Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Disruptive Sleep

Over the weekend, Bird texted me to ask for advice to review the MRI report for her uncle living in Indonesia. Indonesia is not trusted for its medical services and a lot of Indonesians do come to Singapore for their expertise in medical treatment.

It seems that since his last visit, her uncle is now diagnosed with Brain Cancer.

The MRI report did not say anything to suggest an cancerous growth except that there was edema or some form of swelling.

To be prudent as I am not a medical practitioner,  I asked her to send me the MRI scans so that I could enlist the help of Dr James Tan to review and if the Uncle could jet into Singapore for assessment.

Bird said that the Indonesian doctors forbade her Uncle from flying in as he had brain swellings.

Dr James was really expedient in his reply and before I knew it, 7 emails comprising scans of MRIs, reports etc were read by Dr James and his immediate response to Bird was to have her Uncle given steroids 4 to 6 hours pre flight and he could fly.

However, the stark news was that the tumor must be located and this could be through a PET SCAN. Based on Dr James evaluation, it seems the tumor has many, many secondaries and if Uncle arrives in Singapore, he will advise radiation to the whole head.

Bird has not registered that it is cancer just yet but a tumor is present. I am hopeful for her and her Uncle that perhaps, it is a benign tumor that has gone wacky.

But the truth is, with that many secondaries, it is unlikely to be benign or cysts as it has permeated the whole brain.

As I was tired on Sunday night, zonked out by 9pm, I woke up at 3am and read Dr Jamesโ€™ message and though I wafted back into lala land, I was traumatized by the news as it meant that her Uncle had little hope of beating this.

Birdโ€™s Uncle would need a miracle for the numerous tumors to be benign.

The frailties of life really. One day hale and hearty and suddenly during routine checkup, this is discovered.

I do hope that if Birdโ€™s Uncle has no hope of beating this, then may his suffering be short as what can be worst than having a brain full of tumors that is compressing his eye sight, and the entire body which could render him in a vegetative state once the brain shuts down.

Bird and I ever so grateful to Dr James who did not even charge a fee to go through all the MRIs, scans and reports to make a quick decision. I hope Bird’s Uncle can benefit from Dr James expertise if he does make it to Singapore for treatment.

Blessings and prayers to Bird’s Uncle for a speedy recovery.


Strokes Of The Brain Kind

Recently, I have been surrounded by people at work who suffered strokes.

2 of my colleagues suffered minor strokes whilst 1 suffered a massive stroke.

All 3 males were in their late 40s or 50s and one similar trait followed – they were all heavy smokers and were heavy set.

Whilst it is easy to blame it on the smoking and or lifestyle, as a people person, I explained to management to try and look at it from the drivers of this habit. It would be work as our work load is heavy, non stop adrenalin pumping and alot of worrying.

I for one, was facing this stressful work life and no other life. Plus with family pressures, I do not have relieve valves, other than hugging my inanimate furball Garfield to bits.

The one with the massive stroke is now unable to work and has to undergo therapy to rehab and gain mobility.

The other 2 were lucky and suffered small strokes.

I guess the top killers, not in any order of severity, would be cancer, strokes and or heart attacks.

On CNY day 1, we learnt from the newsroom that Ben Goi, the son of Forbes 50 Richest Man List Sam Goi, died from a massive stroke whilst visiting his wife’s relatives in Malaysia. The press reported that he suffered an intense headache and died at age 43.

He leaves behind a 1 year old son and a wife, plus grieving family, relatives and friends.

It seems he also suffered from high blood pressure and was heavy set too.

Whilst weight, lifestyle and work go hand in hand, I sincerely hope that employers would not burden staff so much that they have no life.

For the case of Ben Goi, he was under his father’s employment. Like in any business realm, entertainment, long work hours and flipping cash is pivotal.

I am a hard working employee.ย  I work hard and do not have time to play hard.

It is a silly trait but sadly, genetically, I am keyed that way and I do not short change employers. It resulted in me being bullied at work for more work and not being appreciated.

I always kept silent and tolerated. This is also another shortcoming of mine as with family, I also tolerated their behaviors.

I do not like unhappy situations, always hoping things will become ok, eventually.

But as I mature and age, I realised that I got to fight back.

No one will stand up for me, except me, myself and I.

With Ben Goi’s passing, I sincerely hope that the business community will learn to moderate work and relax a little.

Money will give happiness but it cannot be the sole purpose of life’s goals.


Our Actor Aloysious Pang Is In Critical Condition In Auckland, New Zealand

My heart goes out to the family of our young actor, Aloysious Pang in his early 20s.

He was in reservist training as a technician on the Howitzer and suffered an accident where his chest cavity was impacted.

His family has flown down to see him and he has undergone 3 surgeries since the weekend.

He is now on life support, with failed lung and kidney functions.

One of our chief physician of trauma unit of Tan Tock Seng Hospital has flown to Auckland to work with the surgical medical team there.

He has such a promising future for himself and now this accident has taken its toll on him.

I pray for his speedy recovery and would gladly give him my life as he deserves to live life whereas I am tired of the battles I have.

I am deeply affected by this news not because I know him personally but I have seen him act in local chinese dramas and he is up and coming.

I hope the spirits will lift him and heal him.

Give him a chance to live life.

I wish his condition is as simple as my meme in this post!

Blessings and a speedy recovery is wished for him.


A Conversation With My Mum’s Cardiologist

Last Thursday was my mum’s follow up with her cardiologist at the National Heart Center.

I like Dr Anders from Sweden and my mum and I were very glad he was taking care of her medical case.

As I discussed mum’s case with him, I asked why 2 types of blood pressure control meds were given.

Atenonol was meant to lower heart rate, thereby lowering Blood Pressure (BP).

Yet Amlodipine was prescribed and this raises BP?


This was my test question to Dr Anders to see how he would tackle my question.

He gave a good valid explanation. Amlodipine opens up all the arteries and makes the heart pump faster to replace blood flowing out.

Light headedness and dizziness would then follow as blood pumping freely. This raises BP.

Before meeting Dr Anders, I had spoken to Prof Fong, physician of Duke of Yore. Prof Fong had explained to me the effects of both drugs.

Dr Anders passed my test. He is one of 2 branches of cardiologists – “electrician”, whereas the other branch is the “plumber”

Dr Anders was impressed about my knowledge and asked me how I knew so much.

I shared with him that I mentored under Dr Oon Chong Teik and I was short of getting a degree to practice. Plus I have been invited before to address the graduating cohort of doctors at NUS Duke Medical program.

Dr Anders gave me the greatest acknowledgement and that was when he lifted his stethescope to hand to me.

I laughed and continued to give feedback on how to make the Heart Center more elder proofed and elder friendly.

He felt that I should be hired as a consultant to the center to improve patient work flow. I would like that but I doubt they would as I have a sharp tongue.

I had given them a couple of written feedbacks before and they realised that much could be further improved for patient care.

All I wanted was a better Heart Center to support seniors.


Infect – One Word Prompt

If anyone is down with the flu or any kind of coughs or colds, one must mask up to prevent others from getting infected.

To avoid getting others infected, please practise good hygiene.

Wash hands thoroughly with soap, antibacterial wipes or with rubbing alcohol to disinfect self on reaching home, after toilet use, shaking hands. (*I have become slightly obsessed with antibacterial wipes like Adrian Monk of popular TV series Monk…haha but I am not OCD!)

In 2003, I was an employee in the Institute of Mental Health hospital in Singapore.

It was in that year that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was brought into Singapore by a young woman who travelled abroad and brought it back to Singapore.

SARS was unknown to all and the etiology of the disease was off the books.

All we knew was that people were dying from it in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Shortly after, a suspected SARS infection broke out amongst the inmates of a ward in the hospital where I worked. Patients in that ward came down with flu like systems.

As SARS was deadly, the government put us on a lock down and the entire hospital was quarantined to prevent transmission. We were called a “cluster”

The military took over and told us that that we will be shot to death if we broke away from lock down to contain this cluster “outbreak”.

We were made to sign and agree on this so that the army will not be held accountable for our own death if we decided to escape.

We were ferried daily by army trucks like prisoners from hotel to hotel and chased out like lepers when hotelier found out we could potentially have SARS.

That week was a traumatic one as we were all tested and awaited results.

We did not know if we would ever see our family again.

I put my heart and soul into work and consoling those who broke down emotionally. I did not know how to be afraid.

I laughed and joked with my colleagues to keep spirits up.

Laughter is infectious and after that harrowing week, we learnt it was an Influenza B infection.

I lived.

My colleagues lived.

We were reunited with family and were relieved.

But we, in the National Healthcare Group lost doctors, nurses and health workers in the isolated SARS assigned Tan Tock Seng Hospital as the communicable diseases center.

To our unsung heroes who battled a war called SARS – I salute you all who put self in the frontline of a pandemic, exposing self to infection, despite mask or gloves as you treated and cared for those infected.

This post is written in memory of the fallen health care workers ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š and the loss felt by their families and children they left behind.


Abrupt – One Word Post

My sincere apologies for this abrupt post.

My mum has been hospitalised for cardiac issues this morning…unsure if it was a heart attack and I am sorting her out now.

I will post when I can as I have my hands full.

I do have scheduled posts to keep all in good spirits.

Thanks for your kind understanding as I go through a stressful time now.

Gaaaarrrrfield where are you? I need a hugโ˜นโ˜นโ˜นโ˜น


Thumb & Foot – Which First?

I saw Dr Looi Kok Poh today.

It has been about 5 years since he operated on me and removed my ganglion cyst.

His booming voice never changed.

He was happy to see me and I was happy to have him treat me.

My thumb was assessed by him and he said that I had “trigger finger” – I will require surgery to remove the tendon sheath that was inflammed and strangling my thumb’s mobility.

For now, he will inject pain killer and steroid to bring the pain and swelling down.

Next was my foot. No biggie but I have chronic plantar fascitis that needs to be surgically resolved and repair the tear.

So the process of injection began for foot and thumb. The anasethethic jab hurt me more than the steroids that follows.

But wait, how dumb am I…of course painkiller numbed the long needle haha!

So now I walk with a limp and a very numbed thumb!

I am disallowed to do any exercise such as brisk walks etc as I need about 22 days for my foot to heal. Last shot before the obvious surgery required if this fails.

For now, I am alive!

Dr Looi only charged me for one jab. Else I would be $600 poorer. He was so sweet and kind to charge me only $342 plus consult of 2 hours.

Now I sincerely pray my thumb and foot heals.


Still Hacking Up Furballs

I was glad to consult Dr Lui this morning.

It seems that my unusually more stiffness in hands and legs were brought on by the antibiotic, Cravits, that I was taking at 750mg per day.

It was Day 3 of Cravits and the stiffness was so pronounced that I almost tripped.

Dr Lui caught this side effect very quickly and changed Cravits to Klacid. Dosage was 500 mg, twice a day for a week.

He said that one of the side effects of Cravits is tearing of tendons. He was really worried.

I am glad I did not tear any tendons! Phew!

I was given Dhasedryl, Flumucil and Seretide for my cough.

In my “delusional” or “blur blur” mindless moment, I popped 1gm at one go.

It was such a high dosage that I reeled from it.

Thankfully I just needed the drug to taper off but it made me feel even more ill.

I can feel Cravits leaving my body system as my hands are not that stiff now.

Looks like Cravits now joins my rejected pile of 254 drugs + Cravits = 256!

Ahh well laugh I must as I have another week of antibiotics to finish.

At least I am not eating spicy Indian curries๐Ÿคฃ though I admit that I am a great chilli eater!


Yet Another Scare

It is past midnight in lil red dot and I have just returned from A&E at Singapore General Hospital where my mum is warded for a heart condition.

Whilst at today’s visit with my dad at his geriatrician’s clinic, my mum suddenly said she felt unwell.

Dr Yip sprang into action, checking my mum and said that her heartbeat is missing a beat. He said mum would need an ECG to check further.

My own heart at that point also missed a beat as it meant that I must quickly take mum to the A&E to do an immediate ECG as prescribed by Dr Yip.

Meanwhile dad had a list of things remaining at the hospital – blood tests, collect meds at pharmacy and pay his bills.

Dad’s mind can no longer do this himself and he wanted to just sit.

I quickly took both to a cafe in the hospital to have lunch. Meanwhile I dashed off to another building to seek out his missing order for blood test. I told both mum and dad to sit, eat and wait for my return.

Arriving at the clinic, I sought help from a lady in patient services to check through the system for dad.

The lady seemed to be “lost” and time tick tocked away. I told her I would return and asked her to continue to search for it whilst I ran back to the cafe.

Back at the cafe, both mum and dad had finished their lunch. I wolfed down two pcs of soon kueh or turnip filos steamed in rice flour.

I told mum to sit under a shaded garden in the hospital to wait for me whilst I took dad for his blood test.

I arrived back at the clinic and yes, they found the blood test order. Dad was quickly processed for the tests and I dashed back to get mum to go to A&E.

By now, dad said he was pooped out tired. So I told him to sit in the garden whilst I take mum to A&E. I needed him to sit and not wander off else I would be missing a forgetful dad.

Arriving at A&E, the wait said 1hr and 47 mins. I told mum to sit and wait her turn whilst I dashed off to get dad.

I ran by the pharmacy to drop off the prescription. I would collect later as a missed queue number. The pharmacy would close only at 7pm.

Brought dad to A&E. Ran off to look for mum at ECG room and soon she was rushed to Critical Care Unit.

I was told to wait 2 hours for blood tests the doctor had ordered.

By now it was 6pm. Time to feed dad and pick up meds. Mum is safe in CCU.

Fed dad and picked up meds.

Dr Dutta at CCU informed me that blood work looks “ok” but mum needed to be warded in hospital under cardiology for more tests.

Mum needed some food so off I dashed back to the foodcourt to get her something to eat.

By now it was 7pm and dad said he was very tired. I left mum at hospital for admission and left the hospital to get dad to go home.

My mop of hair looks bedraggled and needed a cut. Dashed to the mall at 7.30pm for 10 mins K Cut.

Dad said he felt unwell. My heart skipped another beat. “Do you want me to take you to A&E?”

He said he just wanted to sleep.

Home sweet home for dad and he lumbered into bed without showering! Mum would have a hissy fit if she knew!

I left dad in his home and headed off to my home after I ensured he was ok.

What a day! Tomorrow off to visit mum in hospital. I hope there is nothing majorly wrong with mum.

I am tired. I did 13,166 steps. I am mentally and physically drained.

Gaaarrrrfield where are you? I need a Garfield Hug!๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿบ


In Memoriam – Dr Andrew Lee Yee Chun

I am sad that my general surgeon, Dr Lee Yee Chun passed away last Friday at the age of 73.

Dr YC Lee was introduced to me by Dr Oon Chong Teik, (*a reknowned Internal Medicine Specialist) when I needed several surgeries.

Dr YC Lee was interested in liver surgical procedures for liver cancer, gall bladder and stomach or gut.

He diagnosed my appendicitis when a gastro doctor said it was gastritis. That gastro doctor has since been sacked as he could have cost me my life.

Dr Lee’s surgical skills are superb. Each slice and dice he has done for me left me no surgical scars.

Through him, he performed 8 surgical procedures on me. All non eventful.

I am sorry for his family’s loss and the medical fraternity has lost a valued colleague and mentor for new surgeons.

My deepest condolences to his bereaved family.

Dr Lee, you are a kind gentleman with skilful surgical hands with a love for scuba diving.

Go in the peace of Christ. Amen.๐Ÿ’๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒน๐Ÿฅ€๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒบ