Saturday, August 31, 2013

Salam Merdeka

31st August - the day Federation of Malaya declared her independence from the then British colonial rule in the year of 1957. (Later on 16th September 1963, Malaysia was formed by Federation of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.)

Despite all, in spite all, I am proud to be a Malaysian. Saya anak bangsa Malaysia :)

We were taught to sing the national anthem since young - and each time now, I sing it again, I could feel tears well up - because of the Malaysian pride.

Tanah tumpahnya darahku
Rakyat hidup, bersatu dan maju
Rahmat bahagia, Tuhan kurniakan
Raja kita selamat bertakhta

(My translation below)
My country
My native land
The people live in unity and progress
God grants blessings and mercy
Our King rules in sovereignty

Video of the national anthem - performed with a nice twist; video made 2 years ago, hence the 54th year credit message at the end.

As it says for our theme this year - Malaysiaku Berdaulat, Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku (My Sovereign Malaysia, My Native Land).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Discharged and...

Life goes back to 'almost' normal.

Mum was discharged on Sunday evening, she is resting at home now.

Excerpts of my FB updates:
Update 22 Aug, evening
Better, even though her foot is still swelling. She managed to shower on her own in the morning. She is more cheered up, shared with her on some friends' latest FB photos and showed her how to use a phone's touch screen.
Another xray done on her lower back, I'm still waiting to see the doc.

Update 23 Aug, evening
Foot is still swollen, but looks better. She was given antibiotics drips since yesterday.
Started to eat solid foods. Showered on her own for 2nd consecutive day.
I have no chance to speak to the doctors today, will be there tomorrow to get latest findings.

Update 24 Aug, morning
Mum's almost ready to be discharged (maybe tomorrow). Will undergo final blood test later today.
Spoken to the gastro specialist, whom had advised for surgery of gall bladder removal. She will be referred to the surgeon for follow up after this.

Update 25 Aug, morning
Latest blood test shows amylase level is now within normal range at 53 (from 1984 on Day 1).
Swelling at foot has subsided.
Doc says has to observe for a while more before releasing her as she complains of minor abdominal pain.
She feels better after I took her down to the small garden for a walk before lunch. The place was full of the fragrance of jasmines.

Update 25 Aug, evening
Finally done with settling her discharge documents, paid the bills and mum is on the way home with my brother at 5pm.
I was given a long list of follow up appointments with different doctors - she has to see the gastro specialist, the surgeon, the orthopedic and her usual psychiatrist. So life is back to 'almost' normal for now.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Cute Pancreas It Is NOT

Mum complained of progressively severe abdominal pain last Sat which began in the morning, and finally was sent to the Emergency Ward in the evening around 7pm.

The pain was diagnosed as acute pancreatitis, she was taken in for abdomen xray but no stones spotted. Gall bladder stones that get stuck in one of the ducts could be a reason of the inflammation in the pancreas.

Blood test result out at around 3am and showed her amylase level was 1984, normal range <100 . Surgeon was called in but he only arrived an hour later.

After the surgeon's examination, no surgery was needed so she was referred to the gastro clinic. Another hour went by. The gastro specialist came to see her at about 5am and confirmed the early diagnosis. It was confirmed that she had to be admitted (don't ask me why, but this is the painful process of getting into a government hospital).

I finished the registration procedures by 6am but there was no bed available in the ward. I was exhausted by then, didn't sleep all night and all. Finally waited till 7am and told the nurse I just need to go home to take a short rest and will be back to the hospital. I reached home and took a nap, and got back to the hospital by 11am.

Mum told me they finally transferred from the emergency to the medical ward at about 8am. She was taken to do ultrasound by noon and second blood test conducted. Ultrasound results confirmed no stones blocking the ducts (doc says it is a good thing). Pancreas was still inflammed as white blood cells count went up. I left the hospital at about 7pm, full blood test results not out yet.

Mum was put on a full fast and she was on drips.

The following updates are per what I posted to my church group on FB:
Update, 19 Aug morning
She looks stronger and has been allowed to drink plain water.
Amalyse level down to 916 and no reported fever.

Update 19 Aug, evening
Improved condition, she had just been transferred to normal ward. Amylase level down to 366, white blood cells count still increasing.

Update 20 Aug, morning
Improving, she's allowed on liquids already. Lesser abdominal pain.

Update 20 Aug, evening
She looks more energetic, and she could bathe on her own now. Blood test results are late today.
Am thankful for an understanding boss, I had been getting to work late at 10+ and leaving early at 4+. I dunno what some people at work think of me, but I am trying my best to keep my work up to par; working extra hard during the few short hours.
Am also thankful for friends who are  constantly encouraging me - not just with their calls, messages but also through action. They visited my mum and helped me took care of her in those hours I can't be there and even bought me dinner, knowing that I will be there in the evening.

Update 21 Aug, morning
Mixed news.
She's better in the pancreas dept, allowed on soft solids, stopping drips.
Her left foot is painful since yday and this morning swollen. Xray taken, I didn't manage to stay for results.

Update 21 Aug, evening
Mum's leg swelling has not gone down, pending blood test. Xray showed swelling not due to joint. Doc's preliminary diagnosis is skin inflammation. She's not able to stand due to the pain.
No more abdominal pain.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Girls on Cruise

Long overdue post of the cruise holiday I took with mom almost 2 months ago.
Note: Could be photo-intensive post. There would have been more if I had had my camera with me. 

It was the first time both of us go on a cruise. Mom had mentioned to me a couple of times before that she heard it is a lot of fun going on one. As much as I wasn't convinced, I figured it could be a great holiday choice for her - as she is not able to walk for long distance, she does not really enjoy relaxing by the beach, she detests shopping (except for groceries perhaps, but still she can't walk for long before complaining of leg pain).

I got a pretty good deal, a buy-one-free-one package so it was about MYR2600 for the two of us with our choice of the Ocean View Stateroom. The package also comes with return coach transfer between KL and Penang, which is a plus point. I do not mind driving to Penang, but would prefer to have at least another capable driver. The journey on the road takes about 6 hours one way.

So off we go...
On the coach, heading to Penang
Crossing the Penang Bridge

Here we go
Our room

Just relaxing

Being on-board the ship, we didn't do much besides eating, sleeping, chilling at the pool deck, watching shows at night... we practically did nothing except to just relax. I even had time to catch up on my reading.

Just enjoying the breeze on the pool deck
The acrobatic show on the 2nd night

We did pretty well on the first day - but when we awoke the next day, we started to feel a little seasick. Thinking it was not serious, we just put medical plaster on our belly buttons. I learned this trick whilst on a trip to Jogjakarta some years ago, shared by our local guide which had helped my friends curb their motion sickness. My mom claimed she had heard of it too. We did just that but few hours later we still felt uneasy. We had no choice but to take the anti-motion sickness tablets. Thankfully I managed to get it at the eleventh hour.

Spotted in Phuket

Krabi town centre - iconic traffic lights 

Enjoying our seafood tomyam at one of the local restaurants in Krabi

We got off the ship on the 2nd and 3rd day at Phuket and Krabi. As I have said, mom don't do beaches or related water activities, so I have planned for us to go to town these two days, to just take our own sweet time to check out the places. Managed to sneak in a superb and relaxing (yes! this word again!) Thai massage session in Patong town, Phuket. In Krabi town, we found the local morning/wet market and bought lots of fruits from there. Prices were reasonable and the fruits fresh. We had mangosteens, lychees, rambutans and pomelo! We had a feast.

Disembarked, leaving the jetty on the coach - and it rained for the first time during our trip

Overall it was a good trip, spent quality time with mom. I know I may not have spent much time with her, except for those grocery shopping weekends. I am I have this chance to travel with her, to bring her to see the world outside her own little space. I know how hard her childhood had been (she was born in the midst of World War 2), how she had  and I told her before I will give her a better life the best I can.

Oh, with the cruise package, we actually got a free 5D-4N trip to Hangzhou too! We just have to buy our flight tickets, wonderful as Hangzhou is a place I had wanted to visit in China. As the Chinese says, "Paradise above, Suzhou-Hangzhou below 上有天堂,下有蘇杭". Am keeping an eye on cheap airfare.