Thursday, September 30, 2010

just one bag

last week, this 48-yr-old man was admitted to hospital with a bleed in the brain. he had been referred from another private hospital in another state that didn't have neurosurgical services. the nearest govt hospital with that service is 150km away. 

when he came, he was already unconscious & had a tube inserted into his windpipe to assist breathing. he was wheeled into the OT after the initial CT scan & the blot clot removed. however, the brain damage initially sustained from the bleed will be permanent. previously, he had hypertension that was not well-controlled.

when he was sent to ICU after surgery, the wife accompanied him. it was already 4 am. what touched me most was that, all she had with her was just one bag.

presumably, that's all she could pack in the short time between transfer from one hospital to another. can you imagine what it's like to live on just one bag? presumably, she would have to go back home after a few days for change of clothing & see to her kids. maybe also to draw more cash.

it does sadden me a bit when the govt couldn't provide essential medical services in the big towns & patients have to be shunted from hospital to hospital for treatment. especially when billions are spent on submarines (that will unlikely see combat) & a controversial hydro-electric dam (that is currently being treated like an orphan).

today, we just certified this man brain-dead. that means, even though his heart is still beating & blood is flowing through his body, his brain has permanently ceased to function. his wife will take him home this evening.

on another sad note, my son's piano teacher just passed away last week after suffering from a similar bleed in the brain. she also had uncontrolled hypertension. (read here)

may their souls rest in peace.

well, we can't change govt policies but what we can do is to better take care of our health before it deteriorates. go for that medical check-up, esp if you're over 50. include an endoscope, ECG  & (for women) a pap smear.

you don't really want your spouse to accompany you to hospital with just one bag.

Monday, September 27, 2010


we had to make a day trip to mersing & so took the opportunity to have breakfast at the famed kluang station coffee shop.

yes, the same one that spawned many other kopi-tiams throughout the country.

the same one where a couple had their breakfast before saying their matrimonial vows.

we had the works - nasi lemak, half-boiled eggs, toast buns & the trade-mark coffee, the latter being smooth & very "kaw."

but seriously, i probably won't be able to tell the difference between this & other brands of kopi-tiam coffee.

like the moon-cake, could this also be over-rated? don't know if it's over-priced because my friend paid the bill.

had a brief chat with Chang, the proprietor whose grandfather started the business. he's really a hands-on guy - making sure the coffee is prepared the way his father taught him. perhaps that's why business is flourishing.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


i strongly feel that mooncakes are overpriced.

i bought some recently because my daughter loves the snow-skin types, & since she's hardly home these days, i "manja" her a bit la. they averaged RM12 apiece.

now that the mid-autumn festival is over, maybe i'll pop into tesco or jusco to see if they are pushing out their stock at discount prices.

but i still won't take any for less than 30% off.

that's just the way i am. never pay for more than it's worth.

unless, it's to pamper the girl.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

still paranoid?

i posted recently about owning special vehicle number plates.

"Car registration plates bearing ‘MCA’ can’t be reserved", says today's Star.

i can't imagine that it's really true - people actually want to have a MCA plate because they are a member.

i mean, it's not like you've done overall great service to the community.

it's not like you've greatly improved the general living conditions of the people. 

it's not like you've gotten to the bottom of possibly the biggest scandal the country ever faced, with some of your senior members allegedly implicated.

& it's not like your president has a squeaky clean image.

so, if i were a malaccan, & i want a new vehicle now, i would:

1) retain my old number plate, or
2) register the vehicle in another state.

is it not a possibility, however remote, that in a moment of anger & madness, people would scratch or hurl stones at such vehicles?

or, again, am i just paranoid?

Friday, September 17, 2010

am i paranoid?

a lot of things that happen around us are really no big deal, unless perhaps when we try to think too much into it.

like at the pizza joint. we were for dinner the other evening during the fasting month. it was about 7.15pm when we ordered. the other patrons were mainly muslims. what i noticed was that they were also served dried dates in little packets to break fast with. we didn't get any.

like at the petrol station. i usually self-serve & that's fine with me. but i noticed many times that the attendants will clean the windscreens of the other cars. but not mine, unless i asked them to.

is this preferential treatment on the small scale? a result, perhaps, of a spill-over effect from the affirmative action on a national platform?

or, maybe i'm just paranoid?

maybe that's why malaysia day & 1malaysia just doesn't ring a bell with me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

presumably, another one less datuk?

seriously, i don't really know the true function of the council of datuks. presumably, one role is that they vet through possible candidates for the next round of awards, which they don't seemed to be doing a good job of, given the current spew of events where datuks have been deemed to have screwed up not carried themselves with decorum.

after the PKFZ fiasco, where 2 selangor datuks have been instructed not to use their respective honorifics, presumably the council will now be very busy recommending the revoking of these awards, since one of them has been implicated in the brutal murder of a millionaire.

presumably, the bar council will have to do likewise.

another one bites the dust.

but life goes on much the same for most of us, even as another one is alleged to have tried to bribe a sultan with hari raya goodies.

Monday, September 13, 2010

school break

like most parents, i always look forward to the school holidays because that's when the girl is back home. unlike the last school break in june when i had been quite busy, this time, maybe because of the combined effect of the chinese ghost month & the muslim fasting month, i had more free time with her. she has done quite well in her chemistry paper &, over another ice-blended coffee, she confessed that she may want to take up chemical engineering now, a far cry from her previous career choice. read here

but i don't think it was the chemistry result that prompted her towards this new ambition. her friend who lives in the neighbourhood scored straight As in the recent A-level exams & has gone to the univ of california in berkeley to do chemical engineering. & my daughter has made it her life ambition to study in an overseas varsity. (i tried to reason with her that singapore can be considered "overseas" but she's not buying that - too stressful, she says), what do they know???

the new school term starts today & i shall miss her much.

*she doesn't read my blog, so i can safely reveal here one of her many weaknesses -  she often shares her deepest secrets over ice-blended coffee, which means CB & SB will be assured of my patronage for many years to come!!**

Sunday, September 12, 2010


melaka just issued the MBY motor vehicle registration plate.

i can imagine members & leaders of a certain political party queueing to register their new vehicles in a public display of loyalty when the next set of registration numbers are opened in a few months' time. come to think of it, they probably don't need to queue because the road transport dept which issues the numbers comes under the ministry of transport.

& guess who's the tai-kor in the ministry? i suppose one call to him will kau-tim everything.

i also wonder if the party president would bid for the #1 plate? he'll probably be the sole bidder because i doubt if anyone else would want that number, in case the vehicle be mistaken as belonging to someone who was made notorious through an illegally produced DVD & whose private life was dragged into public scrutiny.

talk about taboo number plates.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

what if....?

this young lady was seen by a GP a month ago for some psychiatric disorder, possibly schizophrenia. however, she developed a febrile illness after that & was admitted to general hospital for a week without getting better, probably because the diagnosis couldn't be established. her mother took her out of hospital to seek treatment from a sinseh (traditional chinese medicine man) but she became unconscious at home that evening.

she was rushed to this private hospital & resuscitated.  my physician colleague did some blood tests & accurately made a diagnosis, which could explain why she had prolonged fever & why she fell unconscious at home. she was put on life-support machine in the ICU but failed to regain consciousness after a week. a CT scan of the brain revealed early brain damage.

a young lady will be bedridden for the rest of her life but a lot of questions remained unanswered.

what if......the GP had explained the side-effects of the anti-psychotic medication?

what if......the doctors at GH had made the right diagnosis & instituted the appropriate treatment early?

what if......she had remained at GH & had been immediately resuscitated when she fell unconscious? would that have prevented the brain damage?

given the current public uproar over our healthcare system, this post in NOT about whether govt hospitals or private hospitals are giving superior service. the former have received criticisms over substandard care, poorly trained doctors, long queues, etc. while the latter, escalating & hidden charges, unnecessary tests & procedures,  etc. (there's a private hospital in perak affectionately known among local circles as The Great White Shark for obvious reasons)

some time back, the Min of Health suggested co-operation between the public & private hospitals for the benefit of the people, but like all else, it's No Action, Talk Only. perhaps too much politicking during the recent party elections.

in the meantime, we await our uncertain fate.

Monday, September 06, 2010

chewing gum

we keep chewing gum in the car for days when we need to drive long-distance. the boy saw the last piece & asked if he could have it. i allowed him & instinctively told him not to swallow it.

instinctive because i remember when i was his age, i was told the same thing, & also that if i swallowed chewing gum, it would get stuck in the bowels & an operation was needed to remove it. it was all the more horrifying because i actually swallowed one accidentally.

it wasn't until i was in med school that i realised the chewing gum story was just an old wives' tale. the gum is just too small & the inside of the bowel too slippery for it to get stuck. it would just be passed out after a day.

but because i didn't know it then, i waited many anxious years for my fate, an agony i certain the boy will never go through.

ah, ignorance is such bliss!!