Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

The Year Of The Rabbit Begins On 22 January 2023

Chinese New Year is here again and this year, it is the Year of The Rabbit. Reunion dinner will begin on 21 January 2023 and I will be having my parents over at my place as Neighbor will be cooking for us.

I will probably add 1 to 2 simple dishes that is either steamed or boiled or blanched veggies. I am not a good cook and can only do dishes that cannot go wrong.

I have a new ailment added to my list of medical issues – it began in August 2022 when all of a sudden my gums became heavily swollen and started to bleed for no reason.

It hurt when I ate or bite things. It stung when I ate curries or chillies.

I saw 2 periodontists and finally on Friday, I chanced upon my dermatologist who shared with me that under their specialization, they too can take care of this condition.

I am now diagnosed with Oral Lichen Planus – The specialist at the National Dental Centre was the most candid.

  1. Unable to do a biopsy as the swollen areas are everywhere and it makes no sense to cut the entire mouth and end up with more issues.
  2. It is Oral Lichen Planus and we just have to wait for cancer to manifest, if it manifests! Hmm, this is re-assuring.

The reason cancer was brought up by all 3 specialists was because the constant bleeding and irritated cells will turn cancerous over time.

Ahh well, Dr Doom of National Dental Centre then said in response to me, ” what’s next” after this – Head and Neck Onco Surgeon!

Hmm….life sure is exciting for me!

There is nothing much I can do except try every sort of mouth swishing therapy and to numb the pain.

Lidocaine, Chlorohexidine, Hydrogen Peroxide, Salt water etc – I am not good at following through except for Chlorohexidine and Salt Water. Brushing with mint based toothpaste is painful.

I am kinda tired with a new diagnosis every now and then. Nothing much I can do except struggle on until life decides to ooze out of my body and join the third realm perhaps.

Mr Nice is into his 20 odd radiotherapy sessions and will end on the 33rd session. He tells me it drains him of energy and gives him mood swings.

Mr Lawyer will visit me from Land Down Under in March 2023 and I look forward to meeting him. It has been several years with the Covid lockdown and I do miss his intellect and kindness.

I am not doing any frantic shopping for Chinese New Year. I need to declutter but with my right paw being painful (pending another surgery) I decided to take it easy and do what is necessary without aggravating the paw further.

My spine, post surgery has given me new pain and both surgeons are expecting me back in hospital when I fix my paw.

So, I do have an “exciting” journey ahead…Bugsy…you had better behave and give me and others a better life!

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Think Thoughts

I cannot help but think how life will pan out for me? I am pretty sure, every human I have known have asked this question of themselves. Yet, none of them are the wiser, including me. But wait….unless that person is on a higher plane of think thoughts, achieved an attitude of letting life go on its course, to the exactness of fate then this question will never arise.

Mr Malaysia, a business partner of my minion role, suffered a retinal detachment in one eye. It took him some 3 days before he decided to act on it. He drove self to Singapore to seek medical treatment without medical insurance coverage. Surgery cost him $48,000.

Mr Malaysia is zen about things in life. He is the only Malaysian I know who will trust society and leave his car parked without locking it in Malaysia. It is not a cheap make or model and yet, his trusting of the society he lives with did not leave him with any theft!

I admire his ability to zen out and not fret or be upset about anything. He is fully covered under company insurance to have his surgery taken care of in Malaysia but he could not find an available slot.

Dr James, a neurosurgeon, thought about doing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) some years back and today when I broached the subject with him, he told me he completed his class and is now doing TCM clinics on Wednesdays. I should give him a try and see how the outcome for my stiff spine.

I am warned of not overdoing things else my S1 spine will need another screw. My spine is and will continue to be stiff says Dr James. Sigh, the price to pay for doing a lot of things in life and working hard, but not smart.

So, back to my think thought of how my life will pan out? I have a big fear that my old age will be tough as mobility will be a challenge.

I will never be free of White Coats and I have to accept that.

In terms of activities, there is a lot I cannot do anymore.

Aaah well, I guess I can still hug Garfield, my inanimate furball and know he is loyal to me, never leaving my side unless I stupendously misplace or leave him somewhere!

I should just advise self to stop thinking as nothing can be done for me.

Fate….

Divine intervention…..

Karma……

Whatever it may be, que sera, sera!

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National Day Awards – Public Service Star

HRH President Halimah on stage taking us all in the hall through our National Anthem
These 3 men are Aides De Camp. They are professional uniformed men in Police Force, Army or Singapore Civil Defence Force. Major Ang from SCDF was assigned to take care of me. She and the other ladies were just superb.
The prestigious medal

I was treated like a star, fom start to the end! My car was escorted to a specially reserved lot and I was met on arrival by Major Ang.

I was personally shown to my seat. My dad was given the same VIP treatment.

I saw men decked with medals. I stopped and chatted with an Assistant Superintendent of Police at Marine Parade station. He showed me his scars from fending off a crook who slashed him. I am glad he is okay and still proudly serving as an officer.

I met a high court judge, who was also coroner and now heading the investors compliance unit based in Prime Minister’s Office.

Thank you Singapore, my lil red dot for letting me serve you.

I share my medal with my team of doctors who have kept me alive so that I can continue to serve society.

Without them, it would be impossible.

Thank you Drs Boey Wah Keong, James Tan Siah Heng, Lim Yi Jia and Lui Hock Foong.

Goodwood Hotel was the official caterer but the wide variety of food from Malay, Indian, Chinese, Dessert, International stations were cold when it should be warm.

My dad and I did not enjoy the food and so we left. I was so lucky to see that Neighbor hung food on my gate. Fried noodles!! Yummy!

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Prof’s Diagnosis – I Might Be In Trouble

Today was my appointment with Prof.

He was very kind to let me know that he has spoken with a very good dental surgeon colleague who is not only a qualified peridontist but a pathologist. He felt that this dental surgeon would take very good care of me during the procedure and will be able to figure out why my gums keep bleeding and are heavily inflammed.

I appreciated Prof’s care as he counselled me by advising me to let go of my stressors. It was clear to Prof that my stressful dysfunctional family was wreaking havoc on my health, stirring my autoimmune disorder to rear its angry head.

I asked the same hard question that I asked my earlier Peridontist if this condition is symptomatic of cancer?

Prof’s reply was the same as that Peridontist. Constant inflamed cells will possibly turn cancerous. Hence the need to tackle it.

For now, topical application of Oracort E up to four times a day and or gargling with crushed Dexamethasone 4mg per dose.

Long term oral consumption of Dexamethasone will drive adrenalin and increase blood sugar. So it is not a good drug for me to take long term.

To help me save consultation fees, Prof will help me by speaking to his identified surgeon on if I can be seen as a subsidised patient. In Lil Red Dot, subsidised medical care doea not allow anyone to have a surgical doctor by choice. It has to be by the luck of the draw and usually a junior doctor to manage such cases.

I am tired. The last year has seen me undergo 3 major surgeries back to back. I do not want to battle cancer again 🙄

Meanwhile I wait for Prof’s email to confirm date of the biopsy I need.

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Dr Chomps Fixed My Bleeding Gums

Dr Chomps spent an hour descaling what was ailing my gums! It seems that when my gums hurt, I should not spare the pain but use my toothbrush and brush hard to dislodge the bacteria that accumulates.

With my autoimmune issues, my body reacts in a funny way and Dr Chomps opined that this was how my body reacted to that bit of bacteria in my gums and when I hesitated to brush hard and wen the chlorhexidine way to arrest the bleed and pain, it made it worst as it caused the bacteria to be coated and more build up of bacteria happened!

Live and learn is what I need to do!

Sigh – if there was ever one singular doctor that can tell me what is wrong with me, I will take my hat off to him! So far all my surgeons or White Coats utter the same sentence – It is HOW your body seems to react to things!

Gee! I wish I could hear something different but Noooooo!! It is always the same old answer.

I will be seeing Prof Fong in November and I am sure, his opinion of starting me on steroids will pop up again. So far I have collected prescription for more than 500 steroid pills but I have refused to have them filled and consume it.

Today with the rainy weather, my spinal implants protested. I could not sleep properly as my spine hurt so bad just lying on the bed. I had to put on my back support to sleep (though it is not recommended) or at least alleviate the pain.

I guess it is true about what oldies wisdom say – rainy weather does bring about rheumatism and boy did I feel it! It was really painful and this morning, I caved and took 40mg of Piroxicam to arrest the pain and live a live less painful.

Neighbor is back from her one month cruise to Italy and Spain. She texted me that dinner was ready and if I would like to come get it.

Watercress boiled with carrots and pork ribs
Baked salmon with chia seed rice and a wedge of lemon

Simple, but delicious and I am glad she is back, safe and sound.

I am ever so grateful for her including me in her dinner meal plans.

Have a good Sunday all!

Ultimate Spidey Man Bun?
I always wondered what this was for? To hang up the shirt is my guess – what do you think?
This is one puzzle that I doubt I can ever get it right!
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Thoughts #3 – White Coats Can Be Bullies Too

My Caveat: This is a new series that I have started. It will contain my personal opinion of things happening in Lil Red Dot or around the world. I would love it if my readers will chip in with their views and balance things for my views. There will be no contentious content. But I assure you, a lot of humorous content and about this or that or what ails – theme of my blog site really! So do chime in, like you always do and lighten our work load, put down our worries and just laugh or cry or both.

5 September 22 was an ultra marathon day with White Coats. Some good experiences, some bad experiences.

Personally, I had to do a scan, an ECG and consult with a cardiologist. I was hoping for my mum’s Dr Anders Lehland, as he is superb, easy to discuss with, sans airs of White Coats who have God personaes.

But it was not him …it was Dr Guna. There is history with Dr Guna as he was my mum’s original cardiologist but my mum failed to follow up with him and got an angina attack which placed her under Dr Anders.

Dr Guna is in his 60s I think. White haired but still very kind. I was glad because I was worried post 6 major surgeries when my chest hurt a bit. I wanted to discount heart disease and with the heart, one cannot tell unless cardiac tests are done.

Good news was that my ECG was normal. Dr Guna suggested an echocardiogram with calcium Xrays to see if I have calcium deposits in arteries. This is the best option he opined.

Dr Guna is being careful and with my bag of bones, I could not run on treadmill for a stress test and Dr Guna dare not chance me being injected with something to stress the heart to simulate as if running on the treadmill.

He felt with my allergies, he should not chance it as steroids if administered not in time, could see me quite dead!

Then I had to dash to my parents’ place to pick mum for her doctor’s appointment. This was where my saga with Dr Bully arose.

Dr Bully thinks she is God and my mum and I are her lowly footmen. Our appointment was 2pm but by 2.30pm she still did not start her clinic. Mum was tired and so was I as I had no breakfast nor lunch, much less water to drink too as I was dashing like a maniac from White Coat to White Coat.

So I knocked on Dr Bully’s door to plead on behalf of my mum to be seen first.

On entering the room, Dr Bully started berating my mum and I. She said she had to see 60 plus patients and did not have lunch. She was rude and her tone of voice was at the point of shouting at me.

I spoke up, sternly and firmly telling her that my English was precise and concise. I reminded her that I pleaded for help. Dr Bully relented and wanted to take it out on me was unacceptable and not right. If she did not want to see us, tell us and she can go sup to her heart’s content.

I did not like Dr Bully shouting at me to say I did not respect doctors. I reminded her that she too, ought to respect patients too. She then shut up!

Lesson learnt, do not take bashing lying down, I fought back, staying calm, composed but stern and equally loud.

For the life of me, I do not know why Dr Bully snapped. Tired? Hungry perhaps. So was I with no breakfast, no lunch and no snack.

I am tired from today’s drama.

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All Quiet On My MR EX Front – I Shall Enjoy National Day With Pride & Being One Year Older – 9th August 2022

I pleased as pie (Comment: I have no idea how this phrase came about but I like using it LOL!) as MR EX has evaporated into thin air. Looks like this evil virus of MR EX is gone and I am pleased as pie.

I have successfully blocked him in all social media, what’s app messaging and the like.

Peace and quiet reigns as he longer remains like a thorn in my paw!

I am being typically unfair I suppose – It could be said that MR EX is terribly happy to be rid of me too. It takes two and I would like to think that he has better things to do, bigger fishes to fry and a life to enjoy than think of me, after all, I was nobody to him!

Aah well to each person’s own. Que Sera, Sera!

I am looking forward to my nation’s 57th Birthday!

I am always watching the parade on national TV with pride as each National Day also celebrates my own birthday. It does not matter if no one celebrates for me, because the nation celebrates for me, with me.

This year, Classmate has invited me to her place with my folks for my birthday celebration. This is indeed nice of her as not even my own siblings have ever celebrated for me.

My eldest sister is the meanest as I do not even remembering her buying me a birthday treat or a proper birthday gift. But hey, I am not begging for it. If only she was nice to me every single day, not self centred but kind with genuine care and concern, it would have sufficed. But that is life and no one is forcing her to anything nice for me.

I am ok celebrating with Garfield, my inanimate furball as I do not need a big hoo ha!

If I am happy, everyday is a birthday to me and the nice things that people do for me are already a birthday treat!

My birthday wishes….

For my nation, Lil Red Dot or Singapore – peace, prosperity and progress for our people. I pray for continued food sustainability and a wise, non corrupt government to steer us through this next phase of our growth. I do not want a bankrupt state and everyone suffering!

For my good doctors, continue to heal the sick and provide us patients with your expertise. Especially to my team, namely; late Dr Y C Lee; Dr Lim Yi Jia; Dr James Tan Siah Heng; Dr Boey Wah Keong; Dr Lui Hock Foong; Prof Fong Kok Yong; Dr Chua Chee Haow; Dr Daniel Yeo; Dr Tan Si Ying; Dr Luke Tan; Dr Pang Boon Chuan; Dr Looi Kok Poh; Dr Tan Jee Lim; Prof Tan Ser Kiat; Dr Chung Sook Yin; Dr Oon Chong Teik; and Dr Anders – all of you kept me alive today and played a part in my medical journey. Without you, there is no Garfield Hug.

For my good nurses, Ms Faridah, Ms Roslina, Mr EJ, Ms Shanggari, Sister Mei Fang, ADon Constance and Indy Gui, nurses of ward 10, Bates Motel for constant checking on me, wiping my butt when I am immobilised and attending to my nursing needs. Thank you for helping me recover.

For my good friends and loved ones, good health, no pain and worries for all of them, living a life that is decent and good without fear of what tomorrow brings!

For my inanimate furball Garfield, stop loosing cottony filling volume and stay plushy as always for me to continue to seek solace in squooshing you as always. Be by my side, always and may I never misplace you!

For Mr Nice to overcome and conquer his cancer!

For Mr Ability To Earn to have the continued ability to earn and never forget good friends and continue to be one.

For myself, I pray for good health, for pain to stop and for me to have continued mobility as I ferment like fine wine! Let me enjoy the love of my parents and that I continue to be able to help them.

Happy Birthday Singapore!

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Clin Assoc Prof Sahlén Anders Olof

I first met Dr Anders in the ward when my mum had angina issues. I was worried that he may not gel with my mum as he is what he says, “an Ang Moh” – a colloquial term to label Caucasians and literally means “red hair”.

Surprisingly, my mum and he got on famously and it is a wonderful patient and doctor relationship as he is kind, caring and an especially careful doctor.

Mum would always be thinking of what to put in his care pack whenever it is time to se him.

Dr Anders may be an Ang Moh but he is very much localised and can speak Singlish. He is married to a local Singaporean doctor and this is why he has assimilated well into the local red dot culture.

I enjoy the clinic visits with Dr Anders as he shares information on the latest hoo ha in the medical field. For example, I remembered reading about the side effects of Zenpro’s omeprazole and I could ask him and Dr Anders would put things into perspective for me. It was written that Omeprazole, an anti gastric tablet was purported to cause stomach cancers. I doubted the article as Omeprazole is supposed to manage gastric. He kindly shared with me that based on the data of consumers, there were no reported cases.

On another matter was the “baby aspirin” – for those who genuinely needed it for blockages and post stents versus those who took it to prevent heart issues when no visible heart conditions yet. The fact is that those who genuinely need it, has to have it and those who do not need to have it yet as no visible heart issues, should they re think their consumption of it as it can cause bleeds.

Dr Anders never ignore my questions and listens attentively to my mum and her complaint and my 101 questions.

He is patient, kind and never pushes us out of his clinic room on account of time spent.

Thank you Dr Anders and for those under his care at National Heart Center, we are a blessed lot to have him.

I enclose a link to read more about the credentials of Dr Anders.

https://www.nhcs.com.sg/profile/sahlen-anders-olof

I am appreciative of his medical care for my mum.

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Bates Motel, Day #33 – A Choking I Go, Panacea In The Works?

Pain has now dropped from my scale of 12/10 with 10 being max to 8/10. I will continue to breathe…mind over matter😤😤I can do it!!

Physio started and walking 120m plus sets of different exercises has winded me. I need Xrays to see if the darn screws are in place. I pray so!! May the universe give me continued strength.

Today’s 4.30am drama….I was choking as a result of extreme dry throat. Though I have Sjorgren’s Syndrome or “sicca” meaning “dry”….this episode was something I never experienced at its extremity.

To overcome, I had to bear pain from spine as I gasp and floundered like a fish out of water to breathe. I now feel how poor fishes when out of water feels. I learnt suffering in a new way.

Yesterday at peak of my pain scale & beyond, Piglet sent me a lovely box of of sunflowers, complete with get well balloon. To honor both her generosity and kindness, I have asked someone to bring these flowers to an Indian temple in seeking continued blessings and good health for both Piglet and I by Lord Ganesh as well as for all those seeking help for medical issues.

Piglet has her health challenges too and have undergone many many surgeries like me. I umderstand her as much as she understands my health issues.

I wish all health challenged persons to seek solace and comfort in cosmic or universal sources unknown to us and heal us all.

Below is home made muruku or Indian snacks from one of Bates Housekeeper. I love murukus.

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What Dr Bones Informed Me During My Visit Last Week

Dr Onco Surgeon had to postpone my appointment on 2 March 2022 as unfortunately her entire family was down with Covid-19. This was ironical as my last visit with her a month ago, she mentioned that the National Cancer Centre was safer than outside its doors as Covid-19 restrictions were strictly in place.

I received an email from her to say that her children brought Covid-19 home, which I can understand why the authorities here are encouraging eligible children that can be vaccinated, should be vaccinated.

I also spotted this pattern amongst my colleagues who caught it from their children.

So I popped by to see Dr Bones to review my wound. As usual he was very careful and told me that my wound was doing fine and that there was no obvious seroma in surrounding areas.

However, on the bone front, I told him how my bag of bones have been grumbling.

He pressed on my left shoulder and I yelped like a dog would, when pushed on a pain point. He had repaired my shoulder some years ago, I think in 2014 or 2015, whereby he removed a bone spur that was cutting my shoulder.

He said that I will probably need another MRI to find out what is causing me this new pain. Once he has a visual of what is going on inside, he can tell me if surgery or an injection will suffice.

At the same time, I will need an MRI on my spine to check why I am having more “rigor mortis” than usual. I use the term “rigor mortis” to describe the stiffness of my spine and to me, it is like that of a deceased person, stiff and hard to move limbs.

So, I need to be admitted again but I probably will do it after Omicron wave is peaked and subsided.

I need to see Dr Onco Surgeon on 16 March and figure out the pain in my chest area post surgery that does not go away. I often wonder if my heart is affected and if I need to see a cardiologist. Aah well, we shall see how it goes.

Story of my life……bummer! But at least I have the comfort of Garfield hugging me to sleep.

I could be worst, at least I survived cancer for now. I was rueing my good colleague who underwent a lung biopsy recently and was found to be having suspected lung cancer. He underwent surgery to remove a cancerous kidney in 2015 and despite surpassing the 5 year mark, he may not make it past the 7 year mark as the pet scans show a lot of white spots in his lungs.

My gut feel is that his cancer has spread or a new one arose. He is a smoker and I did tell him before to stop or quit smoking but he refused. I feel sorry for him. He has opted for retirement and I feel he knows that his timeline is up!

I pray for a miracle for him.

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