Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

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.

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Day 2 – Bates Motel & About That Clock In My Hospital Room

Tonight is my second day at Bates Motel.

Dr Lim Yi Jia made sure things moved very quickly for me as removed my wound dressing and tut tutted away saying that the wound after 19 days will do better exposed.

He removed the steri strips that enclosed the wound and barked for iodine to be applied on parts of the wound that were not behaving.

He is confident that the leaky wound will dry out well with iodine under his eagle eye.

Meanwhile my hands, especially my left hand has ballooned and swelled.

Occupational therapist summoned, drugs ordered to lessen my swelling and Chef Allavi has ensured that I get my fave dishes.

Satay is a fave of mine
Chicken belado and french beans with mushrooms
Garfield’s fave lasagne with mushrooms
Side of button mushrooms that I love
Onion soup with baguette crouton
Samosas with aromatic mint yoghurt dip
Side of fruits

I learnt something new at Bates Motel. The clock on the wall of my room was slowing…it was 10 minutes slow. All it needed was a battery change but noooo, maintenance told me that the clock can only be placed back tomorrow as it needed to synchronise after 12 hours.

It then dawned on me that births or deaths required precise accuracy and the simple wall clock was not a simple wall clock like what I have at home.

Interesting nugget of new information for me and I realised the clock had no brand name.

The plot thickens….

A special clock indeed!

I am still alive….

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How I Ended 2021….

MR EX suddenly tried calling me. I had blocked him on my cell and each missed call was reflected in my register.

MR EX is also blocked on my Whats App.

I asked self how did we end up as such? The years of relationship or friendship or ‘what not ship” ended like this!

After seeing 3 missed calls over last 3 days, I unblocked him to ask why?

He is not nice as I told him I have cancer and just had major surgery and he had the audacity to say he is going for surgery on 5 January 22 when I said I was going to be re-admitted on 6 January 22.

This is typical of MR EX. He had to instil into me that if I was ill, so was he. He wanted my sympathy but refused to tell me his ailment! 🙄

Compassionate?

Empathetic?

Kind?

None of the above. He wanted to have a meal with me. I declined. Nothing good will come out of this, knowing MR EX.

On 31 December 21, my histopathology results were out. My oncologist surgeon told me that she had successfully excised all parts of the cancer and that the lymph nodes removed showed no spread. I do not need chemotherapy and radiotherapy I think!!🤞🤞🤞

This meant that my diagnosis was at Stage 0 but with nuclear grade 3 cancer cells. I understood this to be an aggressive cancer cell type.

As to if cancer will recur, it is anyone’s guess really. Que sera sera.

I will be going to Bates Motel to sort out the remaining post op issues. I was not at all happy at the Barn and need to have my drainage site and wounds rechecked and confirm if I need more surgery.

I guess this is a wake up call to me to be less stressed. Cancer thrives on stress and I have been under stress for a long time.

So MR EX is a no brainer to exclude and he is the first dispensable that I booted.

Meanwhile I had my booster shot. 7 more to get that pizza haha!

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Waiting For Results & Wound Healing

In medical science, 3% matters alot.

Dr Surgeon is 97% sure I am cancer free here on but she kept reminding me of the remaining 3% odds. Dang the odds, I’d say! Gimme a break!

At this stage did I beat cancer?

I am unsure. 97% does not mean alot when the odds always seem to get me, as if the upper deities want to continue their poke at me. Hmmm…they seem to enjoy giving me a hard time every time it is Ghost Festival and Christmas season! Bah as Scrooge would say.

Being in a common ward of 6, there is no privacy. My bed neighbor was told news that her cancer has metasized to lungs or if she has independent cancers in 2 locations.

She is fervent believer of God and has had the lump for years she shared but trusted God and not seek medical help. She is al anti covax vaccination, which is sad I told her as she needs all the help to stay safe. Hopefully she reconsiders her options and seek surgical intervention.

As for self, my histology results will be out in 2 weeks.

Now, it is dealing with a wound that sometimes behave irrationally and I hope it behaves so that I can heal.

Physically, emotionally and mentally – there is not much I can do. Nothomg to dispute, just have to suck it up.

Emotionally…friends and wordpress readers have kept me in prayers.

Many have asked me to start living for self. But it is hard when I have un-ending responsibilities.

Today I read in the news that AXA CEO aged 47 passed due to an aggressive form of cancer.

If Covid-19 could drive pharmaceuticals to derive vaccines in record time, why not a mega vaccine against all cancers?

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A Glimpse At The Barn

The medical facility I am incacerated in is what I call, The Barn.

It pales in comparison to Bates Motel but I managed to find warm hearted nurses. They try their best and for which, I am grateful. The Barn is a more than 150 year old facility and its antiquated buildings still stand as conservation of during the British Occupancy serving the Sepoy Lines.

Massive new buildings have sprouted around the lower buildings and these high rise are to cater to increasing Cancer, Heart and Community Care cases.

Nestled amongst trees, the Barn’s medical care is cookie cutter style. They do not treat anomalies and are at a loss to think creatively.

My White Coat is bothered as she now sees for herself, my wound breaking down.

Aahh well her nightmare now begins for me as post operation wound issues usually rears its ugliness. I got to fight this….

Meanwhile this is a sampling of my breakfast and lunch. Simple but edible and am not complaining.

Breakfast – antiquated choc swirl bread
Lunch
Dinner…for good behaviour I got an extra side of ginger pork.
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I Am Alive

Surgery went well in that no dramas that sent my surgical team scrambling.

Now I wait for histopathology results to see if I am cleared of all margins for cancer.

Last night was sleepless. Junior doc tossed me melatonin that did not work. Tonight Dr Surgeon will prescribe Stilnox one dose.

Dr Surgeon does not wish to overpromise outcomes and though she removed all lymph nodes, visually seeing no cancerous ones. But, she caveat it with a BUT.

I hate BUTs.

Tomorrow I can go home from the Barn. But I need to handle drainage tubes. And am all thumbs about it.

I miss Gaaaarrrfield. He is home with Mousie.

Thanks for your prayers and good wishes. I am plodding on.

Much thanks to Drs Lim Yi Jia, Prof Fong Kok Yong and Boey Wah Keong for supporting me from backend, guiding the Barn Team on how to manage me.

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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?

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My Drama-dy Continues At The Barn

Definition:

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.

12 Comments »

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?

9 Comments »

Stating The Obvious

My biopsy results are out and sadly I have cancer.

My battle begins on 17 December when I undergo surgery not at Bates Motel but at The Barn (my euphemism for a specialist hospital).

As I am a complicated case to the White Coats of The Barn, I have been interviewed by the One Who Knocks Me Out. This doctor is very concerned as he noted my shopping list of drug allergies and feels that I need to be treated with care.

Before I forget, I will not have the luxury of a private room but I will occupy space in a cattle class shed. Hence, my euphemism of The Barn.

I hesitate to bring Garfield as I might lose him as beds are not left empty and he might be thrown out. I am now wondering how will I keep my cell phone and chop change when I am being sliced and dice. Will I even be granted a locker of sorts when I am in a high dependency ward.

I have no one to care off my items. No one will wait in halls wondering if I survived. My parents are too old and my dad has dementia.

I do not want to trouble my friends as it means they have to take leave from work to be exposed to potential Covid-19.

Mr Ability To Earn will drop me off probably at the crack of dawn as my surgery is scheduled first thing in the morning and White Coat wants me to arrive 1 hour before to be wheeled into the theatre. No luxury of a stay in before and “fast tracked” to be shooed out the gates of The Barn the next day complete with tubes for self care.

Efficiency and bed turns to ensure profits for The Barn is a KPI.

I am unsure if I will survive this major surgery.

I guess if I live, I get to blog again.

If I die then my voice ends after my programmed posts end.

Sigh. I am sad.

I want to have a good cry but I need to stay strong.

I only hope I can or will be remembered for something….if not, for my love of Garfield.

Life….a difficult journey for me….this will be my 29th surgical procedure.

I wonder if I will make it to the Guiness Book of Records?

34 Comments »