Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Observation: Emergency Room Trend?...



I just wanted to share something here, and see if anybody has either experienced the same thing, or has an explanation to this somewhat weird phenomenon...



I am all for going for treatment to Government (General) Hospitals, as I believe that the doctors there (the specialists, at least) are very experienced and medical treatment is not governed by how much something costs…After all, the costs are paid for by the government…

In short, the top specialists will always give you the best, unless there happens to be a quota about how much can be used in a month, for say, expensive treatment like Botox (Wah...Very expensive, but it has worked wonders, I tell ya!)…



Morover, GH doctors see all cases, and not just those from higher income groups, which means they have seen the worst of cases (especially those from remote villages who seek treatment late), and the not-so-bad ones too...




Unfortunately, the Accident & Emergency Department seems to be pretty funny, which brings me to this weird phenomenon I am hoping someone can help explain...


Let me share a few actual cases with you:-




CASE ONE


A few years back, my grandfather, an 87 year old, was taken to the hospital because he complained of tightness in his chest and breathing difficulties. Because of his age, he was immediately taken in and made to lie down in the ‘Zon Kritikal’…An ECG was ordered, in which the results were said to be ‘not right’…

After that, the MO asked that he be observed in the Observation Unit, and he ended up lying there for nearly 10 hours…TEN hours…




By that time, the old man was restless and grumbling…I was sitting with him in that freezing ER, and by the time the 10 hours was over, I could barely walk myself! After all, my grandpa was lying down, had a blanket, and was asleep most of the time. I only had a chair, and no blanket…

I told the doctor: “You’re going to have 2 patients by the end of this observation, you know”…






They finally agreed to admit him at 11.45 pm. He was finally admitted by another doctor, and not by the one who saw him when he first came in.



I wonder, why so long to decide if such an old man should be admitted or not? Why observe for so long if you already can see from his ECG something is wrong?







Note: My grandfather later passed away on the 19th of July, 2004 after a major stroke left him in a coma for 5 weeks...May you continue to rest in peace, dearest Ah Kong...




CASE TWO


A close friend of mine, 19 year-old S, was found to have a resting (sitting) blood pressure of 150/105, with no other symptoms by a specialist in GH during a checkup for another reason. The 150/105 reading was consistent for almost an hour, with S sitting down throughout...



The Specialist immediately wrote a letter of referral for S to be seen at the ER (Stamped URGENT), as the specialist considered the condition to warrant immediate attention, and that S should not wait at the KPP (Klinik Pakar Perubatan) to be seen by a physician.

On arrival, Triage asked if she was feeling anything, to which S replied ‘Not really’…

She was being honest…


She was made to wait for almost 2 hours outside of the ER, after which she already began to get a headache going down one side of her head, and down her neck...

When she finally got in, she was hooked to the ECG, and the results were said to be ‘a little funny’…


The doctor put the girl under observation during which her BP was taken every half an hour. All the readings (this time lying down) were noted to be between 140~150/90~100. A second ECG was ordered after 2 hours, and the results could not be read because the doctor was ‘busy’.


2 hours later, the MO discharged S, with a prescription of Panadol!! and asked her furious parents to bring S back should she get a headache later.



To which S’s mother retorted: “For what? For her to wait another 2 hours outside, observed for over 4 hours and told to go home with Panadol?


The next day, the specialist who sent S to the ER happened to see S, and the first thing she said was: “Oh My! What are you doing walking about? I can’t believe they are letting you walk around with that blood pressure...You are too young to have such a high blood pressure




Note: S had no family history of young hypertension and had a BMI of almost 20, which means she wasn't obese...




CASE THREE



Guys, remember Adrian?




A 28 year-old, Adrian was taken to GH because he had a stroke. He was taken to hospital by a passer-by who saw my friend alight from his car and collapse by the side of the road. The passer-by (on a motorbike) was so sweet. He stopped his bike, carried my friend into the car and drove him to the hospital.


Guess what? He was put under observation (it’s a trend in the GH, is it?) for a few hours…

A young man, paralysed on one side, and you just observe him huh?


The father, panicking that nothing was done, later discharged him (against the doctor’s order) and checked him into a private hospital, where they immediately did the necessary, and found there was a blood clot…


UPDATE:-



Adrian Shisman, one month after his stroke...




Guess what guys? I just met Adrian about an hour ago! He had a stroke exactly a month ago, and look who is sitting here looking at me? We had a nice, long chat, and he thanks everyone who sent prayers his way....


Woohoo!


*Update over*



***


My wonder here is, how do you get admitted into GH? How bad must you be before you get admitted? Do they only admit you if you're vomitting blood and severely unconscious? Paralysis in a young person also does not seem important, by the looks of it...


And Panadol for Hypertension?!?


I doubt anything would have been done for S if she had come in later with a headache and a high blood pressure reading...After all, stroke also they sent for observation...If a stroke that has already happened is not treated as urgent, I doubt an imminent stroke would count for much...


And this with a letter from the specialist stamped URGENT...



Saturday, 22 September 2007

The Balloon Fest...



An Anagram Balloon...





Remember the story of *Hisham and the Red Balloon, and how I promised to write about the balloon fest one day?

Well, that day is today…




Children naturally love balloons right? They love bobbing it about, they love the different colours and shapes they come in, and some very brave ones also love popping them…



Just a few days back, I paid Khai Yue a visit, and brought along one little Elmo (anagram) balloon which Ruverny and I got for her...That was the one thing that really brightened her day...Elmo, on a balloon...





Look at Little Khai Yue and her Elmo Balloon...



Now, I must admit I have always had a fear of popping balloons. I would be the first to run whenever some sadist of a person decides to include ‘sit on a balloon till it bursts’ in some telematch or party game…Nevermind sit on it, if someone were to do it in front of me also, I will be running!



But I still love balloons nonetheless! When I was young, my parents used to get me those tahan-lasak Anagram Balloons which don’t go pop, unless some naughty fingers intentionally take a needle to it…You know them; they come in shapes of animals etc, with prints of cartoon characters, and last quite a few months...



Even when I get admitted into the hospital (sorry lar, I had very naughty tonsils), and people will insist on bringing all kinds of fruits and all the things I cannot eat (sick lar wei!), I wish I could just say: Aiyo, go buy me one of those balloons.

They cost about RM 7 each (depending on size, of course) and I would actually be very happy…RM 7 costs less than a whole bunch of grapes, prunes, plums and the like anyway…



Which is how my best friend Yean Mei and I found ourselves deciding to throw a balloon fest one day in the hospital one day…


Being a bunch of erm, penganggur’s, we could not afford to buy those super expensive balloons. And you have to remember that we had to prepare a total of at least 100 balloons to cater for all the children!




It was Yean Mei’s sudden inspiration of buying from wholesale distributors that we managed to buy within our budget…In fact, on hearing about our plans, the shop keeper, bless his soul, even offered to sponsor the sticks (we could not afford to pump helium into the balloons to let them float, so we needed to use sticks to keep them upright!), as his donation!

And so it was that we ended up throwing a balloon fest in the hospital…




Early the morning of the 13th of April 2006, a Friday, Yean Mei and I trooped to the office of the Medical Social Work Department. We were quite ambitious, attempting to blow up and tie 100 balloons in an hour, with only one pump…

When the officers saw us coming in with bags of balloons, and more obviously, balloons sticks, they burst into grins. And so we started, Yean Mei and me alternating using the pump while the other relied on good, old, air from the lungs…

Very soon, Cik Faridah, a social worker, along with Pn Liza, the clerk, offered to help us, happy grins on their faces…


Pn Kala, the head of the department was busy with paperwork, but popped in every now and then to give moral support…




And then we hit a little snag…I found that the more balloons I blew, the redder my face had become. If that was not all, my lips were stinging very badly and puffing up. As it turns out, my face was somewhat sensitive to latex.


And the most ironic thing? There was no anti-histamine in the hospital wards! I needed to go to the pharmacy to get pills…I had to settle for warm water, and continue blowing with the pump…In the end, I just did all the attaching of balloons to the stick for the rest.





The next problem? How to get all the balloons up to the wards at the same time, with only four hands? We decided to go ward by ward in the end. Interestingly, quite a few balloons were hijacked along the way, including one by the security guards…

And yet another problem...How to get the handfuls of balloons into the lift?

We managed...somehow...




The first ward was Hisham’s ward, Ward 5D…Ward 5D is the Pediatric Surgical Ward. We visited each bed, and wrote the names of each child on his/her balloon, with thick marker. Every sibling too, if around, got one each. Some parents also asked for the children they had at home!


It turns out the balloons were not only a hit with the children, they were also a hit with parents and the staff. Some of the nurses instantly came forward and said ‘Saya dulu!’, with large grins on their faces…They were fooling around, of course, but we obliged with a few...





The last child to get one in Ward 6A...Sorry, this is the only picture I can use as the face is not seen (no permission to show face)...




Next was Ward 6A, the General Pediatric Ward. The children there were delighted with the balloons, some asking for a more than one. One very tiny little boy even took the balloons in his hands and squeezed it…

Needless to say, Daphne here ran for her life!

His mother lamented: “The only thing he does with balloons, is burst them!

And he burst into giggles the minute they exploded! Oh dear…




The 6A nurses whispered to us that that Sister was not feeling too well that day, so we left her a bright balloon with a big Smiley Face too! We also left balloons with the nurses of the wards, seeing how excited they all were...




Next up was the Pediatric (Day-Care) Oncology Ward...It is so amazing how something as small as a balloon managed to cheer these terminally ill kids up. The toothless smiles on the faces of the sometimes hairless heads was quite an experience...

I wish I could show you those happy grins...


There was one little girl with leukemia, *Susan, who kept accidentally breaking them...And before we left the ward, she had waddled up to us 3 times with her hand outreached, a big smile upon her pale face...Susan had no hair, but her mother said she was getting slightly better...



By this time, Yean Mei and I were pretty tired already. Handing out balloons turned out to be no easy feat...And the time was now almost noon...



With our last handful(s) of balloons, we proceeded to the Pediatric Clinic to hand out balloons to the children coming for their check-up's...

Along the way from the wards to the clinics, again quite a few got hijacked by little children who saw them, and even one very tired specialist whose face lit up when she saw the balloons. We automatically offered her one, seeing how tired she looked...

By the time we were done, our hands were aching, and we were already drenched in sweat.




But, it was worth it all...Who would have thought it would be such a hit? It didn't cost that much, and yet, it brought so much laughter and giggling into the Pediatric Wards that Yean Mei and I vowed to throw another balloon fest one day...



Which we will, sometime in December, probably nearing X-Mas...We also hope to distribute tiny goodie-bags...

Anyone care to join us? After all, more people means more budget, which means better balloons!


Whatever it is, you know what to get me, if touch wood (Touch plenty of wood!), I get admitted into the hospital...




*Note: Name has been changed...



Thursday, 20 September 2007

Remembering Nurin...



Sweet Little Nurin Jazlin...




Are humans animals or human beings with feelings? I am inclined to believe the former, because the things we do to one another, especially the young, are despicable...



The latest news shows that the body of the little girl in the bag is indeed that of Nurin Jazlin, who went missing on the 20th of August...The DNA tests the police and forensic team conducted has confirmed the identity of the body...




While I take comfort that the little girl is no longer nameless with no person to claim her body and give her the proper goodbye and funeral rites, I shudder to think that some sick, disgusting pervert is out there somewhere, possibly still doing this to other girls, young and old...

While I take comfort that this will at least offer the tiniest bit of closure for Nurin's parents, instead of continuous worry, my heart goes out to them as they have now lost a child...





How they must hurt knowing how little Nurin suffered in the days before her death...

Even I who have never known Nurin in life can feel for her, what more the people who gave her life and cared for her for so long?

And how sick with worry the parents must be knowing that Nurin has high blood pressure and was without medication for so long? But all that does not matter now because her life which was lost, can never be replaced...




This is a weird world we live in...Here we have the parents of a child who pray day and night that she will return safely, who pray and hope they will get to hug and kiss their child again...




And there we have the story of 3 year old Qian Xun Xue @ Pumpkin who was deliberately abandoned by a man presumed to be her father...

How can this man take a child he gave life to (assuming he is the father) and leave her out in the open like that? Knowing the world is such a sick place, knowing there are so many cruel people out there who are capable of such harm? Even if he wasn't her father, how could he leave a child like that?





I feel so angry everytime I read ridiculous stories of how parents kill or abandon their children...After all, there are so many people who want children very badly, but who can't...There are so many people who cry themselves to sleep every night because their children are missing or dead...

And then there are people who just 'throw' their children away...



I hope little Pumpkin's grandmother (or at least, a kind foster family) will take care of her...I hope the body of a woman found in the car is not of her mother's...



And I hope all of you will join me to pray for the soul of little Nurin Jazlin, and that of her family and loves ones...I know I say this many times, and everytime I hope it will be the last time I say it, but here I am saying it again: I pray that God will give them the strength to see this ordeal through...

And I hope the sick beast will pay...



Dear Nurin, may you rest in peace...


Saturday, 15 September 2007

Yellow On The Outside, White On The Inside...




Ok, there is this one thing that I’ve always wondered…


Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t the Hokkien dialect and Cantonese dialect part of the Chinese language?

Because as far as I am concern, they are…After all, aren’t Chinese made up of like Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew, HokChiu, Cantonese, Mandarin etc?



Which is why I get a tad bit annoyed when people call me a banana when they find out I don’t speak Mandarin…



A lot of my course mates from the American University Program (actually, a lot of people from my college) come from Chinese schools and/or grew up in Mandarin-speaking families.



I, on the other hand, am fully Convent-bred…Both my dad and mum, are Hokkiens…

Naturally, I speak English and Hokkien at home…And since I live in Ipoh, I also speak Cantonese…



And I come to college, and I have this whole bunch of people who give me this incredulous look on their face (like I’m a dog that brought something foul into the building) that says only too well: “Oh My God! You don’t speak Mandarin? Why you so banana one?


*Actually the actual version I hear is: "Aiyer, you banana!"*


And I’m left thinking: “Eh? Hokkien and Cantonese not Chinese meh?



I get even more annoyed when someone speaks in Mandarin to me, and some smart aleck somewhere will quip: "She banana!"

And laugh and hackle…



Excuse me, contrary to popular belief, I actually do understand enough to know roughly what is being said. I just can’t reply. And why must you butt in when my friend and I are comfortable with the way we converse? She to me in Mandarin, and me to her in English?



And my apologies if I sound patronizing, but I have never laughed at you when you speak English and it comes out sounding like this:-

The girls is crossings the roads to catches the bus early


Neither do I laugh at you when you read the textbook and need to look up 8 out of 10 words in your electronic dictionary (and write the Mandarin equivalent on the top of the English word).

So why do you have to laugh?



Interestingly, I don’t have this problem much back in Ipoh. It is only here in Penang where I get this question almost every time someone finds out I can’t speak Mandarin.

I googled the meaning of banana, and it means ‘Yellow on the Outside, White on the Inside’…A Chinese person who can’t speak the language or identify with Chinese people.



Back to my statement: Since when did Mandarin become the one and only Chinese language? Since when is it that Hokkien and Cantonese became a ‘white’ language?



When people say that (especially those who speak Mandarin and only Mandarin well and think they are helluva great), and my mood isn’t too good, I’m tempted to retort a few things, like:-


1) Wah…I speak 2 dialects, you only speak 1 wei! My teacher said, 2 better than 1…Aiyo, you dunno how to count meh?

2) Eh, we going to the USA/Canada/UK hor? Need to take TOFEL or IELTS ar. Laugh at me lar, we’ll see who will laugh when must take exam ok?




I have a feeling I am not the only person who has encountered these kinds of condescending reactions before. After all, I know of many of my Indian friends who don't speak Tamil (or any other Indian Dialect). And I also have many friends who are of mixed-parentage who speak only English and Malay.



*Note
: I am in no way belittling the Mandarin language, and neither am I saying it is not a ‘useful’ language. By the way, please (Thank you!) be patient with my responses. The wireless system at my hostel has problems opening Blogger...



Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Tagged: The 5's...




Ah...

A tag...This time, by Galadriel, who tags me to write stuff in fives...


So, here we go...


Oh, but first, a Disclaimer: This post can cause intense drowsiness. The owner of this blog is not responsible for any inability to think rationally and/or drooling that might be found on the computer and its paraphernalia as a result of boredom. Do not operate any machinery until effects of reading are known. You have been warned...



5 Things in My Handbag/Bag :

1) A Mirror (I am not vain! I just have braces...)
2) My big fat hair-brush...
3) A bottle of water, and medication (Hey, you never know when you might need it)...
4) A bottle of body-spray and some lip-gloss...

5) Pepper Spray!


*Who am I kidding? The fact that I am wearing braces shows I am vain! Adoi...

Now, I'm sure some people will be wondering how come I don't carry a wallet/handphone/PDA etc...I do, just that with the number of snatch-theft cases, I try to not carry my all these in my bag...Yup, I am paranoid...



5 Things in My Purse :

1) MyKad, Driving Licence, Credit Card, Student ID, ATM card, 'Member' card...
2) Organ Donor Card, with Blood Grouping ID...
3) Plasters (Hey, I am injury prone...)
4) Cash (Duh...)
5) Erm, a blade...



5 Favourite Things in my Favourite Room (My Bathroom!) :

1) My collection of Bath and Shower Gels...
2) Bouquet of (fake) English Roses...
3) My Pink Rubber Ducky!
4) My Transparent Blue with little Dolphins and Sea-Shells Toilet Seat + Cover (Hehe...Gift from
Mum & Dad)
5) The rainbow coloured Cowboy Hat hanging from my Bathroom Window...


*Sorry guys...I wanted to say bedroom, but that's a little too personal...



5 Things I Would Like/Love To Do :

1) Give my parents peace of mind, and a happy and secure post-retirement...
2) Meet Tun Dr Mahathir and shake his hand...
3) Travel the world, and write a book about the ordinary, but special people I meet...
4) Volunteer in Special-Children's Homes Around the World...
5) Really learn Sign-Language (To welcome the deaf into our world, and to learn about
theirs)...



5 Things I'm Currently Doing :

1) Worrying about worrying, assignments, tests, finals...
2) Planning another Balloon Fest for the children's ward...
3) Reading 'The Icarus Girl' by Helen Oyeyemi...
4) Growing Breasts and Shrinking the Waistline (Yeah right...The breats are fine, but the Waistline ain't Shriking!)
5) Wishing for all nightmares to end...



And now, I have to tag another 5 people...I tag *Drum Roll Please!*:-

1) Kerp
2) SankoChan
3) Jimi
4) Princess
5) Pi Bani



You know what? This tag was harder than I thought! And it's about me...Sheesh...

Anyway, here's wishing all my Muslim Friends, their friends and family a blessed Ramadhan and a Happy Fast! Do remember me when you guys eat your rendang and lemang, and eat extra on my behalf, ok?



Monday, 10 September 2007

There's The Egg, And There's The Egg...







Ok...I admit it...I'm a big sucker when it comes to eggs...


Cook it any way you want, and chances are, I will make a beeline for it...At the buffet-line, at the mamak-stall, at the chap-fan stall...Whether it is poached, scrambled, boiled, sunny-side-up, bulls-eye, with onions, with cheese, half-boiled, soaking in herbal-concoction, salted...You get the picture...


But...Yes, there is a but...


They say eggs are bad for you because they make your cholesterol levels go up!


But again, is it true? I've been coming across new studies where they say that eggs don't actually raise your cholesterol levels...


Pn Yasmin, a friend of mine, was telling me the other day about this doctor in Australia who, for six weeks, took 6 eggs a day, while his friend took 12 a day (again, for six weeks)...Before their study, they took their cholesterol levels, and retook it after the end of the study...

And guess what? At the end of the six weeks, the level of cholesterol in their body was so low, it couldn't be tested!



Wow...I'm a little skeptical about it being too low to be tested, but could it be possible that eggs are not that big a culprit when it comes to cholesterol?

*Somebody, please say yes!*




And he we have another study: In 1991 (Ok, who came up with the theory that eggs give you high cholesterol, huh?), a strange New England Journal of Medicine case study of an 88-year-old man who ate 25 eggs a day showed that he had normal cholesterol and no clinically significant heart disease!

You can read the whole thing here...

And another story about how eggs don't affect your cholesterol here...



Again...Who came up with the supposedly newfound theory that eggs give you high cholesterol? Huh? Must be those people making Omega-3 eggs! *Hyiuk Hyiuk* Own up!


What do you guys think eh?


Oh, I have another confession to make...

I ate one-and-a-half eggs today, and had an egg sandwich...



I know, I know...No big deal...Lame...But I get all guilty if I eat too many eggs...



Anybody know what to make of this whole eggs thingy?

And if anybody makes a whole 'Chicken and Egg, Which came first?' joke, I'm going to throw a rotten egg at you...


But then again, no eggs in my fridge last long enough to become rotten...;)




Thursday, 6 September 2007

In Reflection: A Prayer for Adrian...




A Prayer for Adrian...



Sorry I’ve been rather quiet lately…I just started a new semester here in college, and assignments are already pouring in…My Psychology paper this semester is a heavy one, and it is made worse because it is a short semester. While combing through articles, I keep wishing there was an actual model (plastic one lar!) of the brain in front of me, one which I can remove bit by bit and rebuild all over again…Nothing helps me learn better than having something I can touch and feel and see…



I have also been rather quiet because a friend of mine recently suffered a stroke, just over a week ago.

He is a 28-year-old, with no known health issues, and who was fit-as-a-fiddle. And one day during my short two-week holiday, while in the swimming pool with the kids in the hospital (It’s called Hydrotherapy), I got a call from my mother saying Adrian had gotten a stroke and was in the ICU.



I went to see him that very day, and the first thing he muttered was "Pray"…His right-side (mouth, hand and legs) is paralysed; the stroke was caused by a blood clot deep in his brain. I wasn’t told exactly which part of the brain the clot is, but his dad told me the doctors said operating will paralyse his entire body for life…I spent that first day chanting prayers (some people call it singing) to him till he finally fell asleep...



He was ok for the first few days; When we went to see him later again, he was eating a little and could smile…I didn’t really know what to say to him…



And then I came back to college…

My mum keeps me updated. It seems Adrian is now slowly slipping into depression. It is as if the reality of the situation has finally sunk in, and he feels at an all time low. I asked my Physiotherapist friend (I volunteer in her department) in the hospital to go and pay him a visit. She did, and said he was really weak…



You know, I worked with stroke patients for about two months before switching to Pediatric Rehab.

And I saw tremendous recovery in the few patients I latched myself to. One which stands out clearly was *Pakcik Baharuddin, whom I saw from his first day in rehab. He could not even hold my hand. By the beginning of the 3rd week, Pakcik was slowly hobbling with his walker, unaided. He could even climb steps a little, with help.



I was Pakcik’s Never-Stop-Chatting-Motivator (and very, very annoying, I might add!)…I kept chirping ‘You can do it! You can do it!’ over and over again, so much so that he was chanting it himself by the end of the 2nd week…


But with Adrian, I found I could barely say a full sentence.

I’ve been trying to think...Why?



And then it hit me…



With Pakcik and all the other patients, the first ‘image’ I had of them was that of a ‘crumbled’ person. My ‘job’ there was to build it back, and I was very objective in my goals: Get them back on their feet! No buts or what if’s



But with Adrian, it is different. I knew him before he had a stroke; I knew the strong, independent and standing Adrian…And all of a sudden, I see an Adrian that is lying on the bed, hooked with a urine bag and who is tearful…




With Pakcik Baharuddin and all, there was no Before-Stroke and After-Stroke to compare to…

It was just Pakcik and me, and a whole range of possibilities…There can be no disappointment or failure when there was nothing to compare to…The patients and I embraced every new bit of progress as a milestone...There was no history...



But with Adrian, I know the Before-Stroke, and a big part of me fears he will never be the same, no matter how hard he tries. I guess the main thing that is holding me back is fear...

And here is where I can no longer chirp: You can do it!



After all, if I can’t convince myself, how do I convince him? And from so far away...This sucks: I can help complete strangers, but not my own friend?



To all those reading this, I would be most thankful if you could spare a prayer for Adrian and his family who has been tested one time too many...Adrian's elder brother was killed in a hit-and-run accident about two years back, leaving behind a fiancée he was to marry just a month later...His father (one of the sweetest man I have ever met) recently had Cancer of the Larynx, which led to the surgical removal of his voicebox...




So while everyone prays for Tun Dr M's speedy recovery, remember Adrian Shisman too yeah?



Note: *Name has been changed. Full story of Pakcik Baharuddin, another post...