring eyes. My fellow male MOs (current and in the past) do this all the time. Even with a wife and kids at home, some ask SYT housemen out for drinks and meals and most say that's how far it goes.

I guess it offers them a reprieve from the boring humdrum of home life. I guess it is human nature to yearn for what we don't have.

"If you had a SYT on the side, would you tell me?" - I asked Abg recently. He laughed loudly and said "Of course not!"

His laugh was not forced and his answer seemed spontaneous with just the right amount of incredulousness that I am placated - I hope he realises that behind that question lies another one that I can barely voice out and hope to never be true.

Monday, September 05, 2011

I am trying to comprehend...

...though it is difficult to understand how someone who has accepted a responsibility can simply just ignore it and still have a clear conscience?

I was hanging about on FB when a friend started to post links to cats being rescued from a pet boarding facility. Apparently, some cat owners were trying to get their pets back and were told that the cats will be delivered to their homes. When the pets never arrived, the owners became suspicious and went to the store. What they found was beyond anything I could ever imagine.

From the photos that had emerged, cats were left in their carriers, wading in their own excrement with no water or food. A photo of a dead brown-black mummy cat hugging her also dead kitten tugged at my heart strings. My sympathies go to the owner.

Being a cat lover and owner myself, I am outraged by the blatant lack of 'amanah' that the store owner has shown. Please tell me that you have a logical explanation to this debacle before I totally lose my trust in mankind.

Suddenly that journey home with 12 cats in 4 carriers was worth it afterall.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I love hotels

Biar salah eja surname pun.

I needed a holiday to recover from the holiday we just had.

The fact that the whole of Pahang decided to come over to HTAA on Friday with 2-month old smelly fungating feet and black toes did not help either.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tis life

Bestnya jadi kucing...



Sunday, August 07, 2011


..after many years of patiently waiting, our home is completed.

Too bad we're stuck in Kuantan for a while. That's life, I guess.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

What to do when....

..all you really want to say is "There is nothing we can do."

There is nothing we can do.

I am sure, in any doctor's life, there will be a few times when this is the one thing that you have to say, yet you know you can't.

For it means, there is no longer any hope, you have come to a dead end and there is nowhere else to go. There are no rays of light, no silver lining, no matter how hard you look.

There is nothing we can do for your mother.
There is nothing we can do for your father.

and the saddest of it all, There is nothing we can do for your child.

I seriously think, malignancies in children is the worst thing in the world. How does one cope with telling parents of a child, someone who's just only about to start his/her journey of life, that your kid may pass away before you do?

A few months ago, a 16 year-old girl came to the clinic with a swollen knee. Subsequently she was referred to another hospital for proper treatment for the cancer.

As doctors, we tend to 'suggest' certain treatment in a matter-of-fact of way and we don't stop to think what we are really telling our patient.

How does one tell a 16 year-old girl that she has to have her leg chopped off? I think about it and consider how I would feel if someone told me that I need to have my arm surgically removed. Devastation doesn't even cut it.

Of course then one may say, where are the parents and what are they doing?

I am not a parent myself so this is something I may never comprehend but apparently when one becomes a parent, all you want to do is to fulfill a child's needs and wants. How do you say to your daughter that her leg has to be removed?

How, indeed.

So of course this unfortunate family decided to seek alternatives.

A friend received her case a few days ago. Apparently the mass is now the size of a football, ulcerating and bleeding. She is pale as sheet and stopped breathing at the A&E but was revived with resuscitation.

No matter how they bandaged her knee, blood was dripping. Her condition had become so bad that her blood could not clot, it was like a leaky pipe. It took the highest concentration of medicine just to maintain the lowest of her blood pressure.

Of course, there is no way she is fit to go through an operation. Even if she is, there is no knowing the state and extension of the growth.

In short, there is nothing we can do for her except make her comfortable. The last I heard her heart stopped beating again in the ward and again she was resuscitated. It looks really bleak; even if she miraculously survives, her brain wouldn't have survived the periods when it was oxygen deprived.

My heart and prayers go to the family.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Winds of change

They say change is good.

The hospital will be implementing the shift system for the housemen soon. They started a trial run in one of the hospitals and since it has been getting such 'good' feedback, they are now starting it here.

I'm not too clear on how it is going to be, but apparently there will be three shifts with periods of overlap between the two for about two hours. The housemen at the other hospital allegedly loved this new system, because it meant abolishment of the oncall system and it is heard that the MOs, on the other hand aren't too happy as it meant that the housemen were handing over their work to the next shift and nothing ever gets done.

Things are bad as it is; I didn't have housemen till about a year and a half ago and even then we only had two or three at a time. Fortunately most of them have been really good and never brought us much problems so I was totally unprepared for the lousy quality of young doctors that I am seeing here.

I try to take a step back and wonder if I was ever this bad when I was a houseman and I think I was even worse so I try to cut them a little slack, but it irks me when their lack of responsibility for their patients and sense of pride in their work affects how the ward is run.

Note that I didn't say lack of knowledge - a boss I had once said it doesn't really matter if you don't have the knowledge, because you can always go back and read but if you have an attitude problem, well, good luck I guess.

I don't want to sound like an old fart and start reminiscing about the 'good old days' because I hated hearing it when I was being told off by my specialists - but I do honestly think the housemen nowadays have it easy. I have about 8-10 housemen in my ward which has about 45-50 patients. They distribute the patients according to cubicles and most of the times, 1 housemen will be in charge of only about 5-6 patients.

and they still muck things up; one told us confidently during morning rounds that the patient is still being kept fasting awaiting op whereas the said patient had already undergone his procedure the night before.

Eh, did you review the patient or just the case notes?

I try to be nice because I know it can be hard but seriously?

I remember coming to work at half six to bucketfuls of blood requests, going for rounds and then more blood taking - not to mention chasing after radiologists for appointments then accompanying patients for procedures and interspersed between all that, clerking anywhere between 4-8 cases per day.

Some housemen go through the day not clerking any cases at all.

Things are different nowadays indeed.

What will the shift system mean? No oncalls. That would be weird. Being oncall has been so synonymous with being a doctor, that I can't imagine not doing oncalls. I guess one can look at it and say, a well rested doctor is a safe doctor. But, an under exposed doctor can be a dangerous one too.

One doesn't learn during ward rounds; I learnt most of it while being oncall. Being oncall means you get to see the cases and come up with a preliminary plan before presenting it to your superior and see whether you have got it right. Being oncall also means that you get your MO to yourself so, depending on how approachable he/she is, you get to ask questions that you dare not ask during the rounds.

Some say the shift system is being introduced in response to the many parents who have complained about how tired their little princes and princesses after working for more than 36 hours. Some say, it it because too much money is being spent paying for oncall claims, now that there are so many of them but I think, the bottom line is whether it will be the best thing for the patients?

Furthermore, when the housemen have been trained in a shift system, how will they cope with the oncall system once they become MOs? Will that mean that subsequently the shift system will involve the MO as well?

I wait the future with bated breath.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


After about 6-7 years being in a few district postings, I am finding myself slowly adapting to being in a tertiary centre.

As I said to a friend, I will be receiving cases of spinal shock and polytraumas rather than referring them. It will be quite a different kettle of fish.

On top of that, I found that I have forgotten the politics that are involved in a large department. You find that one says one thing yet means another. Being at the bottom of the rung, we found ourselves bearing the brunt of many dissatisfaction. Many times we were thrown the deep end of the pool with no one to tell us what to do. We found ourselves doing ward rounds and then rushing to the clinic and still get told off for being late yet the seniors get away with murder.

After many years of being the reliable one, the right hand woman - it takes a while to be the person everyone trusts the least simply because you are new.

I find solace in my fellow Masters Programme-mates; despite all this we can still find reason to laugh it off and make each other promise that we won't be 'that way' once we are at 'that stage'. Classes offer a short reprieve from the sometimes confusing rounds - yet I am sometimes reminded why I had deferred from applying in the past years.

Not having Abg around after work was a little weird as well. There were only a handful of times we were apart (exception of course when I am oncall because that counts as being at work) since we got married so it was weird being 'single' again.

It will take time but I am adapting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Masters Programme application

I remember when I was thinking about applying for my Masters Programme in Orthopedics, trying to look for information on the web.

I googled every single phrase possible - sarjana perubatan, cara memohon, prosedur memohon (in both English and Bahasa) - and nothing. Basically, one relies on word of mouth and from seniors who had already been chosen.

Basically, there are two important steps involved. Somewhere in April, the application for Hadiah Latihan Persekutuan (HLP) will be out. I knew about it from colleagues who were also keen to apply that same year. Application has to be made online and you have to get a PIN number from BSN. What you do is you go to BSN and fill in a form for sarjana perubatan and pay a fee of (I think) RM25. You log on with this PIN number and fill up your application. You get three tries in case you need to amend anything. After the dateline, you will get a confirmation about your application.

You MUST MUST apply for HLP before you apply for the Masters Programme. HLP is the 'scholarship' that the KKM gives you in order for you to continue your studies. Basically one has to be below the age of 40 at date of application (I don't think many MOs above the age of 40 would want to go through 4+ years of studying anyway), have been in service for 3 years, have been confirmed and have obtained an average of 85% and above for the yearly review (Sasaran Kerja Tahunan).

Then you wait.

In September, the actual Masters Programme application form will be out and you will have to fill in several forms, depending on the number of universities you have applied to. I would advise putting at least three, giving you at least one chance of being called. You will need passport photographs, references from your bosses and finally you post them all to the respective unis.

One of the interesting questions asked in the application form is to write a 100-word essay on why you chose this particular specialty. I was told to write in Bahasa but wanting to be different, and considering UIA's medium is English, I gave both. Apparently, one other candidate who is also in the current Ortho programme did the same. So, I say, never hurts to try.

Try to be different in your essay. Make yourself stand out as someone passionate and in possession of a personality.

Then you wait a little more and with luck, you will be called for an interview in February or March. All unis now have some sort of an entrance exam. Apparently O&G have one of the hardest. Other specialties are following suit as every year there are increasing number of candidates, so they need a filter system to weed out those who may not be so suitable.

I must say my interview did not go that well and I was more than 80% sure I wasn't going to be chosen. As I was the first one to be called, my interviewers were interrupted a few times that I wasn't sure whether they actually listened to what I had to say.

I had worked in a district hospital with a small Ortho unit but being small, it meant I had to do almost everything. My experience was limited to open procedures and I was hugely disadvantaged by other candidates who could put in locking nails with one eye closed and their right hand tied behind them, but I had hoped that my many years (compared to other candidates who had been working for only 4-5 years, as opposed to me who had been working for 9 years) would at least give me the maturity and experience advantage.

I don't know what it was that made the lecturers choose me but I must have shown them something.

So, if they say you can't be picked for working in a district hospital, they are wrong. I know of one other MO who was also chosen, despite working in a district hospital. Mainly it is how you carry yourself during your interview. A good word put in by your boss can help too, I think. Try to participate in non-work activities too - be a committee member, play sports, help with organizing courses - every little thing helps.

I was asked by my boss to be leader in the QAP project twice and at that time I was moaning and whining about it but looking back I am thankful. It may not be much, but it will give you something to talk about and put you just a little ahead of the other MOs who haven't done things like that.

Finally, during the interview, you may feel a little intimidated looking at all the other applicants - you may think that they have done more procedures than you or are cleverer than you but first and foremost, believe in yourself. If you have genuine passion for what you are doing and most importantly ikhlas (sincere) - I think it does show.

Good luck!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I am lying on the floor as I write this. Moving has been stressful - the process of finding the perfect house, furnishing it - I don't think I'd want to go through it anytime soon. We've got the vital pieces of furniture in (and when I say vital, that means an aircond and ASTRO) and it is now livable but still far from being my ideal home.

Being a newbie threw me off for the first week. Getting accustomed to new wards and the clinic and having pass overs took much of my mental capabilities but now that that has passed, I am glad that my Ortho head has come back to me. I am still lost when managing and preparing cases for TKRs and ILNs but I think I will be alright.

I miss the good relationship that I had with my former boss. Back then I knew almost all of the cases even when they had their operations, I would memorise the OT list from two weeks ahead and sometimes acted as my boss's PA, reminding him about xray meetings and CMEs.

The house is great - it's in a nice area, clean and has a huge lawn. If the owner wasn't asking such a ridiculous price for it, I think we would be happy to make it permanent.

It may be too early to say, but I think I will be happy here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The end of an era

So this is it. After nearly 5 years (and then plus the one I came here right after I completed my housemanship training) in Hospital Tanah Merah, I am leaving.

I am very bad at saying goodbyes. Partly because I don't think anyone would miss me. Afterall, work is work and very rarely do I get on personal terms with my colleagues and staff. Though I am cordial with them, I find that they would usually go to the friendlier MOs for favours.

WHICH, is fine with me, because favours can be awkward. Some people think they can request special 'stuff' because you are nice with them. Like signing medical check ups without really examining the patient. Or hiding certain facts about the parents' medical background. Or writing support letters to get someone transferred. Or providing MCs for someone who is just too lazy to return to work after the Raya holiday. Heck, even my sisters won't get an MC from me if they aren't really sick!

I am also known as the serious one at work. I am also bad at small talk - as I've repeatedly mentioned before. I find that when I have nothing substantial to say, I tend to revert to talking rubbish or even worse, gossips. So I made a resolution to avoid speaking unless necessary.

However, after five years working at the same place, it is impossible not to be on a personal level with the people you work with. We visit each other when someone is ill, we celebrate new additions to the family - it becomes almost family-like.

and how does one say goodbye to family?

To my 'partner in crime', whom I know reads my blog occasionally - you are like a member of my family. I hope now that we are not working together, that we will continue to be friends. You are one of the rare breed of people whom I can tolerate even after major squabbles. Bagitau aku, dgn sape lagi aku boleh berbaik semula walaupun lepas gaduh2? Takde kan. I don't think we need farewell speeches because good friends already know everything that is unsaid. Halalkan semua ilmu yg kau dah turunkan kat aku, halalkan yg termakan terminum. Apa2, kau carik aku tau.

Goodbye HTM - panjang umur kita jumpa lagi.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


I've a tonne of butterflies flying in my stomach and I don't know how to get rid of them! I've not been this nervous - not even the day I got married - for a very long time.

I am suspecting that it will get even worse as the day approaches.

Doubts are creeping in like there's no tomorrow and I've even started to get nightmares about people quitting!

Deep breaths, very deep breaths.

Friday, April 29, 2011

New chapter

The official letters are finally here so I can finally stop clicking the mohe website to check and recheck to see if IT's seriously true.

They weigh a tonne, and consists of documents I have not filled in for myself since I joined the JPA A-Level programme about 15 years ago. My god, has it been already 15 years? Still rasa macam budak form 5.

Sometimes I am struck by self doubt and it almost makes me want to change my mind. It is a hard thing to leave one's comfort zone, I think. So hard that I have to turn to Abg and ask, "Betul ke nak buat benda nie?" [Do I really want to do this?]

Am I regretting leaving it till this late? Most of my friends are already specialists and even have already subspecialised. Others who have decided to not pursue their studies are already comfortably set where they are.

No - I sincerely believe that things will fall into their own places regardless -so there is no use getting your panties in a twist just because your friend is now a big shot specialist or that your friend who started work a few months later than you did finally got confirmed and you didn't. Ada-ada la tu rezeki masing-masing.

I am just happy that I have chosen to do this in something that I enjoy. I may not be excellent at it and procedures I did will still need revision occasionally but I love what I do. I did not choose this because it doesn't require you to be oncall or that it is looked upon as EASY or because you happen to be doing this in your 6th housemanship training - but I really like doing it.

I am scared about moving to a new place - one would think after all that training during school years that I would have gotten myself used to moving about - but am also excited about the new start and a new journey.

Here's to an exciting new undertaking!

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I've never had dreams where we had a life with kids in it.

I am tempted to let that statement just lie there, or maybe throw it out into the darkness of this Subuh morning.

People say dreams are manifestations of your wants and hopes. I've had multiple dreams where I had gone back to school - sometimes back to my MRSM times and sometimes back to med school - and looks like I am sort of doing that this year.

But never a dream with kids. Well, at least not in the ones that I remember anyway.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

The tale of Spicy

People say, you don't actually choose your pet; they choose you.

That's certainly the case with Tuah. I was walking to my car and he was just sitting there. At that time I had about 15 cats already with me and certainly did not need one more. I found that when there are too many, I tended to neglect some of them so I've always liked to keep them below a certain number. Though, God willing, one day I hope to be able to bring home as many as I liked.

Without even thinking about it, I scooped him up - he was scruffy and thin and nowhere near 'cute' - but he had sad sad eyes which looked up at me and my heart melted.

When the vet said he needed an operation, I knew what I had to do. It didn't matter how much it cost - we (Abg and I) have always thought that our cats brought us Allah's blessings in their own way. We just wanted Tuah to be well.

Tuah in the first few days after the operation

Now, Tuah is healthy and playful and I hope, happy. He has the softest fur and the most cheeky personality. Come feeding time, when we'd put kibbles in their food bowl, Tuah would paw individual kibbles OUT of the bowl onto the floor before eating it. It makes for very slow eating and also some degree of wastefulness as some of it will fall through the rubber mat - but he can be interesting to watch.

I met Spicy one Friday morning on the way to breakfast. We had gone to pick up Fizzy from the vet - he had been having an upper respiratory infection and had been sneezing blood - and wanted to eat first while waiting for the vet to open. She was sitting there, her right front leg bent at an awkward angle, the bone protruding from the wound.

She looked up at me mewing softly and I said to her, if you are still here after I've had my breakfast, I will bring you home and she was. Dr Palani was amused but understanding and named her Spicy, after the mamak stall where he had found her.

Three weeks on, Spicy is now home. Her front right leg had been amputated near the shoulder to prevent her from getting chronic ulcers on her stump. Her fur is dirty and she barely has teeth to chew her food with and is always coughing. One wonders what her life was like before we took her.

But Spicy has the sweetest manner - all she wants you to do is stroke her head and scratch her chin. If we're eating, no matter how delicious it might have smelled to her, she would wait patiently by the table, pleading with her sad eyes. She may have only three legs but boy, can those legs hop when she thinks we're going to feed her. Sometimes she looks like a kangaroo more than a cat.

I think Spicy will be just fine.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Another post call musing

The thing I love most about my job is that, you never know what is going to happen.

Yes, I come into work, expecting to see another case of mat rempit wannabe with a few broken bones, or a makcik with severe OA of the knees and clinics will usually consist of advising patients to take care of their casts and to not weight bear etc etc.

But, it is the things in between that can make my day so interesting. Like the pakcik who brought us huge durians from his orchard, or the makcik with the diabetic foot who brought a gunnyfull of buah salak or the sweet little kid who says bye-bye with that toothless cheeky smile.

Also, there is this patient who cried when her operation did not yield the result she wanted or the parents who wanted surgical corection for the deformed elbow due to a neglected fracture.

Something happened during last night's call which made me wonder about the difference in expectations of us medical providers and the patients (+relatives). What the relatives perceive as fine or stable or improving may not be the same as doctors. Though he or she may look OK, but I am sure the MO must have noted the persistant CO2 buildup or the increasing respiratory distress which has been left unnoticed by the people around the patient.

To what extent does an MO have to update a patient's condition to the relatives, especially when the case suddenly deteriorates and the MO only has a split second to decide whether or not to aggressively resuscitate?

Does one wait and explain EVERYTHING to the relatives while the patient is gasping and getting bluer by the second, and with that, wasting precious time?

I would like to think that the words came out due to the stress and concern; perhaps that patient's son may be a reasonable and even considerate person had the situation been different but when one knows that one has done one's best, being told that a relative is highly dissatisfied with you can be so demoralising.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The next stage

I would like to think that all the good things (and there have been maaaaany) that happen to me is a reward. Maybe it is because of the prayers of the strays that I keep bringing home. Maybe it is the prayers of my mother.

Sometimes, good things happen when you least expect it. Don't you think so?

So, am I up for the challenge?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tears on a Sunday afternoon

The labour room can be a sad sad place.

Not only the cries of the newborns remind me of my state, it can also be a place where hope is lost, and tears are shed.

Sunday morning is usually pretty light especially when there aren't emergency cases lined up. I was hanging about the labour room which is joined to the OT when I heard soft sobbings behind me.

The consultant was talking in that special voice that I know they use when conveying bad news. The sobbing was heavy with shattered dreams and painful longing. I almost recognise it as mine not too long ago.

They had been married for 26 years. The news of the wife's pregnancy, at her age of 43, must have been a miraculous moment for both of them. Who would have thought after all this time that they were having not one, but two babies!

This is indeed 'rezeki' - Allah's blessings - and they must have gone through those days with such joy. Had they chosen names, I wonder? Did they imagine what it would be like to finally have kids in that home? The wail of a baby hungry for milk, the cooing when they are happy, the shrieks of laughter as you play peek-a-boo. To stroke that soft skin and run your hands through their hair and inhale the sweet smell of powder and that special baby smell.

To be told that all those dreams are no longer theirs - must have been heart breaking. It must have felt like your life is being torn out of your body.

Three years ago, I had hung on to the very last shred of hope, till I know there isn't any to hold on to any longer. Sometimes, I thought I had been in a nightmare, willing myself to wake up but I can't. I am sorry for that couple. I know what you two must be going through.

But know that to have lasted 26 years - that is the kind of love and devotion that has become so rare nowadays. Couples with kids can barely get through their 10th anniversary nowadays, and some are married for two weeks before calling it quits - it is ridiculous that the marriage institution has become a joke.

Please do remember that your husband must love you very much - that he accepts you the way you are and will tell you that you alone is enough for him. You will cry and cry and maybe cry a little more for the next few weeks and then the pain will start to lessen. The ache will become less dull but at times you will remember and you may shed a tear but that is ok.

I have not cried for quite some time but today I did.

I cried not just because of the miracle that I once lost but also for all the unseen blessings in my life; sometimes we tend to concentrate on things that we don't have that we forget to see the miracles that are right in front of us.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The first step is always the hardest

but overcoming it doesn't mean the rest of the way will be easy.

Am I regretting not doing it earlier? I don't know. Don't believe in being regretful, to be honest. I think life is too short to dwell on things that could have or should have or all the probablies and maybes.

or maybe I am just making excuses.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Why is it....

....that one is always reluctant to get something using one's own money, yet have no problem when someone else buys it for you?

The thing is, one knows that one can afford it but never gets round to buying it because when push comes to shove, you think, no, this is too expensive - a family of four can survive for a whole month on this and you come up with all the possible excuses under the sun - BUT, doesn't even need to consider thinking twice about accepting said item as a gift.


So, as much as I am saying "No, you shouldn't have", I want you to know that I absolutely love it and for the rest of the week before even considering using it, will probably take it out of its bag when I know you're not looking just to gaze at it and inhale its sweet sweet smell.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Salty booger or practical?

People have been asking me when I'll be replacing my car with a newer one.

I drive a nearly 7 year-old Kenari. I bought it right after I got married, with the purpose of driving myself to work after moving into Abg's house. It's never been in an accident - Al Hamdulillah - and recently I had it repainted, the multiple scratches and minor dents were becoming an eyesore. I full settled it about a year ago and it is completely mine.

It's engine may be loud when I drive more than 110km/h that I can't hear the radio. We can't drive it long distance unless we intended to spend the following day in bed due to back pain but it is a modest car and it serves its function: getting me to work and back so there isn't any good reason for me to replace it.

It's fantastic for going to the weekend market when there are limited parking space and the reclining back seat gives it more space in case I need to transport bulky stuff. In short, there is nothing that it can't give me, in terms of being a car.

For the others, well, that is where Abg's car comes in.

Similarly, I was changing in the OT when someone asked me, do you wear only 'bawal' headscarfs (referring to the older version of 'tudung's where you need to pin it under the chin and fold it at the temple to give it the streamlined look, as opposed to the automatic version where you just put it on)? Why won't you use the latest trend 'tudung's - it's faster to wear.

People asked me this before and I told her, as I told the other people who asked me before, 'Then what will I do with the whole bunch of 'tudung bawal's that I have?'. She said, just keep them and I thought to myself, for what exactly?

A headscarf is a headscarf, it's function is to complete the hijab - so if my old fashioned 'bawal' headscarfs still does that, then I think I will hold on to it a little while longer, thanks. No offense to those who do, but I just hate seeing things go to waste. I recently saw someone showing her Aryani headscarf collection - there is one (or maybe more) for each colour of the rainbow!

Now, should the next trend arrive - will one have to 'just keep' those too?

As it is, I'm only using 5-6 of my bawal headscarfs on a regular basis. The rest are just sitting in a suitcase, for all I know, being consumed by roaches and moths.

and it's not just about cars or headscarfs - it's furniture, curtains, mobile phones - it never ends. Recently I wanted to inquire about getting my sofa reupholstered. I bought the set about 5 years ago and despite being scratched to death by my furkids and having it's foam bursting all over the place, the structure is still very strong and it is very comfy. Having it reupholstered will cost me nearly the price I bought it in the first place so someone asked my why don't you just get a new one? The thing is, I can't bear throwing it away, because I know, with a little facelift, it can still serve its purpose and getting rid of it will only mean that it will get burned or take space at the rubbish dump.

Does it sound silly? I just can't stand knowing that the good part will be thrown away with the broken part that I will spend money to fix the broken part. Like, for another instance, the office chair that broke one of its five legs on wheels. Since the cushion is still intact and clean and definitely had more life in it still, I'm planning to find a second hand office chair just so I could replace the legs rather than buy a new one.

Some people may call it being thrifty I guess but hey, whatever makes one happy, right?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I wonder... depressed one has to be before contemplating taking one's life?

or how depressed one can be before accepting that ending one's life is a better option than going through it?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


...people amaze me.

How can one make certain assumptions, based on just scanty information here and there, you think you already know the whole story and on top of that, dare to pass judgement?

FYI, I've ceased to acknowledge your existence. I don't talk about you. I don't inquire about your wellbeing. I DON'T CARE.

Waah, sedap pulak kau ckp aku macam-macam. Kenapa aku tak buat macam nie, kenapa aku tak buat macam tu. Ye lah, kau saja la yang perfect kan. Pathetic.

I didn't want to say anything despite all those things you said about me. In fact I was contemplating doing something nice to you - I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, I wanted to give you a break but noooooo, for some strange reason you think you had the right to pass judgement about me! Hah!

Cuba baiki diri and hidup sendiri dulu boleh tak?

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I have always noted how similar yet how different Abg and I are - and I sometimes note that the similarities that we have can be an annoyance. Imagine trying to handle another ME - I don't think that can be pleasant!

Sometimes I am amazed that we have lasted this long. My Ma never fails to point out to me that any other person would have left me a long time ago! Haha. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Ma.

Seriously though - when I look at us, I will be the first to admit that love (or rather Allah's choice of my jodoh) works in the strangest manner.

Occasionally, when the differences are the most obvious, I would tease him and say "This is what you get for not marrying a nice kampung girl!". I don't know whether he realises it or not but at times I really do think that is what he should have done.

I am not the most easily adaptable person on earth - I am happiest curled up in bed with a good book. When there is waiting involved, you would see my nose stuck in between pages of a book rather than staring into nothingness. I don't do small talk because I think people don't really want to know the answer, they just want to fill the awkward silence. I enjoy the company of a small dinner rather than a full blown party; maybe that's just the control freak in me.

Abg hasn't been to his company's Family Day for the past few years. He says it is because he doesn't like to go - but I secretly think it's because I don't want to. In the first year it's alright because everyone knows you've just recently married - but after a few years I am finding myself in an awkward place; he has his friends but I don't really mesh with the other wives because they will talk about the best brand of diapers or milk formula and how their kids are doing at school and what post school activities are best etc etc. Now he doesn't even ask if I want to go.

When there is a family event on his side, I feel awkward because I feel like an outsider in a sea of Kelantanese speaking females. I am tired of smiling when they exclaim in amusement that I don't eat or haven't tried a certain food.

Which is weird because people who know me will say that I can be pretty friendly. At times I can strike a conversation with a complete stranger, so I am not shy.

In the beginning I kept to myself because I was worried about the first impression that I may make. I felt that people expected Abg to marry a local girl and because I was not, I was determined to show that I am the best person for him so I acted like how I expect people expect me to act. After a while, people perceived my quietness as a reluctance to blend in and left me alone.

Abg tries to reassure me but I can see that this is holding him back.

Nowadays my life seems pretty monotonous. Even significant things that happen in my life, I perceive as being insignificant. Sometimes I think I go through my day to day activities like how a robot does.

Is this a rut that every one goes through once in a while in their lives? Should I be doing something or just let this phase pass by?

Sometimes I wish I don't have to even care.

Thursday, January 06, 2011


..when one has been cooped up in the room for so long that one believes there is no life better than what one has, a breath of fresh air is all it takes for one to yearn of a different life.

Deep huh?

Well, maybe not so deep. I'm just happy that I'm postcall and it is the weekend tomorrow. The house is slowly resembling a chicken coop and with the wet weather, sometimes even smelling like one.

They say a goldfish has a memory span of only three seconds (turns out this is a myth afterall) - sometimes I wish I had a short memory span. It will make my job extremely difficult though. Perhaps I could apply it to only certain patients and in certain cases only?

It is the most difficult thing to NOT immediately label a patient when you hear IVDU, or crime suspect. How does one ascertain that the altered conscious level is due to a head injury rather than just simply being intoxicated? Sometimes the proof is there right in front of you but bias can be a cruel haze.

The phonecall came this morning while I was seeing cases at the clinic. So I guess here goes nothing. I am not harbouring much hope but it sure will be good if I can.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Retail therapy melancholia

I have been feeling melancholic.

Maybe it is the new year, maybe it is the increasing age or maybe it's because of the new house, I don't know but life is starting to feel kinda empty.

Suddenly I am feeling that nothing should be a priority but this - that I should make this my number one mission for 2011 and apart from this, everything else is nothing.

or maybe it's just my PMS.

I have been on a shopping spree but am not feeling happy! Maybe retail therapy only works when one is buying frivilous stuff that you don't actually need. Haha.

Downlights, pendant lights, shower heads, shower hoses, two way taps, valves, kitchen sinks, wash basins, granite countertops, melamine cabinets, 3G, wallpapers, plaster ceilings, cornices, paint - bleurgh. If only I had the financial freedom to get someone else to do it for me.