Monday, 28 July 2014

Tomorrow

The doctor didn't remove the chest tube that drained out the old blood today. He said,"Tomorrow."

The surgeon said to ask for the physician's advice, and the physician could not be the one who removed the tube.

It was Hari Raya Puasa. We could only guess that the doctors didn't want to mobilise the other doctors 'if anything happens'.



Sunday, 27 July 2014

Let My Father Go Home, Lord

After the last scare, we received not-so-great news from the doctors, that my father had blood clots or 'old blood' in him, the remains of the internal bleeding.

The doctor gave us 4 options:

1) leave the blood clots in there and risk getting infection
2) have a CT scan to check where it is located
3) insert a thicker tube to, hopefully, drain the clots out
4) inject medicine to dissolve the blood clots and, hopefully, drain them out via the existing tube. However, there are risks involved, with excessive bleeding and immediate collapse being the most serious ones.

My father was sick and tired of having surgeries and procedures done on him.

He opted for '4' and we were fine with it.

The first day the medicine went in, about 650 to 700 ml of old blood was drained out.

The lung physician estimated that about 1 litre of blood clots were in there, so he suggested injecting the medicine a second time to get the remaining of them out, and if nothing else came out, they would have done whatever that could be done, and the tube would come off him. The risk of having excessive bleeding remained.

My father agreed.

Today, another 55 ml of old blood got drained out in the morning.

The doctor said that the tube would be removed tomorrow, and we could discuss discharge with the doctor-in-charge.

My father can't wait to go home. It's been more than a month since he was admitted to the hospital.

However, the doctors advised us to send him to a community hospital to 'rehabilitate' him. They surmised that he would not be able to walk or go about the daily activities independently yet by the time he is discharged.

It occurred to me that my father hasn't heard about this, but he would certainly feel sad that he couldn't go home.

He has been trying very hard to recover. When he was asked to walk with a walking aid during his physiotherapy, he walked very fast for a patient who had not been down the bed for a month.

I am quite optimistic that he could go home though, at the rate he is going.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Stressed Out and Lashing Out at Alumni

I was on one of my Facebook accounts when I read one of the mothers' frustration.

She was 'amazed and disgusted' that those who do nothing (the alumni) criticise those who went an extra mile for their children (parent-volunteers).

I surmised that she had been reading the thread in kiasuparents forum on the opinion of the P1 registration system.

She knows I am one of the active posters who defend the alumni priority.

She was probably stressed out by P1 registration and wanted to vent her frustration on Facebook, and wittingly or unwittingly on me.

I was tempted to rebut her:

"I hope you have read the whole thread, and even if you haven't, you should go to the first page and see who started the flaming war."

Or

"Exactly! What gives those who go an extra mile for their children the right to criticise those who don't?"

But I held back.

That particular Facebook account was created to link up with mummies who had given birth in the same year as I did for Baby.

I was quite depressed for the first few years and was not involved in the activities they held for the babies and get-together.

As a result, I am not close to them compared to the mummy who lashed out at the alumni.

If I were to rebut, I can imagine the amount of backlash I would get.

If I post my rebuttal on the thread, I might also be attacked again on Facebook.

I am happy that I have an additional outlet.

For years, the alumni had been putting up with the attacks and insults hurled by the parent-volunteers and supporters of distance-priority.

The schools were the product of what the alumni had made them out to be. Now that the schools are deemed good in the eyes of the public, alumni of unpopular schools want their children to enter them.

Some resent the presence of the alumni.

They feel that if not for the alumni, they do not even have to commit their time or resources to help the school out.

They resent the fact that the alumni enjoy a higher priority in the eyes of the schools.

They are jealous that the alumni do not have to 'go an extra mile for their children'.

It is a fact that some parent-volunteers and distance-priority supporters are jealous. Jealousy reeks through their posts. Yet they blatantly deny it.

I do respect parents for doing what they can to enter their children into schools of their choice, whether by being parent-volunteers or moving near to the schools.

However, I do not condone their attack on the alumni, just so they can get rid of the alumni to get what they want.

It is a fact that the schools belong to the alumni. A sense of belonging is not the same as the 'entitlement mentality'. I have a sense of belonging to my family, does it entitle me to have everything I want?

An alumni attended his school for 6 years. Technically and logically speaking, to justify an equal amount of contribution, parent-volunteers ought to contribute for 6 years too before they are 'entitled' to a place in the school.

I think that the alumni priority is the least that a school can give to her alumni.

The alumni build up the school's culture, name, reputation and spirit. In fact, they do it so well that alumni of other schools also want them. The success belongs to the alumni. The school is just a building.

A colleague was sharing with me that in her husband's school, a 'good' school, most of the teachers who transfer in are young teachers, and you can be sure that these teachers have at least a young kid waiting to be enrolled into Primary One.

And she and her husband would see themselves and more than 20 colleagues, among the colleagues her husband is in knowledge of, fighting for Primary One vacancies at Phase 2A2 a few years later.

So, is it the teachers who make the schools good?

Surely that's doubtful.

But one thing is certain: the students have done well.

And the law of attraction follows.

For those who find themselves so stressed out over P1 registration that they need to vent their frustration and jealousy on others, like the mother on my Facebook account, I just have this to say:

If you cannot handle the stress of P1 registration, you will find yourself in greater s*** at PSLE.

Another Roller-Coaster Ride

My father was suspected to be bleeding internally as the chest tube connecting to his chest was filled with fresh blood.

He looked weak and hopeless.

He was beginning to feel that he might never make it home.

The doctor requested for a chest scan or x-ray.

My father said no.

"I want to go home," he said.

I was worried as I read the updates from my sisters via Whatsapp.

After some time, they updated that my father was willing to do the scan and even asked them to ask the doctor who would perform the surgery if there was internal bleeding.

As usual, I prayed for no liquid in the lung, thinking that the liquid was suspected to be in the lung.

I stood waiting outside the scanning room. I could not sit down. I wanted to get a feel of what the nurses or doctors were communicating.

A nice Indian lady approached me,"Are you waiting for someone?"

I could not hold back any longer.

I wept,"Yes."

She asked,"Is he your relative?"

I replied,"He's my father."

The nurses at the counter stopped their small talks and looked at me. The patient and family members at the waiting area stared.

The lady went into the room and checked out the situation for me.

When she returned, she assured me that they were waiting for my father to settle down before they started the scan.

She assured me that that was a standard protocol and everybody did it.

She got me to sit down and wait while she brought me a warm cup of water.

She also got a nurse from the scanning room to update us on what they were doing.

As soon as the radiologist had done the scan, he emerged from the room and told us that there was internal bleeding indeed. However, as the area collecting the blood did not have any major organs, it was not critical. He would try to find the artery that caused the bleeding and block it via a fast procedure. A surgery was the last resort.

We waited for half an hour.

Our relatives from Malaysia arrived. They were my father's elder brother, elder sister, elder brother-in-law, his youngest sister and his eldest brother-in-law.

They were visibly worried. We tried to assure them that the doctors were treating my father's bleeding.

When the doctors were done, they said that they blocked out 2 arteries and they hoped they found the right ones.

When I visited my father the next morning, the bleeding had stopped.

By the afternoon, he was deemed stable enough to transfer to the normal ward.

And we were relieved, once again.

We are praying that nothing else would happen again.

My father is too exhausted from all the scares and trauma.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

When You See the True Colours of Your Siblings

My siblings and I had a big fight over whether my father should be transferred to a restructured hospital.

I had been to KK Hospital, went through lots of pain and trauma, loss of excessive blood and thought I would not make it out alive.

Naturally, I said no.

My 5th sister said that she didn't have the money to pay anyway, but a restructured hospital is much better than a private hospital.

She gave birth to all her four children at Gleneagles Hospital and Thomson Medical, in a 2-bedder or 1-bedder ward.

Now she blames me for stopping her to go to KK Hospital.

She claimed that I said that Thomson Medical was cheaper than KK.

I said,"How is that possible that I said that? I only said that KK's A ward is more expensive than some private hospitals."

I wished I were not such a busybody. I wished I had encouraged her to go to KK. Now I really hate myself for stopping her. Because of the good experiences at private hospitals, she went on to have 3 more accidental pregnancies, resulting in her having to become a stay-at-home mother.

If she had gone to KK, I am quite sure she would not have given birth to so many children. A few colleagues who had been to KK had their last child there. They all claimed the same thing as I did, that it was a traumatising and painful experience.

But she advocates restructured hospitals. She said her nurse-friend said that restructured hospitals have specialised departments for my father's condition.

On knowing that my father was hospitalised, a chat friend made a remark: the one who doesn't pay makes the most noise.

How true!

Then my brother too.

I heard from my elder sister that he is saving up for his wife to open a facial salon.

The only thing he ever says to support the transfer is always about money: the way father is going, we won't be able to pay even if we go bankrupt.

When I insisted I don't want my father to transfer, he said this:

Next time when you have brain tumor, we will send you to Dr (the doctor in charge of my father).

I said: what tumor?

You won't believe what he said: Your brain is up your ass.

That's it.

Even then, on account that he is my brother, I refrained from scolding him.

I just said his eyes only had money and his wife. For his wife, our father could die.

When I told William about it, he said,"How can he say such things when you have helped him so many times?"

I had almost forgot that I ever helped him! I tried to recall how I had helped him:

1) When he just graduated and could not find a job, he took up a $1000 per month job as a telemarketer. The company even made him sign a bond of one year. 2 weeks into his job, he was offered an engineering job with a salary that befitted a graduate. He said since he had signed the contract, perhaps he should continue with it. He had no choice.

I took it upon myself to contact the company, and threatened to report to Ministry of Manpower. After a few days of tussle that was not without emotional turmoil, the company gave in and released my brother from the contract.

2) When he was about to get married, my father wanted a banquet to be thrown in Malaysia for his friends and relatives.

Not one of my sisters wanted to help. In fact, they gave stupid excuses such as "he places his wife above us","he only consults his wife's sister, not us. So let his wife's side help.", "It's not my business."

I told him if there was not enough money, I would fork out $5000 for the banquet, which didn't happen in the end as he made quite a neat sum from the two banquets. I also gave him a $2000 ang pow. William did make some noise over the size of the ang pow. He said that none of my sisters was going to give such a big ang pow, so why should I? I rationalised that being an elder sister, I ought to give my younger brother a big ang pow.

I also quarrelled with the rest of my sisters over not willing to help him. If every one of us came up with $1000, the Malaysia banquet would be comfortably covered. But no. They felt the pinch even when it was $1000. They knew I would fork out the $5000.

And he said my brain is up my ass.

Indeed. My brain is up my ass to have helped him.

I was blind to his fault of loving his wife above everything else. According to his wife, he is a handyman around her sister's house. But back at home, the only thing he ever does is play computer games!

After this episode, I finally see the true colours of my siblings.

I am hurt, and disappointed. I suppose if I had helped a stranger like that, he would be grateful?

My maternal relatives behave exactly like that ie. selfish and ungrateful. Since young, my father tried his best not to visit them unless necessary ie. Chinese New Year. He didn't want us to be like them. But they turned out like that anyway.

If not for my parents, I don't want to have any contact or association with them.

My father will be the reason I wipe out my savings, and slog to pay off the shared $100k medical bill. Apart from that, I want to distant myself from them.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Thank God Even Crazy Dreams Come True! (Again!)

This is the first year our beloved Prime Minister imposed the 40-seat reservation for Phases 2B and 2C prior to the launch of Primary 1 Registration Exercise.

As he had made the shocking announcement in August last year, poor folks in Phase 2A2 like us were caught by surprise and could not join the alumni association in time, for the deadline for joining was 30 June every year.

Although I kept telling William that it would be fine, I was worrying big time all the time inside.

My 6 siblings and I were from 7 different schools as we were foreigners when my father registered us for Primary One, although I suspect that it was partly out of ignorance in the later stage that my younger siblings went to different schools as we got our PR status quite early in our schooling stage.

I feel that part of the reason we are constantly so divided and competitive in putting one another down is because we do not have a bond or common ground, which I feel a common alma mater could help. Usually, having siblings in the same school encourages them to be close to each other, and if there is competition, I feel that it is a healthier one compared to competing against each other from different schools. Each of us took pride in our own school. Our own school was the best among the siblings'. Even when one of us did well in a test, the other few would put her down by commenting that her paper was easy. There wasn't a common standard among us. We turn out very differently, and up till today, strifes still exist in some of us.

Although William and his sister dislike each other, they share a common ground. And you can tell that William is (secretly) proud to have a sister who did well in her schools, although he never fails to remind me that he did better than her (by 2 points) in PSLE. He always mentions that his sister was "very hardworking", and never forgets to add that "but I am cleverer".

I feel that his good words about his sister (despite hating her personality) is only possible because they went to the same school. This I-feel fact is supported by the unkind words William has for the secondary school his sister went to. Never has he spoken a word against his own alma mater. He was neutral about his sister's personality when she was in primary school. According to him, she only became a terrible girl after she went to a top girls' school.

So, I was worried that Baby didn't get to go to the school her father and sister went to.

I was worried when I saw that more than 50% of the seats were taken up at Phase 1. And Phase 2A1 saw a never-before huge number of applicants. They probably had got wind of the tweak to P1 registration and had paid themselves up the ladder. By the time it was Phase 2A2, we were left with one of the fewest seats for 2A2 compared to the past few years'.

We were so worried that every day, and night, we would ask this question,"What if she can't get in?"

I would say,"Then just go to the nearest one, below our block."

To William, and I, it didn't make a difference where she went if she didn't go to his alma mater.

But it was stressful, all the more so when it was for sentimental purposes that we wanted her to go there. I don't want Baby to ask me why she could not go to the school her sister and daddy went. The worse thing was, being ever so proud of his alma mater, he always told Baby,"You are going to the best school!"

I could not imagine how disappointed Baby was if she knew she could not go to her daddy's 'best school' although she doesn't really understand the notion of disappointment over not going to a certain school.

So I prayed about it. The Bible states "Ask and you shall receive", so I asked for it, fervently.

The bulk of the non-paying alumni registered on Day 1, including me.

As we left the school compound, I said to Baby,"Let's pray (in place of 'hope') that you can get in."

Baby said with great confidence,"No need to pray! If I am a good girl, I will get in!" (As you guessed it, it's her father's blackmail tactic to get her to be a good girl.)

But William and I were still worried.

We watched the figure with bated breath on Day 2 - 10 seats were left.

At 12pm yesterday, William called up the school to check - 2 had registered in the morning.

At 4.38pm, I called the school.

The guy said,"2A2 no need to ballot. All can get in."

I couldn't believe it. I asked again,"So am I successful?"

He said with a smile,"Yes, all are successful. Happy, right?"

I ran to William and shared the good tidings with him.

He didn't believe me.

He called the school. And the guy said the same thing!

We were happy! We hugged the non-suspecting Baby who didn't understand what the joy was about.

Grohe = Fantastic After-Sales Service

I am totally impressed with Grohe Singapore.

I was quite concerned after hearing from Irene of Heritage Bathroom Gallery that 5 in 10 of her customers complained about the inaccuracy of the cool-touch thermostat featured in Euphoria Shower System.

See that short horizontal stick at the bottom? That's the thermostat.

I called up Asia Excel Marina that I bought my Grohe from more than a year ago and asked about the problem, and if it could be rectified. The nice lady Lena said that the plumber could calibrate it for me. She said that it would cost $150 for the Grohe plumber to install the rain shower, and if it's installed, she could check for me how much it cost to calibrate the thermostat alone.

So, I asked my Creative (the company) plumber to calibrate the thermostats. In all sincerity, he brought a thermometer along, as advised by Lena.

After he was done, he asked me to the common bathroom and explained to me that I should not turn the temperature knob ever again as he had adjusted the temperature to the stated 38 degree celsius on the thermostat!

I looked at the thermostat and knew that it wasn't adjusted. The knob was at the 'cold water' position, but it's very warm - like how it was like before he 'adjusted'.

So I knew that a call to Grohe was inevitable, unless I was happy with the 'adjustment'.

I gave them a call on Saturday, and a guy Mun returned my call on Monday.

I was busy and he called again on Tuesday. He asked me for my address and said that he would send Uncle Tang down at 4pm.

I asked him about the cost of calibrating the thermostats and if they were covered under the 5-year warranty.

He replied,"Product warranty is one thing. And service is another. BUT you just LEAVE THE REST TO US."

As usual, I had to have an answer,"So how much do I have to pay?"

He insisted,"You just leave the rest to us lah."

I was quite assured.

Uncle Tang came down at 4.30pm.

He opened the side of the thermostats and turned the knobs to 38 degree celsius when the water is comfortably warm for a cold day.

He asked me to test the water and checked if I was comfortable with the temperature of the water. I could also turn the knobs to 'cold' if I want colder water.

After I gave my consent, he put the screws back and capped the sides.

And his job was done!

I am really impressed with Grohe's after-sales service! What a "Leave the rest to us"!