Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dear you, it's me

Dear God, it's me.
Dear me, it's you.

Dear love, hug me.
Dear evil, go away.
Dear anger, don't slay.
Dear sabr, do stay.
Dear madness, don't be weird.
Dear joy, come play.
Dear grief, don't overwhelm.
Dear sadness, don't cry.
Dear happiness, be content.
Dear trust, don't lie.
Dear insof, don't abandon me.
Dear will, don't give up.
Dear doubts, don't bother me.
Dear riches, don't beg.
Dear time, thank you.
Dear past, no regrets.
Dear present, let me learn.
Dear future, may you be bright.
Dear life, be kind, will you?
Dear death, be gentle too.

Dear you, it's me.
Dear me, I love you.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

this is emie. she's a doctor.

there are different ways we get introduced to people.
it almost always start with your name, followed by maybe a little bit more information about you.
like, this is emie. she was my friend in college.
or she was my neighbour.
or she works in JB now.
or she's so and so's daughter/sister/cousin etc.
you get the picture.
a small polite conversation then usually follows this introduction.

but what happens after you get introduced to people and they mention your occupation instead?
like, this is emie, she's a doctor.
well, when you get introduced as a doctor, most times you get these raised, often questionable eyebrows first as a response.
at least i do. as if to say, really? she doesnt look like a doctor. 
or really? i thought she's a teacher (refer to another previous blog entry. this i take as flattery) .
or she sure isnt dressed like one. (this will make my aruah mama go i told you so. she told me so soooo many times).
or really? she's too cute to be a doctor. (okay, i made that one up).
then other questions usually follow. 
if you're a doctor, some people may ask you where you work, which hospital, is it a busy/nice place, even maybe which medical school you went to etc.
or some people will just straight up ask you a medical question, more often than not, pertaining to their own health or worries about a certain ailment that they have, rather than a general question like, how about that zika,huh?
itu okay lagi. you still try your best to answer their questions.
but it's a little awkward when this is at a funeral, or you're visiting someone ill at the hospital, and you get introduced to the person's relatives who are also visiting, like what happened to me recently. a friend's close one was critically ill and admitted to the icu, so i went to visit. the atmosphere was sombre, the person was on a ventilator, with tubes and wires running to and from his body, the machines were beeping. there was another relative there so i was introduced by my friend as emie, old friend. she's a doctor. the relative then proceeded to asking me what i initially thought was going to be with regards of the ill person that we were visiting. understandably. may be she's hoping i could help explain certain things further.
but no. she actually went on to tell me about how she was also hospitalized in the same hospital a few times already for multiple surgeries, the last one on her uterus, just last year. i just listened politely and nodded a few times, i see, i see.
she then went on to tell me she is still having some symptoms which she wasn’t sure if it was related to the surgery or the underlying condition that she had, or whether there is a new diagnosis or if it was all part of the aging process, and asked if i knew what they were.
so i said, well i'm not a gynae so maybe you can ask your gynae next time you see him/her. i looked over at my friend and saw that HE looked real apologetic.

that's not the worst scenario though.
imagine a kenduri kawin. you are really hungry, and boy does that nasi minyak look yummy & inviting, let's quickly find a seat. a relative sees you and calls you to sit near him/her. you gladly walk over, that plate of warm nasi minyak + rendang daging + ayam masak merah also calling you to quickly grab a seat so you can quickly eat (hey that rhymes!)
another introduction of ini emie, anak so & so, dia doktor kanak-kanak by the relative to a pakcik you dont know and his family.
this pakcik you were introduced to then briefly looks at you, washes his hands (he was eating) and lifts up his shirt to show you that rash/mole/growth/something-that-looks-like-a-map-of-somewhere on his belly/chest/armpit (!), and asks you if you know what it was, he's had it for awhile now, so can it be cancer?

the nasi minyak suddenly turns cold and no longer look appetizing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

why i still haven't quit my job

i find work to be increasingly stressful and tiring recently. it isn't anything more than the ordinary of course, working as a doctor in a government hospital, it's all part of the job. but there are times when you feel really tired, both physically and mentally, to a point that, for me, i start to think about the possibility of quitting. this also isn't surprising or new, you can talk to any doctor, almost all if not everyone of us have thought of quitting more than once in our medical career. the worst for me was probably when i was doing my masters program. the pressure to perform well, pass your exams, finish your thesis, all while still providing service to the patients in the hospital and being oncall, at the same time trying to balance your personal needs and the needs of your family, was more than enough for you to think of quitting at a daily basis! it's definitely not as bad now, but from time to time, the feeling does creep up again.
so i decided to take a day off today just to unwind and "recharge" myself. i went to the bank, did a bit of groceries and some shopping and then went back home, cooked a bit and then started reading a new book-iban journey by golda mowe. by the way, i went to the bookstore just now only to buy a pen and a whatchamacallit the whiteout-liquid-paper-correction thingy, but of course i cant help from browsing the book section too, so i ended up paying about rm100 for 3 books, 3 pens and whatchamacallit the whiteout-liquid-paper-correction thingy,  . sigh. i really should have bought the pen at the grocery store.
anyway, suddenly there was a whatsapp message from the sister in my palliative care team, sharing with me a message she received from a patient of ours today. just yesterday, the patient came to the hospital for her cardiology clinic follow-up and went looking for me in the ward. she wanted to show me the tablet she got from the children's wish society (cws). she was referred to our team about one and a half year ago, because she has a congenital heart condition that is now worsening and is limiting her daily activities and eventually her lifespan too. she is a very shy and quiet girl and it took me quite an effort to get her to warm up to us, and some coaxing to get her to tell me if there was anything that she wished to have. in the end she wrote me a 2-lined letter stating that she would like a tablet.

so i referred her to the cws team who then got her the tablet she wished for just about a month ago. and so she came to the ward yesterday to show it to me, and then asked to take a photo together. and so we did, i chatted with her a bit and that was it.
who knew, after that she sent a message to the sister, sharing the photo that was taken, and inviting us to visit her at home for raya. but what blew me away was that she also said that she misses me and that she loves me like her own mother!

so what am i supposed to do, (other than cried like a baby) after reading that?

well i cant quit my job yet, that's for sure!

Friday, May 06, 2016

trip to turkiye


anyways, i was very fortunate to be able to visit this beautiful country back in November last year.
went with a couple of girlfriends.
hubby didnt come with.
he's still not fond of flying.
plus, by going with my girlfriends, it's easier to save on money, because we could divide everything equaly between us including our accommodation.

we took emirates to fly to istanbul via dubai.
spent overnight in dubai so we can see the city. arrived at dubai airport around 9pm and took a cab for a drive around the city. our cab driver was a filipino woman who could speak english well, (most of the people there can speak english fairly well) and she took us around the city, and then to the architectural wonders like the burj khalifa and burj al-arab, drove past the famous palm jumeirah resort, and then dropped us off at jumeirah beach. this beach was described to be THE place to hangout and stay for tourists, because it is lined with many hotels and restaurants. so we did. stay at the beach. literally. like, on the beach. we slept on the beach that night. after a long stroll looking at other people hanging out at the cafes and restaurants, we had falafel at a place called operation:falafel and around 3 am were just too tired to do anything else and so we parked ourselves on the beach and slept.
the next morning we had a simple breakfast at one of the many cafes, walked along the dubai canal (i think that's what it's called) and wandered some more (and got lost for awhile) before taking the train back to the airport.

and then we reached istanbul.
we stayed at a small family-owned hotel near the sultanahmet square called the piport hotel. stayed for 4 nights there. visited the blue mosque, the hagia sofia, the topkapi museum and a couple other museums by the square. visited the grand bazar as well. went on the bosphorus cruise.
tasted and experienced the turkish ice-cream, you know, there the ice-cream vendors not only sell the ice-cream but they also tease and joke with you when they are handing you the ice-cream. the ice-cream themselves are yummy too, kinda "chewy". my only regret was not having more of them.
the highlight of the istanbul, for my friends at least, was the istanbul marathon. they ran the 10k, and although i didnt run, i was extremely proud of them. it was their 1st run outside of malaysia too.

after istanbul we travelled to cappadocia by bus. it was a 12-hour ride at night, which helped save money on accomodation. the bus was comfortable too..they give you light snacks with coffee/tea soon after you get on and later as the day breaks and you approach your destination.
cappadocia has amazing one-of-a-kind landscapes. we took guided tours there, went hiking and up a hot air balloon at sunrise. we also went for a turkish bath or hamam, just to see what it was like. it was fun, you sit in a sauna and then have someone lather you up with soap and scrub your whole body. sounds like something you'd find in a nice spa here right? well, not really. 'cause all this are done in groups and you sit in a circle, while other people sit on the side waiting for their turn. we then opted for a massage afterwards. i think the hamams in cappadocia cost cheaper than those in istanbul, but there are not that many to choose from especially if you want one that separates the men from the women.

we stayed for only 1 night in cappadocia, but the hotel was the best one out of the 3 that we stayed in in turkey. that's because it was a cave hotel, which is one of the attractions in cappadocia too.
next we travelled to kusadasi and pamukkale. again, we travelled by bus, and again it was a 12-hour ride at night. we stayed for 2 nights in kusadasi at a hotel called akman hotel, and took guided tours around kusadasi and pamukkale. main attractions include the ancient greek city ephesus and roman ruins hierapolis where you can also bathe in the ancient pool and walk at the beautiful and scenic travertines. we also went to a carpet factory, and totally fell in love with the silky hand woven carpets, and i was almost taken aback as to how very expensive these carpets can be!

finally on the last day, we went to izmir airport, which was about 1-hour away from kusadasi, to fly back to istanbul. we flew on turkish airways, and just like on emirates, we totally liked the food they served us. speaking of food, before going for the trip i read on many people's blogs that seem to say that many people got bored with their "dry" kebabs and missed malaysian foods instead. well i'm glad we managed to try so many different types of food there, and have to disagree on that. i totally love turkish dishes, and i'm sure my friends did too, because every time we eat we would google the dish up to find the recipe and see if we can recreate it when we are back home. hahaha. who am i kidding? i know i'd better google up where i can find good turkish restaurants in kl/jb if i ever want to taste turkish foods again. that or travel back to turkey. ooo, that sounds awesome!

it was in turkey too that i got to taste fresh figs for the first time, and after telling hubby about it and how much i love it much more than the dried ones, he actually planted a few fig samplings behind my mom-in-law's house in muar, so soon i can have as much fresh figs as i want. yay!

so all in all it was a great trip. there are still a lot more places we didnt get to see. we also didnt get to see the whirling dervish dance which we planned to. it's unfortunate that right after we left there were news about the bombings in istanbul and ankara. ugh..why do people want to bomb other people? why cant we just respect each other and live peacefully ever after?? i want world peeaaceee! *read in whining tone*.  my thoughts and prayers to the people in turkey and everywhere else in the world. may we get world peace. and more travels.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

baby news

no. i'm not pregnant or having a baby.
i don't mean MY baby news.

eva & ryan. on their 2nd.
blake & ryan. on their 2nd.
megan & brian. on their 3rd. and they are supposedly divorced!
chrissy & john just got one.
and to top it all off, E news was also showing awesome celebrities who got preggers after they turned 40.

so yeah, their baby news.

i put this up as my FB status after i saw the E!news show.
hastagged it maybe i should stop following E news and watch real news instead.
and that maybe i'm jelly. u know, the slang for jealous? (just learned it).

so on to local news.

the maid we hired to help my mom-in-law can't come back to work for us anymore because she is now pregnant.
with twins.


forget the news.

ps: bah? who says bah anymore? that's like from the days of reading Archie.

GAH! I want!!

Friday, July 03, 2015

the death deal

all of us die. death is the only thing 100% guaranteed for us mortals.
i deal with death and tend to dying patients everyday as part of my job.
paediatric patients.
children. babies. newborns.
it isnt easy.
but as difficult as it is for me, it is more difficult for the parents and families of these children.

the expected "normal" life cycle for us start within our mothers' womb. we are born as somebody's son/daughter, and then we grow and become adults, as our parents grow older and see us becoming parents ourselves, and they get to be grandparents. and when the time comes, our parents die and leave us to continue the cycle.

but when the child dies before the parents, the life cycle gets disrupted. it creates a huge black hole in the parents' lives. there is not even a specific term designated for these parents whose children died before they do. unlike "orphans", "widows" or "widowers".
although life can and will continue on for most of these parents and families, for some of them the major event disrupts their life cycle so significantly that it just goes spiraling down from there.

i dont have children of my own.
i did have 3 pregnancies.
i had a ruptured ectopic last year that almost took my life, and i didnt even know i was pregnant at that time.the closest i had to almost feeling like an expectant mother was for the 2 weeks after finding out i was pregnant before the 2 miscarriages i had, most recently about 6 weeks ago.
even then i was quite emotionally affected, so i can only imagine how it is for the other mothers out there who carried their babies for 9 months, or have already held their babies in their arms, breastfeed them, watch them grow, worry for them, play with them, scold them, love them.. and then to watch their babies & children die.

i see and talk to these mothers and fathers before and after their child's death. and that's how i know how difficult it is. i try my best to help them get though it. there is nothing i can do to bring the children back, but i try and help the parents get back on track. not by making them forget. i actually help them to remember. many dont want to be reminded. it is normal to be sad. but you should hold on to the lovely memories of your child as a way to move on. you can never forget. those who think or say they can, have merely put aside the memories of their dead child in a tightly sealed vault inside their memory bank and sooner or later the vault will explode open, and that's when you get problems.

i'm not just talking about depression, anxiety, anger management issues, alcoholism or substance abuse. these things can happen to any of us who have lost our loved ones, not just parents who lost their children.
but when it comes to parents who have lost a child .. the explosion of the bottled up feelings (that vault i mentioned earlier) can happen when the mother gets pregnant with another child and may cause problems in that pregnancy. or soon after the new baby is born ie post-partum depression/anxiety. it's one thing not being able to stand hearing about other people getting a new baby or even the sights and sounds of other people's children laughing and playing.. but what about their own children. losing one child does not mean you are no longer a parent. many of these parents still have other living children.. neglect, if not actual physical abuse, may occur to their other children, often without the parents realizing it.

even though i have been dealing with death and dying children everyday as part of my job, it doesnt get any easier. it doesnt make me "immune" or "numb" as some people may think ("emie mesti dah tak heran tengok budak2 sakit ye..dah biasa tgk budak2 sakit ye.."). some of these parents initially say to me too " doktor tak paham, doktor apa tau.."
i would be a heartless superhuman if all that was true. or the opposite. a non-human.
in paediatric palliative care, even though we know that there is no more cure for their disease, that their lifespan is now made shorter, that they are dying, and we make sure that the parents understand this, our goal is to try and make these children live as much as they can for the time that they have with us. as my palliative team and i tend to these dying children and their families, we get to know them and become close to them too. and even if it's true, that when the children die, we may not be as badly affected as the parents themselves, there's no denying that we are still affected. for the brief time that we had with them, they became our children. at least that is how i feel. but i know most of the medical staff in my team feel the same. we have debriefing sessions for ourselves from time to time to help us deal with the sadness and emotional pressure. because we also need to remember. we also cant forget.

why i am a 25 year old doctor. or at least look like one. at least to the eyes of my darling patient.

this was a conversation on whatsapp between a patient of mine and a staff nurse on my palliative team. the patient's nickname is "baby" and she is 10 years old with  congenital heart disease. initially when she was referred to us, she was so shy and i had a real hard time getting her to talk to me. her condition was slowly deteriorating, and her mom revealed to me that baby was becoming very moody and was often angry towards her mom and her older sisters. in order to get her to talk to me and gain her trust, i asked baby to come up with any questions that she may have for me. they can be about anything. i promised that i will answer all her questions or will at least try and find the answers for her. when i saw her 2 days later, she had written 6 questions for me, 3 of which were actually about her mood swings and whether they were related to her heart disease. i was happy that i managed to get straight to what had concerned her mother and  me, and i addressed the questions and explained to her the best way i could. according to her mom when we followed up on her recently, baby's mood has been much better at home now, and i'd like to think that our little q&a session helped her with that, even if a bit. 
as for the other 3 questions, well surprisingly, they were all about me.
she asked what my full name is, whether i am married, and my age. when i told her my age, she didnt believe me, stating that i look younger, and i laughed (happily, of course! i know i know.. she's only 10, what does she know about how 40 year-olds are supposed to look like, but hey.. i'm taking it in. or rather-sucking it in. get it? haha). anyway, that was more than a month ago, and at the time it was only she, her mom and myself during that meeting because she was too shy to even let my nurse in. but the nurse continued to visit her everyday while she was in ward, and later even visited her at home after she was discharged, and they have been keeping touch via whatsapp. when i had to go on leave for 2 weeks after my recent miscarriage, we had to postpone her clinic appointment with me, and that's why she asked if i was well too during the whatsapp chat. it's so amazing that even though she herself is unwell (she doesnt even go to to school anymore because she tires easily) she still thinks about my health. here's to you, your health and your happiness, darling baby. God bless you, not just for being so naive and kind for saying i look 25 ;), but for being the sweet strong thoughtful you, as a reminder for the rest of us to love life and always be thankful. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

bali break part 2

i went to bali with 2 of my girlfriends in 2007. (actually i didnt even remember the year exactly until i rechecked my previous blog post about the trip).
i remember during one of the taxi rides we took during the trip, the driver, upon finding out that the 3 of us were single (and although we were already working, a lot of them thought we were students)said that we must come again to bali, and that the next trip be a honeymoon trip with our husbands.
it was a great trip, the 3 of us enjoyed it very much, and i vowed to definitely visit bali again.

8 years later (wow) .. i did.
and i did go with a husband! well, my husband. it's our 3rd year of marriage this year, and i consider any trip i take with him where it's just the 2 of us as our honeymoon (awww..!haha).

so we went there a couple of months ago. it was my second time there and it was hubby's first. interestingly though, aside bali, the only other place i've been to in indonesia is batam, while hubby has been to jakarta, bandung, the riau islands, and even lombok. but he said for some reason he was never intrigued about going to bali. i managed to persuade him finally and off we went.
we took malaysia airlines from jb to kl and then to denpasar.
the flight from kl to bali was quite bumpy as there was a lot of turbulence. i'm usually okay with turbulences other that the motion sickness, but in lieu of the terribly unfortunate plane tragedies that shook all of us last year, we were quite worried.. i think many people were too.

anyway, we arrived safely, ahamdulillah, and were in bali for 5 days and 4 nights. we stayed at the grand inna kuta hotel, right by the kuta beach.
we spent 2 days taking day tour trips to kintamani, celuk (got another silver ring to add to my collection), taman ayun, ubud, bedugul, and tanahlot. we tried out the organic bali coffees at 2 places, wedang sari and tegal sari. we tasted the famous luwak coffee, it tasted okay but not all that great. the one who was really excited was actually my husband and not because of the coffee. luwak or civet coffee is special in that it is made from coffee beans that have been eaten by a "musang" or civet, i think it's a type of wild-cat but i may be wrong. the beans go through the animal's digestive tract but they dont get digested, and so when the civet poops, the beans come out together in its droppings. these beans are then cleaned and roasted and grinded, and you get the luwak coffee.
anyway, so hubby wasnt all that excited about the coffee, but he actually fell in love with the luwak or musang itself.why?
because, for some reason, his nickname back in school was apparently musang! some of his school buddies still call him by that name to this day! but this is the first time he actually came real close face-to-face with the animal, and even got to pet the fella, and he was immediately smitten.
and now he's on a quest to finding one to keep as a pet.
oh dear.

back to the trip. this time around i got to see the barong dance. (i saw kecak dance on the last trip)
makan-wise we didnt have much problem. the fast food places are all halal in indonesia. there are a lot more halal warung and restaurants in kuta now i think, compared to the last time i was there. i actually remembered warung nikmat, the halal restaurant i went to on the last trip and went there again. they have actually expanded now and there is now a budget hotel just behind it. the food is still good.

other than that we were mostly out and about town, doing a lot of walking (20k steps per day accordig to the app on my smartphone!) that by the time we get back to the hotel we were too pooped (again with the word-haha) to do anything else. we planned to but didnt even get to swim in the 2 swimming pools that were at the hotel !
we bought a few souvenirs, t-shirts, fridge magnets, but also since we are both nuts about nuts (we love snacking on them) we bought a few different types of bali nuts (their names escape me now) that were really yummy.

the last 2 days of our trip though, hubby had a toothache. it was an old problem, he had seen a dentist and was advised to have the tooth extracted but he kept on postponing it. i have been bugging him to go and take care of it, but of course, he didnt because the pain wasnt always there. so of course, the pain came back while we were on holiday! in bali! no point nagging anymore. but because of the pain we decided to ditch the plan to try the seafood dinner in Jimbaran as some people had suggested to us, because he couldnt chew very well by then and would not be able to enjoy it anyway.

all in all it was a good trip. the flight back was thankfully smooth, and hubby was actually talking about possibly going there again, yay!
note: he went to the dentist a day after we got home and got the tooth taken care of too. hee.. ;)