Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

An “Evolving” Patient – Should I Be Flattered Or Scared?

I love Dr Bones! Not romantically but I love him for his great doctoring, surgical skills, flowery language and outlook in life.

In my last consultation with him, he described me as an “Evolving Patient”

I will share how I earned this flowery title of “Evolving Patient”

As an in patient, I have literally scared the living lights out of 4 surgeons. These 4 surgeons are renowned, experienced and with good surgical practice skills under their belt.

I have had the entire radiology department alerted over a Sunday as a major surgery was done on a Saturday and the attending surgeon was worried I had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) when one foot turned dark red.

I lived. It was not DVT thankfully. Just a prank that the deities decided to play on me and the attending surgeon.

Another remarkable “Evolving Patient” incident was when I was admitted for one major surgery, but led to 2 major surgeries and discovery of another 2 major surgeries to be scheduled soon for my bones.

I will also not forget Dr Bones opening statement after hearing and seeing my medical file as a patient for the inaugural consult. He said, “Looks like you and I going to have a long time relationship” LOL!

Being a straight talker, patients either love him or hate him as he does not beat around the bush about outcomes or surgical processes.

To me life has thrown me lemons. Life is never fair and I appreciate Calvin’s reply and agree with him.

I think Dr Bones gave me an apt description. It is categorically true and I will not refute it.

As a patient, I am a bag of surprises to any attending surgeon. To continue to be on my panel of doctors, they must be calm and experienced to overcome all the surprises or curve balls my body throws at them and react with the right solutions.

I am very glad that very few made it to be a continued medical care provider.

So, as an Evolving Patient, I frighten off surgeons who do not deal with Evolvers like me or patients like me cannot be managed by public sector doctors as they see the same ol’ same ol’ straight forward cases. I could see how the surgeon in the public sector paled beyond comparison when I consulted him.

My regular Prof Fong’s mantra is “to keep me alive, do not change or let me try new things and I will remain constant”

Given it is Hallow’s eve….I am a nemesis and to all medical people, “be very, very afraid!” LOL!

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Tie Breaker 3rd Medical Opinion By White Coats Of Singapore General Hospital

I needed a tie breaker 3rd medical opinion and decided on Singapore General Hospital (SGH).

SGH is the largest hospital in lil red dot with firsts in oncology, cardiology, orthopaedics amongst other specialities.

I consulted the hand specialist there.

The registrar was overseen by a consultant and I was pleased that the consultant answered all my questions patiently and cogently.

So much so that he asked me if I am a nurse to know how to ask the questions and understand what he explained by expanding on the questions replied.

Yes! Education is important to me and I learnt by reading up and asking questions as I wanted to work with White Coats to help self.

Dr SGH was using his brains and he wondered if I had a growth that was causing the nerves to be compressed. Visually we saw a bump and the bump sent electric firings to my thumb when pressed.

So, he ordered Xrays, an ultrasound and a nerve conduction test.

As luck would have it, I could do all tests yesterday.

Bad news is that my nerve test compared to one did in January 2020 has further deteoriated when compared to the one done yesterday.

Dr SGH before seeing all my test results opined that I do need surgery and pretty soon too.

Sigh. I felt like such a hand model placing my hand in so many ways haha…but hey at least I have hands right?!

Ah well….I await the radiographer’s reports and technician’s nerve conduction tests.

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White Coats Confer & I Am Conflicted

It seems that for my 2 paws, massive and delicate surgery is required as scarred tissue needs to be hacked away to release trapped nerves.

“How badly trapped are they” I asked Dr James, my neurosurgeon.

One word was his reply, BAD!

Aargh!

Positioning my surgery for August 2021 was a bad idea opined Dr James.

The longer I delay, the chances my nerves can recover is poor.

Dr Bones said that he was not confident that feeling may return to my paws too.

So, I am bummed out.

White Coats never agree with me on alternatives…..it is always surgical intervention and NOW! NOW! Sigh! Sob!

Que sera sera….

Dr James fixed my cervical with titanium rods and screws plus did a marathon surgery with Dr Pang on my spine.

Dr Bones chopped my leg and shoulders.

I trust both but why oh why each time it is urgent surgery and complicated!!

Double aargh!

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Waiting For Last 2 Injections Into Ligaments & Pondering On Food Costs

I am filled with trepidation and fear.

I hate waiting for any medical procedure.

Both Drs Boey and Lui have seen me and Dr Lui need to figure out what new antibiotics to take should I get any infection to avoid my limbs getting swollen again.

I prefer procedures get done immediately when I am told so that I will not overthink, as the process is done!

I will be out of Bates tomorrow and back to the work grind. I did no stop working though.

Planning for meals will be a challenge and groceries as well. Thankfully I am eliciting help from friends.

My brother who lives in HK had a dinner comprising Taiwanese spicy noodles in soup with a side of dumplings at an affordable HKD 44 or SGD7.80!

Eating out is a steal compared to the time one takes to cook and fire up a stove, get groceries, drive, pay for parking and spend time cooking. I would need 3 hours to get groceries, driving, parking and returning to store and pack things away.

But I am old fashioned in that I prefer to eat whatever goulash I rake up than eating out. Besides, I do not like eating out alone. My food menus are really inedible by most. This will be fodder for another post!

I love dumplings, pork dumplings and for this to be part of HKD44 set is really a steal!

When I learnt of how reasonably priced cooked food is available in HK, I grimaced at the high cost of living in Red Dot. Our hawker food is not cheap.

A bowl of noodles can cost $5.50 to $6 a bowl and a side of dumplings will cost the same. So I would have paid SGD12 for two items which is about right here.

Just the other day I bought donburi pork belly rice bowls at Ume Sushi at $8.90 a bowl. Nothing in there just rice, 4 slivers of soy sauce pork belly slices and pickled cabbage.

I now understand why expatriates shun living in Singapore these days as rent, car, food, private school tuition fees adds a toll to their salary package. With the economic hard times, most are hired on local packages. It is tough to subsist here.

For me, it would be cheaper to doggie bag food home as my weekly groceries for one person is about $100 (about USD73 a week) excluding detergents and solvents for household cleaning which would set me back another $100 to $150 (USD73 to USD108)

My grocery list is not extensive, simply pork , fish veggies and fruits. If I am one who love crustaceans or seafood like shellfish and molluscs, then it would cost me more.

It used to be that I find USA standard of living high or UK or Hong Kong but these days I am seeing how much cheaper it is to live in USA, UK, Hong Kong, Australia or New Zealand. But I would hazard a guess that cities like Perth or Sydney or Tasmania will still be pricey.

As they say, the world spins, lives change and economic standards change.

Yes, we all need to work hard for our money to sustain the lifestyle we need and I don’t mean champagne and caviar dreams lifestyle of the rich and opulent. Just a simple life for Garfield and I. LOL!

Tomorrow night I will be in my own bed with my inanimate furball!

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Short Fingers, Planning for August 2021 Surgeries

I am chicken hearted when it comes to surgeries – especially performed under local anaesthetic. This surgery was gamely done under local with sedation.

Wrapped like a dumpling, my fingers are swollen like little sausages according to the occupational therapist. LOL!

Dr Bones sat with me today and said that he would be writing the medical report for me and to him, it is like another Enid Blyton fairytale as my medical world has gnomes, fairies and elves.

He bemoaned the upcoming August 2021 surgery and told me even if I paid him a million bucks it would have to be done under general anaesthesia, no ifs buts or so’s!

I am told it would be major surgery and after the first hand is done, the next hand will need to be done, almost back to back.

Sigh!

Today my trusty Dr Boey tested me on 18 points of my body and confirmed that I suffered from Fibromyalgia. I now have another label for the chronic aches and pains, adding to my autoimmune disorder.

I am going to try taking Neurontin and see if it helps relieve my pain. But as my Enid Blyton story book tale goes, the side effects of this drug will or may aggravate my diverticulitis.

Tomorrow, Dr Boey will inject my scar pain and just this afternoon I had Xrays of my right shoulder done to see if there are any ominous bone spurs poking its ugly head anywhere. I seems to have pain there too.

This is one popcorn flavor I wonder about?

Life goes on…..laugh, cry or moan…

A Town’s Name that does not go well with the poster!
Meanwhile the great meals in Bates Motel is making me FAT!
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Almost 5am….7 Hours More Till Chopping Begins

Yes, I am somewhat anxious.

Life is a tad complicated for most, including mine.

Anxious about how the surgery will make my daily life a bit challenging for some weeks till I get better.

The old adage of it must get worst to get better holds true for me now.

I will have one paw down. Hard to be doing things with one paw down and dare not extrapolate on how I will manage next week when home.

I am tempted to instruct Dr Bones at this stage to proceed with doing my other paw too but hesitate.

If I do both now, then am left with just one to go when I return in 5 months to do it.

Even bananas die by hanging!

For now I am tussling with decision to be locally anaesthesized or sedated or general anaesthesized.

I rather not see.

What I don’t see, I am not squirmish. I fainted years ago when I had to see my dog stitched up.

But Dr Bones want some sort of alertness from me to ensure my fingers work whilst repairing my paw.

Dr Gas Man will need to speak with me today as he keeps me awake or asleep.

Yes…admittedly, I am anxious.

Plus MR EX appeared like a bad penny!

I used to love Alf and my Japanese classmate bought me this exact soft furball whilst I was in university. This is how I wish I could be…stoned drunk and waking up and it is all good.

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Tomorrow Is When The Chopping Begins At Bates Motel

Occupational Therapist arrived in his huge machine filled with hot water to begin the moulding and making of my splint. The purpose of this splint is to alleviate the swelling of the tendons and to immobilise my hand till surgery is prescribed to fix the trapped nerves.

Likely to be fixed in 2021, 2nd half of the year as I am too busy at work for any surgery now. Dr Bones figured that with the logistics of being admitted again then in the next half year, he will do both surgeries concurrently.

This means both my left and right hands will be chopped and it will make it hard on me to do anything else but recuperate in Bates Motel.

I joked with the Occupational Therapist – Vincent. He is a friendly lad and as he moulded the splint to fit my hand he reminded me how to use it. I cheekily told him it would be hard to slap anyone one with the state of my hands.

Dr Gut just happened to walk in and he chimed in…it would hurt you much more to slap any one in your current state of malfunctioning hands. Hmm the slapper hurts more than the slapee! Gee!

At the least the color is pleasant – baby blue and it does look like a storm trooper outfit. Kinda sleek and comfy.

I am still mulling over the decision of using local anaesthesia for the slightly longer than 1 hour procedure or general anaesthesia for it.

I will be injected in the back of my shoulder as well as the back of my left hand before Dr Bones slices me in the palm.

He will be alone with me in the Operating Theatre with this motley crew of OT nurses and support staff. If no general anaesthesia is required, then my watchful trusty anaesthetist will be required to sit out of this one.

I then wonder how will Dr Bones find my IV line as this is something not easily found….Black gold is hard to track in this temple of mine.

The Chef was in too see me when he realised I was back.

He was kind to devise a bespoke menu for me. He thinks I should have garoupa, some satay, veggies and a soup for dinner.

Sounds like a last supper of sorts LOL!

One thing is for sure, my nurses care about me and the Bates Motel’s COO personally assisted me to be in my usual room.

At least I am blessed with their diligent care.

Now I only wish for Dr Bones to do it right by me. He actually stopped to pray over me and I am heartened.

Wish me luck!

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Bates Motel – My Nightmare Begins As A Chopping Begins Wednesday

Murder gone wrong…

I was persuaded to enter the gates of Bates Motel on Sunday for emergency admission.

I was reacting to a drug allergy and my paws became a swollen bat.

I negotiated with my docs.

Dr Gut was worried as he saw my photos that Dr Bones demanded.

On hindsight, I appreciate Dr Bones as he always appreciate photos and I had to photographed my paws every couple of hours to show them on Saturday.

By 1153hrs on Saturday, Dr Gut says please admit and be a guest or to me prison inmate of Bates Motel.

I negotiated and said 1pm Sunday.

Today is Monday and verdict is I need to repair a torn tendon in my left paw. This is urgent.

Think nice thoughts I told myself and came across a gardener’s creation in the gardens. Teddy bears made out of bushes! Gorgeously artistic.

What can wait till next year is 2 major surgeries on my left and right paws concurrently. My nerves are wound up tight and needs to be released.

I need to think more green nice thoughts.

Isn’t this awesome for a sprawling lawn or gardens?

Now comes the question of general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia. Hmm…eenie meenie my nee mo or do I flip a coin?

Decisions! Decisions!

Covid-19

Think soothing thoughts..

So cute!!

I am scared as my russian roulette playing is taking too many rounds without let up.

I hope I survive this and next year’s surgeries.

So homey!!
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Little Things That Bring Hope

I have been feeling poorly the last week and am still battling this horrid cough. My head is so stuffed up like a cabbage (*as if I know what a cabbage feels like haha) but my faculties are intact, thankfully!

I just had to send an email to a colleague in a neighboring land who stepped out of line. I hate slapping virtually but this Lord had to do it as morons that step out of line may cause unnecessary labor issues. Gawd, I just admitted it, I am a Lord of Labor Issues! Sigh!

As I woke up this morning and looked out of my bathroom window I saw the largest rainbow spanning the entire sky. In seconds it was gone.

It was as if reminding me that there is hope in a new dawn of day and that I will get better.

Life is such. We do not appreciate mobility so much or freedom to do what we want with out limbs till we lose it.

I have not imagined leaving home as and when I wanted without need of a mask. These days, I cannot leave home without it. It is like house keys, cannot leave home without it.

I am off to see my regular Doctor this afternoon. He may be a gastroenterologist and liver specialist but he is really good with managing the treatment of my coughs. He has been very good and astute at the types of medicines to prescribe and I hope his afternoon, I can know that my lungs are not wheezing or they are not in a bad state.

Mr Kind’s mother is in hospital. She has dementia and now with low blood count, he is worried that she may have cancer as she needed blood transfusion. Hopefully the scans show normality for her. Still his family is a close knit one and they have had a meeting to decide that regardless of the outcome, no aggressive treatment plans.

Mr Kind lost his elder sister to cancer earlier this year and his father suffered a bad stroke that left his father paralysed. Yet he spares me a few minutes each day to wish me well and ensure that I am good.

Life has to come and life has to go.

It is the journey we take as living breathing beings; be it as a person or as a 4 paws. We all have life in us.

Take heart and journey on…dang it, where’s my meds….I still have another 2 days of antibiotics left to ingest and I am pretty sure, I will be extended another week’s course as my lungs are not behaving.

At least I have drugs to take that can make me feel better.

Others may not have this opportunity.

Life…..a little rainbow of hope is all we need.

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My First Covid Test Experience

All the hacking of fur balls drove me to seek a second opinion from a clinic that catered to the masses. I was edged to do this as my regular and trusty good doctor reminded me that my symptoms of hacking up fur balls put me in the realm of requiring a Covid test.

He wondered why my General Practitioner did not reckon I needed one when the guidelines were quite clear.

I could have gone to Bates Motel to get it done but it would have set me back $400 for the test, excluding doctor’s fees of another $200 before medicines were dispensed.

I decided to go to the clinic for the masses as the government would pay for my test and I would have first hand access to medical attention if I required treatment for Covid.

On arrival, I was treated like a VIP – or rather like a leper entering a colony of normal people.

I was escorted by the auxiliary police, skipped the queues, went straight to the doctor’s clinic in an isolated section of the clinic for the masses.

I was seen in five minutes, swab tested in another 5 minutes and collected my medicines in another 5 minutes. In under an hour, I was home.

Usually a minimum visit to the clinic of the masses would take me more than 2 hours. So, I am not complaining for the VIP or leper treatment, it suits me fine.

The swab testing for the throat was a unique experience as they push a long cotton swab stick down the throat and for that spilt second, I felt like retching. Thankfully I did not.

Good news is that I did not have to pay for the test. My bill for the doctor’s consult will come later plus meds. Dr To hails from Hong Kong and he is rather nice and patient, running through my drugs and telling me what I needed.

I have what the doctor says, “Acute Respiratory Infection or as what he thinks – Bronchitis” at least till the swab test results return.

I feel it should be a negative Covid-19 test result as I did not go out, save for groceries and I did mask up.

Aah well, they said I will know in 3 days’ time! Or like they say, no news is good news.

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