I have taught diploma nursing students as well as degree and working nurses. The former group seems to have more unresolved issues than the latter. I got them to write an essay about their family and discovered the amount of emotional baggage some of them carried!
“I hate my lecturer parents! They are so strict! I have to go back home before 10.00 pm, and I can’t stay overnight at my friends’ house!” Some of the classmates agreed. But some explained that her parents were strict because they loved her! Now she is a successful entrepreneur and has teenaged children herself!
“My father used to beat us at home. He died of cancer when we were young. If God can give me my father back, I don’t mind being beaten a thousand times every day!” This girl got the whole class crying, including me! Now she is a nurse manager. She has two young boys.
“Emotional baggage is like the dead skin of a snake. If you don’t shed it, how can you grow emotionally?” ― Khang Kijarro Nguyen
“…anger helps us repel forces that are detrimental to our survival and well-being.”- Dalai Lama
I hung the clothes at the balcony. My family had reminded me to take my daily dose of vitamin D. But the sun was just rising. And the street lights were still on. So I stood and watched on.
A lonely bus passed by. A lonely masked passenger slept against the window. She probably could not work from home.
I heard an approaching conversation blocked by the top of a tree. It seemed loud on a silent morning. Three men and a woman walked by leisurely as if they owned the whole width of the road! They skewered to the roadside at the sound of oncoming vehicle.
I was distracted by something darting about below. Two squirrels were chasing each other playfully around the pots of plants, while the morning birds criss-crossed up above. A lonely basketball stood at a corner of the garden, untouched for many moons already!
Where are the noisy school buses and the many parent- chauffeured school children? Where are the masked traffic-minders?
And I started to write on my mobile on this Covid-19 morning.
This is a poem, titled after a hand-painted bowl which was created by the author, a few years ago. Whereas, the poem is inspired by the many tragic news of perished immigrants on rough seas. They were trying to reach a better-land in this, ironically, vastness of land on mother earth.
In this vastness of land
stretching and circling this bowl
round and round, but, to no end!
From the bowl’s interior
radiates that phosphorescent glow
a beckoning promise, almost superior!
Across the wide seas and oceans
breaking families, risking lives
to find that elusive ‘greener grass’ notions!
On rough waters,
human lives are inhumanly packed
in overcrowded sea vessels
clutching desperately to partners and wives.
“I see the land, I see the land!”
But it was, many a time,
an illusion to touch beaches,
to kiss the sand.
Can you see the land, a better land?
Will freedom be your stand
in this vastness of land?
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
2. “What has happened to us in this country? If we study our own history, we find that we have always been ready to receive the unfortunate from other countries, and though this may seem a generous gesture on our part, we have profited a thousandfold by what they have brought us.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
Ravethy and I couldn't find
the way back to our hotel.
The road signs then
were all in Japanese.
Even the road map brochure
was of no help.
And, it was getting darker.
We were delighted
when we saw a man in uniform.
He was very happy to help;
rattling away to me
both palms together
then his right hand
directing to the right...
brushing aside my attempts
with crossed hands
and shaking head
to say I did not understand!
Sigh! We stood by
the road side again!
The baseball game was over
at a nearby stadium.
We were lucky to find
a fellow Singaporean
to explain the route to us.
It was only
a ten minutes walk away!
That was in the 1990s.
Four years ago, I went back again to Japan. I found that more Japanese people could speak English. The signs and maps seem easier to read. I learned to speak some simple Japanese, too!
The uniformed man had mistaken me for a Japanese. Last week a fellow blogger addressed me as a Korean! Not long ago another thought I was a Taiwanese!
A face and a name can be misleading!
I am from Malaysia! My ancestors were from Hainan island, China.
Blogging: I run my race
Blogging is like running
but running a race?
I paused, I sweated,
feet apart, panting,
and watching others
... forging ahead.
Jane Trombley wonders
about the paucity of
and her generation's 'voice'.
A counselor opines
that blogging feeds wellness!
Is blogging a new way of coping
many baby-boomer bloggers
have joined the run.
but, are they running
the same race,
the same pace,
for the same goals?
1. Baby Boomer Bloggers: Are you out there? - Jane Trombley
2. Blogging feeds wellness!- Beth Moore
3. "Coping through blogging..." - Petko D. et al.
So much hype about vaccination in recent days. This reminds me of an incident many years ago.
There was this big-sized policeman in an emergency department. He was involved in a minor motor vehicle accident. When the nurse was about to give him an injection on his arm, he jumped out of his bed.
“No, no, no! Not on my arm… maybe my buttock. But wait, wait first!” It took some time before he exposed his back.
“No, no, no! Wait first!” He pulled back his pants.
“OK, let me wipe the skin first. I won’t give you the injection until you are ready. I will wait for you to count up to ten… slowly. Alright, start counting. Open your mouth wide and count!”
“…nine, ten!” And the nurse was already clearing her tray.
He asked, “are you not going to give me the injection?”
“Given already!” The nurse smiled at him as she walked away.
His wife apologized, “sigh! Such a big man, but such a small heart!”
When I was attached to an Australian hospital, an obese woman with similar abdominal surgery was wheeled into the bathroom for a refreshing shower on the third day post operation! A plastic sheet was taped to cover her wounds and stoma. ( Our Asian clients here will need some persuading to get out of bed for a shower in a bathroom!)
Nurses (especially in private hospitals) need to be firm when necessary, in caring for their clients to prevent complications. After an abdominal surgery, even the guts get lazy!
Peristalsis of the guts help to expel gas from the large intestines. Otherwise the abdomen gets bloated. It can be very painful when the skin pulls on an abdominal wound.
That was Mary’s answer as to why she runs an orphanage. It was a second Christian home that Anna had stepped into.
“I looked after His lost lambs here. Some lost their parents. And some are here during the day only. Their single parents need to work.”
“When I am not around one day, I know that God will have someone to help my older son. He has to look after his younger and mentally- challenged brother,” Mary explained. “I have one bright and successful son and a differently-abled son.“
“So you see? God is fair,” (nodding her head absent-mindedly into the air), “He gives some, and he takes some!”
Tuhan itu adil: Dia memberi sebahagian dan Dia mengambil sebahagian.
Itu adalah jawapan Mary, mengapa dia menguruskan rumah anak yatim. Itu adalah rumah kristiani kedua yang Anna masuki. “Saya menjaga anak-anak -Nya di sini. Ada yang kehilangan ibu bapa mereka. Dan ada berada di sini hanya pada waktu siang kerana ibu bapa tunggal mereka perlu bekerja. Apabila saya tidak berada pada suatu hari, Saya tahu bahawa Tuhan akan mengaturkan seseorang untuk menolong anak saya yang lebih tua menjaga adiknya yang terencak akal, ”jelas Mary. “Saya mempunyai seorang anak lelaki yang cemerlang dan berjaya, dan anak lelaki yang berbeza keupayaannya. Jadi anda lihat? Tuhan itu adil, (menganggukkan kepalanya). Dia memberikan beberapa, dan dia mengambil beberapa! “
“Hidup ini tidak adil; membiasakan diri.” – Bill Gates
“Siapa bilang hidup itu adil, di mana itu ditulis?” – William Goldman, Pengantin Puteri
Denture Hazards and Estate Quack Dentists ( a poem)
In road accidents
sweep mouth for foreign bodies
loose dentures’ hazards
Many years ago, it was night duty. One could hear this high-pitched noise before entering the ward. Sounded like stridor.
This estate worker had a motor vehicle accident. An emergency burr hole operation was done for her head injury. The next three days after removing the endotracheal tube, her breathing was so loud, piercing the usually quiet environment in that ward. Her daily chest X-rays and blood gases were normal. She was fed through a nasogastric tube.
As stridor could denote a blockage near the voice box. Nurse Anna went through all the skull x-rays. There was a very thin white line at the throat level in a few old skull X-rays (see skull picture above) that were done before the operation.
The doctor came in the middle of the night and removed a loosened ill-fitting denture!
I don’t know if there are still such estate quack dentists around. But in an accident, that is one of the reasons why one needs to sweep the victim’s mouth for foreign bodies before inserting an airway device!
Mesmerizing Saturday- it’s hard to imagine a blue sunset!
Toh HL explains why sunsets and sunrises are red and not blue!
So round, spectacular, and mesmerizing
sometimes, shy, bashful behind the clouds
often ordinary, the reddish blaze disappearing
as if in a hurry for another appointment?
Rayleigh scattering is the phenomenon
for during sunsets or sunrises,
sunlight has to penetrate a thicker layer
of dust and water vapour in the atmosphere.
The red end of the colour spectrum
is scattered less compared to the blue end
Hence, red reaches our eyes easily
as it has a shorter wavelength than blue
It's hard to imagine a blue sunset!
by Toh HL, co-author and photographer, 21 May 2021
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross You don’t ever forget that your partner was unfaithful. You don’t ever forget that you lost a precious child. […]
This was in 1987. I remember it was an open ward. The male patients would gather to talk to each other. As doctors were trying to convince a patient to undergo an ostomy surgery, there might be ‘gossiping neighbors’ who would counteract the effort!
“Last week I met a patient who had cancer of the rectum. After operation, they put a bag on the tummy here. But it leaked and spilled all over! And the ‘stoma’ was so red, so big!”
We didn’t have trained specialized nurses in this field nor proper quality bags at that time. A few patients managed to get quality stoma bags and appliances imported from UK and US.
Today Malaysia has many trained enterostomaltherapists (ETs) and good quality ostomy bags in hospitals and pharmacies. The ETs would assist the colorectal surgeons to further explain about the conditions, surgery and the before and after operation care. They guide the patients on care for their stoma, its surrounding skin and how to use the stoma bags, etc.
I am not sure if patients still gossip like they used to! With proper pre and post operation care, these patients will be able to live a better quality life with a stoma.
Are you listening to one's endless nagging?
Is it because one can't seem to get through to you?
Will the list of complaints gets longer
if one cannot find their solutions soon?
Are there hidden messages
that were missed in seemingly 'empty' talks?
Are you listening, listening...
before the sinking, sinking... hand disappears under?
Some people may have the knowledge,
but it takes great patience, efforts, energy and compassion to listen.
It requires knowing
when to step out of the shoe after stepping into it.
And listening in silence is a skill,
interrupting hinders those much awaited expressions and words
that were just coming through...
That is why we have two ears but only one mouth!
A carer for cancer patients once said, 'one must be kind to oneself in order to be kind to others.'
This is because listening
drains one emotionally if one does not recharge oneself in between.
So are you listening?
“Sometimes all a person wants is an empathetic ear; all he or she needs is to talk it out. Just offering a listening ear and an understanding heart for his or her suffering can be a big comfort.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Breast cancer- a brave admission in art form (poem- a tercet)
I saw this picture in the pexel collection, I admire her bravery in admission against femininely- accepted definition.
The pose seems to be for art-form many would think it was not so warm to be received as a new norm.
Mastectomees-by-choice will not frown at the new level, she has taken taboo to, for they will approve, too, privately with their open gowns.
I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.- Angelina Jolie
Envy is the root of all evil and it give birth to jealousy! It burns you from inside out. Do not get envy of others success. Be just as enthusiastic about the success of others As you are about get your own success. Jealousy is simply and clearly the fear that you do not have […]
In the silent hall
a snake coiled in the center
Horrified one saw
‘Don’t move, don’t move, least it ’
all still, not breathing!
Basket over it
a wooden plank under it
outside hall, released!
“Snakes are sometimes perceived as evil, but they are also perceived as medicine. If you look at an ambulance, there’s the two snakes on the side of the ambulance. The caduceus, or the staff of Hermes, there’s the two snakes going up it, which means that the venom can also be healing.” – Nicolas Cage
“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” – Gautama Buddha
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”– Vivian Greene
I wonder if this depicts the current Covid-19 pandemic. Is it about learning how to live with it?
It is raining cats and dogs out there! Remember to take your umbrella! But then comes the wind and inverts the brolly! When the floods come, washing bodies of cats and dogs. Is that what the idiom means?
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Michael Jordan, Basketball Player
As quoted above, failures should be taught to be are part of a journey to success.
It is worrying to see young school children committing suicide because of their inability to cope with homeworks and examination stress.
[虽然我们不看那些看不见的东西，但要看那些看不见的东西。因为看见的是暂时的，看不见的是永恒的。Google translated] while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
[“我们是这个星球上的游客。我们在这里最多一百年了。在此期间，我们必须努力使自己的生活变得美好和有益。如果您为他人的幸福做出贡献，就会发现生活的真正意义。” – 达赖喇嘛 google translated]” We are visitors on this planet. We are here for one hundred years at the very most. During that period we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives. if you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find the true meaning of life.” – Dalai Lama
Li Na passed by a house in a rural village. An unkempt, half-naked man was squatting over a drain outside a half-burned house.
The driver said, “he is a mentally-ill person. He was probably trying to cook some food.” A lady sitting next to Anna chuckled, “… and burning down his own house, crazy fella.”
Li Na was disappointed with the elderly lady. “But, but, this house is so near the hospital! He needs treatment!” Li Na exclaimed. “The police would not come and take him to the hospital because no one reported it,” the driver explained.
… Society has failed him. … Our mental health safety net has failed, …His family members have failed him and not gotten him treated. Li Na felt guilty too for not picking up the phone, as the team moved on.
Uncle Simon Wong was a loving grandfather. When he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon, His son and daughter admitted him to the hospital. This diagnosis was a double blow during a time when his business just suffered the recession then.
He took his own life before surgery. A suicide like this happens at a time when the mind is at its utmost fragility and vulnerability.
Recent reports that attempted suicides were dealt with being handcuffed, fines and imprisonment.
While the police force deals with criminals ‘hammering the hard-core nails into its place’, Such a hammer would only smash these delicate beings to shreds, irretrievable.
Attempted suicide is a cry for help, not a crime! The tool to use is not the ‘hammer’ of the police force, but ‘gentle, compassionate hands of the healthcare and social welfare experts!
“The GP doctor said that my bleeding per rectum is due to haemorrhoid or piles. So I was treated with piles medications for six months before I was diagnosed as having cancer rectum…” Piles are so common, this patient did not doubt the GP and did not seek a second opinion until much later.
It is ironic that lady A went around teaching others how to perform the breast self-exams. But her own breast lump was misdiagnosed as mastitis as she was breast feeding her child. During a second opinion the doctor diagnosed her with incurable breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy surgery to remove both breasts. This was followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Kanser Dan ‘Bola Kristal’ Doktor
Berapa tahun saya tinggal?
Pada peringkat barah saya,
dan mengikut kajian statistik,
doktor mengatakan bahawa
saya tinggal kira-kira dua tahun!
Tuan ‘Kecewa’ menangis.
Saya tidak boleh masuk wad.
Setiap hari tanpa kerja,
bermaksud tiada makanan untuk keluarga saya!
Tuan ‘Ingin bunuh diri’ merenung.
Kanser bermaksud kematian.
Kanser bermaksud banyak kesakitan.
Keluarga saya akan bimbang
dengan lebih banyak bil hospital!
Encik ‘Alim’ dengan tenangnya menerima.
Ini bukan di tentukan doktor.
Hanya TUHAN yang akan menentukan bila dia akan mengambil saya.
Sementara itu, saya akan terus melakukan kebaikan.
Tuan ‘Falsafah’ menyatakan.
Rakan sekerja muda saya mati, di tempat kejadian, dalam kemalangan,
dan dua lagi, dari serangan jantung dan denggi.
Dengan barah, saya mempunyai masa untuk merancang 'masa depan saya'.
Tuan ‘Pejuang’ mengejek.
Itu dua belas tahun yang lalu!
Lihatlah dua parut luka ini di perut saya.
Saya mencabar setiap kali 'Big C' kembali!
Sangat menarik untuk diperhatikan,
bagaimana bezanya sesetengah orang
mempunyai kehendak hidup
yang lebih besar berbanding orang lain.
Yang penting adalah
pemupukan harapan, sikap positif,
tekad yang lebih kuat,
kemahiran mengatasi yang lebih baik,
dengan sokongan dan kasih sayang
keluarga yang baik.
Setiap doktor tidak boleh melihat
‘bahagian gajah’ miliknya
tetapi perlu melihat klien
Adakah sokongan yang mencukupi
daripada para jururawat,
pasukan paliatif, kebajikan sosial,
kaunselor dan pegawai agama?
"Penyembuhan banyak penyakit
tidak diketahui oleh doktor
kerana mereka tidak mengetahui keseluruhannya.
Bagi bahagian itu tidak akan pernah sihat kecuali keseluruhannya baik. "