Monday, May 30, 2011

a (dangerous?) precedent

there's been a few odd incidences here & there but this is the one that got me all riled up....

it was already arranged months ago to have leaders' training session last friday & all CG leaders are required invited to attend. then, earlier in the week, the pastor emailed to all leaders involved to enquire if the session could be brought forward to thursday instead, because it clashed with a charity dinner (on fri) which the church contributed but isn't even directly involved with.

in reply to the email, i wrote : has there been a precedent when a church-sanctioned training was displaced by a charity event?

only J responded, emphasising on setting our priorities right with God.

Paul wrote to the Hebrews:

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (13:17)

i've had several disagreements with the pastor before but just let him be because of Paul's admonishment to the church, but now, i'm not so sure. i just feel that one shouldn't rush in where angels fear to thread.

it's times like this that i think i may have Pharisaic ancestry.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mr & Mrs K - part 2 (or is this the finale?)

i had just spoken to Mr K's oncologist today & he said something that struck me numb. well, sort of.

he said one of the most tragic experiences in life anyone can face is to find out that you have stage 4 cancer, which is essentially incurable, and you never had any symptoms to even suggest that anything was wrong - no pain, no numbness, no discomfort, nothing.

you go for a routine medical check-up & BANG! the huge tumour is staring at you from the xray.

i had the question at the tip of my tongue - how long has Mr K got - but i refrained from asking. because it's all irrelevant now. it's too late but Mr K should make peace 1st with himself & with his God, & then with the world.

after the hair-drop, vomitting, weight loss & feeling like it's the end of the world from the effects of chemotherapy, at least reconciliation will preserve some degree of dignity on the final stretch.

be strong, Mr & Mrs K!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mr & Mrs K

this is about Mr & Mrs K from the previous post.

i was quite certain Mrs K was going to do Mr K in, but as it turned out, Mr K's brain surgery was a success & he recovered without much fuss. the biospy taken from his brain showed that it was a small-cell carcinioma & in this case, most likely to have spread from his lung. he has been referred to the cancer specialist & will receive chemotherapy next week.

i met up with the couple again today. he looked cheerful while she was lovingly feeding him dinner. i asked him about what the other doctors have said to him & noticed the wife putting her finger to her lips, implying that he doesn't know his real condition is & what's in store for him.

it's just reinforced what i had thought all along - she's the one making decisions for him.

so, can you forgive me for thinking that she'll do him in ??

Saturday, May 21, 2011

a hurried decision

Mr K, 45 years, a chronic smoker now presenting with a brain tumour. a CT scan of the chest revealed another tumour in the right lung, even bigger than the one in the brain, & it has even shown signs of spreading out already.
this new finding has taken us all aback. after presenting the pros & cons of brain surgery to the family, expecting them to think over carefully, they made the decision to operate within the hour. apparently Mr K is undecided but Mrs K has made the decision for him.

without any surgery, he may succumb to either tumour in 3 - 6 mths, even with chemo and/or radiotherapy.

with brain surgery, he may last slightly longer, probably up to a year. but that is only if it is vastly successful & recovery from it is uneventful.

but i'm not optimistic. i think they should deliberate over the weekend & come to a consensus. as it is, i can see some of his family members are keen on surgery, while others aren't. & this decision is made while tears still flow & the duress is obvious.

i feel this is a hurried decision. and, i sure don't have a good feeling about the outcome.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ugly head

when we talk about a drug problem, what usually comes to mind are images of intravenous users in back alleys, air passengers stuffing contraband into hidden compartments & every known orifice, or patrons high on "ice" in a club.
we all know the problem permeates much wider & deeper than that.

i still remember vividly when i was on-call one evening while training at a teaching hospital. we were considered junior doctors then & were searching high & low for the lecturer-on-call to help us handle a particularly difficult case. despite repeated calls on the phone, pagers (there were no handphones then) & PA system, he was nowhere to be found.

then someone finally located him, on the toilet floor, groaning & frothing at the mouth. found nearby was a used syringe. empty.

to cut the story short, he had been injecting himself with painkillers & this time, he overdosed. he was immediately admitted to the ICU & subsequently recovered. my boss, to his credit, kept things under wraps - told the offender to take medical leave & on completion of his expatriate contract, to return home. the hospital was not informed the real story behind this episode.

later, after i had left the hospital, i was told one of my junior colleagues did the same thing. he was then asked to leave post-grad training.

at another hospital where i worked in UK, i  found out 9 years later that one of my peers had been doing the same thing when we were in the same department. he had been depressed because he couldn't pass his post-grad exams. in the end, he also left training & ended up a GP.

so, i know a senior, a colleague & a junior who had abused drugs. well, surprise, surprise, the ugly head has reared again.

now, a male nurse i used to work with had been found to falsify entries in a drug record book, including creating fictitious patients to obtain the pain-killers. doesn't matter if it's for personal use or worse, for resale; he will be punished, subject to an internal inquiry. his HOD is obviously not as gracious as my ex-boss, which is why the misdeed is the talk of the local medical fraternity.

and unless he can pull cable or divine intervention intercedes, his career as a nurse is as good as over. which is a real pity because he has shown such good promise as a capable & competent paramedic.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

teacher's day

i have to confess i don't have any recollection of a teacher's day celebration, such that yesterday passed by without much ado for me. but that does not take away the impact teachers had on my life.

i am still in contact with Pn Rahmah (primary 1 teacher), Mrs Thumboo (primary 2 & 6, read here) & Mrs Chan (biology, 5th & 6th form). but the one who convinced me on a career path was Mr GV Pillai (physics, 5th & 6th form). he was such a masterful teacher, appropriately so as he was the only one with a M.Sc in school, he made physics so simple that a whole bunch of us in class decided we want to be engineers.

so what happened?

that's when i met the other Teacher:

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Mark 10: 17, 21

so, did i interpret this encounter correctly? did i sell off my engineering ambition to take an alternate path to public service? perhaps the circle will be complete only when i backtrack return to serve the poor.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

friday, may 13

because the boy's birthday falls on exam week, we decided to celebrate it on friday, after CG. his sunday school buddies were invited & to him, that's all that matters.

in fact, because he has only one much older sibling & few cousins, none of whom live nearby, his friends mean a lot to him. as parents, we try to provide him opportunities to fellowship & give him a sense of belonging outside of family ties.
and for one day a year, he is the centre of attention. who doesn't relish that?

& he gets the applause appropriate to the occasion....

for a child, all innocent & impressionable, what can bring more happiness to the birthday event than to have fun & share a meal with his peers.

i never knew the trauma of may 13, 1969. i only read about it. but we are all grateful that on this particular friday, we celebrate another year added to the boy's life & pray that we in malaysia continue to live in relative peace & harmony.

even as some irresponsible bloggers & press media try to fan the flames of racial & religious discontent.

Monday, May 09, 2011

month of May

May is supposed to be a merry month, presumably as it heralds the coming of summer.

not so for my kids, both of whom were born in May. they can't truly celebrate their birthdays with a lavish meal on an outing because both are right smack in their mid-term exams.

perhaps that's just a small price to pay.

after all, this May could have been much worse off if you take the context of Osama or George Yeo. suddenly studying on your birthday doesn't seemed that difficult.

my elder girl agreed.

Monday, May 02, 2011


the income tax dept is very keen to reward informers who snitch on tax evaders (read here). i have my personal experience with an informer this morning.

except that she was "a nurse" who called me up at 6.30am to tell me about a new patient who was admitted at 12 midnite. despite his multiple medical problems, she could not provide more details, like the duration he's had the problems & the medication he's currently taking.

and no, she also hasn't traced the patient's old notes which held a wealth of information the health status. as such, i could not give any instructions over the phone.

so, as far as i'm concerned, she wasn't a nurse (hence, the open & close inverted commas in the initial description of her job), she was just an informer.

she just passed a message, a task a ward clerk would have performed admirably with less salary.