Sunday, September 30, 2007

an eventful week

my colleague went on leave for a whole week, so i stood-in for him during the absence. it was very busy, with a couple of near-mishaps, so in a way, i'm glad he'll be back tomorrow.

near-mishap #1:

cordarone - used to slow down the heart rate when it gets too fast, eg. atrial fibrillation. when the heart beats too rapidly, eg over 140 per minute, its pumping action becomes less effective. (note: so if someone told you that you make his/her heart race, you might not actually be doing this person a favour!!) this is potent stuff, so it has to be given as a slow infusion. this patient has amiodarone running in, but infusion set WASN'T labelled!! the nurse gave the excuse that she had been too busy, but seriously, it would have been catastrophic had the infusion rate been unintentionally stepped up. the patient's heart could have literally been stopped dead in its track. fortunately, the oversight was discovered on time.

near-mishap #2:

dormicum - used commonly for sedation & an overdose could render a person unconscious. i asked the nurse to prepare this as i explained to the patient's relatives what i had planned to do. in the midst of this, the nurse told me that the patient's blood pressure was dropping & he was getting drowsy. this nurse, recruited from a foreign country to fill in the vacancies arising from our local nurses seeking greener pastures elsewhere, had apparently misunderstood me & thought i instructed her to prepare AND administer dormicum to the patient, which she diligently did as i was explaining to the relatives.

after hurriedly excusing myself from the relatives, i had to immediately administer oxygen & assist the patient's breathing, & had the situation under control shortly after. but not before explicitly admonishing the errant nurse on the use of common sense - NEVER administer sedatives without preparing for the expected unconsciousness.

patient #3:

this was a cute 5-month-old child who fell off a sofa & had to undergo brain surgery. this is just me - i always have a soft spot for patients with biblical names, esp children, & i often wonder how the Lord will lead them. the surgery was a success, & i hope this child will claim the promise of his namesake:
The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. 1 sam 3:19

despite getting caught up in work, i'm glad i still managed to bond with the boy:

i went on a lantern-walk with him around the neighbourhood & ....

....he helped me wash the car.

looking back, it was a good week - eventful yet balanced.

Monday, September 24, 2007

the taxman also knocks twice

i had 2 visits from the taxman last month. by mail, actually.

1st, he wants to meet me for a "perbincangan"....

....& i was to bring the receipts from medical bills, life insurances, etc..etc, as proof of the deductions i had claimed.

2nd, as if to convince that he is all heart, that he doesn't just take our hard-earned cash mean, unfairly, he actually sent me a tax refund as well...

....that should cover the new laptop nicely, thank you very much!

so, i met him this morning - a meeting postponed from last week as i couldn't make it at a time he had initially planned. when i called him to inform that i couldn't make it then, he was really nice & said i could name the time & date at my convenience. i chose today. after photostating the receipts, he said he'll be in touch in a week or so. despite his smile & friendly demeanour, i have a feeling of helplessness about this.

after all, this is a tax audit & he is not about to waste his time scrutinising the near-fading receipts from the bookstore, without getting something (read: hard-earned cash) out of it. he has to, because his promotion partly depends on how much taxes he helped collect, or so i was reliably informed by an inside source. he has wide-ranging near-absolute powers & how he inteprets the tax guidelines may be at odds with how we perceive them to be. now, can you blame me for feeling helpless?

be that as it may, i'm comforted by a circulating email that if i can pay tax, then i must be gainly employed. more so, when Christ confidently replied to the question whether taxes should be paid to the emperor caesar :

Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's. matt 22:21


Saturday, September 22, 2007


i haven't been posting because my dell inspiron has finally given up on me. it happened earlier this week - it just refused to start up.

i brought it to the IT guy at work & he said it could be one of few reasons - a virus, a faulty RAM card or it's just outlived it's lifespan. for a 2nd opinion, i brought it to a shop a friend recommended, & the guy, after testing out the RAM card & fiddling a bit here & there, came to the same conclusion - it's most probably time to change, because the repairs would not be cost-effective & there's no guarantee it'll last.

so, i'm sad to announce the passing of my trusty 5-year-old laptop. unless someone out there can "do a lazarus"?

R.I.P : the hard-disc was changed last year, & shortly after, the touch-pad failed, hence the attached mouse.

"When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face." john 11:43,44

Friday, September 14, 2007

awal ramadhan

this is the 1st day of fasting for muslims. more so for encik R who was admitted to hospital. he unfortunately swallowed something that didn't quite go down well with him during dinner the nite before. he felt a persistent pain in the neck & was seen by the ENT surgeon. using a scope to examine his throat, lo & behold, look what was retrieved from the deep recesses....

...a chunk of partially-chewed beef with some bones sticking out menacingly. because of the potential damage the bones might have inflicted on the throat, R would be kept completely fasted (ie. no food nor drinks round the clock) for the next few days to allow it to rest & heal.

by the same argument mentioned in a previous post, this could be the most expensive sup lembu in the world. but this wasn't just the event of the day......

1) the cardiac surgeon was shouting as the patient "crashed" on the operating table....

2) the neurosurgeon was extremely agitated because the scrub-nurse couldn't keep up with the surgery, & ...

3) the nursing sister & her deputy were openly at loggerheads with each other.

at the end of a long & explosive day, after the smoke had cleared, the cardiac patient survived the coronary bypass surgery, the tumour from brain of the neuro patient was successfully debulked, & the feuding nurses.......well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, ok?

as for me, i lived through it all almost unscathed. "almost" because, in a lapse of concentration, i did administer a series of injections in the wrong sequence. fortunately, nothing untoward happened to the patient, reminding me yet again that i too am only human.

selamat berpuasa to R & all my muslim friends & colleagues.

Monday, September 10, 2007


i have a 91-yr-old patient whose name is See Ark. seriously.

he came for surgery last month which was complicated by 2 episodes of chest infection, & is currently nursed in ICU.

initially, i thought the name was a tad unusual, but it brought on a whole new meaning after i watched Evan Almighty. in the movie, God revealed that the Ark, the boat that evan was instructed to build, is also an acronym for Act of Random Kindness.

so, is God speaking to me through this patient? am i about to experience an epiphany; a life-changing moment like how Moses (burning bush) & Paul (blinding light) received their baptism of fire?

maybe, maybe not. however, as i examine See Ark daily, i sense that he is slowly slipping away, as a result of his illness. so, what can i do to fulfill the objective of ARK, that which will make the world a better place??

free samples of a medication that made SA comfortable during his stay in ICU were sourced without difficulty. then, in keeping with the unwritten (& noble??) tradition of the fraternity, part of the professional fees would be waived to help mitigate the rapidly escalating hospital bill. my version of Acts of Random Kindness.

"do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act." provs 3:27

IMHO, i'm sure God has spoken to me many times previously, but it's my personal tragedy that i've not been paying attention.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

weekend in pangkor

in my dreams....

but in real life, we were here.... pangkor island beach resort.

it was more like an impromptu decision. a toss-up between penang & singapore, & pangkor was the compromise. there was to be no plan nor agenda - just a 3-day getaway to frolic in the sand, sea & sun.

the drive was slowed down by the sheer volume of traffic as well as roadworks on the highway. after a brief lunch-break at teluk anson, we finally reached lumut.

parked at the town council multistory carpark (RM10 per day) near the jetty, before waiting for the boat-ride....

after a fairly comfortable 30-min ride (ie. no one puked), we reached pangkor island where the hotel bus was waiting for guests.

was the welcome a fantasy island rip-off, or what?

however, i didn't recall seeing a short man yelling out, "the boat! the boat!"

after settling in, we were off to the pool. i haven't swam for ages, & i still can't. i mean, i can't swim gracefully, so there was more splashing than forward movement. the boy remained in the kiddies pool. too bad there was no slide, or he would have loved the pool even more.

the buffet dinner spread was unbelieveably sumptuous. the last time i've seen anything this lavish was at club med cherating. this certainly gave credence to the suspicion that some people "live to eat". my personal favourite was the lamb chops with mint sauce....umm...umm! *pats on tummy*

ditto the morning buffet breakfast. we decided to do do a little trek of our own, just the girl & i, as they didn't conduct the treks on a daily basis, but we didn't get far as this was unfamiliar territory. besides, does this look like someone who's all fired up for some serious trekking??

i did tease her that she was attired like she's going for a photo shoot, & i didn't think she took that well. ha ha.

in the meantime, the boy was making merdeka cakes with the other kids.

would you like a slice for tea?

(er.... i'll pass!)

the resort is a sanctuary of sorts for a family of hornbills....

....who are fed in the evening.

where there's beach, there's sand, & where there's sand & kids, there will be "sand sculptures".

were these the remains of jericho's walls??

the boy laboured on his own into the sunset.

it rained for the 1st time the next morning. we amused ourselves over the foosball table - a game i had not played for decades & the kids had never been near one. by lunch time, we were on the boat back to lumut.

i think nobody ever left without at least buying some seafood products from the many stalls that front the jetty.

on the way home, we were caught in the queue of other like-minded returning travellers. the roadworks didn't help & an overturned lorry near bukit beruntung left a trail of irate drivers crawling over 20km!!

that's merdeka weekend for you!