Thursday, January 28, 2010

lazarus (yet again)

the guy has been dead for 4 days when Jesus called him to rise up from the cave.

in modern times, it's rare for anyone to survive without water for more than a week in tropical climate. so, it's remarkable that they managed to pull out a teenager alive after being buried for 15 days in the aftermath of the haitian earthquake (read here).

it's been said that, as a rough guide, you can't live 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water & 3 weeks without food. without oxygen, the brain cells just die off & the brain suffers irreparable damage. without food, the body initially breaks down fat & later muscles for energy.

but, without water, the wastes that the kidneys normally excrete remain in the body & very soon becomes toxic to all the vital internal organs, including brain, heart & the kidneys themselves.

hence, it's nothing short of a miracle that the girl is alive - even more amazing is that she was reported to have said "thank you" on being saved.

when was the last time someone said that when you opened the door for them at the office??

**image from Reuters**

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

go directly to jail

heard over the radio that the sentence service of govt doctors may be extended to 5, or even 10 years, from the current 3 years. no explanation was forthcoming but i suppose it's something to do with stemming the exodus of trained doctors/specialists into private practice.

instead of forcing compulsory service, doesn't it make more sense to provide conditions to make doctors WANT to stay in service?

like, specialist training for those interested, irrespective of background?

or, fair promotion across the board based solely on experience, qualification & ability?

or, higher financing & lower interest rates for cars & houses?

sounds like another ill-conceived bird-brained poor idea, not unlike the 1malaysia clinics. with the 20 or so local medical school producing thousands of doctors yearly, the hospitals will feel like prisons for the young ones.

a game of monopoly, anyone?

PS. however, it's true that remuneration has markedly improved over the years. a 1st year houseman takes home over RM4k a month, & a senior specialist up to RM20k, so this may not be the main contention for want-away doctors

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

back to school

remember many, many years ago the commercial for bata shoes - 1st to bata, then to school?

i've sort of gone back to school. but it's 1st to popular (book store) ....

then the book.....

then to school.

actually, it's self study. my daughter said add maths is tough. i tried to recall those days in form 4 but didn't think it was THAT difficult. anyway, i thought i'd just go thru the subject myself & try to put myself in her shoes. (definitely, not bata!)

i tried out quadratic equations last nite (for the 1st time in 30 years!) & it was still ok. it did come back to me eventually. i just have to tell her that it's a piece of cake  not that diffcult - those problems can be solved with practice & perhaps a little luck  perseverance.

for the record, i wasn't a distinction student for add maths.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the sun has finally set

when the british empire was at it's height in the early 1900s, it included over 20% of the world's land area - the largest empire ever in history. the phrase "the sun never sets on the british empire" was very close to the truth - because of its spread, some territory, somewhere, was always in daylight hours.

but not any more.....

amongst countries granted independence, hong kong went back to china...

manchester united and liverpool football clubs are owned by americans....

and chelsea by a russian....

lotus cars was sold to proton(m'sia), jaguar & land rover to tata(india)......

........and now........

cadbury has ended a 6-month takeover battle by accepting a USD19.5bn bid from US (who else?) food giant kraft to create the world's largest maker of chocolate & sweets.

the loss of management control & possible future job losses aside, the damage to british pride of relinquishing a historic brand may be irreparable.

oh, yes, brace yourselves, the yankees are coming....!

Monday, January 18, 2010

a shepherd's heart

i'm really impressed with DL, a 15-year-old boy whose mother is my colleague. the youngest of 3 children, he's the only one in the family who attends church.

at last tuesday's prayer meet, in his capacity as Christian Fellowship leader in his school, he gave pastor a list of requests for the church to pray :

1) for S, his classmate who now believes in Christ & wants to be a light to the rest of his family;

2) for christians in national service that they may glorify God;

3) for his school's CF, that God will raise leaders & to increase each one's faith as they find their own way to God;

4) that God will unite the state's CFs under Christ, and;

5) for spiritual revival amongst the youths to accept God's challenge.

such noble intentions for someone so young!
and so unselfish - because he even forgot to mention to pray for his own family's salvation.

definitely, one with a shepherd's heart!

Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. Jer 3:15

Saturday, January 16, 2010

DVD weekend

i would assume that most people would buy DVDs of movies that they have not seen at the cinema. but not me - i would watch the movie at the cinema 1st & if i like it, i would buy the DVD version for keepsake, & to savour it at leisure later.

this weekend we were planning to visit the daughter but since she has school activities, we decided to stay put & visit another weekend. that's when i thought i'll have my own movie marathon with these 3 classics (well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad).

missing, however, are a home theatre system & some popcorn.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

spare the rod

the boy is generally well-behaved at home. but at school, away from our watchful eyes, when he is with his friends, i suppose anything goes.

so, when someone snitched on him, telling the wife that he has been caned by the teacher, she asked the boy if he had been fighting or talking during lessons. with much reluctance, he said that it was because he didn't complete his homework but he was quick to point out that the caning wasn't painful.

now that this is out, it dawned on me that he has been portraying the "good boy in school" image. he may have been punished before but has been keeping his misdeeds from us. perhaps he wants to live up to his parents' expectations - to behave in school & study hard. maybe that's why he emphasized that the caning was not painful, as if to justify the insignificance of the misdeed & its punishment. but we shall give him the benefit of doubt. as long as he is punished for school-work related offenses, i say,"bring on the cane!!"

however, i would begin to worry if he starts fighting or stealing.

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
prov 13:24

**Cartoon by Gado from THE DAILY NATION, Kenya**

Saturday, January 09, 2010

lazarus #2: a system gone wrong

the family of the patient "lazarus" from the previous post has requested that he be transferred to a public hospital because the cost of private medical treatment is now a strain on their resources.

i don't blame them. private medical care has become so expensive the average man on the street would shun it solely because of this. no matter what the private hospitals promote about themselves, be it service from the heart or to make a difference in people's lives, they are mostly profit-driven organisations.

which means, money talks.

the final bill essentially consists of 2 portions, the hospital's charges & the doctors' fees. the latter are guided by a schedule sanctioned by the malaysian medical association & if any dispute concerning doctor's fees arose, this schedule would be used during arbitration. however, the hospital's portion is a lot more ambiguous & variable because its charges are guided by "market forces."

which means, anything goes.

that's just one side of the coin. why wouldn't the public avoid government hospitals if they can afford private healthcare? notwithstanding that some are fungus-infested & others have non-functioning operating theatres, public hospitals have always provided affordable (sometimes free) medical care to the masses but with a few drawbacks, like they double as training grounds for new doctors & nurses. sometimes, with minimal supervision.

which means, things are more likely to go wrong.

now, as the country realises its 2020 vision & attempts to achieve developed nation status, it is
, amongst other ventures, churning out doctors like production lines in a factory, to attain that "magical" ratio of 1 doctor for every 600 population. a ratio that was taken out of context & now applied to this country. with a proliferation of public (9) & private (12) medical schools & a generation endeared to becoming healers, it's a recipe for a mismatch at best, & a disaster, at worst.

which means, doctors will very soon be a dime a dozen, & not all properly trained.

in a way, i'm sad for "lazarus" & at the same time fear for him. he may end up in one neglected corner of a general ward where he may be seen by a junior doctor just once a day, when instead he should be properly treated in intensive care, a setting where he was originally & miraculously resurrected.

any outcome other than for him to walk out of hospital alive would be a tragedy in a system that's gone wrong.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


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.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." John 11: 43, 44

this is perhaps the best known recorded back-to-life miracle that Jesus performed. the guy has been dead for 4 days & already buried in a cave. yet, the Lord resurrected him to life.

my patient whose life was hanging by a thread, & not much more, has by some inexplicable reason, recovered. from being comatosed, on life-support machine & numerous tubes stuck into him, he's now awake albeit a bit dazed, & about to have his 1st meal for days.

my colleagues
are scratching their heads & trying to figure out what had happened. i could have told them it was divine intervention but....

from a grave prognosis (with one foot already in!), he's now back to life. let's just call him lazarus, shan't we?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

a sobering start

i would like to have a good start - something nice, something happy to set an optimistic tone or mood for the rest of the year.

but it was not to be.

a patient i was watching over on new year's eve unfortunately developed serious complications & whose life now is hanging by a thread.

how precarious life is.....

& what thin line that separates the living from the dead......

but i have hope & assurance for the year & beyond....

because even though i journey through the valley of the shadow of death, His rod & His staff, they comfort me.....

and, His grace is sufficient for me.