Saturday, May 30, 2009

spelling bee

just heard from the news that a 13-yr-old indian-american has won this year's US spelling bee competition. (read here)

the winning word? Laodicean.

which according to websters dictionary, refers to one indifferent to religion, caring little or nothing about the matter, like the Christians of that church, mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (rev 3: 14 -16)

which, please reprimand me if i'm wrong, also aptly describes the general state of christian believers these days. myself included.

Friday, May 29, 2009

a spoonful of birthday cake

we celebrated the boy's birthday during our CG recently. amidst playing with his friends...

anticipation of the cake....

a Ben 10 one at that....

& posing with his friends

i think this spoonful meant the most.....

happy birthday, boy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

tourism India-style

this promotion says it all.....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spell It Right

my daughter's school participated at the state-level competition today & i lent support by being there. this was sponsored by RHB bank & New Straits Times as part of their corporate social responsibility. RHB provided the financial backing, to the tune of RM 2m for the whole competition i was told, while NST organised the event & provided personnel & logistic support.

personally, i did not think that the overall standard of english the students exhibited was good - it was mediocre at best. even the quiz master wavered in the pronunciation of certain words!

as each student was given a different word to spell, a fairer assessment of the students' ability would be to give the same word to each group & allow them to write it down instead. after all, i did overhear some mothers mention,"how come my daughter got the difficult words one?"

anyway, all was not in vain as i learned a few words myself, eg. menhir, elegy & gossamer, none of which, by the way, was spelt correctly.

& as a delayed birthday treat, my daughter had an over-rated, over-priced cup of....

Friday, May 22, 2009

why cigarettes are bad.

mr H, a 61-year-old ex-rubber tapper used to work from sunrise till late afternoon tapping, collecting & selling latex in his smallholding business. he looked after his family well, so well that he has 2 - wives & respective families, that is. although no stranger to hard labour, his only vice seemed to be smoking 2 packs a day of them bad boys for the last 40 years. well, this has come back to haunt him. it's called chronic obstructive airway disease, or COAD for short.

13 years ago, he was admitted to hospital for breathing difficulty & the chest xray revealed... infection in the right lung. the infective process compounded by damage due to years of smoking resulted in mr H suffering from recurrent chest ailments. each time he recovered with a course of antibiotics, bronchodilators & steroids but this recent attack 3 weeks back must have been the last straw.

although the chest xray actually looked better than previous ones, he didn't improve with the usual medications, & needed to be put on a ventilator...

- he was persistently out of breath, as if he had just completed long-distance running.

efforts to take him off the ventilator proved futile, so the next step was to create a little hole in his windpipe (tracheostomy)...

which helps him breathe easier & facilitate nursing care as well. with this, he took a whole week to improve & even then, it was with a little help from this BIPAP device...

...a compact piece of equipment that bridges the recovery process between total dependence on a ventilator & being able to breath without aid.

today, he's breathing on his own with the tracheostomy tube still in place. he will be transferred to a hospital-based nursing home where the tube will eventually be removed.

3 weeks in ICU with a barrage of tests, procedures & medication, i hope the bill doesn't trigger another attack....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a conspiracy theory?

we shared about the H1N1 flu at prayer meeting tonite. my worldly-wise colleague B8 proposed his conspiracy theory - that although there is a real epidemic going on, it's been played up beyond its true severity by......get this....the manufacturers of N95 masks & pharmaceutical companies that produce tamiflu & flu vaccines.

it's possible, isn't it? remember when SARS raged in 2003 & how bottles of vitamin C & N95 masks were rapidly bought off the shelves in pharmacies?

it may or may not be true but have a look at the stock price of 3M, one of the manufacturers of N95 masks....


..which is showing an uptrend starting May (& also note the rise in 2003 at the peak of SARS). the stock of Roche, the producer of tamiflu, however, behaves differently....

**source**'s still at a 5-year low!! ok, never mind, but good try, B8!!

anyway, before you rush off to buy those N95 masks...

..costing RM100 per box of 20, check out this myth-busting report.

remember guys, back to basics & take care!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

they're here....!!

now that the 1st cases of H1N1 flu has been reported, it's only a matter of time before more cases flood in. the ministry of health has already sent out circulars to advise the private hospitals how suspected cases are to be handled.

we started out with closing all entry/exit points except 2 - the main entrance & the emergency department, where staff were stationed to screen visitors & patients &......

several temporary counters were set up to advise those with doubts or queries.

personally, i feel that this is just a token effort. short of measuring everyone's temperature, like how they do it at airports, which itself is a logistic nightmare, a lot of people with a slight temperature are going to get pass. besides, those in the early stages of the flu may not have a fever but may be infectious.

so what should we do?

totally avoiding unknown infected persons is impossible, unless you lock yourself in till the storm blows over. i would stay away from enclosed spaces as much as possible, like elevators, cinemas & airplanes, but having to go to hospital at least 6 days a week would negate all that.

the jury on the effectiveness of immunisation with the H1N1 flu vaccine is still out as rapid mutation of the virus may make that particular vaccine useless. virus resistance to medication like tamiflu has rendered this treatment option doubtful at best.

so where does this leave us then?

i guess it's back to basics then, & that is to maintain a healthy lifestyle - eat balanced meals, drink plenty of fluids, exercise regularly & have enough rest.

and pray for divine intervention.

This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
psalms 91:2,3

Thursday, May 14, 2009

angels & demons

bought the book last year at a warehouse sale & it's been collecting dust on the shelf since. now that the movie has just been released, in Rome no less, i literally spent the last few days glued to the book.

it has a mind-blowing plot with a vile twist, & i'm surprised there wasn't more opposition to the book/movie from the catholic church.

even after reading the book, i think i'll need to see the movie TWICE to fully grasp the essence of plot.

like i said, mind-blowing!

Friday, May 08, 2009

if only.....

3 year is a long time in medicine. this is the time period that lapsed since this 51-year-old lady last came to see the surgeon, who had then advised her to remove a lump in her breast. she came back this week for the surgery & this is her chest xray taken pre-operatively.

the multiple coin-shaped opacities seen in both lungs are typically called cannonball lesions. they are most likely a result of the spread from breast cancer. despite surgery to remove the affected breast, she will still need to go for either chemotherapy or radiation (depending on the nature of the cancer), & even then, things don't look promising. she may not see the end of the year.

if only she had agreed to the surgery 3 years earlier....

but, it not too late for most of us. besides maintaining a healthy lifestyle & going for regular medical check-ups, frequent breast self-examination (read here) can detect early abnormalities. further info on breast cancer awareness can be obtained here.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

multiple salary scheme

years ago when i bumped into an ex-classmate, a teacher, he was dating another teacher. double salary scheme, he sheepishly told me. they eventually married & have 2 kids who are now in varsity.

tonite, as i passed the lady security guard at the entrance to the ICU, i asked her, "budak baru?", referring to a new recruit by her side. there's always a constant turnover in the security service as people search for better paying jobs. the new girl, in her 20s, turned out to be her daughter, who took this job on a part-time basis while on holiday break from her college. in the midst of our conversation, yet another new recruit joined us & she is another daughter, also on college vacation to earn some pocket money. in this instance, they work 12-hour shifts, 6 days a week & are paid RM700 a month.

double or triple salary schemes - these are decent jobs during difficult times. if only people are prepared to rough it out & make an honest day's work of their lives, we would be faced with fewer menaces in the form of snatch thieves, mat rempits & sms scams.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

a caring heart

went to the nursing home to see how my father was getting on. he's been there for 2 weeks & seemed to have settled in nicely. the skin sutures have been removed & he moves around on a wheelchair now. the helpers normally feed him his meals, but when we are there, my mum would do that. however, we were pleasantly surprised by the boy's caring gesture....

before we left, i asked him to offer a prayer for kung-kung & he did that without hesitation. & as if to prove that wasn't a flash in the pan, he even volunteered this as well...

i have to say i'm totally overwhelmed by this display of concern & responsibility. & you know what? i couldn't have done better myself.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." ephesians 6:1-3

Friday, May 01, 2009

public holiday on friday

it felt like an optical illusion - today being friday & a labour day holiday.

woke up late, had tim sum breakfast with daughter, then went to hospital to see a patient in ICU. by the time i finished, it was already 4pm.

for some reason, it felt like a saturday. because i was looking forward to watching football tonite & preparing for Lord's supper tomorrow.

am i the only one who felt this way?