Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Eve Of Lunar New Year Of The Rat…Wuhan Virus!

Tonight, we celebrate the eve of Chinese New Year (CNY) with a Reunion Dinner.

Except for me, I am in Bates Motel and Chef Boyadee has just popped by to discuss a special meal for my CNY celebration in Bates. Comforting indeed!

Families will gather for dinner and a popular dish is steam boat or hot pot whereby many relatives can gather for an easy meal of dunking meats and veggies in boiling broth.

Customer Service Of Bates Motel dropped by my room to wish me happy new year with a pair of mandarin oranges in an oriental paper bag with greetings of prosperity for me. It is a nice gesture and meaningful touch, I felt.

Wuhan Virus has arrived in lil red dot.

A Chinese man from Wuhan arrived in Singapore and stayed at Rasa Sentosa Shangrila with 9 of his friends and his son. He arrived with a sore throat and soon felt unwell and was brought to SGH accident & emergency.

His son also tested positive for this strain of the Corona virus.

Many are avoiding crowds as we will not know if tourists from Wuhan are around and may be carriers of this virus.

What a scary thought to start the new year.

Hopefully no pandemic. Mr Docile is on high alert as he is in infection control business.

It seems Scotland has also seen its first case.

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Bates Motel – Day # 25, Iodine To The Rescue?

I have not been aware of the efficacy of the humble iodine till now.

Branded under the pharmaceutical name of Betadine, Technician is now using iodine to help stem the “weeping” wound.

I thought back of the parotid gland surgery done in July 2019 and wished back then that the other surgeon thought of using this instead of waiting it out and letting the wound down my neck turn necrotic, resulting in a need to be re-admitted to the operating theater for a clean up and restitching.

I am praying hard or willing the Gods or forces of the universe to help me resolve this weeping wound as I do not need another ugly keloid or painful scar.

Surprisingly the wounds from the 4 key holes for my should surgery have closed nicely without incident and I am grateful for that.

My body is strange in that different segments of the body, the reactions are different.

If I was a drop dead gorgeous babe, I would be screaming for the plastic surgeon to redo the ugly keloid and painful scar. Instead, I am living with it, not because I am vain but I am practical as I am unsure how it will turn out if I do decide to re-do it.

Scars remind me of the trials and tribulations of life. This long curved scar that spans from earlobe to shoulder, reminds me of the cancer scare.

It reminds me of the frailties of life.

It reminds me of my humanity and that I am not infallible.

More importantly, it reminds me to be humble.

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So I Think I Know Everything…

I was targeting to be discharged on 22 Jan 2020 from Bates Motel but am not hopeful as my leg wound is still not behaving and my shoulder and biceps have knotted.

I was unaware that my shoulder tendon was reconstructed and placed in another position to allow my arm to function better after removing the culprit of a giant bone spur!

The surgeon did such a good job that I had full range of the arm and I started to use my arm like normal, this causing the overreach.

Mum is doing ok at home but my brother is flying the coop on Monday for his own home in the Fragrant Harbor. I do worry as I am not out by 20 Jan 20, there will be a gap in my parents’ home care.

Worrying will get me no where and I am hoping the home care team will kick in twice a week soon so that at least they have some help.

It is hard to age in Singapore as the social network is not an established one and there are no retirement community villages that look nice. A nursing home turns all into zombies and the elderly are made to look silly, singling karaoke, doing silly twirling umbrella dances and mindless stuff.

I do not blame it as unfortunately these homes cannot stage it at different levels; high functioning or low functioning and uses low functioning brain type activity to cut across the masses. This will alienate people like my mum and dad who are high functioning in the brain department and they feel stupid doing it, as if ridiculing their presence.

It is tough to manage the elderly and I find Chicken’s advice fairly useful i.e. to treat them like children, reward them when they do what is expected of them and discipline them like children.

There is also a need to put on a show for them so that they feel comfortable accepting what you expect them to do.

As for now, my dad has to be persuaded to take a second bath before retiring to bed and be reminded of medicines to take.

I think back to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night – all the world’s a stage and of which, there are 7 stages. I fully agree that this is the circle of life. We begin as babes, end up with baby mentality and pass on.

I wish and pray that I may never get dementia as it is such a horrid illness. But then with so many rounds of general anaesthesia, I do worry.

So, I think I know everything…for now when my mental faculties and wits are with me.

What about when I have to live longer?

Will I think I know something or anything?

I clearly do not know everything but I can safely say that I know some things, some of the time and not most of the time.

I get by!

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Bates Motel #4 – Day 5, Almost 2020

‘Technician’ (*as I address my Orthopaedic Surgeon) has a kind heart.

It is a massive book really LOL!

As my surgeon, he cares enough to see me 3 to 4 times a day and this is appreciated as he has a heavy case load of 20 patients at his clinic and he needs to surgically operate.

Climate change in North Pole is wreaking havoc in Santa’s workshop. Hopefully Greta the climate change advocate succeeds in drilling into us to reuse, recycle and manage our earth better.

He swings by in scrubs or his signature black outfit of T shirt and jeans. Definitelt not a cut out of a surgeon. Hence my ‘technician’ and he loves the title accorded to him.

Sometimes it is hard to discern between general waste or recycling worth!

Doctors without airs or superiority complex works best for me as the warmth and heart they exude helps me recover faster.

Bucket List Done!

I am up at 3.15am for my daily shower. I like avoiding peak hour shower times at 7am and needing supervision to shower is currently what I require till my left hand is more mobile.

If I forget, the Bat Signal Works!

I am worried about part 2 surgery as without a left leg, how do I walk properly without hurting.

I was assured that the space boot helps and I guess I will look like robocop – a boot that is massive looking and a left arm sling with Garfield in tow.

I must look like a casualty of war.

Technician promised me that he will not turn me into a cyborg but made a comment that we will have a “long term relationship as a result of my musco sketelal issues.

I am resigned to fate.

A New Mr Bean Atttitude For 2020 – It Might Work!

After going through more than 20 surgeries; some major and others minor, I am sanguine and takes it in stride.

No point beating at my breasts hollering why me? But just suck it up and move on.

The saving grace is that I have good doctors, nurses, good Lords (*for once) and great dietary needs at Bates Motel.

After being a regular icon here the head chef actually visits me to craft my menu as I get tired of the same foods.

Life goes on.

I live.

I breathe.

I laugh.

I have Garfield.

I have you folks rooting me on and that is precious indeed.

Not much from me just my humble but sincere wish for all to bask in love and warmth of those you love.

May you and they be constantly wrapped in good health.

May happiness surround you and if you have been praying for that miracle to happen, then may you get it in 2020.

Happy New Year 2020 folks from Garfield and I.

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Bates Motel #3 – Preparing For Surgery #2 During This Stay

I am doing better than expected.

I am ever so grateful to (1) Dr Boey Wah Keong, my anaesthesiologist, my orthopaedic “technician” (2) Dr Lim Yi-Jia of Ortholimb Bone and Joint Surgery and (3) Dr Lui Hock Foong my gastro doctor. It makes a huge difference when I have surgeons who care and not out to choke us for every penny we have.

I am largely alive because of their dedicated care.

Tomorrow I need to do an MRI to assess my foot and how much of a damage is there.

It means going back to the operating theatre and being sliced again.

Thanks to the creativity of Nurse Marites, she put crushed ice into this rubber glove to use as an ice pack over my swollen shoulder. Slipped into a paper matting sleeve, it sits on my freshly operated shoulder.

I must get a photo of him as he looks nothing like a surgeon but a rock climber and rocker. Awesome in humor and keeps me going to face the health issues that face me.

I have to remember this!

My mum in another hospital is stable and doing well. I am relieved as my worry was with her. If I do not fix my limbs, I cannot help her.

I think my rocker surgeon would dare to wear this T shirt haha!

I am sad about aging parents. I saw how Dr Boey reacted to losonv his mum recently and how Dr Lui lost his dad in the middle of this year.

They were calm accepting their death due to aging. I believe their professional training has helped them.

Don t we all wish for gold coins and nof chocolate ones in gold foil haha!

I too must let go when if is time and hope to celebrate their life instead of mourning their deaths when the time comes.

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Bates Motel Day #1 – It Begins

Sayonara Santa!

How quickly Santa came and left.

All the parties, revelry and family yakkity yak leaves everyone drained literally

My inanimate furball Garfield and I are settled in Bates Motel. For familiarity, I was assigned the same room as previously given.

He is snugly tucked in.

The usual blood work for pre-operation. ECG and chest X rays were done.

Good that they are convinced I have a lung and heart that works.

Tomorrow’s surgery is scheduled at 10am.

After that, a tad challenging to use my cell phone and post blogs.

Please excuse my silence till then.

Or if I can manage I will let you know how I am doing.

My mum is stable and she is recovering post stenting.

When her doctor called me, he informed me of how complex it was to tunnel through calcified arteries.

I admire the precision work of Dr Aaron Wong and his team at Singapore General Hospital’s Heart Center unit.

I was told that drilling through calcified arteriee are dangerous as debris not sucked out or caught travels downstream and it can cause immediate death or stroke.

I was very, very worried throughout mum’s procedure and am a little relieved now. But I was reminded that the next few weeks are crucial for mum.

So says the cat!

Bro, Sis, dad and I had a simple X’mas dinner at Streats located in IMM mall.

It was not much to crow about meal and did not come cheap as the food was sub par. But the mall was so crowded that we just decided to eat there as my legs were in full rigor by then and I could hardly lift it

I have informed Dr Lim my orthopaedic guy about it and will entrust him to sort it out.

Sigh….I am so tired.

Happy Boxing Day folks.

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Worried About Mum

The doctor called me this morning to update me on my mum’s condition after they warded her in the Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

A lady I met at the Emergency Room whilst waiting for my mum to be assessed in triage gave me this medicinal plant. I do not know the botanical name but she shared that when boiled it becomes a healing solution for people who suffer from itchy hives, uticaria or skin conditions. Using the boiled solution helps to alleviate the itchiness.

Things are not looking good as mum did indeed suffer a heart attack.

Come Monday, she will undergo an angiogram with dye contrast to find blockages.

This was the second herb that the lady I met at Emergency Room gave me. By drying these leaves and soaking it in rice wine, till it looks like tea color, it can be applied to cat fish stings, swellings and or insect bites. She really seems knowledgeable in local herbs that we all see as weeds!

If the blockage can be opened with a stent, the cardiologist would do so.

If the blockage cannot be cleared through a stent, then a coronary bypass is required.

Risks for my mum is at 3%, given her age and that a stroke or death may occur for stenting.

I am not so worried about percentages for doing stenting but more if stenting is not a viable option.

The doctor shared that we shall not worry about coronary bypass till they try stenting. “Let cross that bridge if stenting is not a viable option.”

I am frightened and worried.

I do not wish to lose my mum.

I cried as it is scary.

But at least the doctors at SGH are cogent, professional and I know my mum is in good hands, with thanks to Dr Anders Stahlen.

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An Early X’mas Gift From Ms Feisty

A Garfield Power Bank

I was so touched to receive this from Ms Feisty as Garfield items are rare and hard to come by.

She has also ordered some cell phone covers of Garfield for me too!

The power bank is helpful as mum has been transferred to an acute hospital as she is not doing too well. I now have a power bank to use and charge my phone instead of worrying about low battery.

It is a useful handy gift.

Meanwhile, Mum’s cardiac enzymes are elevated, there are ECG changes and her haemoglobin has plummeted like the Hang Seng Index.

Also her sodium is low.

This means she will be at risk of more heart attacks, after suffering one in hospital 2 nights ago.

I freaked. I asked the family physician at the hospital to identify the trigger.

None of his team doctors or himself understand what I meant triggered this heart attack?

Another Ms Dim Wit told me trigger was due to her heart disease.

Moron! I snapped.

Of course I know my mum has underlying heart disease as she has had 2 stents put in the 1990s.

I am asking what triggered the heart attack?

Low sodium? Was it due to the meds called Indapramide?

Dr Dense was clueless and did not follow case notes. I knew mum will be in harm’s way if I do not transfer her to Singapore General.

I spent 2 hours telling Dr Dense where he and his team have failed in due care and diligence.

Finally he caved and me thinks he wanted this problematic Garfieldhug out of the way and ‘washed hands’ when he approved the transfer of my mum, out of Dr Dense’s hospital.

I am worried.

I am worried if the low sodium will trigger another heart attack?

I am worried where is the unknown bleed?

In the gut?

Is cancer lurking in mum’s intestines?

I hope she receives better care in her usual hospital than at Dr Dense’s.

When I took Dr Dense down a couple of pegs, he asked me what was my background and profession?

I gave my signature statement, ” I am your world’s biggest BITCH or your world’s best friend! Take your pick!”

I wish my mum recovers fast as this is day 12 for her in hospital.

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Monday Meanderings Of My Thoughts

Monday arrives and I am up like the lark as they say, up at 4.30am. Nothing to crow about though. Wet morning, as I peered out the window, down on the street lit by the street lamps. We are promised cooler temperatures at 23C…we shall see!

I received Teddy and the bouquet from a friend – Teddy is now with a 2 year old boy in Bangladesh. He is not as well off and I felt deserved a teddy bear. His father who works here as a laborer, was delighted to have a bear for his son. I am happy!

Yes, I am a tad earlier this morning, I guess I am anxious as I inch closer to my incarceration at Bates Motel. At least I need not do hard labor in there, as compared to a criminal’s do the crime and pay the time deal!

Chef C of Bates Motel has promised to take good care of me for my dietary requirements and I am glad he cares. It is always such a joy to have Chef C minding what I can or cannot eat and he makes the effort to create bespoke dishes for me as I do not usually find the menu items delectable.

Aahh, I love the simple foods and honestly, shellfish hate me as much I detest them.

The cockadoodle doo also does not like me and Bates Motel is halal certificated to be inclusive. So there is little food choices left for me.

If all goes well for the shoulder, and Dr Bones is happy with my progress, he will then schedule me for a second operation for my left leg. It seems that I have an extra bone that has come asunder!

Me and my extra bones! I wish I was normal like others, without spinal issues!

What caused all this?


Genetic perhaps?

I have bones that do not fuse or bones that are extra. I am an anomaly!

I am such a hoot in the scientific world and I wonder if I can be a cadaver for the learned men and women of the slice and dice world. Perhaps!

The good news is that upon death, should I will my body to be of scientific use, the hospital will take care of me. After 7 months post death, I will then be cremated, and all paid for!

Hmm…cost savings indeed.

Morbid isn’t it? But I am being realistic here as we all know once we are gone, all that is left is a cadaver and as a cadaver, it takes up space and needs to be either buried or cremated.

Last year, I did talk to my funeral director and he asked me if I would like to be surrounded by my inanimate furballs upon death. He offered to set it up.

At least I have a photo keepsake of Teddy!

I visualised all my inanimate furballs around me and liked the idea but what was the point to look good post death?

There is no necessity to spend such money when good money can be given to those that desperately need it for some meals isn’t it?


Silly me, I think too much.

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No Fun To Be In Pain – 1st Frustration

Last night I went to bed with a sore shoulder and painful scar from my parotid gland surgery done in July 2019.

This morning I woke up with a shoulder pain tipping a perfect 10 on the pain scale and an even more painful scar.

Off I trotted to see Dr Surgeon and he was so full of himself to say that his parotid gland surgery was perfect and that the pain from the scar is not from his operation.

Geez….talk about pushing away blame or being egotistical. His rationale is that he has done thousands of such surgeries and no one has complained about the symptoms I feel.

I retorted that I could be that anomaly!! Can he not just research, check the books and figure out why my scar feels like skin being ripped whenever I turn my neck?

I assured him that I was not after a witch hunt but a solution. Dr Surgeon is so stuck in his perfect ego that he can do no wrong that he refused to put his brain to figure out when my scar hurts so bad.

I literally burst out in tears.

I asked him if there is NO CURE, tell it to me in my face.

Or if I am an anomaly and that it takes 2 years (arbitrary speaking here as I pulled number out of a hat) say so.

But stop saying “not me” or “cannot be me” statements.

As a surgeon he should be more open to listen and stop blocking out the symptoms I am trying to tell him.

I asked him why my skin feel like ripping whenever I turn my neck?

No answer but “not from my operation”

I asked him when my left cheek’s swelling will subside? It has been 4 months since the operation. 2 years? 4 years? Forever no cure? What?

No answer but “not from my operation”

I was frustrated.

I told him of constant food stuck on left side of my jaw and that with the swelling I kept biting my own cheek. I spent $321 for my dentist to help me clean and patch the tooth abrasion cavities in the area as I brushed so often to remove the stuck food.

He is so dense as not to know this as the neurologist did warn me about this.

But he was insistent, “not from my operation”

My left ear lobe on top and along the sides of the face hurt. Why, I asked?

No answer but “not from my operation”

He is so stuck in his ego state of I am a perfect surgeon that he did not allow any consideration for my pain.

He grudgingly prescribed a steroid cream for me to apply onto the wound.

I left his clinic. Surgery was done. There is nothing he can do and will do to assist me.

I do not think I will go back and see him anymore as afterall I pay for a session which only says,

“Not from my operation”

Looks like I have to find my own solution and heal thyself.

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