Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Hospitality Of The Nursing Director & Ward Sister Selvi At Gleneagles Hospital

Today, I was warmly invited to join the nursing staff at ward 10 for Christmas Buffet Lunch! It was a nice treat as I sat and ate with my anesthesiologist and nursing team. Dy Director of Nursing Doris Tchen played the perfect hostess, helping me with food and plying food on my plate.

I was introduced to the new incoming CEO Dr Vincent Chia of GEH. Last year, I was also in GEH and I was also included in their Christmas party. Catered by Chef Kenten, I enjoyed the salads, roast ham and a soft fluffy croissant like pastry with custard filling that was not sweet but tasty!

I met other doctors who were also invited to the event and they all warmly greeted me. It is nice to treated like a member of their ‘family’ and being a part of their festive fete! I am blessed to share their care, joy, love and concern.

True, it can be said that I am a patient but hey! They need not be. I enjoyed myself today 🙂

Tomorrow I go under the knife. No one knows how long my surgery will take. They are tossing between 5-7 hours but finally both my surgeons decided not to assign a time. As far as the operating theatre was concerned, they booked it for 9 hours! ;-(

I told my two surgeons not to play ‘scissors, paper or stone’ tomorrow in the operating theatre! And behave ha ha 🙂

Trust me to joke about it! But hey, what else can I do. My anesthesiologist has assured me that despite being under GA for more than 5 hours, my grey cells would not be terribly affected. I moaned that memory is wafty whenever I get out of GA.

I will wake up in ICU tomorrow evening and hope Zhang Yan will care for me there. She is very kind and careful.

I was also taught how to use a self administered pain killer through a measured device for dosage. I certainly hope that I can take the post operation syndrome and not have to take these narcotic drugs!

Hmm…I wonder if I can snooze soundly tonight….

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Life As An Undergraduate At University Of Oregon – Chapter 8

Besides rushing from building to building when the bell rings for end of classes, I always enjoy staring at Deady Hall with its creeping ivy on its facade.

Each fall, Deady Hall would seemingly glow “goldenly” as a result of the ivy turning golden brown and against the shimmering sunlight! It was awesome and pretty yet majestic!

I dread Math and I liken Deady to both Prof Sherman and Math as that was where the Math department was located.

Other buildings intrigue me too. Gerlinger was where the athletic or gym was located and I remember getting there twice a week for my aerobics class.

UO is an old university and like most universities in USA it has a long and rich history. If I recollect correctly, UO was founded in 1853!

I find the buildings on campus rustic and rich of heritage. It is hard to appreciate sterile or spanking new buildings and I always loved the aura of old buildings as if they would whisper their history to me!

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Edible Designs….Chic Yet Yummy Cakes!


The following photos in this blog are taken from a cake exhibition in Auckland.


Intriguingly good and well decorated, everything shown is edible!


Amazing how creative pastry chefs are these days and their creavity to use different edible mediums are fantastic!


This lady above on a box is fully edible too 🙂

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My Nurses At Gleneagles Hospital


Firstly, meet the patient. One 20 year old stuffed toy called Garfield. Dressed in a baby romper suit, he is sleeping comfortably on the bed.

Let me now introduce my nurses.


Meet Sham and Alice. These 2 nurses have taken care of me each time I am holed up in hospital. It is hard being a nurse especially when a patient is unwell or cranky.

Nursing is a tough vocation and not everyone can be a nurse. I feel you need a certain disposition including patience to be a good and mindful nurse.

Nurses also humor patients. I know as both Sham and Alice would teach me words in their native mother tongues or even joke with me over Garfield’s cataracts and finding me a marker pen to color it black again, giving Garfield 20/20 vision again!

After surgeons, it is the nurses that play a vital role in getting patients back on their feet again.

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My Surgical Team – Dr Pang Boon Chuan


Meet Tonto…heh heh actually he is Dr Pang Boon Chuan! I met Tonto through Dr James Tan and found Tonto terribly intriguing! Perhaps younger but he had a go getter instinct and a never rest on your laurels attitude. This trait I liked 🙂

As a HR practitioner, my biggest challenge was when an employee becomes complacent and before you know it, lethargy and the zest to better one self becomes elusive. For a chap on my surgical tag team, I needed one with zest! Loads of it and creative thinking to find best possible options out of a difficult anticipated surgical process.

Call it selfish or otherwise, Tonto must excel and give his best to me. I saw him beavering behind the nurses’ counter after our first meeting couple of nights ago despite speaking to me for 3 hours! His never let up attitude impressed me!

It meant that he was a serious surgeon who wanted to fix me with least down sides.

I know I was medically challenging. But with the odds stacked, I was truthfully tired of hearing doom and gloom. Tonto was infectious in his enthusiasm and he kept churning the gears in his ‘hamster wheel’ as he thought of ways to negate cutting into my dura or accidentally severing my L4 or L5 nerve root.

I was admittedly skeptical of him at first but his genuine care in wanting to fix a problem was admirable. He slept on it and woke up the next day with an even better approach. Excited and enthused, he told me he would discuss with Dr James Tan.

I needed both of them to speak and iron out doubts or test theories. Tonto sparred directly with me on his ideas and shared thoughts on antibiotics for preventing gram A positive microbes. I asked if he spoke like that to all his patients. He replied that he will explain till they understood but it was easier speaking with me as I understood.

I wonder to myself if it was good to know things or is oblivion bliss?

I am a take charge kinda person. It is my life and outcomes are mine ultimately as buck stops with me. If I do not take ownership of my life, who can or will?

I am impressed with Tonto. Hmm…his name shall henceforth be Tonto whilst Dr James Tan shall be Lone Ranger but I rather prefer Batman! Batman has that dark side in the last Batman series and in a way like Christian Bale, Dr James had a dark side too! 😉

Well, tomorrow I have to undergo a marathon operation where I will be flopped like roti prata, drilled from sides, sliced from back and a load of implants be put in, finishing with 6 screws!

I wish to wake up feeling good, free of infection and pain! More importantly to be able to tell my doctors that they have done a terrific job!

I pray very hard and am sure both Tonto and Dr James are both praying too!

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Life As An Undergraduate At University Of Oregon – Chapter 7

I felt it was ridiculous for sane people to be trudging out in winter, in the dead of night to Prince Puckler’s ice cream counter just because it was on sale at 99 cents on Tuesdays only!

Guess what?! We did it! Though I am lactose intolerant, I went with the guys as it was hilarious braving rain, cold fronts and avoiding puddles of rain water just to get a sundae or a cone.

I see my pals adding toppings like marshmallows or chopped nuts and they happily chomping down on icy cold ice cream.

Dairy Queen had its 99 cents Flurry specials using Oreos or whatever your fancy in terms of choc bars. They would mill it and weave it into the cone of your favorite flavour. Still, it was unanimous that Prince Puckler’s had a wider appeal than Dairy Queen.

Yes, as undergraduates we did the weirdest or darndest things.

There is IHOP….aka International House of Pancakes that students go to for carbo loading.

A pie house is along a truck stop and I enjoy the Rhubarb pie. Tangy, I never knew that the Rhubard vegetable can be used as a pie ingriedient!

Eugene was famous for its coconut cream pies. I am not fond of creams but found it delectable and light.

I remember Rose & Thistle for its fish and chips. Rich and favorful, it was value for money as a nice piece of halibut came with a big basket of chips! I enjoyed my afternoon meals there with Judy Hirotaka.

Of course there was the infamous King’s Table that Singaporeans flock to! A buffet always entices Singaporeans as they seem to know how to sniff out a good food deal.

As for their “construction” skills, though the menu says one plate serving only, the boys manage to pile onto that single serving more Alaskan King Crab claws or Snow crab claws than any other diner of other countries! Their love for shellfish leaves them with more prawn shells or crab shells than any other! 🙂

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Life As An Undergraduate At University Of Oregon – Chapter 6

Laundry was always a chore to me and I never liked getting out of the apartment to the laundry room of our apartment block and slotting in 2 quarters to get it going. I dreaded the dingy and musty smelling room with washer and dryer.

I was old fashioned and preferred to hand wash except for when it came to sheets, linen, jackets or jeans.

I must admit that I have a bad habit! I love soapy scents and fabric softeners! I always wanted laundry smelling lavender fresh or ocean fresh or what have you! 🙂 more is always better and to this day, I love using soap or detergents lavishly. I buy detergents as if I had to wash for a family of 10 instead for just me and my stuffed toy Garfield ha ha….

I have come to realise that in Oregon, water was ‘hard’. This means it does not lather well. So I tend to plonk in more.

Still I survived laundry in Oregon….all my clothes smelt refreshingly soapy good 🙂

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Life An An Undergraduate At University Of Oregon – Chapter 5

Eugene was known for its ducky weather! I remember the stores selling Duck boots! Still, I braved the rainy spells with my Nike. Why? I am Singaporean and weather is either wet, wetter or hot and hotter! I was used to ducky weather.

I fell in love with the rhododendrons that blossomed in magnificent bunches in the courtyard of our town houses along Ferry Street! The blues, pink or white bunches would ornate my two bedroom apartment without fail.

Spring was always a joy as I would pick roses and decorate my home. Strawberries would be in season and I would be busy bottling jams after going to the farms to get a bucket of the berries for 99 cents! Half the fun was having the berries ending up in our tummies than in the bucket or pail as one would say.

My apartment would be filled with potpourri of strawberry fragrances and soon neighbors and I would be happily dolloping the strawberry jams onto toasts, pancakes or scones. Yummy as sugar-free and made with no preservatives of any sort.

After strawberries would come late summer fruits like peaches, nectarines, cherries and blackberries and blueberries. I love summer fruit time as these fruits do not come cheap in Singapore when compared to prices in USA. I was a twit (on hindsight) not to have devoured more blueberries as Oregon was a top producer of blueberries! The humble blueberries were not important to me then as no one knew of the humble efficacies of the antioxidants it contained.

Yes, Oregon in Spring and Summer was exciting as it was a time we could visit farms, pick fruits and pay lesser fir fruits and vegetables. It also allowed us to totter off to Hinman Vineyards, the only vineyard there that we could go to for a sampling of the famous Zinfandel grape variety of wine.

Oh I yearn for the sun baked ice lemon teas and the baking we would do to use the preserves or jellies we made.

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Life As An Undergraduate At University Of Oregon – Chapter 4

I came to understand the concept of Host Parents. Host Parents were assigned to foreign students if they chose to have a deeper or better understanding of the American culture. Being a novice, I signed up.

My first set of host parents left little memorable events for me other than i was invited over to their home to share a meal with their family comprising a son and a daughter plus several horses.

I wanted more than just a hello and good bye weekend phenomena if I was to be inducted or imbued in American culture. I chanced upon my Art History professor who taught me ARH 205 and I boldly went up to him after class to ask if he and his wife would host me. These were and still are, my best host parents ever!

Prof Emeritus Alan Dean McKenzie and his wife Lucile delighted me and we caught on like wild fire as Americans would say!

I enjoyed their outings. They took me hiking up Spencer’s Butte and included a lot of my other friends. I visited their home many times, admiring their art gallery at Le Petite Chateau off Lincoln Street. I met Lucile’s mum called Adeline who lived in a caravan park.

I picnicked with them at Sahalie Falls, went to Renaissance Fairs and even received a Christmas Tree from them! My first Douglas Fir with fresh pine needles!

Thanksgiving was a must every year and up to this date, my host parents and I have remained in touch. I still get their love, care and attention albeit zillion miles apart.

Had it not been for these two parents, I would not have seen Eugene, Oregon in their eyes.

I went to my first ever Ducks football event and helped host their annual tea party in their heritage garden.

I am grateful for their hospitality all these years as without it, my American education would not be complete or culturally as rich!

Thank you Lucile and Dean McKenzie! With both your positive influences, I went on to get a minor in Western Art and Architecture, learning differences between ionic, doric or corinthian columns! 🙂

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Life As An Undergraduate At University Of Oregon – Chapter 3

The highlight of my formative years at UO was Friday evenings which we dedicated to grocery shopping!

Safeway or Warehouse we would go with Cheng, Yi Fen and Melina. This is where we load up on our week’s groceries and snacks! We had communal meals for dinner. My makan kakis were Melina, Bee Yong and we would usually have a soup, one vegetable and one meat dish.

Cooking was on Mondays to Fridays for dinners only and our weekends were on our own.

I never truly understood bulk buying till I saw how humongous a large tin of baked beans can be! I was particularly amused at buying snacks in units of 100 gm or less. For eg trail mix or yoghurt chocolate covered raisins, banana chips, rocky road etc would sit in huge bins waiting to be scooped and weighed at check out!

I saw giant stalks of leeks that surpassed any I had even seen in Singapore and gigantic watermelons when summer came round!

Produce and veggies were plentiful and bok choy was the only Chinese veggie that was available at Safeway.

Rice N Spice owned by a Korean veteran in a wheel chair was our next favorite haunt for asian condiments and spices including instant noodles, peanut satay sauce, rice sticks or coconut cream! The humble Yeo Hiap Seng coconut jam or I call ‘kaya’ also sat on the shelves of this store.

For a wider range, we would drive to Portland, 3 hours away from Eugene to get chillis, chye sim, fresh dou fu and other products.

The Willamette Mall was where J C Penney was or Sears for us to get our household or clothing items!

I remember fondly the Willamette River and how students go white water rafting on it. The blackberry patches where I would go to as they grew widely alongside Willamette River walk pass, to harvest the ripe berries. Braving thorns, I developed a knack for picking the black berries, learning to discern that red ones were unripe!

Though there were no grand malls or luxury designer goods, I managed to find what I need in Eugene to make my needs felt and satiated. Rarely did we have to go to Seattle or San Francisco for major shopping. Even if we did, it was usually summer break or spring break where we wanted to visit somewhere further than Portland!

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