Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

When I’m Feeling Low…Surprises Happen

I was feeling down.

I had to struggle with trying to assist my father with cognitive issues (pre dementia) to sort out his banking transactions through a phone call.

I could not drive self over for a face to face conversation and so it was via phone.

It was ulcerating and frustrating as my father is by nature lazy, depending on me to be at his beck and call to solve issues. He does not wish to apply himself or try to join self help groups.

It ended up with me trying to get my mum with hearing difficulties but good mental faculties to listen and help my father.

Shouting over the phone for 3 hours with a major wound is not fun. It was even more tortorous when I try to elicit help from the banks and I was verbally abused by the banking officer when I asked for help on account of my medical condition when he said to me rudely,” your health is of no concern of the bank”

I was stunned. He refused to help me over the phone to check 3 bank transactions of my father and insisted I had to get my human cadaver down to the bank with my father to speak to him. I pleaded and explained my recent cancer surgery, which resulted in his abusive reply to me. Not nice!

So I ended 4 hours of circus time with 4 bank officers and finally found one who assisted me to call and obtain consent from my father to let me ask for clarifications. This gentleman was an angel and helped me with heart and compassion. God bless him!

By now I had a massive headache. I was down and frustrated, but definitely tired out from all that screaming to get my father to even try and read his bills to me – it failed, which was why I had to search through his common vendors to establish if he was scammed or defrauded!

So when I had my door bell rung 3 times today, I was so surprised to receive 2 fruit hampers and a gift pack of Lunar New Goodies!

From Piglet – Piglet took the trouble to search for one with fruits and my fave sunflower. It had a lovely bunch of 6 bananas, pears, oranges, kiwi, chinese brown pear and oranges.

I shared some of the fruits with Mr Boy next door and Neighbor who cooks for me. They were very happy with the gift of fruits.

From Mr Nice who took the trouble to select unique fruits for me such as Ipoh Pomelo, Persimmons, Fuji Apples, 2 types of grapes, nectarines and a punnet of blueberries.

From Mr Marine was a lovely pack of My Mum’s Cookies (brand name) comprising pineapple tarts, almond cookies and peanut cookies.

Then I received a call from Ms Feisty who is on VTL travel to her hometown, Johor Bahru Malaysia. She called to say she was at a local cookie shop that sold traditional Malaysian cookies and asked if I had any special requests. Otherwise she will just select and send over to me this weekend. It was nice to see her in the photo she sent me. She is happier in her new job, lesser stress and putting on weight.

Meanwhile Ms Intern asked if she could visit me and bring me “Get Well Roast meats” – I told her I was too tired to be able to entertain her but thanked her for kindness. Perhaps when I am better I explained.

So, when the day sucks! Surprises happened and I am grateful to each of my dear friends for their care, concern and love for me.

I am taking my headache to bed. Perhaps hugging Garfield to sleep will relieve my pain. It is already brutal taking 1 gm of antibiotic a day for 2 weeks and I still have 4 days of meds left.

Good night….with thanks to all kind folks and oh….may karma bite that horrid abusive bank officer. I did not need his snide remark really!

Garfield hugs!!


Gratefulness Defined By My Standards

As I struggle through life’s challenges, I am also a recipient of good friendships (physical face to face ones but with Covid times, it is virtual; WordPress readers; medical fraternity, insurers and just about everyone)

Today I did an interview with the National Eye Center to talk about Sjorgren’s Syndrome and how dry eyes affect me and my life. I told the lovely lady that when compared to the other 30 surgeries, with the last one being Cancer, dry eyes is not as bad. I have a funny way of putting things in context. I always seem to have a bigger fish to fry, if you know what I mean.

The interviewer left off by saying, I ought to write a book about my medical experiences and share with others. Funnily enough, she is the second person to suggest this to me, the first being my trusty friend, Mr Ability To Earn.

I am happy to publish a book about it, was my response, but it must be connected with insurers, a prominent medical institution or the local newspapers.

I know it is crazy to have undergone 30 surgeries up to now.

I have kept my lunacy in check, sanity and gumption prevailing each time, without letting up and ensuring I do not go bonkers as my end.

Some call it courage.

Others call it bravery.

I call it stupidity. It is my stupid way of coping with the illogical numbers of surgeries I have had to undergo. It did not make sense.

I searched the medical fraternity for answers and learnt that if they ever put me through tests or scans, chances are I will have a new ailment!

I also searched the metaphysical aspects for a solution. Zen, Buddhism, Lord Krishna, God etc.

Meditation does not work as my monkey mind is not tamed and it fires on all pistons to stray.

But what I do know is the kindness of 2 doctors; Drs Lim Yi Jia and Boey Wah Keong.

Dr Lim has gone way and beyond his calling as a surgeon for me. When I had wound issues from recent surgery, he told me matter of factly, “a wound is a wound, no matter where it is” – when I questioned him on being an orthopaedic surgeon.

He is thorough and pops in to see me many times in the ward and spends time to pray for me. He encourages me and always worry about my well being. Yes, I may pay a medical fee for his services through my insurers, but he need not be kind, compassionate or caring. Instead, he can be clinical and not bother about about texting me asking me how I am.

When he does not hear from me, he calls. This is true doctoring with a heart and I am so grateful for his kindness towards a problematic patient.

Dr Boey visited me in the ward too as a friend. He sat, discussed my wound issues, advised me and even asked me to sit, calm self and find out what it is I am supposed to do and perhaps end this karmic cycle.

In his Zen mind, there is always cause and effect and I have asked him, that I must have been an evil scientist of sorts in past lives and dissected many animals for science and hence in this life, I need to be sliced and diced too.

MR EX conveniently told me he was also going for surgery, although he would not say what sort of surgery other than exploratory as his so called condition may be “cancer or not cancer” – this was after I shared with him that I had cancer.

MR EX is like that. In all honesty, I feel he lied and that actually he has gone away on vacation and wanted to elicit my sympathy, despite my own cancer situation. This is not nice. If he genuinely cared or loved me in the past, I would have mattered. Ah well, good to know I saw through his colors and dumped him like a hot potato.

Each of us have struggles. Some financial, others for health and or relationships.

I am worried too that Yul Brynner and Eunuch would give me the boot from work for falling ill. But instead this morning, I got a call from Eunuch to say that they have decided to support me with letting me max out the legal 60 days of hospital leave, exhaust my annual leave and this will lead me to the last 1.5 months at 1/2 salary. Then on 1 July 2022, I can be back at work, fresh and well again.

Meanwhile, they will hire a manager on contract for one year to help me tide over this time.

Decent of my Lords is what I would say!

I am grateful.


7 Days & Counting To The Chopping Board

I am honest to say that I have no more emotions left to express self for surgery.

The description is “emotionally spent”

I remember in 2013, Dr Neuro, was called to my bedside at Bates Motel when my legs seized whilst I was in Brighton, UK.

He ordered an MRI of my entire spine and discovered my cervical discs and lumbar discs were not good.

Between the 2 evils, he said both surgeries needed but cervical was urgent in that if I suffered a slip or a whiplash, I would be an instant tetraplegic. I seemed to be in hot soup!

If I did not operate on my lumbar spine, I would end up paralysed waist down.

My sentiments exactly when told I require surgery each time!

I remember he cared so much about me that he pleaded with me to have surgery immediately. I did not know him then but I was warmed by his passion to care and worry about me.

I could not do it then and told him to give me 3 months to complete some tasks before I check into Bates Motel.

He made me wear a very dramatic collar – Aspen Collar to immobilise my neck and protect it.

I did a second opinion the same day he told me the bad news and that orthopaedic surgeon concurred.

I chose the Neurosurgeon over the Orthopaedic Surgeon and got to know Dr Neuro better as he later went on to operate on my lumbar 3 months later.

Lumbar surgery took some 16 hours.

I am resigned to fate.

Why am I blessed or cursed (*take your pick) with so many surgeries throughout my life span thus far?

17 December is my 29th surgery.

Like clockwork every Ghost Month ( July/Aug) and Christmas I seem to be diagnosed with a condition that requires surgery.

I have no explanation as to why?!

Perhaps the Gods are angry with me?

Perhaps my previous lives I was an assassin or murderer? Maybe I was a mad scientist that experimented on animals and this life I had to pay back?

Story Of My Life – It Sucked!

If I was so wicked, yet why do I have kind doctors at Bates, good people on wordpress that care, Neighbor that cooks for me without collecting cost from me or Boy helping me to get groceries.

Just what is the lesson that the heavenly realm is trying to teach me?


My Drama-dy Continues At The Barn


Drama and comedy = dramady.

The surgeon doing my surgery at this Barn is cocky, arrogant and a young turk of a person.

Dr Bones took it upon himself to hunt down her supervisor to get her to call him back. He took her down a peg or two, reminding her that I was not a cookie cutter patient.

He opined that Doc Young Turk was stubborn. I agreed. She refused to listen to me and understand my allergies until after Dr Bones pegged her down.

So last night Dr Young Turk called me after she wrote an email again. She continued to dispute my allergies stating that since I was not recorded for my allergies in a confined or controlled setting, it may not be allergies.

She alluded to me not accepting Cancer and that I was negative in outlook.

Her great psycho babble message to me was that with my negative outlook, surgery outcome would not be good.

I swung back as hard as she gave me. I retorted by telling her off! So if surgery failed, it is my fault and not her fault?! Nothing to do with her refusing to understand or hear my allergies that countered surgery outcomes?

She spent an hour apologising to me and assured me she will study my case notes and speak to my Bates Motel White Coats to understand my reactions during and post surgery.

About time!

I reminded her that I am specimen to be studied and it is a rare chance for her to learn from me.

The Barn sucks in communication.

White Coats are arrogant as they deal with cases of normalcy and do not handle unique cases like mine.

Last but not least, the food they serve will be slosh like food for pig’s trough and my space in the barn will hopefully have hay as padding to lie on.

Yes my dramady continues….

17 December 21….meanwhile Dr Young Turk has asked me to liaise with the anaesthesist for my own surgery. Luckily Dr Boey from Bates Motel has interceded to help me.

So…I am now doing her job or rather my unpaid good hearted doctors from Bates Motel are helping me.

I roll my eyes!!

I really hope I survive this ulcerating experience and beat cancer at the same time.


As My Date With The Chopping Board Looms…

Morning Glory creeper on our estate’s boundary walls

It would be a lie if I said that I was unafraid. I do not know outcomes such as if the cancer has spread or still contained?

I will only know when on the chopping board and a midway histopathology confirms cancer staging. For now based on visuals and initial histopathology, my surgeon feels it is stage 0, subject to mid way surgery.

In truth, I am emotionless.

Like a robot, trying to finish up work and ensure my duties to my parents are done before I am a barn animal.

Ground coveting creeper with a tiny daisy like flower

The latest hullabaloo was when I was told that no bed is assigned for me. If is like a regular “car wash”….I walk self into admissions to The Barn to be sliced and diced.

If I am lucky I get a bed post operation.

If I am unlucky then I get to sleep on the trolley till I get thrown out, tubes and all in line with hospital KPIs to meet bed turns and top or bottom lines.

Best part was that my personal belongings whilst in the slicer room, will have to be given to a relative.

I don’t have any relatives and the last time I checked this morning, Garfield is still inanimate.

It is crazy else they chuck my things…my identity card, clothes off my back and shoes that I walked in with plus cash and handphone.

Fast forward as my mind raced…then on being chucked out, do I go home stark naked? A rebirthing of Venus re-dramatised, complete with tubes and drainage vial for blood to pool?

No housekeys, how do I return home?

Oh wait, no $ how do I get home?

No handphone how to phone a friend?

Should I write their handphone numbers onto my chest to refer to and beg someone for the use of a phone?

It was already torturous to deal with cancer and to be mucking with simple mundane rubbish like this peeved me.

I put my fingers to work and penned my thoughts to the relevant Duke of Yore and told the “Prof”

Let’s see if the top guns know what and how the minions are managing the barn animals.

If anything, I learnt something that echoes George Orwell’s Animal Farm…some are indeed more equal than others!

Ward Class distinction in public hospitals is a priority.

I miss Bates Motel.

Doctors are kind and humane.

Nurses are on hand.

Chef dishes up good nutritious food.

At the Barn, I will get pig slosh served on a plate and with a clang onto the side bar.

If lucky at tea break I get a cuppa tea and a packet of cream crackers.

Yes…the haves and not haves….a stark reality and life’s lessons.

P.s. I chose public healthcare this time because Cancer treatment is costly and public hospitals have top notch equipment as the cancer centre I am going to is supposedly world class for care.

Unfortunately, class divide and distinction segregates type of tender loving care….for government subsidised care, it is bare minimum…self served and left to own devices.

I wish myself luck. Prayers have not helped me as 🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋buckets are constantly sent my way.

Even baby Jesus has gone missing!

My book title will be….Garfield Hug – A Lemony Saga Soap Opera!!

You think?


Why Do I Blog?

I started blogging some 6 to 7 years ago as an avenue for me to vent on the lemony things in my life.

I underwent a difficult work environment with horrid Lords (bosses of the oddest kind) whom I fondly named as Scorpion King, Electrical Lord and Mr Mustacho.

I also had a partner whom I called MR EX, who claimed he “cared” and “loved” me. I was hoodwinked of course and after being of use, I realised that he was nothing more than a person who milks people for their worth to give him what he wants in terms of business, money, fame or fortune. I had neither except for the business networks and I did not hold back as I felt he needed it.

But the feeling of being used was not a nice one.

I sought solace in my inanimate furballs – Garfields. I have more than 485 of these inanimate orange furballs but I love one particular raggedy one that has travelled the world with me and slept with me in my bed, giving me unending Garfield hugs.

This Garfield has been with me to Hong Kong, Macau, Zhuhai, China, Guangdong, China, Hainan, China, Perth, Australia (more than 5 times), Adelaide, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, Stavanger, Norway, Schiphol, Amsterdam, London, UK, Brighton, UK.

Garfield also went with me for each of my admissions into Bates Motel (euphemism for hospital) for annual surgical procedures, save for the one to ICU as he was required to be boiled and steamed. His plastic beady eyes will be destroyed!

I have gone through many life challenges and each time, I felt beaten, I would post on wordpress to vent and gains strength, to share laughs and make self happy.

I try my best to help others but the irony of it is that I cannot help myself.

If I was not of strong mind, I suspect I would have leapt off a building to ensure death ensued. Challenges abound in my life and each year throws me a curve ball to outwit, outplay in this survival games we call LIFE.

All of us have challenges. Some more than others. But we thrive on because of the people we know who may have extended a helping hand or shown some kindness to us.

It can be a small gesture of running an errand for me, be it as simple as posting a letter for me or more challenging such as getting groceries for me. Or even popping by with a hello or warm text to ask about me.

The saddest part for me is that those I cared more for, never reciprocated. But that is life! No expectations and move on. But being human, I am upset, angry and sad to be manipulated into helping or giving time to those that should not deserve it.

I received another community award this week and I told the officer who called me to say it was sent my way, that I would have preferred a food hamper as it is useful and edible. All these medals are only to be pinned onto me when I am waiting for the BBQ pit, stone cold and stiff!

I need not be a “medalled” human being – I am not a brigadier general of sorts but just a lowly minion trying to give back to society in the only way I know how to. And no, I am not insulting the people who think I deserve it, but I have arrived at the point that I do not need items to remind me of what I have done.

Still I am grateful to the people who honored me in the manner they know how.

I assure you, I am still the loony Garfield Hugger who loves her raggedy Garfield and needs to have it as a companion for bedtime.


Yet Another Week End

2021 is hustling out the door real quick and I am not excited in wanting to holding 2021 back.

2021 was not good!

Covid-19 raged on and it claimed many lives, worldwide. I was secretly calling the Evil Wiper Of The Silver Tsunami as it was claiming the elderly in Lil Red Dot ranging from 60s to 105!! It is sad to lose anyone to Covid-19.

I am indeed thankful that at least with vaccination efforts, more are spared. It took awhile for people to get used to believing in the good of the vaccine as naysayers created conspiracy theories of wiping out the world of people with this vaccine.

Others cursed at Pfizer for raking in the millions and for faking a vaccine – my view was that Pfizer is a pharma and like all pharmas, they engineer drugs and conduct trials and they are not charitable organisations. So they are entitled to the profits for their concoction.

Fake or otherwise, its efficacy has proven to save lives and I happen to be taking their antibiotic when I am ill – Pfizer had produced Clarithromycin or Klacid. it costs a lot to buy this medicine but it has saved me form broncho pneumonia many times. If so many scientists around the world tested Pfizer’s vaccine and found it as a weapon of choice to counter Covid-19 then what choice do we have? Die from Covid-19 or live to fight the consequences?

Sadly the 60s and above are not so lucky too, especially with co-morbidities. They also succumb to Covid-19 as their immunity may not be as robust as a younger person without underlying health issues.

I wish life was hunky dory, people enjoying their travels, eating and dining with others happily and forgetting the nasty business of Covid-19.

But it is tough as businesses are still reeling from it. Tourist trade will never be the same again. On 29 November, Singapore will start its Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with Malaysia, with Thailand, Cambodia and other countries on the card.

For now, there is hope for those Malaysians living in Singapore for the last 2 years to be able to go home and see their families through designated travel buses. But the process is a tough one as limited daily tickets are available and many are flocking to log into the system to book their slots, only to be met with an overload glitch.

I find it ironic that people yearn for company but when they get together, their eyes are glued onto their cell phone and busy texting or posting on social media.

Pfizer, Moderna, Sinvoac or what have you that comes out of pharmas give hope to sufferers of Covid-19 and a chance for them to fight it and live to see their families.

Whether it is a conspiracy to kill all humans, so are we all with carbon emissions, greenhouse gases etc. I am no activist but I use plastics carefully and recycle a lot to ensure that the plastic container is on its last leg before I have to bin it.

Life is never easy.

Life is never rosy posy.

Life has its uphill tasks and challenges.

The strong willed survives, the weaker ones languish but hopefully people are around to help them.

I sincerely hope that the meaning of paying forward lives on and that the stronger helps the weaker and together as a society, we bond, regardless of race, language or religion. This is to me, the meaning of life and the evolution of the human race.

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It has been a week since my biopsy and still no news yet from the attending oncologist/radiologist with regards to my million dollar question of if I have cancer.

I am still disturbed by this but life has to go on and work progresses as lots of things to do.

Orchard Road is all lit up and this year’s theme is “blossoms” as in hope blossoms as now Covid-19 is in its transition phase to Endemic, instead of pandemic.

As an island state, Lil Red Dot or Singapore cannot sustain if we continue to keep borders shut and so Vaccinated Travel Lanes have begun and the Orchard Road shopping belt that has been in the doldrums since 2019, is hoping to welcome back tourists with tourist dollars to spend.

From last Monday, the F&B outlets are rejoicing as now 5 diners from different households can gather to eat at eateries, restaurants and some hawker centers.

Night life is pretty much dead and Holland Village just saw the closure of 20 year old business establishment, Walla Walla, watering hole and live bands. I was once a part of that club scene.

Clubbing and pubbing is dead.

Karaoke lounges are also dead.

Night clubs are really dead and many converted to selling noodles or night snacks to survive the toll of zero customers as they cannot continue their business.

I am also seeing a 90 year bakery business closing for good.

Times are bad, inflation is at 2.5% as at September 2021 and a prediction is in the cards for global resignation rates to peak in 2022.

Sounds like a grim 2022 lies ahead.

I try to stay busy so that my brains will not dwell on the million dollar question and live life until the results are out.

Singapore must survive and effectively manage Covid as an endemic. Our governments are already preparing ahead to buy the pills to control Covid symptoms. I was told it costs USD1,000 a tablet. Our government is good and generous if they succeed in procuring for us, just like they did for vaccines.

Have a good work week ahead all.


Posting Glitch & Life’s Vicissitudes

I am sad.

We start life as a baby, mewing and puking as defined by Shakespeare. I call it the “bud” of life.

We progress on, well described again by Shakespeare in the 7 stages of life.

After going through the last round of surgeries, I thought life would hunker down and give me some peace till the annual pilgrimage to Bates Motel begins in another year. I get 12 monthly reprieves from the Grim Reaper usually.

But this time, it happened very quickly when a routine test for cancers resulted in “changes” that the radiologist “did not like and that it does seem like cancer and on the other hand, it may not be cancer. So I am labelled as indeterminate for cancer” and required a biopsy.

I pleaded with the radiologist to do it that same day not because I was scared of cancer but rather, I have no time to take annual leave and or be away from work again to recuperate. Luckily, the radiologist had the the time to slot me for a biopsy in day surgery the same day.

Biopsy was like a sci fi movie and after camping at the hospital from 8.30am to 4pm, I drove home shell shocked.

It does not matter if one is genetically predisposed or not, cancer is not selective. It takes on anyone or everyone they feel like it.

I have had bad medical news before and have not been as shell shocked as this because I am concerned about the cost of cancer treatment.

The biopsy and loads of images taken, has set me back by SGD3,500.

If indeed I am slapped with Cancer, then this figure is a drop in an ocean of cost.

I am still waiting for test results to deal with what I may potentially now have. Life goes on till the sound of the gong and I will know if “dinner is served” or ” am spared of more treatments”

I am also sad that our Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling’s father, Colin Schooling, lost his battle to liver cancer. I know that liver cancer exacts its toll on sufferers very quickly and from mid May/June 21 announcement of late Colin’s diagnosis and how he succumbed to liver cancer on 18 November 21 is a blessing shared by his loved ones as he is now pain free!

Cancer does not care who, as Cancer parks itself wherever, whenever it pleases – the poor, the uber rich, the ugly, the beautiful, the gifted or one with special needs.

Some take cancer in stride, living for the first 5 years from diagnosis to reach a milestone and told possibly cancer free till next block of 5 years.

I know of cancer survivors – at all costs of digging out pennies from everywhere to live for the sake of life.

What is life I questioned self?

I live.

I scrimped and I save for rainy days.

I work hard or rather slave for a job as a means to provide for my living. My only solace is that at least I have decent Lords, not unreasonable Lords who does not micro-manage and let us deliver results we need.

But at the end of the day, I asked self, what is life?

Is it about living a life for others and living a life of no choice as I have to pick up slack where others do not want?

Is it about living a life doing good and yet getting punished by the higher deities as they find me a source of good fun to poke at and levy out suffering?

I really cannot fathom the mysteries of life and what is in store for me, besides, more slicing and dicing or if I am lucky, I can stop living and end it all.

Will I be allowed to live out a natural life or will end it with a dramatic and painful exit?

I also had a posting glitch whereby my pre-planned posts did not auto post at the preset date and time. This caused my perfect non stop posting on WordPress record to be expunged. The couple of thousands blog posts since I started this blog site is now wiped down to 4 days.


Meanwhile I await sentencing from the hospital.

Will I live? If so, for how long?

Will I need to battle cancer? If so, at what cost?

I have not enjoyed life in as far as I know and have lived everyday by doing what is required for my folks or working like a dog or reporting to Bates Motel for annual slicing and dicing.

Seems like I know why I do not believe in any heavenly realm……

Trick or treating continues by the upper deities….their sense of “fun” bemuses me.

I am sad.


Appreciating Front Line Workers In Health Care

I was really pleased to read in today’s papers that Minister Ong Ye Kung has announced that healthcare front line workers will get $4,000 each for their dedication in fighting Covid-19 and not taking leave.

It is a small gesture of our appreciation for these healthcare workers, nurses etc as they braved the Pandemic and now Endemic to care for us.

They too faced humiliation and ostracisation when they took public transport and were shunned by other passengers who felt that they were carriers of Covid-19. Our government may have netizens complaining for the sake of complaining, but I appreciate what they have done for us to try and keep us safe.

With social media, facts on Covid-19 gets twisted and they are always in a bad light to a group of spoilers.

They are slighted for ” muddling” through this entire Covid-19 pandemic. But honestly, who can blame them when there is no Standard Operating Protocol for any government. Each time we thought we passed a good place standing to re-open, we will be hit by clusters because of the actions of some socially irresponsible buggers.

As a person in charge of minions at work, I am branded the Covid Queen of Facts too as I need to pour over the papers and announcements each time a press conference is held so that the minions can have bite size information on how to present self at work.

Misinformation is easy to share and it goes viral very quickly.

For today’s news, I am delighted for the nurses. I interact with them alot and know the effort it takes to care for an unwell person, especially when I had no hands or a spine issue or leg issues. I relied on them for everything.

Hopefully, they can use the bonus to give selves a treat, though I know many would want to go home to their home country and spend some time with their families.

Blessings to all healthcare workers and continue to stay safe and stay healthy! Thank you from a constant patient!