Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do I wanna go home? (Update on Day 5 post-discharge)

Yes & No. YES, because it's much more comfortable being at home but also NO, because there are a lot of buried skeletons in the closet back in KL (psss...I know I'm in the exact profession whereby I might have literally kept sets of skeleton for my Anatomy classes, but this is really just a metaphor). After years of inactivity and indifference, I've decided that I need to face the ghosts of the past. My recent illness released a new courage and energy in me, so much so that I'll bite the bullet and bravely do the right thing by next week.

Sometimes I wonder why writing is so therapeutic...because this is one gift that defies time, space & physical capabilities. Something written 2000 years ago can be relevant in today's post-modern age while something written yesterday can be so 'out'. Upon being inspired by a recent Pulitzer prize winner, I've finally decided to do some serious writing & concentrate upon a much bigger piece in the next few weeks, while continuing to churn out a blog article 2 to 3 times a week.

Yesterday I went back to the, no, I'm not mad, I didn't go to work (how I wish I could), but to run some errands. Even reviewed my own case and all the investigation results (ssshhh...don't tell my doctors k?) I discover that I really miss a productive, responsible adult life. I'm not destined to lounge about at home. I hardly can stand watching television/movie/youtube for long, therefore this entire MC thingy is getting slightly tedious & intolerable.

I wake up each morning when the sun is up (sharp at 645am) despite not setting any alarm clock. Sometimes, I am amazed at how we are such conditioned's like Pavlov's dog all over again. To me, staying at home attempting to rest is like watching paint dry. Annoyingly so. Thank God for the double Is : Internet & Iphone!

Along the process, I've gotten myself some financial education via the Internet and decided that the world of investing is very intriguing and inviting. Yet I know that this new 'interest' can be a double-edged can build or kill. Various thought processes whirled about in my mind as I muse on the possibilities of joining the bandwagon of financially-savvy investors.

Anyhow, think I'll need to garner more skills and emotional control before i could fully plunge in. Not only that, this period of time is possibly the only free time I'll have in this entire year, so I was wondering if I could really spare time in this arena. So, let's just wait & see for new development in the multi-faceted world of CPD!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Being a patient (Day 3 at home)

This is a difficult blog to post up. Why? I've never been a real patient in my life and the whole incident seemed surreal until I began pinching myself and telling myself that the past week was real. I find it quite tough having fully-sanctioned rest for more than 2 weeks. I have never taken M.C my entire life. Even my viral infections, chicken pox, etc have all been during school holidays. I couldn't recall any.....

This is me, one week ago. I was coughing like mad and treating myself with antibiotics, thinking that I have a common respiratory tract infection. Unknowingly, I've gotten effusion in my pleural cavity, with the effusion volume being that of a big Coke bottle (1.3L) and some kind of medical mystery that is slowly being solved with time and a lot of investigations.

My first actual lunch at Thai Express. Don't worry, I had the most non-spicy Thai food ever but it was great finishing my entire meal. It was a liberation, something like baby steps to complete recovery. Food tasted was like I have never tasted Thai food before. I think everything is good compared to, ugh, hospital food.

This is when I am a bit dishevelled after a sleep, devoid of all make-up and hair spray. I don't think i really lost that much of weight right? Guess I have to make sure I eat plenty of nutritious balanced meal the next week to gain back what was lost. The biggest question in my mind is : when will I resume my normal, productive life? When can I start running? Smile...

Firstly, the residual effusion has be to re-absorbed. That'll take 2-4 weeks. Then I need to start with walking before running full-time. I have a feeling that I will not be able to run the half marathon during Sundown Ultramarathon in the end of May, unless like Pui San, I am a case of sports-miracle.
Secondly, I need to be able to walk around without a hint of shortness of breath or cough. The cough will be there as long as the effusion is there. Not only that, I need to make sure that I don't have the much-feared side-effects of EHRZ medications : hepatotoxicity. Checking my eyes in the mirror each night for signs of jaundice. Besides, I still need to go back see my physician and ask a few questions before I go back to 100% normal.

In the meanwhile, I am stuck at this desk everyday. Checking my mails for hours, listening to music, blogging, writing, reading and looking at magazines. Oh, I love gerbera daisies. They are so friendly, cheerful and sweet. It makes me very happy just gazing at these soft pink beauties. One day, I would like to grow them in my garden (non-existential for now) so that they can bloom for me everyday. Cut flowers are quite sad, right? Their lifespan is so short. I love living creatures better :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Most Important Patient in my life

What happens when the doctor falls ill? I’ve never asked myself this question until I was in hospital for an illness in the past 1 week. Being so fit and healthy my entire life, it was a big surprise to me and everyone around me that I was having such a serious medical problem.

It was life-threatening and thoroughly unexpected. Being ill for a week, I initially thought I was having a mild infection until I listened to my own lungs and ordered my chest X-ray. I was immediately admitted by the physicians and a procedure was done for me.

Being in the hospital for 4 days had been an emotional roller-coaster. I kept on asking myself, asking God : Why me? Why this problem when I am so young? What is the reason? Why do I deserve this when I have always done my best in treating patients and saving lives and doing good? Is it worth working so hard my life but getting this ill?

I went through an entire spectrum of emotions: denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Everything that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described in her human psychology book on hearing bad news. In retrospect, it wasn’t totally bad news but to me, at that moment of weakness, I really crumbled. The strength in me went out and I burst into tears. In the deepest valley of my emotions, I drew joy and assurance from God. Good friends came and counseled me. Mostly, I prayed and worshipped the Lord, seeking answers and peace.

Finally I found the inner joy and peace. The Spirit of God enveloped me so thoroughly that within 1 day of feeling in the dumps, I was back to my usual self. Optimism, happiness and pure faith flowed in me. I started smiling at my friends. I was thankful and amazed by the huge amount of visitors…I was being visited almost non-stop daily. Doctors and nurses don’t adhere to visiting hours and they all came in, cheering me up and showing me how much they care. Friends from church dropped by and prayed, bringing with them beautiful flowers and tiny gifts that really touched my heart.

Most of the time, I wasn’t tired or breathless. In fact, after my procedure, my cough reduced drastically and my fever settled. Although my diagnosis is still elusive (mine a case of medical connundrum worthy of the attentions of Dr Gregory House), I was being treated in one of the best facilities in Asia.

The medical and nursing staff that attend to me have been professional and the best that I’ve encountered. My investigation results came out very early and conveyed to me almost immediately. I know my hospital bills will be substantial, but judging from the level of care, I know that I was in the right place.

As I now recover at home with a small, residual problem and a lot of antibiotics, I still do not have most of the answers. In fact, I am not even sure of my own diagnosis. The biggest lesson I learnt is to slow down and to de-stress. I need to re-evaluate the way I work, my extreme dedication and lack of rest played a role in reduced immunity, thus I fell ill.

Recognizing that God has ordained this rest and this entire episode. Everything that happened has a reason in God’s big picture, I no longer strive for answers or live in negative emotions. Instead, I choose to focus on His goodness, mercy and love, to look at the bright side of things and to be happy so that I could recover fast. I wish to contribute to society as soon as I can. So, in order to do so, I need to be fully healthy again.

For I know that I am the most important patient to myself.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A brush with the Moghuls on the other side of the River...

Procrastination is the thief of time. Yeah, I know that. I was supposed to post this up before A left Singapore and guess what? She is already in the heart of Europe, enjoying chocolates and spring water and ski-slopes while I went home and came back to this island after a few days of recuperation in rainy KL.

Back to the Moghuls, recently found an interesting exhibition @ ACM. The nearest I’ve gotten to India…is not to the neighbouring Roti Prata shop. It’s my recent short trip to the Asian Civilization Museum with my dear German fren, A. We’ve decided to give the ACM a short visit and voila! It was free admission day.

I would say it was quite enjoyable for a museum. I mean, most of the stuff I’ve read before in my history books (Sejarah Tingkatan 1-5) but everything is ‘Klingon’ to A. Besides becoming a semi-interpreter, I acted as the museum guide-cum-activity manager for a bit.

Firstly, we saw the special exhibition on Moghul dynasty. The Moghul empire was once the richest empire in the East and held magnificent collections of jewels, lands, paintings, carpets, castles, fortresses etc. The displays depicted many jewelry made during the halcyon days of the empire and I was wondering whether these are actually replicas or real gems. I mean, there will surely be more armed guards around if these are real right?

Next, we took pictures with animals. Err, I mean, with an albino snake. We missed the picture-session with a pony (for the kids) but caught the snake in time. Not only that, there were nice sections on Chinese and Southeast Asian culture while the Singaporean Story was pretty cool too.

What’s even more fun was the free dancing showcase at the foyer. The dancers were very energetic and skillful as they twirled, tapped and swung about in almost 15 minutes of non-stop action.

The day ended with a free ice-cream courtesy of the museum and some photo-taking along the Singaporean River. Total cost: MRT fare of less than SGD2.00. Fun quotient: Not bad at all. Knowledge gained: Priceless. Would I come again: Yup, as soon as there is a new exhibition!
P.S: Japanese food @ Liang Court is really good. First, I tried Tam Po Po. Then I was at Botejyu. Both served really good food. Worth a try!