This week I had the chance to attend a continuous professional development course. Something on strategic thinking, time management and team building. Having attended numerous similar courses all these years, it was a good refresher. It gave a chance to re-evaluate my knowledge on those things as well as re-affirming old relationships. Most of the attendees are my acquaintances in the Ministry, unlike the previous course where most of the participants were from teachers training institutes. Here I append some materials on time management that I re-crafted on Power Point for us to share. Nothing was new though, except for the presentation design, which I did on my own (with a dollop of help from MS Office of course), you probably have seen these countless times before.
Yo, yo. that’s how I would describe my daughter’s condition these days. One moment she is Ok but when nightime comes she’ll complain of chest pains. After really watching her food intake and taking multitude of medicines, her swollen legs subsided slightly. Today her friends took her for a walk in the park and Alkader. After being cooped up in the house for a month now, she needed the fresh air. We even took her to the mall – on wheelchair.
In November, the doctor will continue to test her durability and the severity of her liver damage before they can put her up on the waiting list for liver transplant. In a way the test would determine her ranking in the donor receiver list.
True testament to her amiability and friendly nature, she is been receiving endless stream of visitors sometimes well into the night. It is a bit of a dilemma too. I cannot chase the visitors away but I need to allow her to rest. Sometime, these are her good friends and it helps to keep her spirits up. Amazingly some of them who turned up hardly knew her before this.They are just a passing acquaintance or Facebook friends. Even her lecturer also came yesterday despite not directly teaching her in any subject in UniKL. I am really grateful to these people. May Allah bless you people. I am truly touched.
My daughter was discharged on Thursday, after nine days of hospitalization. As usual the discharging process took a few hours. We were told she can leave around noon, it was not until 9.30pm that we were able to leave the hospital. To compound matter, there was an emergency in the ward around Maghrib, all the nurses had to attend to this patient who eventually died. And my daughter suddenly complain of chest pains. Fortunately it subside after a while. Looking the hospital bill, I can see most of the charges were for the various tests that were done on her. I cannot imagine what the total would be like if it was Hospital Pantai or Ampang Puteri. I probably could get help if the CEUPACScare insurance scheme that I have subscribed had not put in an all encompassing escape clause called ” Pre-existing condition”. By virtue of my daughter had been detected and treated with BA 25 years ago, she is conveniently fall under this exclusion to protection clause. And I have been religiously paying the insurance company all these years ( almost 14 years now) for nothing. They should have told me about this exclusion thing when I signed up. I know some company accept pre-existing condition after you make your payment after a certain number of years. Being over 21 years of age, she no longer eligible under my Government guarantee scheme and being recently graduated, she is also no longer under the care of her UniKL. Well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles!
Her discharge did not mean she is getting better. It was just that the doctors have completed their initial investigations. Her legs swelled so much she had to use my size 8 slippers instead of her normal size 5. At least her condition has somewhat stabilised. Armed with a battery of pills, diet and medication advice, we wheeled her into the car to take her home, grateful that she is discharged from hospital. Her appointment booklet quickly filled with all sorts of follow ups checks and tests. Meaning, they are still evaluating her condition. I was made to understand she is not being listed for transplant just yet. The severity level of her condition is not fully determined yet. Unless and until they have completed that and unless her condition dramatically deteroriates, she won’t be in the list yet. I am positive. Allah would not test His servants with something that he/she cannot handle. On the surface she is taking it well, but underneath, only Allah knows. Her friends and our family are rallying around her to the point we had to slow them down in order for her to rest. Thank you everybody. Thank you social media.
I did not know that UiTM faculty of Medicine is in Selayang until my daughter was admitted to Hospital Selayang and after she was discharged she was asked to go to this Faculty for lung function test. It is located just a kilometre from the Selayang Hospital heading to wards Bandar Baru Selayang, before the Selayang Hotspring.
A brand new complex with currently had more staffs than patients, well that was my impression on Friday when I was there with my daughter. How I wish all our hospitals are like this. Modern, ample parking space, quiet and with courteous staffs. Everything is over within half an hour. The result is 50% capacity, whatever that means, I must make it a point to ask the consultant next time around. The technician said he is in no position to explain. By 11.00am I was back at the office.
Today is Hari raya Aidiladha. Mother and sister in law with their families are in town. What to do, I do not have a big abode to accommodate them. We have to make do with what we have. With slight rearrangement of the furniture surely we can fit in all 16 of us in the house. After all in the olden days whenever there is a wedding or Hari raya, everybody will come back home with their respective families and we would sleep anywhere in the kampung house. It was all part of the family spirit. To live in a hotel is unthinkable and definitely would be frowned upon.
After aidiladha prayer we head up for Selayang Hospital. I had to give the Qurban event in the surau a miss. There was already four visitors crowding around her bed. With additional ten coming, the cubicle is getting too small. Despite not being able to spend Aidiladha at home, she seemed happy with the visit. Except for the swollen legs, she looked much better. The antibiotic regime is still on. The fever had subsided but the athritic pain is still there.We left around 3pm.
We came again at night. She is complaining of back pain and running a slight temperature. I do not think the doctor would release her anytime soon. By 9.45pm we let her rest. We’ll see what happen tomorrow.
How do you feel when a doctor told you that your 25-year old recently graduated daughter needs a liver transplant? It was nothing short of devastating to say the least. That was a month ago. A day after her graduation. I was in this zombieish state ever since. Last week she was admitted to the Selayang hospital for the initial tests after she was referred by the HKL Paediatrics Institute. Yeah, Paediatrics! A bit of history. In 1988, after she was born, this daughter of mine was diagnosed with biliary athresia (BA). A congenital condition. The ducts that allow the bile to flow from the liver into the intestine was not fully formed. Resulting in the bile being retained giving jaundice to the eyes and bodies and damaging the liver. The condition was discovered after a couple of weeks of continuing jaundice. It was a semi emergency, the doctor called for immediate surgery. A procedure called Kasai Operation was performed. In lay man’s term, the surgery stitched up the intestine directly to the liver. So I was told by the consultant paediatrician. It was a sort of stop gap measure to allow the bile to flow into the intestine. Miraculously she recovered but we were very cautious because ever so often bacteria would swim up form the intestine to the liver and damaging the liver further. The doctor told me it is called ascending chulangitis. She would need to stay in hospital for 7-10 days to run the full course of the antibiotic to recover. She had several episodes of the attack in her formative years and it was rarer and rarer as she went into primary and secondary schools. We moved from Kuching to KL partly to facilitate her treatment. frequent trips from Kuching to KL were too taxing for both of us. At one stage my wife had to had her salary deducted for taking unsanctioned leaves.
For the past 20 years or so, we were lulled into thinking that she had fully recovered. She went to university to do a degree in interactive Multimedia. She even went to Cambodia to do a four-month internship. She even missed her annual check up for a couple of years due to her heavy students life schedule. Things began to slowly degenerates when she came back from Cambodia in May. in August, she couldn’t really enjoy her Raya as she was suffering from bouts of vomitting and fever. The jaundice started to show in her eyes, and she tires easily. Being a very active girl, it was difficult. On top of that her joints started to be painful and her feet began to swell. The day after she graduated we took her to the doctor who had been chronicling her progress since she was a baby. And we were told that what was a possibility 20 years ago now fast becoming a reality.
She had difficulty walking and had to be confined in bed. Last week she was finally referred to Selayang Hepatology Clinic. What was supposed to be a four-day initial investigation hospital stay has now gone a week. She was discovered to suffer from athritis – that explained her joint pains. We cannot even hug her, she’ll scream in pain. Her whole body aches. The worst was last Thursday when her temperature rose to 39.7 degrees. Apparently the immune system is attacking the joints. Doctors are still trying to figure out why.
Family and friends have been very supportive.The whole gang came from Kuching last week and today. Uncles and aunties from Perak and Kedah also turned to give support. Not to mention her numerous friends that sometimes turned bed 3, ward 10D into festivities. I am really thankful. I have no idea how much longer she is going to be there. The initial transplant procedures has started. Be strong my girl. I’ll try to chronicle her daily progress, so to speak.
As I wrote earlier, on Thursday night I was still waiting for the operation. The nurse told me it might be tomorrow morning. On Friday morning, I was given a thorough check up to see whether I am fit to undergo the operation. Being a diabetic, they had to be extra careful with me. So that morning, the blood sugar count was 8.6, fairly good. Blood pressure was 135/80. Fair. Two more tests to be done, cardiograph and X-ray. Both were done within two hours and by 12.00 noon I was told to change and wheeled into the extremely cold operating theatre around 12.30. It was so cold I thought I was going to be exported as a meat product. The personnel in the theatre (ever wonder why it is called a theatre? Is every operation a performance?) were very polite and cordial, I can’t really tell how many of them. One of them was kind enough to advise me to say the syahadah and salawat before covering my face with oxygen mask (or was it the gas that put me to sleep). That was the last thing I remember.
I woke up in the recovery room. The wall clock said 1.45pm. Wow, it took almost one hour. The first thing i thought was the numbness of my tongue and the dull throbbing pain on my neck. By the time I was wheeled back to my ward, I have fully regained my consciousness. Hopefully I can be discharged soon. Unfortunately, the doctors cannot make any decision until the specialist came along and he was nowhere around until the Saturday morning. Another night in the ward.
On Saturday morning, the specialist came and pronounced that I was fit to go home, they need the bed for a more deserving patient. But I was given a five-day medical leave so that I can have the wound cleaned up everyday. But I still cannot leave the hospital until the necessary documentation is done. And I left the hospital only by 5pm – after a three-hour wait. I was told to come back for assessment of the healing process next Friday. Alhamdulillah, thank you everybody, now back to looking after my ailing daughter.
The last time I spent nights in a hospital must be quite a while back, in early nineties when my my daughter was undergoing treatment for ascending chulangitis a repercussion of her biliary atresia condition. That was back in the old paediatric unit in KL hospital. I wrote about the experience in my department’s monthly newsletter. It was really a harrowing experience that you wouldn’t want to go through again. It was like a battle zone.
So when the cyst on my neck swelled like a full bloom plum I went to the Tanglin Clinic and I was quickly referred to a hospital. I chosed Ampang hospital because that is the latest hospital in KL area and I do not have to fight a war to get a parking space. The emergency department is really modern with ample seatings and freezing air condition – they provide blankets for the waiting patients. It must have been a busy day, I had to wait for three hours until I got to see the medical officer. But the emergency department has a clever system to sift and filter the incoming patients. Two doctors (well they looked like doctors to me with stethoscopes dangling from their necks) will assess incoming patients to determine whether their case merit a red, yellow or green action. For obvious reasons, mine was quickly assessed to be green and then only I was registered. To make sure a patient is quickly attended to, a medical assistant was on hand as a first line of help. This what I called clever, your queue number would be quickly called up, in fact mine was called only after 45 seconds. In the hospital queue system, a customer was attended to within 45 seconds, a definite plus points for the customer care star rating systems done by the Public Service department. Never mind that I had to wait for another three hours to see the medical officer,it was not recorded into the systems anymore. Within the three hours, I heard a few announcements calling for doctors to the emergency room and a few announcements calling next of kin to enter the emergency room. Sad.
As I was saying, three hours later, a lady medical officer gave a quick assessment of the now blooming cyst, or sebaceous cyst rather as she called it and decided to ward me for quick operation to remove the cyst. Since I had to be at the palace the next day I had to plead with her to give me a one a half day reprieve. OK but I had to sign a note of consent absolving the hospital of any misdemeanor should anything happen to me after that. All very professional. But she reminded me that I had to go through the registration rigmarole all over again on thursday. No short cuts? Nothing doing. Very professional indeed.
So, immediately after my palace experience (with painful neck), I rushed to Ampang hospital again, went through the same process and after one hour my number called to room 5. A gentleman doctor this time went through the same routine and he managed to retrieve the report made two days earlier by the lady doctor. At last they are using the telehealth system. Wait, He had to consult the surgeon on duty, a Punjabi lady doctor. While waiting for her I make a quick exit for a quick dinner only to hear my name being called over the loud speaker. That is something new, normally the doctor or the attending nurse would simply shout the name of the patient. She make a quick assessment with same set of standard questions and told me to wait. Wait. It was not until 7pm before I was admitted into ward 5D. I was told to wait for the medical officer in charge of the ward to check, depending on the availability of the operating theatre. So I had to spent the night at the hospital. A far better place than the paediatric hospital in the 90s. The room was spacious with four patients to a room. This is the normal ward mind you, the second class ward was closed as the aircond is not working. Despite the anxiousness over the pending operation, I had a peaceful night. After messaging the boss of my condition, I went into a real untroubled sleep.
On Thursday I had the opportunity to be present at The Balairong Seri (the main court) of the new Istana Negara. The event started promptly at 9.30am when the King and Queen slowly walked into the hall before taking their seats at the throne. They were flanked by a cotterie of military and police officers. I was made to understand the sword carrying police officer flanking him on the throne is nothing less than an SACP. They are a lot of dos and don’ts that we have to abide. I have to wear a black baju Melayu with matching black pants and samping. I even had to wear black shoes, not simply any black shoes but must be black leather shoes with strings. Slip on shoes are forbidden. Of course the songkok had to be black as well. unfortunately no photographs were allowed to be taken during the ceremony. Of course handphone had to be switched off. You have to speak in whispers and not to cross your legs. Boy fortunately the event lasted only about one and a half hour, or else we could be dozing off quite comfortably. I really admire the queen who could maintain the poise, composure, and alertness throughout the ceremony. After all she is a commoner, not quite trained like the royals who attended this sort of events many times since their youths.
The hall itself is huge and could easily accommodate, to my estimate, 700-800 sitting guests. Since they are using this huge classic chair, the place could accommodate about 1000 guest had they been using the normal banquet chairs. Most of the deco are traditional malay motives painted with gold. In fact yellow and gold are the main colour in the room. The carpet is so plush you could hide 10 sen coin in it. The PA system is perfect and air cond is just nice.
You have to follow the protocols. When your name is announced, you stand and bow, walk to the centre court. Stand still for a few seconds and walk slowly to the throne. After the third platform, you stand erect and give another bow. Walk straight to the king, stopping at a reachable distance. Let him hang the medal, shake his hand, say thank you, take a step back, give another bow. Turn to the right (since my seat is on the right), walk slowly back to your seat, making a right angled turn to your seat. When you reach your seat give another bow, then only you can sit. In such a hallowed hall, you cannot simply do whatever you like or seat in whatever manner you like. One guest was quietly told off by the “bentara” for crossing her legs and reading message from her phone. I cannot imagine doing this a few times a year.
All this royal courts traditions I was told has been watered down and much simplified as compared to some states. in olden days, one even had to bend on their knees when approaching he king.
A day after the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 was launched, I saw this letter in the Star. The teacher was lamenting or complaining about having to come to work at 10.30am in the morning two or three times a week to attend meetings or supervise co-curricular activities even though he/she (I did not get the gender) is teaching in the afternoon session which officially started at noon. He/she had to stand in the hot sun every day at the school gate to welcome his/her students. in addition she/he also had to hold a list of other duties especially regarding discipline. Ever so often she had to attend or conduct activities at school or district level, attend or conduct meetings, preparing minutes, reports, doing diagnostics tests, marking papers, and of course taking students attendances. Recently the teacher had to prepare worksheets, mark and file them, input the results into the on line system. The computer labs in the schools are not working, how can the teacher prepare interesting lessons. And finally the teacher said, “as long as teachers are overburdened with paperwork and schools lack basic infrastructure, it will not be possible for us to become better educators and inspire students to want to learn”.
I wonder if the teacher has a smartphone. I wonder if the teacher has social network account. I wonder if the teacher has a computer and internet connectivity at home. I wonder if the teacher prepare teaching lessons. And above all I wonder if the teacher well and truly understand the real roles and functions of an educator/teacher. I wonder if you can become an effective teacher without performing all the said tasks? I am truly sorry to hear the teacher dream job has become dreadful. Maybe the teacher should cast his/her mind back to his/her training days where he/she dilligently prepared lessons, analysed students performance, profiled each students performance, attended meetings, took notes, accompanied students for sports or club activities, found ways and means to impress his /her supervisors (hopefully the students as well) with a variety of teaching methods), scoured the resource centres (or the internet) for materials, talked to lecturers, and visited parents without so much a peep. Now they that he/she has become a fully pledged teacher, all these tasks are becoming a burden?
On Thursday, amid the euphoria for the preparation to launch of the Education Blueprint, a small news in the business section of the NST caught my attention – Nokia is selling its mobile phone business to Microsoft . As the gravity of the news dawned upon us, many thought it was inevitable. When that guy from Microsoft (Delop or something, I think) was appointed as the CEO for Nokia, one could sense something was up. after all Nokia is running Window based smart phones (the Lumia) to revive its flagging smartphones business under heavy onslaught from Samsung’s android. And Microsoft is also in danger of losing its grip on the OS world, again thanks to Android and Google. Having seen less and less people using the PC and notebooks, Microsoft is for the first time in a along time felt threatened. As more and more people switching to smart phones and tablets running on the android with those funny names like Gingerbread, Jellybeans, Ice cream sandwich, kitkat etc. So Nokia is heading the path Blackberry is heading – oblivion. There you can see, in this fast moving consumer products world, brand loyalty is almost non existent. Customer have no qualms about switching to a new brand that can satisfy their needs. Now Samsung is the pack leader in that area and surprisingly Apple is quite resiliently not that far behind. You never know, tomorrow it maybe Huawei, now that the Chinese brand has made its intention clear. Now I wonder if Microsoft is going to continue running the Lumia brand name. We can reminisce about the good old soap bar Nokia 3310, which has been declared as the best hand phone of all times ( so far that is). I do believe this phone will become a cult object among hand phone enthusiasts.