Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

A Conversation With Father

I received a phone call from my father two nights ago and he wanted to know why I have not been around for their recent medical appointments.

Missing the child or the manual laborer?

Was I missed as a child?

Was I missed as a missing good helper?

Probably the latter I supposed.

Long and short of the conversation was the usual that he will speak to the other 2 and that he was sorry for all this. He wanted me to complete the last journey with them so that after they are gone, his 3 children can have better lives.

Ahhh…key point is that he is missing Clean Up Gal On Aisle 4!

The other 2 cannot be bothered and I was the only sucker that would.

Of course it pains me to ignore my 2 parents. I know what it is like to be without help.

I felt the same with MR EX and axed him.

When I needed help, MR EX abandoned me.

But my parent and siblings abandoned me. Only mum stood by to visit me at hospitals.

I am not cruel but sometimes the necessity of being cruel to be kind, is real.

Will I regret my actions once my father leaves this earthly world? No, I did my best.

I always put self last. They mattered most and I do not accord self with any lavish things as family comes first. I reminded this to him and he apologized, again saying that he will speak to the other 2. Till hell freezes, I know he will not.

But I will still not bring self to forgive him for being the biased parent and not being able to lead his other children to be decent responsible children.

I have played this scene a thousand times in my head.

His 2 other children will be at the lawyers’ office with their spouse and mistress eagerly waiting to collect their windfall. Life then goes on for them, richly endowed, forgetting their parents.

I questioned the meaning of being a family.

What makes a family?

Certainly not blood!

Friendships? Maybe…possibly but in this diversified world, we never know what gives.

I guess I believe in believing in oneself.

Give, but not all.

Love, but with limits.

Care, but with concern.

Know, but not without wisdom.

I may forgive, but all the deities help me in this world, I cannot forget.

Yes, without any benefit if doubt, I will fry like a Colonel Sanders Chicken (Kentucky Fried Chicken) in hell!

My Mexican standoff remains….

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A Lot To Say

With Chinese New Year now literally a day to Reunion Dinner, I have started sending out whats app messages to greet acquaintances and friends.

True friends are few and far between but I hope that those I categorize as “acquaintances” may indeed turn out to be good friends in the future.

I have lost the knack of making friends as experience has made me skeptical of this word called “Friendship” – A chat with MR EX some weeks back had him throwing salt on a wound when he retorted that my doctors are not my “friends” as they are paid to take care of me.

I rebutted him. True, I met them through a patient and doctor relationship. It was transactional at the beginning but as the years passed and we developed a trusting and actually fun patient and doctor relationship.

We discussed my medical anomalies. I shared with them my deepest fear or thoughts of my illnesses and they comforted me. Soon after, I have their cell phone numbers and they allow me to at their beck and call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I did not abuse this and respectfully contacted them only when I needed urgent medical attention. Soon after, it extended to care for my parents too.

I felt comforted that I had them with me, anytime. I did not feel alone in the medical need time so to speak.

Sometimes, they do not charge me a fee to consult them and would see me in their clinics without cost. I also received treatment without cost.

How does this not make them a friend I asked MR EX.

MR EX does not know what a friendship means and he even rebuked me when I packed desserts (“Not left overs from orders from the menu”) from where we may have eaten and give it away. He accused me of not feeling shame for “re-gifting!

I looked at him squarely in the eyes and said “No, I am sharing”

Yes, it is true that we may have a transactional business relationship with trademen and or doctors, but over time friendships build and I am happy with it as I have benefited from this friendship and in turn, I bring them new business – this is called my circle of friendship being a 2 way street.

My cable guy who runs cables for internet and optic fibres whom I met through a huge complaint session from me, has become a good friend. He has helped me with cabling up my parents’ premises seamlessly.

What makes a friendship?

Utilitarian?

Giving and taking?

Sharing?

Re-gifting?

Fresh air and sunshine kind?

6 Comments »

Friendships Lost

Last Sunday a “friend” text me with an invite for dinner.

I hesitated.

2 phone calls in an attempt to reach me and I still ignored it all. I did not pick those calls nor reply to the message.

After 2 hours and in reading the next text that this person was waiting outside the estate and that he desperately needed to pee, my reply was ” you could pee in the bush for all I care”

I just felt the need to tell this person off for treating me badly as a friend in the past.

Obtuse or ignorant or callous? I would deem it all for this man.

I do not like fake friends and find self less tolerant of niceties for the sake of being nice! I wanted to be brutally frank or candid and tell it, the way I see it.

I sent back a series of 6 messages, explaining exactly how I felt as a “friend” – I do not like being treated like thrash and that only I could stand up for myself.

I do not know if my brutal truth and frankness affected him as the next thing he tells me is that he is not feeling well?

I torpedoed further! If you were not feeling well to begin with,why attempt to invite me for dinner?

Was this person testing his luck that our friendship was such that I would always forgive and forget?

Why should I as I am tired of being taken for granted in life.

I have done my best for this person. I helped with all sincerity and not because I sought to gain a medal of some arty farty establishment but out of true heart.

Sadly, I am always treated as a gap filler.

Well, all gaps are filled! Adios Amigos!

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My Saturday Morning Scare

For the first time in a long time, I could sleep till 9am on a Saturday as my brother flew in en route from Sri Lanka to Hong Kong.

He said he will spend 5 days here and offered to take mum to her doctor’s appointment this morning. I was grateful!

As I drifted in and out of lala land trying to enjoy an 8 hour sleep cycle as I only went to sleep at 2am….the heavens did not allow it! Drats!

By 9.20am I got a text message from my brother to say that it seems the blood test taken last Saturday yielded results of a moderate high result of blood potassium.

My heart missed a beat as this means my mum was in danger of a heart attack. A million things clouded my mind but I quickly called my brother to go back to the clinic and speak to the doctor or when he reached there, to call me so that I could speak with the doctor.

My siblings are not conversant of the medical conditions of my parents as their role is merely if i am there, I just do the taking there and bringing them home bit. They are at a lost for medical things on my parents healthcare.

They also do not have the common sense to call me there and then so that I could speak with the doctor.

He did not sound too happy to totter back to the clinic but I made him do it.

My brain went into overdrive to find out the sudden increase in blood potassium levels. Anarex or Piroxicam could elevate it?

What about the recent lidocaine and steroid injections to help my mum in her pain management for the muscular pain she suffered from her fall in January 2018?

What about the high dosage of Calcium for 8 weeks and the new dosages of Vitamin B to prevent old age dementia?

My brother was cross when I called him on international call when he was at the clinic but I could not be bothered as he refused to pick up the free call through whats’ app.

I filled the doctor in on those supplements and medications that my mum was on.

A second blood test was ordered for my mum and I was so glad that the blood test showed potassium level falling back to 5.2. It was not 5.5 and I was relieved.

I also felt that the phlebotomist was having a hard time taking the blood test the first time as she was “digging”to find the vein. This may have cause an anomaly reading.

I am no doctor but based on common sense elimination of facts, I surmised it could be due to the lidocaine and recent taking of NSAIDs.

Still to err on the side of caution, I quickly asked my brother to whats app the test results to me so that I could check with Drs Boey and Dr Yip for their further advice. These were the 2 doctors that have introduced new drugs to my mum and I guess they would have a better solution or advice for me.

Meanwhile…my brain is on overdrive again as I worry about these things.

Come 9 October 2018, brother is off to Hong Kong and he will not bother to extend stay even if something major happens. I need to be prepared and again, self help to stay available for mum.

I pray not!

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Nothing Fazes Me But It Hurts Still

Whilst I did my best to wish my father a happy father’s day, he told me that I was insignificant and said I was worth ignoring.

My typical sad story.

I wonder why I try really when in good mental health he never treated me well.

In poor mental health, he is just as nasty to me.

When you are not his favorite, nothing is appreciated.

My heart tells me to hate him. My mouth says it.

No one else bothers about him or my mum.

I have a heavy yoke.

Each and every available vacation day is spent taking an ungrateful dad to the doctor’s.

My hands told me to take the icon of Mother Mary and Jesus hanging in my bedroom and toss it down the rubbish chute – I just did!

It felt good as that God never blessed nor lighten my load. Yes, I will burn in hell. So be it.

I hate God really for making my life a misery everyday, with no end to suffering.

I am tired.

Often times, I feel like committing suicide.

Surely there must be an end to all the difficulties of my life?

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News In Asia & The Homefront

Lil Red Dot is still planning for the inagural summit in June 2018.

Orange Man has not outright said “No” and Rocket Man has kept silent since the last outburst.

I hope for the sake of the world, sanity prevails for the 2 naughty “boys” and world peace is achieved.

Datuk Tun Mahatir, the 92 year old PM of Malaysia has succeeded in getting the royal pardon for Anwar who was imprisoned for 20 years for sodomy. He has since been released and at age 70 is the de facto PM.

Anwar has shared that he will travel, spend time with family and do speaking engagements before getting to Cabinet. His wife is currently the Dy PM and his daughter, an MP.

Tun Mahatir said that he will be PM for 2 years as by then he would be 94 years old. Many shared that he looked 70 years old and I agree as he is both witty, sharp and dapper!

Meanwhile Ex PM Najib’s future is looking bleak as police had raided his homes and found towering orange boxes of Birkin Bags costing up tp tens of thousands each bag. There is even one Birkin Bag touted to be encrusted in diamonds.

Media reports said that a money counting machine was brought to count staggering amounts of cash in his raided homes.

I think that Najib is in a spot of trouble and that the 1MDB matter will be reopened for misappropriation of state funds.

On the home front in lil red dot, we have 2 big bazzaars for Ramadan held at Geylang Serai and 1 Tampines Hub.

Loads of yummy malay treats including novel ideas of Tulang in a plastic tub for sale with noodles.

Tulang is a bone marrow soupy dish of mutton or beef. I have not tried it but many fans of soup Tulang enjoys this dish.

I was tired out after half a day with mum. She was chided by a fellow patient waiting for their turn to stop whining about doing a urine test. She was advised against being stubborn and use a proper walking stick.

Yes, mum has decided to stick with a flimsy plastic umbrella as her walking stick and refused to use the red orchid one at the Botanics. I failed miserably in trying to get her to go to the shop there with her to buy it.

I am tired of her whining and she left the clinic’s doctor after he said that she probably had muscular spasms. The same opinions of cardiologist and family practitioner.

She said that her family practitioner is a “useless doctor” and is paranoid that she is having the same cancers of her late sister (liver cancer) and friend (lung cancer).

The mind is a powerful tool and if she wills it for cancer, then it will happen.

Come August, I will take her to see a geriatrician and subject her to the myriad if tests she wants to hunt for cancer.

This will not do her any good but if it is to feed her paranoia, I have to do it and in August I will be swamped with plenty of her ridiculous medical tests to find what she wants.

I just hope that my new employer will allow me to attend to her silliness.

I wanted to ask mum…so what if we find the cancer you want? What next?

Mum has very poor threshold for pain and all because of her fall and muscular spasms she alludes to similiar severity of pain as her sister and friend in end stage cancers of liver and lung.

I am frustrated with the personality changes of mum and her changes to cause her to swear at me in front of a crowded hospital area that I will face own suffering and cancers as her because I will not back down on wanting her to practise good hygiene after toilet and using a proper walking stick. She told everyone that I am a very bad daughter.

I stayed cool and told the same audience that my mum need not swear or curse at me as I am already suffering pain everyday since 18 years old and that my pain never lets down. Plus I am single and so my karma is a wicked one as I will not have the luxury of a child or sibling to care about me when I grow old.

I then smiled at mum and said…”satisfied now?”

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My Take On Wisdom

My philosophy on Wisdom does not stem from any sage’s preaching. It also does not come from the different writings of philosophers. Instead it comes from the mentally ill.

I once worked at a mental hospital. Asylum sounds bad and so our country’s only hospital for the mentally ill was called Woodbridge Hospital. The stigma associated with mental illnesses was so bad that I decided to join this hospital, heading their corporate communications department. I set out to destigmatize normal people’s view of the mentally ill.

So, from Woodbridge Hospital, it became the Institute of Mental Health/Woodbridge Hospital and today, it just stands as IMH.

I played mah-jong with the mentally ill. I enjoyed playing with them as whatever tiles they did not like, they tossed it out of the window. You need not worry that we hit any passer-by as we have eaves outside the windows that catch dropped objects.

Their simple minds made me think. I learnt a beautifully simple lesson – What One Does Not Like – Just Discard It!

A powerful lesson in selflessness was taught to me by an inmate who has lived there his entire life. He is lucid but cannot function outside the hospital. We were out on zoo trip together with 42 of his other inmates. It was tea break and he pulled out of his backpack a packet of 10 individually wrapped Apollo chocolate wafers. He walked over to give me one. He said that his brother visits him once a month and has bought him 30 pieces ( 3 blister packs of 10s) – one a day for a month.

When I heard that, I politely thanked him and declined. If I ate that piece, he is deprived of 1 Apollo chocolate wafer bar for the month. He coaxed me into taking it, saying that if I did not accept it, I am not his friend. To him, things must be shared with friends! Lesson 2 – Sharing is giving!

I would often sit at the stone seats within he hospital grounds and observe the patients. In particular, I would see a teenager walking forward 4 steps and walking backwards 3 steps. This teenager does not go far, yet the persistence in walking like that gave him sanity. Many times I wanted to walk up to him to engage him in conversation but I resisted as this teenager could be violent when his space is violated with my presence. Lesson 3 – I Need Not Go Very Far, So What?!

Lessons need not come from expensive books or wise sages. I found these 3 lessons important to me.

Many times, we do not discard things we do not like. We keep them. An example I cite is relationships. In particular, I refer to MR EX. I did not like him. But I did not dislike him. Many times, I knew in my heart that he is to be discarded, yet the compassion and empathy in believing that he is not like that and can be changed. Sadly, I kid myself. I ended up hoarding him and keeping him as baggage. This was not at all good.

Sharing is Giving is heavily applicable to the way I treat my siblings. I give with my heart, without thinking twice. They may not be as generous as I, but I cannot be bothered. If I can afford to share, I will give. If it touches them, so be it but if they behave like beasts of nature, it is my karma.

My final lesson on So What If I do Not Go Very Far is heavily applicable at this stage in my life. Who cares if I am not a rich fella or working in a cushy job with the best of pay cheques.

I may not necessarily be happy. I rather not go very far, preserve my sanity, spend less and be happier.

Which brings me to Garfied, my inanimate furball and why I treasure this raggedly soft toy. When I was about 8 years old I think, I remembered (*a rare remembrance as anesthesia did not wipe this one out as I remember it whenever I hug Garfield) that I had a stripey tiger. It was not Tigger nor any fancy character but a cheap plain stuffed toy that mum gave me.

I remember hugging this fella every night to sleep and he became raggedly. One day, his greenish yellow glass eye dropped off. He was one officially “One Eye Jack” but still I hugged him to bits.

One day I returned home from school and found him missing from my bed. Mum had thrown him out as she was afraid it was a health hazard to me. I was deeply saddened by it.

Old people should not be thrown out like yesterday’s garbage after one has served its usefulness. That person’s contributions must be appreciated and remembered.

But faulty equipment and or broken things that are beyond repair should be discarded, otherwise, we are accused of being hoarders!

Don’t you agree? Do you have valuable lessons to share with me too?

24 Comments »

Hard To Let Go

I find that in life, the hardest thing is to let go of things. Letting go is easier said than done.

It could mean dying and not wanting to leave behind loved ones.

It could mean leaving a loveless or loving relationship. This takes great courage regardless of reasons, rationale or otherwise.

It boils down to regrets.

I don’t wish to leave with regrets and do strive towards doing things to the best of my ability, trying my best never to harm, hurt or cause pain and suffering.

It is difficult as I am an imperfect person. I may unknowingly hurt or cause pain and suffering to others.

I do admit that I often deliberately inflict guilt onto especially those without a conscience.

Sadly, these buggers do not seem affected by it! Hmmm…as if I could be a genie and walk them through their lack of conscience!!

Good news for me is that my dear Mr Architect who moved to Beijing is coming home for 3 weeks.

I do miss his sharing of architectural designs and views of this or that new building or yak about Corbu or Borromini’s walls!

My hacking cough is lighter after I started Cravits 750mg. 6 more days to go.

I also inhale Seretide at night to sleep better.

Danzen helps me too.

Ah well, Monday I will get my lungs checked by Dr Lui. Maybe he can turn on a Dyson and vaccum my lungs haha!

Meanwhile 3rd Aunt is in a palliative ward. She is stable save for lung infection and will soon need a catheter.

I pray she does not suffer.

I know what it is like to suffer and take meds….sometimes I too, want to give up.

My epitaph could read…

“I lived. I died. I cried. I hurt. I hated…..life of Garfield Hug, definitely not a saint!😝

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Valentine’s Day

Yup…another commercialisation of gift days are on the horizon.

I share what it was like with MR EX.

MR EX started with the 99 rosses and escalate to 199 roses. He soon realised his pocket had a huge hole as roses were jacked up during Valentine’s Day.

MR EX, with his glib tongue, then swore on his heart (*he had none by the way😉), creatively saying that he would make me happy, every single day and not just on Valentine’s Day!

I give him credit for creative lies.

I find it hard that despite the years we were together, I cannot find it in my heart to even remain friends with him.

Regrettably the bullshit he gives is not acceptable anymore as his ethics, principles or morality and selfishness reign supreme.

It is my mindful decision on 23 December 2017 that MR EX can never be a friend as he does not even know how to be one.

Que sera sera!

7 Comments »

3rd Aunt Is Dying Of End Stage Liver Cancer

Some days back I posted a short blog entitled “2 Sisters”

I am now not too emotional to write a bit more as I was really bummed out last Saturday when I saw how my mum and her sister met.

My mum had a fall in late January 2018 and when her elder sister found out, she was distraught. Though she is in end stage liver cancer and ridden with pain, she insisted for her daughter to make a trip to see my mum.

My 3rd aunt lost her husband some 6 months ago and shortly after the death of her husband, she was diagnosed with liver cancer.

3rd Aunt cannot accept the fact that she has liver cancer and her attending oncologist has presented a death sentence of 6 to 8 months!

I hate these “death sentences” as it does nothing really to help anyone, other to remind relatives and self that you have an expiry date.

Still, I have had a neighbor who defied the odds of “6 to 8 months” end stage breast cancer to live on and on – it is now more than 3 years since she was “sentenced”

3rd Aunt’s husband was a gambler, but not a compulsive gambler. He knew when to stop and provide for the family. He never left the family without food. 3rd Aunt has 3 children and growing up years for her was tough. My mum assisted as she knew this elder sister was a housewife and rather timid.

My mum shared that she used to stand up to anyone who bullied this elder sister.

3rd Aunt’s husband loved 3rd Aunt a lot and when she was diagnosed with end stage liver cancer, many shooked their head and said that her husband had wanted her to be with him.

I was really sad to see 3rd Aunt being ferried in a wheelchair and had to be propped up to sit on the sofa. She had 20 minutes to visit as her morphine dosage will wear out.

My cousin shared on entry, the death sentence! I hated it and told her to be positive and that with the right hospice and palliative care, 3rd Aunt can be given the right medical care. For now, they have selves and a newly minted Indonesian domestic helper to care for 3rd Aunt.

I was told that 3rd Aunt refused to be in a hospice and so, I sat and convinced 3rd Aunt that if her pain was not managed, she could not eat. Without food, she will get weaker. This is a vicious cycle and that I wanted her pain free and with the ability to eat.

I spurred her on to live life to the fullest. Do not moan or gripe why me, I said. Be strong and once the pain meds are administered, she will feel better. Also with other patients and visitors, she will be cheered up instead of staying in 4 walls with a foreign helper.

When 3rd Aunt had to leave for home, I saw how tenderly both sisters hugged and cried. Mum cried because, she knew that her sister will not be around for much longer and that this may be the last time she will see her.

I cried because, I could see how much they loved each other. If and when 3rd Aunt passes on, mum will only have one sister left and this sister is not a nice one. She behaves like my own sister and I guess this is where the genes come from.

I pray for 3rd Aunt to live through Chinese New Year so that she can be with her family a little longer and for my mum to feel better to be able to see her again.

I would give years off my life to 3rd Aunt to live a little more, pain free and happy. Afterall, I am single and I do not need many years of my life.

Blessings and good wishes for 3rd Aunt to have a pain free time left with us.

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