Specially for my favourite daughter-in-law
December 14, 2014, 12:18 am
Filed under: Specially for my daughter-in-law | Tags: ,

It's official!Recently a write-up from a monster mother-in-law went almost viral. That got me thinking. What does my daughter-in-law think of me?

I grew up on Chinese Movies. Mum was a movie buff, and I saw a movie practically every week. Almost all had a monster mothers-in-law, and I was kinda terrified at what my future held. God is kind, and my mum-in-law is really all any daughter-in-law can ask for. I’m hoping I will be that to Chris as well.

Like I said in my previous post, Diddle Diddle dumpling my son Jon Christel you were my choice too. And a real fine choice, I must add.

Chris, you will be 30 today. A milestone indeed. I just thought I want to write to you.

Chris, though I love you dearly, you will never be my daughter. And that is fine – no one can ever take mama zhu’s place in your life and no one ever should.  I never saw you growing up, never understood your traumas and your triumphs. That is strictly the prerogative of your mother. No mother-in-law should ever attempt to take anyone away from their mother. However, not being there with you in your growing up years also means that there are times I do not understand you and could have caused hurt. If it ever happened, do forgive and understand that it is not intentional.

tea ceremony mum and dadAlso, because I am not your mother, I cannot expect the same methods of showing affection as from my children. I cannot even expect the same sort of  love my own kids feel for me. Do not be pressured. Deeper love will come, different ways of expressing that love is ok too. Just let our relationship grow as we spend more time together. A mother-in-law is a very privileged position. It means i have a share in someone else’s daughter without the painstaking years of growth from baby til maturity. And you are a treasure.

What do I then expect from you? Well, you are now the primary woman in my son’s life, taking my place so to speak. Yet our roles are different. Mine is to help him grow, to be an authority figure, to discipline him. In other words, though we both love him, mine is a position of authority. Not so for you, which makes it harder for you I suppose.

tea ceremony sisters jon and chrisFor you are to be his helpmate. As a mother, all I want to see is you supporting him, loving him, being his listening ear. I expect both of you to comfort each other, be there for one another. As the wise woman, I hope you can also steer him away from wrong thinking or actions. Remember that every decision he takes will affect you and the family you might establish one day. As an authority figure, it’s easier for me to put my foot down. For you, as wife, it is harder.

I have been very pleased with what I see of your relationship so far. I see the both of you being soul mates to each other. I see communication channels that are open. I see love and affection and understanding. I really see how you support Jonathan, even when he bullies you! Ha.

Remember though that the devil does not stop trying to rob you of joy. Even though your marital relationship looks strong, be on the alert and guard it. He comes like a thief in the night, and where we think we are strong, we often leave the defences down. Never let your guard down in your marriage. He may be my son, but he is not immune to temptation. Neither are you. Always flee temptation. I do not think I’m particularly charming, but whenever someone of the opposite sex becomes too close to me, I flee. Never give room for another relationship to develop. Way too risky.

So Chris, enjoy your birthday. 30 is a wonderful age. You are mature without being old. It is truly the prime of your life. Enjoy this next decade and the decades after with Jon by your side.

By the way, i forgot to add in the previous post one wise Jonathan’s comment when he was all of 3 years old.

Qn: What do you want to be when you grow up?

I was expecting policeman, or fireman or something typical. Why do i do that?

His answer: Like Grandpapa.

Meaning retired! May you both have a blessed journey towards retirement and beyond!!All in the family

Love you always.

Your mother-in-law

Dec 14 2014

Diddle Diddle Dumpling, My son Jon
December 13, 2014, 12:43 am
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Diddle Diddle Dumpling, My son Jon

061711_0227_Remembering1.pngHow to even begin writing about this boy? For one thing he was late coming into the world, by at least 2 weeks. My waters broke one evening, and I had to go to Kandang Kerbau Hospital at night. In those days, husbands were not allowed to accompany wives into labour and so my husband quite gleefully bade me goodbye and went home to sleep. Throughout the night, I heard other women screaming in pain, including one who shouted for doctors, her husband, and even her father.  I was petrified. Still Jonathan refused to make his appearance, despite my being given an inducing agent. By early morning, my gynaecologist came to see me. One look at me, and she declared that I was too tired and I would probably have to go for caesarean birth. By that time, I was so exhausted that I declared, “Anything, doctor. Anything!” Of course, typical Jonathan who always timed things just so decided he had tortured me enough. Before I knew it, he was on his way. My poor gynae, Mary Rauff could not even stitch up her patient before rushing over to me. There he was this red, wrinkled and bald baby. Even as a mother, I could not describe him a beautiful.

This child is so different from many other children. So much so that a sociologist friend who specialised in children found him fascinating. John Ang was lecturing at NUS then. We used to visit him very often to John’s delight. To give you some examples:

John used to say that children will just repeat the last thing they heard. So for instance, if you asked them if they wanted orange or apple, they would reply apple. If you asked them if they wanted apple or orange, they would say orange. John tried it on Jon.

John: Would you like sweets or ice cream?

Jon: ice cream ( John was positively preening )… and sweets.

Ah well.

Other child educational tests would find Jon answering in totally unexpected ways too. For instance, one experiment calls for using two measuring jars showing the same volume of water. Make sure the children can see the volume is the same. Pour the contents of one into a short squat container, and the other into a tall and slender one. Children are then likely to choose the tall slender container as having more volume. So armed with that knowledge, I thought I’d try it with Jon. When it came to selecting which container had more volume, Jon selected the tall narrow container. Bingo! He’s finally normal. So I went one step further and asked him why.

“Because you spilled some water when you poured into the other container.”

So much for that.

Driving along the highway in Malaysia one day, Jon looked perplexed.

“Why are there no traffic lights on this road?”

That just confirmed it for me. This child noticed things absent, which is really highly unusual. Children tend to ask questions about what they see, not what they cannot see. This is a pretty high level skill and I knew he would be a handful.

Jonathan loved the book, “How many trucks can a tow truck tow?” By age 3 he memorised the entire book, and could “read” it beautifully with expression. Except he could not read. He only started reading at the beginning of primary 2. A huge problem in Singapore, trust me. Not that I did not try. He hated all readers, especially the Peter and Jane series. So I gave up. I figured that it would be like walking. When he was ready, he’d do it.

He hated kindergarten. When I asked him if it was fun, he said emphatically, “No!” Colouring within the lines was totally boring for this boy. The teacher spoke to me and said that Jon was very quiet and uncooperative. How to tell the teacher the child was bored stiff? I asked him, “The teacher says you don’t participate. What do you do in school then?”

His answer, “I was thinking.”

I cannot blame the teacher for wanting to tear her hair.

Back to reading. He was clearly very intelligent, but just could not read and spell. I yelled, scolded to no avail. Sometime in early primary 2, I lost my tether. I threatened him to learn his spelling or else. A few minutes later, he came back and said he was ready. Alan was with me so this story can be verified.

Me: Don’t bluff. Whole morning you gave me rubbish and you tell me you are ready now?

Jon: Yes.

So we tested him and he got it all correct. Alan took a random envelop. It was from Phillip Securities so we tested him on that. He took one look and spelt it correctly. From that day onwards, spelling was a breeze and all he needed to do was to look at the list in the car on the way to school. Perfect scores every time.

Just to show you this boy’s logic, and how irrational some questions can be. A favourite style of questioning in maths is the following

…… is 2 more than 3.

Jon’s answer: No. Because 2 is not more than 3.

Teaching him pronouns was torture too.

Qn: I am Muthu. This is …………… ball.

Answer: His. Because I am not Muthu.

Me, with exasperation: You have to pretend that I am Muthu. So what is the answer?

Answer: Your ball …. Since you want to pretend to be Muthu.

I gave up!

This was the child who refused to give working for maths problems…why? Just by reading and working things out mentally, he could get the answer. He just could not understand why it was important to write down the steps. He was non-conformist in every way and it was so difficult to get him to adjust.

He understood multiplication at age 4. At that time he was suffering from eczema which affected his eyes badly. He had to put eyedrops which rather frightened him. So I promised him a sweet if he would do it without complaining.

Jon: I have two eyes.

Me: ok you can have 2 sweets.

Jon: But it is 2 eyedrops. So I should have 4 sweets.

That was the end of the bargaining. He was given none!

When told not to open ang pows in front of my aunt, he ran into the kitchen and shouted, “Can I open it now?” Sigh.

He was also very good at bargaining. When I finished my no pay leave after having Samantha and was going back to work, innocently he asked.

Jon: Last time you are not working so you are poor, right?

Me: right.

Jon: Now you are going back to work so you will be rich right?

Me: ya

Jon: so last time that toy you say was too expensive, you can buy now right?

Me: errr

He has always been small and could have been the victim of many a bully. Somehow he was blessed with really big friends. Don’t get me wrong though. He could give back as good as he gets. Once when I asked him about bullying, he told me that after a while they would leave him alone.

Me: How come?

Jon: I wait for them to go for recess then I will hide their things. They will not be able to find it, and get into trouble with the teachers.

That’s one way of doing it.

This boy has surprised us in so many ways. About the biggest shocker I had was when he came back from JC one day spotting an ear stud. This mother had to really bite her tongue and keep to her parenting principles … giving them room to be themselves. All I said was that he would have to get it removed before National Service because the army might not take kindly to mavericks. Not sure if my facial expression echoed the forced calm in my voice though.

As for music, he was musical from young. I remember him bopping up and down in perfect timing as I was practicing with my small singing group. He kept tune perfectly even though children were supposed to be tone deaf to a certain age. Of course like all dutiful parents, I signed him up for piano lessons. He was doing well in Yamaha Music Class until the class shifted to a different time slot. He just refused to go. Later I found out that the class clashed with his favourite cartoon, DarkWing Duck. Future piano lessons were too boring. Finally I gave up all lessons. He wanted to play the saxophone, but I refused to believe he was genuine. I regret that disbelief. When he passed his PSLE I bought him a cheap guitar. There was no looking back. After O levels I bought him something that was really what he wanted and he took off from there, basically teaching himself all the way. So when he asked me if he could go into music as a career, as a parent, I did feel uneasy. However, it is his life. Also, I felt that Christel was the one who had to journey with his decision. My answer to him was, “Mummy can only be with you just so many years of your life. Christel is the one who will have to walk with you. You have to ask her.” I suppose that’s why at his wedding, he thanked me for giving him the freedom to make decisions for himself.

One of the ultimate moments of my life with my son was when he jumped into my bed one night and as usual demanding mummy’s attention. I remember the conversation we had then. He was serving national service at that time.

Me: The girl you choose, son, must get along with mum.

Jon: Which girl do you like, from church.

Me, without hesitation and not that I knew anything: Christel. Not that I have even interacted that much with her.

Jon, surprised: Really? We have just decided to go out together.

So Christel, you are my choice, even as you are Jon’s. May you have a blessed birthday, and I  hope you enjoy knowing more about little Jon.

last photo

Who’s the test for?
December 1, 2014, 11:43 am
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I really appreciated Dr Kevin Loy’s message this Sunday past on the significance of faith in worship. His example of the ultimate test of faith – that of Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac also provoked me into thinking about such tests that as believers we do face from time to time. Perhaps it was when Kevin said that God wanted to test Abraham’s faith that got me thinking. Who’s the test for?

The test cannot be for God, for being the omniscient God, He already knows the status of Abraham’s faith. So is the test for Abraham? If so, why?

As I pondered over this, my personal conclusion is God tests our faith so that we can understand the status of our own faith. So why is this important?

Suppose we “pass” the test, as Abraham clearly did. Abraham understood that the same God who demands is also the God who will provide. If in the midst of our testing, we can stand firm in this unshakeable faith in God, despite the suffering and the circumstances, our stories become examples for other people who may be facing difficult situations – to know that God can still give us the victory.

Another example of a biblical persona going through many trials is Job. Unlike the test that Abraham went through, Job’s trials were not directly from God. Rather, in Job’s case, satan was allowed to put Job through “hell” as it were. It was so difficult to endure that Job’s wife was enraged and she told Job to curse God and die.

The story of Job is a very uncomfortable one for believers. We want a triumphant God and a victorious life. We want our existence on earth to be as trouble free as possible. In the example of Job, we see that this man, clearly beloved of God, was not spared earthly trials. The story reminds us that we too are not exempt from suffering. Job’s story also resonates with many a sufferer whose well-meaning friends often counsel the obvious, or play the blame game (example surely there must be some unconfessed sin, hence you are going through this) Both of these scenarios are futile at best and adds nothing to the one going through the trials. In Job you see how to go through suffering, realistically. He complained about his life, his very existence but not once did he curse God, not once did he deny His existence.

This is an important lesson indeed. For if you are going through an extremely difficult time, or if you are at death’s door, it will be ultimate foolishness to curse God and die as suggested by Job’s wife. You can express your emotions honestly to God but to denounce him at your hour of greatest need is the epitome of idiocy. The God with whom you have walked for so many years of your life, the God who has given you multiple victories both great and small in the past, HE is the ONLY one who can make eternity bearable. Do you denounce Him at this hour or do you honestly tell him how you feel? The difference is that the former means you will reject His very existence, while the latter means you acknowledge He is still God even though you are bitter about what you are going through. That knowledge is still faith and that faith will ultimately give you hope and victory, even if that victory does not come in the form that you desire. For instance an illness could lead to death rather than miraculous healing. Yet death is victorious too, in the light of eternal life.

So coming back to who the test is for? The answer is surely for the believer who is going through the test and for those who will be reached by his testimony.

What happens if a believer should fail the test? Then that believer is given yet another chance to better his spiritual life. David failed many times but his repentance drew him back to God. Even failed tests are a testimony to others giving hope to those who are struggling.

So uncomfortable though we may be, desirous though we may be of a completely victorious life, understand that we do go through tests. We can pass the test or we may fail it. The important thing is what we do after the results are out. Those who pass will be an example for others to follow. Those who fail  but yet try again are perhaps even better examples, for how many of us pass tests of faith the first round? We need to understand that in the school of spiritual living, we are given many chances to pass our tests.

This reminds me of the song by Steve Green, Find us Faithful. May that be true of us, we who are pilgrims on this narrow road.

1 Dec 2014

He ain’t Heavy, He’s my Son
November 22, 2014, 1:27 am
Filed under: He ain't heavy, he's my son | Tags:
Cheeky faced Jonathan

Cheeky faced Jonathan

He ain’t heavy, he’s my son

I was going to give the low down on my son on his thirtieth birthday. It would make a good giggle for his friends. Being the wonderful and sensitive mother, I sought his permission first. He refused to give it. So sorry folks. Christel, maybe I give you a copy as your birthday gift?? :wink-wink:

However, 30 years old is a milestone. I do want to write something to remember this event by. So here goes.

At the Botanic Gardens

At the Botanic Gardens

When Jonathan was a baby, we lived in Dover Close East on the 22nd floor. One morning, I did some marketing with him in tow. When we reached home, to our horror, the lifts had broken down. He was due for his milk soon, so this mother carried him in one arm, groceries in another and climbed 22 stories. Err and he was heavy after about 3 floors. Thankfully I was only 26 then, and though I was huffing and puffing, we made it home.

When he was 4, Alan won a ticket to Japan. We decided to bring Jonathan along. The trip included a visit to Tokyo Disneyland. At one point, Alan traipsed off to go on a killer roller coaster ride, and I was left with Jonathan. We were exploring the theme park, but after a while, Jonathan said, “Legs tired.” What could mum do but to pick him up and to carry him. Soon he noticed that I too was getting exhausted. He looked at me and said, “Mummy, you are tired too. Put me down. I walk.” My heart melted.

These two incidences remind me that having a child is physically tiring. A child can become heavy in our arms. However, bringing up a child is much more than physical exertion. Children can weigh us down emotionally. We are carrying them spiritually too. As a parent, we feel every roller coaster ride they are on. We are excited with them, rejoice with them, go through spiritual highs and lows with them. This is a never ending journey. It matters not if they are 3 or 30. We will still be carrying them in one way or another.

First Birthday

First Birthday

Nevertheless, they bring us much joy, much pride. No matter what we go through with them, they will always be the loves of our lives. And yes, they ain’t heavy, they’re our children.

Blessed birthday my son. And no I have not forgotten the child who ran to the gate every evening as I come back from work, shouting gleefully, “Mummy, Mummy!” That always made my day worth it. Nor will I forget the child who said he would hug his mummy every day.

My favourite son with my favourite daughter-in law, Christel.

My favourite son with my favourite daughter-in law, Christel.

To many more years of happiness with Christel as the primary woman in your life. Love her as you loved your mummy when you were a child, unconditionally and unreservedly. May both of you enjoy many years together. And you are not just lucky to have found each other. You are highly favoured of the Lord for he who finds a wife has found a good thing indeed.

By the way, Lucky is the first and only real song I’ve ever heard you sing!

Health Challenge 2014 Part 2
October 23, 2014, 9:10 am
Filed under: Health Challenge 2014 Part 2, Health Issues | Tags: ,

So after discharge from the hospital, I was really doing well. You cannot believe how wonderful it was not to be vomiting and to feel bloated all the time. Of course I had lost lots of weight and was pretty weak, not having eaten much in two months. I thank God that previous medication had made me put on a lot of weight, so even with the weight loss, I still did not look too haggard.

Just when I was happily recovering, I noticed issues with passing urine. The flow seemed a little less. I was also having some problems with bowel movement. The latter I put it down to post surgery recovery, since I thought it might take a while for the intestines to settle and resume normal function.

One evening however, though I felt the need to go to the toilet, I just could not pass urine. If it did happen at all, it was with great effort and the volume was small. I think I waited about 2 days before I told the family I needed to go to hospital to get a catheter in so that the urine could be drained. I chose Alexandra Hospital again.

I was upset as you could imagine. That started hospital stay 3. The doctors said that the best scenario would be that this was due to urinary tract infection. They tested and confirmed that I did have a urinary tract infection. However given my medical history, it could be due to spinal cord compression – the major challenge in 2013. They gave me antibiotics to clear the infection. The neurological team also came to see me and suggested that if I could not pass urine still, I would have to go back to SGH for my MRI because it would be easier for my oncologist, who is based in National Cancer Centre to follow up. True enough, after the infection cleared, I could not urinate. My husband and my maid had to learn how to use the intermittent catheter before I could be discharged.



Before going to the hospital, I was really dreading that I could have a nerve issue that might render me unable to pass urine permanently. Somehow after I was told this could be a problem, it did not bother me that much. I just refused to allow something that I did not have any power to change affect my spirits. So I got discharged and went home to a delighted dog which would not let me out of his sight.

Thus began many trips to SGH. I had to do a bone scan and an MRI of my spine immediately. They were rather costly, I might add. The bone scan revealed a very weak left femur. I had broken my right femur in 2012 – the major challenge that year. Now the left looked dangerously weak. The orthopaedic surgeon insisted on immediate surgery to put a pin in to strengthen the left leg. That was hospitalisation no 4. Surgery was extremely smooth and I thank God for doctors who are so ready to help out at a moment’s notice, never mind that I am a subsidised patient.

Back to the MRI. You know that something is wrong with your scan results when instead of letting you off immediately after the scan, there is a lot of hush-hush consultation, and doctors are called in. I did have a collapsed vertebra –T12 in 2013 and a “cage” to protect the spinal cord had been put in place. In 2013, they also put in many pins to support other weak vertebrae. I jokingly told the surgeon after the surgery that I was a “pin-up” girl! In December I went for a follow up x ray and check-up. I was told that everything was ok, so I really could not believe that there was anything wrong with my spinal column. Unfortunately, I was told by the radiation oncologist on duty that a tumour had grown and was pressing against my spinal column in roughly the same spot. The anxiety that hung over that room was really quite depressing. He suggested that I might have to go through another surgery to have that tumour removed.

Lots of hush-hush consultations later, I was told that any surgery would be too dangerous. Instead I would have to go through targeted radiation in an attempt to shrink the tumour. In the meantime I was loaded with steroids and painkillers. Actually at that time, I was having quite a lot of pain each time I moved. The steroids worked wonders.

To cut a long story shorter, after the surgery on my left femur, I went through a series of radiation that made me extremely tired. I was really cheerful through it all though, probably supported by prayers of friends from everywhere. The steroids made my face bloat and I felt so ugly! Still, I was hopeful and trusting in the Lord.

Purple Gold

Purple Gold

On the last day of the radiation, I was elated. We went shopping and lunch out at Vivo City. It must have been the first time in years I went out shopping. You see, after I became less mobile in 2012, after the first leg surgery, Alan had gone to Myanmar to work. I was able to walk with a walking stick, so I did not have a wheelchair. That meant I could not walk far and shopping was out of the question. Furthermore, all the children were working and there was no one free to go traipsing with me in the off hours. As a cancer patient I prefer to avoid peak hour crowds as my immunity was challenged.

So just imagine the joy of just being in a mall for the first time in aeons. I bought some clothes to lounge at home – thank you Uniqlo. I had a great lunch at Madam Kwan’s for Penang food. I had my ear re-pierced-one of the ear holes had closed. I bought myself purple gold – for it was going to be my 55th birthday soon. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was only 41. I wondered then if I could live to 55 – the retirement age then. I made it, and was determined to buy something to commemorate this wonderful blessing.

I had a blast.

I was hoping that would be the end of my health trials this year. Alas, that was not to be.

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

This verse will not exist if there are no situations that can cause anxiety. The key to rid oneself of anxiety is through prayer and thanksgiving – and if we are too weak to do it ourselves, thank God for brothers and sisters who will pray on our behalf! The end point is not necessarily the removal of the trial – but rather a peace that surrounds.

That is the verse that keeps me going this season.

Embrace Life
October 16, 2014, 8:40 am
Filed under: Embrace Life

We were having dinner the other day when my dear cousin Doreen made mention of the pain she is having. I smiled and asked her, “Are you talking to me about pain?”

An elderly aunt who loves me dearly showed me her walking stick. She is extremely sprightly but a recent fall has made walking difficult. “I told her, Nak Ee, you are doing so much better than me!”

I was certainly not the youngest of the two table crowd, but one of the youngest in my generation. However, I was the only one in a wheelchair.

In case you are wondering, my retorts were not bitter. They were said with amusement. I think the point I was trying to make is not so much come pity me, but come let us remember with thanksgiving what we already have and been given all these years.

The other night I dreamt I was shopping in a mall. I was walking freely. When I awoke, reality struck. I can barely walk 100m with a walking frame before I feel exhausted. I posted this on facebook, and I think some of my friends were worried I might get depressed or discouraged. Actually it did not affect me that much. I AM grateful that I can walk at all.

My river walk

My river walk

Not including the hours I could walk just window shopping, I used to take morning walks along the river next to my apartment. When I was recovering from a broken leg, I used to walk up and down the corridor and chatting with neighbours through open windows. Now I only walk from dining room toliving room several rounds as my routine exercise. How art the mighty fallen.

Corridor Jaunt

Corridor Jaunt

Well does it get to me? Of course it does. I will be lying if I say it doesn’t. However I do not allow it to make me depressed. To me, being depressed and upset will not get me anywhere. I might as well get on with life as best as I can. Be grateful for what I can still do despite 5 hospital stays and 3 surgeries this year alone.

You see, we can focus on our problems. Or we can focus on living. If I nearly died 4 times this year alone, then God cannot want me to go to Him just yet. I have to continue living until my time is up. Do I live miserably? What’s the point? I may as well live as happily as I can. I’m grateful that I was able to walk before. Imagine if I were born unable to walk at all. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to travel, friends who care for me, who pray for me.

The home run

The home run

Do I feel sorry for myself at times? Sure I do. Sometimes when I see my facebook friends travelling with the husbands or their families overseas, I feel envy too. I wish I could travel with my family, to spend bonding time together. Travelling is not going to be easy for me for the time being. I feel bad that Alan has to give up working full time for me. I feel bad that I’m a financial drain. I feel bad that at this point of our lives, when we should be spending time just going for holidays together, I’m binding him at home so much.

I try not to dwell on these.

If I am a financial drain, I trust that God will be my provider. I refuse to be an emotional drain, though sometimes the flesh does get the better of me. There is still so much to be grateful for.

All of us have problems. My cousin’s pain is no less painful just because I am in pain too. My aunt’s frustration is no less frustrating just because I’m younger and less mobile than she is. There is no comparison when it comes to personal trials. It’s never about being who’s the more “poor thing”. That’s not the point. The point is really in knowing that there will always be someone who is in a worse position than you , yet is trying to live day by day. That person is usually an ordinary person who has to take one step at a time. The same can be applied to all of us. Take one step at a time. If we have to live, make a choice to live as happily as we can.

Right now I can hear the birds singing happily outside my window. I’m reminded of Matthew 10:29-31

“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Let me leave you with a song

Oct 16 2014

Health Challenges 2014 Part 1
September 25, 2014, 12:35 pm
Filed under: Health Challenge 2014 part 1

It has been an extremely difficult year. It started end of last year really.

Round about Christmas, (Dec 2013), I started vomiting. The assumption was that I was suffering from gastric flu. Then it stopped and was followed by a spate of coughing. I did not think too much of it. In January, it resumed again. The vomiting was a little strange because it was mainly water. I decided to see the GP, yes, you guess right, I’m adverse to going to the doctors. GP thought it was gastric, prescribed me some medication and that was that. That was just before Chinese New Year. I was so ill on the first day that I did go on the usual visitation to relatives. On the second day, dear friends who missed me paid me a visit. I was so fragile and pale. Around then, my cousin Weng Foon sent me an sms. She told me to check my blood sugar because years ago, a bout of vomiting actually signalled the onset of diabetes for her. I do have a sugar kit at home and a quick prick showed a reading of 33 plus. For those in the know, this was almost off the charts. I could have gotten into a coma. Clarence and Qin Qin who were visiting immediately decided to drive me to the hospital. – Near death incidence 1 from high blood sugar.

At SGH, I was warded, given insulin and had my blood tested. The doctors (Renal Dept) told me I could have damaged my kidneys. Apparently severe dehydration caused the high sugar count. In any case, by the next day, kidneys were functioning well. Thank God. The doctors said the vomiting was due to an infection. With the antibiotics, my blood test showed recovery and I was packed home with more antibiotics. Alan also returned to work in Myanmar thinking all was under control.

Near Death incidence 2 – wrong diagnosis at SGH

The situation improved slightly but the vomiting did not entirely stop. Two weeks or so later, I could not bear it any longer. At my daughter, Samantha’s suggestion, I decided to go to Alexander Hospital instead of SGH. This time I was seen by gastroenterologist consultants. They too suspected some form of gastric issues. I was to go for a scope and a colonoscopy. The latter required drinking 3 litres of fluid.  I could not even down one glass of water without wanting to throw up. They cancelled colonoscopy and gave me the scope instead. The minute they inserted the tube down my throat, I threw up a storm. The consultant knew that I was not suffering from gastric diseases. It was more suggestive of an obstruction somewhere in the intestines. To locate the spot, I had to go for a CT Scan. The problem was I was allergic to the contrast fluid they needed to use to make the picture clearer. Without the contrast however, the obstruction might not show. So in order to have a clear picture, they injected several types of counter allergy steroids and had doctors on standby with me after the scan. I still developed rashes, but otherwise the reaction was mild.

As an aside from this very serious blog post, I was found to have an infection. So they sent me to an isolation ward. It was a fantastic room – an A1 room whereas I was a B2 (read 6 to a ward) patient. I had air-conditioning and a tv no less. Alan flew back from Myanmar just before the surgery and we enjoyed watching some Winter Olympic Games programmes together. There was also a fantastic view outside my window. Oh and did I mention immediately after the CT scan, I was bursting to go to the toilet, except I clearly couldn’t. The almost 2 month long vomiting has made me so weak I could not walk properly plus I was on a drip. I literally begged the CT Scan technicians for a diaper. I was never so grateful for a diaper in my life!

Anyway the scan indicated a small obstruction in the early part of my intestines. I was scheduled for immediate surgery. The removal of the little growth did wonders. I was on the mend in no time. Sure I missed out on all the Chinese New Year goodies. Believe me though, I was just so grateful that I was not vomiting that for once in my greedy life, I did not mind.

I am grateful to the doctors from Alexander Hospital for finding the real reason for my illness and the way they so courageously made me go through the CT Scan despite allergic concerns. While I’m on the subject of gratitude, I need to thank my cousin Weng Foon too for her timely reminder to check my blood sugar. And as if i’m at the oscars, let me thank Angi Gan for making a trip to see me at home when she sensed from my FB postings I was feeling down. I also need to thank the many people who constantly prayed for me.

Things however did not end there. There were more health challenges to come. That will have to wait another time.

Just know that by Feb/Mar 2014 I could have died twice.


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