Thursday, June 30, 2011

some parents don't love their children

this rant is written out of anger, so don't take me seriously because these careless words may not describe the actual situation.

some parents DON'T love their children because they let the kids climb on parked motorcycles. so when the motorbike toppled over, it's fortunate that only the hand is badly hurt while we've actually seen worse injuries before.

some parents MAY love their children because when the kids are hurt, they sent them to private hospitals for immediate attention. maybe it's out of guilt, or maybe they have accident insurance.

some parents DON'T love their children because half an hour before the start of surgery, they give them a big glass of water because the kids complain of thirst. taking food or drink just before a general anaesthetic constitute a risk to the patient because the stomach contents can come back out into the mouth & then track into the lungs, causing a severe chemical reaction.

some parents DON'T love their children because, instead of accompanying the kids to the operating theatre for emergency surgery, they go out for a meal instead, leaving the kids with equally young siblings in hospital. seriously, how can the parents even swallow food at a time like this?

anyway, against the rule of Murphy's Law, everything turned out well. the surgery was a success & nothing went into the patient's lungs.

as an after-thought, perhaps this mother DOES love her 4-year-old daughter. it's just that i've imposed my own values on her. i should give myself a slap on the wrist.

like i said, this is just a rant. an angry one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

best ice cream in the world

baskin-robbins 31 flavours?


ben & jerry's?

for me, that's not even close. it's neither the brand name nor the flavours that count.  it's the way it's prepared.

fresh out of the freezer, diligently scooped & delivered with a smile...

isn't it wonderful to come home after a hard day's work, then put the feet up & have an ice-cream cone served from a loving heart. 

definitely the best ice cream in the world!

Monday, June 27, 2011

football, anyone?

the English are coming!

well, not actually! even though they are English in name, Arsenal, Liverpool & Chelsea football clubs have more foreign players each compared to home-grown ones. even the respective managers & majority shareholders aren't English!

no matter. the fact that they will each play a malaysian selection here in KL should be enough to stir interest from both supporters & football neutrals. so B8 & i are bringing 3 of our boys for the arsenal game on july 13. it's on a weekday, so to me, it's a surprise the 2 wives agreed to let the boys go, considering the match will end past their bedtimes.

no matter. the boys are especially thrilled. now they can watch in real-life the stars they adore on-screen. i will be using the ticket as a bargaining chip - i'm certain the boy will do whatever he can in order not to forfeit the chance to watch the game live.

so, i can expect him to be extra hardworking, exceptionally helpful in the house & exhibit good behaviour. someone mentioned these carrot-and-stick disciplinary methods are outdated.

you think??

Saturday, June 25, 2011

i need guidance

sometimes you get an obese patient which makes certain procedures a nightmare to perform.

like with this 85kg girl. i needed an extra-long 4" needle to be inserted thru layers upon layers of fat to reach the target space. there're no firm landmarks to help guide the direction to which the needle is to be directed, akin to flying in the dark without radar guidance. but whenever i'm faced with such difficult circumstances, whenever i know i can't depend on knowledge, skill, experience,or  intuition, i ask for divine instruction.

it worked & having another 2 patients this week, weighing 95kg & 100kg respectively, i know i can't rely on myself to get it right anymore. so i put it on record......

the psalmist said :
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you

for me, that's good enough.

Friday, June 24, 2011


"Welcome to the emergency department. May I take your order?"
"I'll take the chest pain value work-up."
"An EKG with a side of blood work. Any toppings today?"
"Sure how about aspirin, nitroglycerin and dilaudid. Morphine makes
me itchy."
"Would you like a CXR with that?"
"No, I want to supersize that to a CT scan."
"That will be an extra $2,000; is that okay?"
"Sure, why not!"
"Okay that will be $50 with your co-pay; anything else?"
"Yes, make it snappy!"

if you've ever ordered fast food over the counter, you'll know that once you get to the front of the queue & you've made your order, the food comes pretty fast & furious. it's what we've come to expect, so you can imagine at some time in the future, we might just demand medical help ASAP.

we all can't bear waiting at A&Es, or at any hospital department, for that matter. everything seems to go at slow-motion & what's worse than waiting is waiting WITHOUT explanation.

patient satisfaction is one area that hospitals try hard to improve. even as a patient, i don't mind too much how high the quality of care is, as long as it's reasonable. & as long as the pain is relieved, the swelling reduced or the bleeding stopped, i'm quite happy. throw in doctors & nurses who are emphathetic & can communicate well, then forgive me for thinking i'm in 7th heaven!

the only thing out of control is waiting time. hospitals can work on this by setting expectations & providing explanations.

by setting expectations, the patients are informed of the timing of each step of their workup. here the business principle of "under-promise, over-deliver" is practised. by setting an estimated time that can be met 99% of the time, patients are more likely to be pleasantly surprised when less time than expected is spent on waiting.

however, in the 1% chance of time over-run, explanation should be given to the patients, & apologies extended if appropriate & an updated encounter timeline offered. patients understand difficult situations when these concerns are conveyed to them.

we're still a long way off from providing quick & efficient service in our healthcare system, unlike the way it's done at fast-food joints, but if we can achieve half that customer satisfaction, expect to see patients clients with smiles as wide as the golden arches.

**thanks, T1, for the email**

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


while waiting for the police report to claim from the other party, i've been driving around with a badly dented back bumper.

what's your opinion of a driver who drives such a car? was he the unfortunate one who was rear-ended though no fault of his? or, was he careless when reversing? were the rear sensors not working or not loud enough?

however, i did notice one thing. at traffic stops, the car behind would stay a little further away from me. wouldn't you if the car in front had a bumper like this......?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


when you have kids, you can't help but compare them, eg. who talked or walked 1st, who's the grumpy one & who's fussy with food.

my daughter is very much focussed in school, conscientious in her work & will strive hard to do well.

my son is just the opposite. though he enjoys school (because he can play with his friends, i suspect) he nevertheless slacks if there an opportunity for it, & is happy if he can skip tuition.

during the recent mid-term test, he ended up in 36th position out of 42. i told him his performance is not good & he will drop class if he doesn't buck up. all he said was:

it's not so bad, what? there are still 6 people below me!

well, this is one boy with a glass-half-full outlook in life and God willing, he will live contentedly to a ripe old age.

Monday, June 20, 2011

a fathers' day i won't forget

not because i delivered the message in church.

but because, for the 1st time (& i pray, the last) i was involved in an accident on the highway. traffic was heavy & both lanes were laden with moving vehicles. i was on the outer lane when the car in front suddenly slowed down & braked. i did likewise & so did the car behind. although i stopped in time, the car behind didn't & he rear-ended me. not only that, the car behind his also knocked into him.

we all felt the sharp jolt & the kids sleeping at back had a rude awakening. thank goodness for rear seat-belts & the discipline instilled in using them at all times.

as it turned out, only the back bumper was severely dented & part of it had abutted against a rear tyre, making a sort of scraping  noise. but the car behind, a waja, suffered heavily. besides the front & back portion damage, i could see water, probably from the radiator, leaking as well.

the 3rd car, a wira, had frontal damage. both the waja & wira had to be towed but fortunately, no one was seriously injured. a child from the waja had a mild knock on the head while the driver of the wira had neck pain. without identifying my background, i had a cursory look & reassured both that they will be ok.

but you have to hand it to the vultures tow-truck operators. 3 were at the scene before you could say "insurance." i could still drive, so after getting the relevant info from the driver of the car that hit me, i made my way to the police station myself, thanks to the GPS.

i thought i had all the essential info but having undergone a traumatic experience, i left out an important piece of info. the EXACT LOCATION of the accident. it's ironic, esp when i had a GPS with me. so after making a few phone-calls, it was one of the tow-truck operators who provided the location.

when making a report at the police station, the young driver of the wira arrived later. his neck was still stiff but i reassured him that he'll be fine. we had a chit-chat & he surprised me when he wished me Happy Fathers' Day.

ha ha, like i said, this is one i won't forget!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

comedy of errors

there are 5 of us in the same department. when pay day arrives, one of my colleagues will collect the cheques & distribute them to the others. but recently, i deposited the wrong cheque & didn't even realised it till much later.

this is how it happened.....

my colleague who collected the cheques passed to me someone else's envelope & then passed mine to the other person. the 3 of us didn't even notice the error because the names on the envelopes are similar.

the 2 of us who received the cheques wrote the our names & account numbers at the back of the wrong cheques without checking.

and, we both deposited the cheques at the banks' machines, again without checking.

having to retrieve the cheques from the bank after several days' lapse meant we'll both get our pay late.

let's hope we don't treat our patients the way we handle cheques!!

incidentally, this reminds me of several Air Crash Investigation episodes on tv. it's almost a ritual - the plane company cuts cost, the maintenance guy changes a wrong-fitting part, the supervisor overlooks, the plane is in the air when the pilot realises something is wrong & soon the plane disappears from the radar screen.

except that this comedy of errors is not so funny.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

old-fashioned hair cut

when i was young, my father took me to his regular barber shop in town for our hair-cuts. all the workers were indians & that's how i came to view barbers - that they all are indians. nothing racally-biased, just a profiling anomaly. it was when i was in my teens that i realised people other than indians can cut hair as well. they were called hairdressers or the more fashionable name hairstylists.

but i've always gone back to the traditional indian barbers. besides the resulting nice clean look, some of them provide a shoulder rub/massage as well.

but when i got older, i realised they were generally more expensive than some others, because they were members of a barbers' association where the prices were fixed. currently a simple cut costs rm9.

because of that, i've stopped patronising them as other non-members charge cheaper. no, i'm not too much into the classy cut-wash-and-blow type, operating in the malls with a fancy shop-name. no, i just want a clean cut.

and i'll shave myself, thank you!

my son goes to the same shop where the wife gets her hair done. his cut costs rm5. so when my regular guy told me he's hiked his price from rm6 to rm8, after all these years of loyal patronage, i decided to jump ship.
except now it doesn't matter who snips, as long as it's a clean cut & cheap reasonably priced.

just like how my father taught me; a legacy i'm passing on to the boy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

attention X-files buffs!

we've not had a good conspiracy theory since the 9/11 WTC controlled demolition theory.(read here)

then, i stumbled upon 2 (yes, TWO!) yesterday.

the 1st involved the earthquake affecting fukushima & the damage to the nuclear reactors.(read here) didn't it occur to you that a 9.0 richter scale earthquake might have caused more destruction than a few buildings & a nuclear reactor?

the 2nd relates to the recent e.coli contamination of greens in europe. as the finger pointing goes around from country to country, read this interesting take on the tragedy. it's uncanny that a new bacteria strain possesses such extensive resistance to currently available antibiotics.

is there more evil emerging in this world beyond our wildest imagination? fox mulder would have been glad to come out of retirement to solve these!!

hopefully, this will help get you through your monday & new school-term blues.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

a green idea

this is too good an idea not to share.....
Seal Plastic Bags with Old Bottle Caps

WHAT A GREAT IDEA.!!  NO MORE TWIST TIES OR RUBBER  BANDS. This method is WATER PROOF AND AIR TIGHT. The guy who first thought of the idea should be given an award for originality!!!

Cut up a disposible water bottle & keep the neck & top, as in the photo.

Insert the plastic bag thru the neck & screw the top to seal.

The bag is made to be air-tight, such that water will not
leak, the secret lies with the top & screw cap.This
is a great idea to share. Good for us and the
environment too. Zip-top bags are great, but sometimes
you buy something in bulk and you're stuck with an
unsealable bag. Home-centric blog Re-Nest shows us
an easy way to give these bags an airtight seal with an
old water bottle. All you need to do is cut off the top of
the bottle and take off the cap. Push the bag through
the bottle neck, fold it over the edges, and twist the cap
back on. Now, your bag has an air and water tight seal,
and you didn't have to waste the bag.

**thanks, KC, for the email**
PS. my opinion is that to prolong the lifespan of the plastic bag, you seal it closer to the open end at the beginning, & as the contents are used up, you reseal it further & further away from the open end.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

5% solution

we do a lot of calculations in medicine. maybe that's why maths is an entry requirement to med school.
for example, patients are prescribed dextrose 5% as an intravenous drip. what this contains is 5g of dextrose (aka sugar) in 100mls of solution. this equals 5000mg in 100mls, or 50mg per ml.

similarly, normal saline or 0.9% saline contains 0.9g of sodium chloride (aka salt) in 100mls of solution, which equals to 900mg sodium chloride in 100mls, or 9mg per ml.

so, 5% of any medication equals to 50mg of that medication in 1ml of solution.

yesterday, i prescribed a 0.5% of a local anaesthetic to a patient to be given in the ward. the solution is prepared & labelled as 5mg per ml from the manufacturer. so this nurse called up the pharmacy & asked if they could prepare a 0.5% solution for the ward. the pharmacy assistant said they couldn't do it & asked the nurse to do it herself. feeling lost, she reverted to me on my instruction, saying the local anaesthetic only came in 5mg per ml preparation & not 0.5%.

if you go by the previous example, 5% solution is the same as 50mg per ml, so 0.5% is the same as 5mg per ml. which means, the nurse should have just used the solution as prepared.

this is a basic calculation which everyone prescribing, preparing & dispensing medication should be familiar with. fortunately or unfortunately, the responsibility of giving the right dose to the patient falls squarely on the doctors' shoulder.

don't you think an A in maths should be a compulsory requirement for entry into med school & a strong credit for nursing & pharmacy school?

after all, you don't want to to be on the receiving end of a 10-time higher dose of medication, right?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

how to score in matriculation (& enter med school)

the wife's nephew visited us yesterday & related how life is as a medical student. he is both diligent & intelligent, scored a string of As in the SPM & got into a local matriculation course. he then shared with us how he managed to excel in matriculation & got into med sch.

he had a bumi room-mate who's not too smart & who's been given a head-start "extra" course assignment. not being able to cope, this room-mate sought the nephew's help in answering & completing the work. as it turned out, most of the questions in the assignment eventually came out in the final exams.

needless to say, the nephew aced it.

that's how he got into med school.

cool, eh?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

i hate love

got this link from Jemima's blog. the book sounds like an interesting read & there sure are things you don't learn in school. i like this one in particular:

"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...You give them a piece of you. They didn't ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like 'maybe we should be just friends' turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love."
Neil Gaiman (The Kindly Ones)

doesn't this just feel like it's talking about you?