From womb to tomb

From womb to tomb

Birth (Photo by Rene Asmussen on

“Nurses are there when the last breath is taken, and nurses are there when the first breath is taken.” – Christine Bell

Tomb (Photo by Tom Fisk on


Traditional Tuesday – in Sarawak

Traditional Tuesday – in Sarawak

Former students doing the Sarawak dance at the end of the enterostomaltherapy (ET) nursing program. The lady in the middle, Helen Bampa, taught the other two. Helen belongs to an aboriginal group called Kenyah (Orang Ulu). It was a beautiful dance and memory. The latter two had gone back to Vietnam. I miss them all!

According to Helen, the dance is called Ngajat Datun Julut. It is performed during opening ceremonies, welcoming VIPs, and during wedding functions.

Former students ( Nguyen ti Thoung, Helen Bampa, Nyuyen ti Lam) doing the Sarawak dance at the end of the ET program
ET Thoung’s message, 22/5/2021

Do women still walk behind their husband?

Do women still walk behind their husband?

Walking behind or beside spouse (Photo by SHVETS production on


I still do.

It’s our Indian culture!


Men as head of family,

make sure that

the path is clear and safe.


Me? I’m always way ahead!

We walk fast in wards ( or hospital)!

slow down, slow down!


For new sweet hearts

they’ll find excuse not walk apart!


A White Lie- about an ostomy

A White Lie- about an ostomy

Don’t tell lies, ever. No matter what – not even little white lies.Margaret Keane-mom

depicting the scene
Mr Ponusamy and daughter with a patient

(Bahasa Malaysia translation

(中文 Chinese translation)

Mr. Ponusamy was accompanied by his daughter

to see a stomaltherapist.

Although the care of his stoma

and the skin around it was excellent,

he made many complaints about them

It must have been difficult for him to accept

having a bag on his tummy to collect his faeces.

The surgeon would not reconnect his intestines

nor close the stoma as proposed  six months earlier.

“They said that it was a barium sulphate blockage in my colon.

But it has been removed already. They should be able to re-attach

the intestines and close this ‘thing’, this stoma,

so I can defecate naturally from my anus!

But they cannot give me a good reason

on why they won’t operate to revert my condition!”

The daughter called the stomaltherapist aside.

“All his children agreed and told the surgeon

not to tell him that he has cancer of the colon.

He is 88 years old and had two heart operations before! 

We are afraid that he may have another attack!”

“I’m retired, but I’m a well-read man. 

My fatigue or feeling tired all the times;

alternating bowel habits of diarrhoea and constipation;

sudden weight loss; blood in my stools;

all point out the signs and symptoms of cancer, aren’t they?”

“…you have just said it, yourself!

This is the report of your biopsy.

Yes, it’s true… “

Mr. Ponusamy kept quiet.

The two ladies glanced at each other, worriedly.

“Do keep an eye on your father at home!

Call me or your surgeon whenever necessary!”

During the following months,

Mr. Ponusamy would drop by the ward

whenever there were patients scheduled for ostomy surgeries.

His daughter would standby dutifully, from a distant,

as her father went on to explain systematically to a new patient

about how to care for a stoma.

We found a prolific speaker in him, too.

Mr. Ponusamy shared his experiences

at seminars for healthcare professionals

and patients with intestinal cancer and stomas.

“I have a successful career, loving children and grandchildren.

But, I would be happier if I was told the truth from the beginning

so that I can make plans and do the best I can, with the time I have left.”

A white lie, no matter how well intended it was meant to be,

should one tell or not tell, a white lie?

– Serena Chen S.P. @ TPTan –

26, October 2020