Meeting with Derek Boy

He is a cute chubby boy and he is surprisingly very calm and obedient baby. Perhaps, it is a very rare to find in my family.

This is our first time meeting with Baby Derek. He is about 7 months old and according to his mom, he weights about 9 plus kilograms! She said he resemble a lotus root. I called him a Michelin baby. ?

He was very quiet during the entire meeting. Kelly was carrying him on a hipster set. So, he would just lean on his mother’s chest and play on his own; while she eats her food. He did not even make any sound.

Luggage Forgotten

Our flight back home was delayed for almost 1.5 hours. I told Mom that if I have a choice, I won’t choose any flight that land in KLIA2. Why?

  1. We had to walk for more than 30 mins from the gate to the immigration area. 
  2. It was like a warehouse sale at the immigration area. There were massively long queues at both officer-manned counters and the auto gate while officers at the foreigner section were enjoying.
  3. Another 10-15 mins from exiting the immigration to the pick-up area.

Since we were delayed, we were kind of rushing out to the pick-up area. We were supposed to land at 21:45 but with the delay, we landed at 23:30.

Dad came to pick us up. It was kind of a chaos around the pick up area with so many travellers waiting for their pick-up and cars waiting for their friends, family or whoever.

We dropped off Amanda and Ann first. Once we reached home and Dad brought in all the luggages and bags, we realised that we had left my luggage at the pick-up area. Dad drove us back to the airport again, hoping that someone will hand it over to the airport staffs.

On the way back to the airport, I was trying to figure out how we left out the luggage. I remembered pushing the luggage out to the outer pick-up area and placed it next to our car when Ann was asking me to open the door. It was locked from inside. After that, I straight hopped into the car thinking that all luggages are in the car.

Once we reached the airport, I went to the Information Counter and the staff asked me to go up to the Information Counter at Level 3. There, the officer made a call and asked me to describe my luggage. Then he told us that my luggage was handed to the immigration counter and he asked us to go to the Information Counter at the check-in area.

I spoke to the lady at the counter and then I saw my luggage. She initially wanted me to tell her what I have inside the luggage. They had scanned it earlier and couldn’t open it as it was wrapped and strapped. Luckily I had the luggage strip sticker with me. They confirmed the details and handed me my luggage.

Out-of-Jail to Hong Kong!

I’m off to Hong Kong! It’s a out-of-jail card!

Almost 4 months since I was hospitalised, I’m out for a holiday. The trip was initially planned in October but had to be cancelled due to my illness. Mom was worried to let me confined in a plan for few hours.

Why December then? It is mainly because of Jacky Cheung. I have bought his concert ticket. This is my first oversea concert. I have heard a lot about concerts held in the famous Hong Kong Coliseum. It is said that only artists with highly status can hold their performance here. Of course, another main reason is to visit Wong Tai Sin Temple. Kelly had made a prayer contribution to pray for my recovery. So, I will be going there to “repay” the prayer.

Ann’s sister, Annie JieJie and her friend, Sharon are joining us as well. As her sister has not been to Hong Kong (and oversea) for almost 16 years, Ann would be taking her and Sharon to some tourist attractions.

We will be visiting Kelly and her son, Derek as well.

It would be a packed trip and lots of walking.

Am looking forward to it!

For SOCSO, 2 Hours Wait Time for 5 Qs

I am here at Hospital Kuala Lumpur or General Hospital as people normally refer it to. I am waiting for my name to be called and I have no clue when it will be. 

There is no counter near the area, no information or directive given there to let people know what to expect. While looking clueless, a kind aunty asked if I am here because of Socso. I answered her yes but I don’t know what I need to do. She saw me holding a letter and asked me to drop it into a wooden tray outside of a bilik kaunseling (counselling room). The place is full of people, waiting, I’d bet.

Initially, I had planned to come here by Uber. Mom suggested to get Brother to send me there after he dropped his kids back home from school. I thought, why not? I’d save a trip to pay.

First of all, this place is a mess. The direction and sign boards are useless. Not knowing where is the Orthopaedic Specialist Clinic, I asked Brother to dropped me near the A&E Department. Their Information Center is closed. I had to asked an Auxiliary policemen stationed at the entrance of one of the wards. He told me it’s at the new building near the hospital main entrance. Yeah, I had to walked all the way back to where we came in. I kept looking for the sign while walking but couldn’t see any signs indicating Orthopaedic. There are two looking-like-new buildings on both my left and right. Still no sign of Orthopaedic. I turned to my right toward some auditorium and saw trainee nurses coming out from the building. I stopped one and asked where is the Orthopaedic. She pointed to another not-so-new building in front of me. Wait, that building doesn’t look new. There are newer buildings!


While heading to the building, I saw a lot of police cars and black posh cars in front of the main entrance. There is a black Bentley with a yellow numberless plate. It belongs to someone in the Pahang royal family. A lot of people gathered near the entrance to catch a glimpse of the royal and I kinda lost my way. A nurse saw me holding a Socso letter and pointed me to 2F. Not sure why there was heaps of people waiting for the lift. I decided to take the stair instead.

Reached the second floor, I was struggling to find the sign to Bilik Kaunseling. After walking back and forth and contemplating whether to go on floor up, since I can’t see sign on which floor I am currently at. Then, I saw a plate that says  “SOCSO” with an arrow. Oh my, the crowd! I see no nurse or staff only patients and four rooms with closed door. I walked past those people to the other end, not knowing what I should do. I don’t see any signs or directions. Until that kind aunty saw me.

So, after writing till here, I have been waiting for 40 minutes. No chair or any places to sit, my back begin to ache and my feet feeling sore. I don’t dare to walk away fearing that my name would be called any time and I’d miss my turn.

The inside of the Bilik Kaunseling.. from the outside

The crowd mostly comprises of elderly and disabled people. There are few on wheelchair and walking sticks. There are also handicapped people. I am one of the few able-bodies waiting to be called. At a point, I felt embarrassed to be there because there people who does have the need to be there and to go through this process and my situation is not as bad as half of those there.

It’s almost 4, I am still standing at the same spot. Couldn’t stand the back ache and sore feet anymore. I saw several empty seats inside the room. I went in an took a seat. Luckily I brought the iPad along and downloaded a couple of eBooks. I opened up iBook app and started reading A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. It’s a movie that would be on-screen soon. I decided to try the book first before watching the movie.

It was around 4:15 when my name was called. Finally! I had a little bit of a hard time getting up after standing up for so long. I went into the room. It was a long meeting room, with several tables joined together. There were two doctors sitting at each end of the joined tables with a Malay lady with her head resting on the table, in between the doctors. He was an Indian doctor. I took the seat in front of him while he was flipping at a photocopied of my forms with Dr. Guna’s report. He flipped it back and forth. I offered him my medical report but he said it’s okay.

It was a very, and I really mean it, short interview session. I wouldn’t call it an interview though. He only asked me five questions:

  1. What do I do for a living?
  2. When did I have GBS?
  3. Am I fully recovered?
  4. Do I start driving?
  5. Do I have to go back for follow up?

These five questions only last 3 minutes. I had to reconfirmed again that our session is indeed ended. He reassured me and said he will write the report. So, out I went.

I called Brother and told him that I will call Uber for ride home. Since it’s almost 5 and there will be congestion everywhere.

That’s my Monday.

Vague Dream, Not-So-Bad Message

I had another dream. Vague one as like the one I had on Monday.

This time, I dreamed of Niang Niang, a medium of Goddess of Mercy 觀音娘娘. Well, you know… Chinese. I think it was a short dream because I only remember a part where I drove to her place to meet her. I was saying something about Mom asked me to pay her a visit. I took some money from my pocket and handed it to her. She said it was not enough and the prayers and blessings that she had done for me cost more than what I give her. If my memory serves me right, it should be around 7 thousands.

And, that was when I woke up after being bitten by an annoying mosquito. Haha!

Vague Dream with a Possible Bad Message?

My dreams are always erratic and random. I can be talking to one person and then another person the next moment. Or I would be at one place and a quick snap, a different surrounding. Once awaken, the message would be garbled and mixed up. I would have trouble placing which scenario happened first and which next.

What I remembered about the dream I had this morning (this morning as it was already a brand new day by the time i dozed off)…

I was at somewhere, a house, upper floor. It looked very similar to the upper floor of my old house in Jinjang. I saw Dr. Guna, my treating neurologist. She was sitting on the floor with something next to her. It had white cloth over it or nothing under at all because the cloth looked flat. Dr. Guna was telling me something and her face looked like someone who had just gave you a bad news. I could not remember what she told me but I take it as something not favorable, remembering her look – a bad news, perhaps.

Then, somebody else appeared and Dr. Guna was gone. It was another scene and story; and I woke up.

In the morning, I didn’t feel great. I was trying to decipher the meaning of the dream. I know online dream thingy cannot be trusted and it will make you more nervous. It will scares you with wrong interpretation.

I remembered reading something about dream in a book in Buddhism; which I recently bought. Its titled Introduction to Buddhism: An Explanation of the Buddhist Way of Life. Honestly, while browsing for books on Buddhism, I was attracted by the cover.

The book, Introduction to Buddhism (Image Credit: Vajrasecrets by Kechara)

So, here’s an excerpt from the book. In Past and Future Lives:

We generally believe that the things we perceive in dreams are unreal while the things we perceived when we are awake are true; but Buddha said that all phenomena are like dreams in that they are mere appearances to mind. For those who can interpret them correctly, dreams have great significance. For examples,  if we dream that we visit a particular country that we have never been to in our life, our dream will indicate one of four things: that we have been to that country in our previous life, that we will visit it later in this life, that we will visit it in a future life, or that it has some personal significance for us, as it would, for example, if we had recently received a letter from that country or had seen a television program about it. Similarly, it we dream we are flying, it may mean that in a previous life we were a being who could fly, such as a bird or a meditator with miracle powers, or it may predicts that we will become such a being in the future. A flying dream may also have a less literal meaning, symbolizing an improvement in out health or state of mind.

The author also said it was his dream that he was able to discover where his mother had been reborn after she had died.

That made me ponder a while, what kind of message my dream was trying to deliver to me. After a while, I was “oh well, I am just a normal being and not like an accomplished meditation master or a teacher of Buddhism like the author”.

Back to Reality

As much as I hate it, I am back to work! It’s a hell hole.

I have been dreading for this days since weeks before today. It shows how unwilling of me to be back to work. But on the bright side, I can work from home until my next check-up in January. 🙂

A lot of people had been updating me on things happened in the office. There are goods and there are bads. And how can we leave gossips out? There are a lot of changes too since I was out.

Everyday when I thought of today, negativity starts swarming me. It’s to a point that my best friend, Ann had to keep reminding me to talk to someone and be positive.

It was a quiet return which was what I wanted. No one message me on OCS or wish me ‘Welcome Back’ on group chat. Honestly, that was great.

I had a call with Si Khei, my peer, to brief me on some tasks. My new manager asked her to handover a simple task to me first as she’s worried that I would be still weak.

Had a quick lunch and quick workout before going back to my desk. I will try to keep my usual routine as much as possible by adjusting the time between work and lunch break.

Nimmi, my peer in Chennai, messaged me and asked how I am doing. She also said that her sister-in-law had GBS few years ago and did physical therapy for 6 months. She researched a lot on GBS. A least there is someone who understand what I had gone through. She gave me a lot of encouragements.

I chatted with few close ones. Well, I would say today is a peaceful day and hopefully it will stay like this for many days to come.

Second MRI

September 19, 2016

I was readmitted today to have a new MRI done on my brain and cervical (neck section of the spine), and also a blood test.

I started packing my stuffs on the previous night. It was like packing for a day trip. I would have packed lighter if not for the physiotherapy  sessions on both Monday and Tuesday – I need extra change of clothes.

Mom and I headed to the hospital at 9:00 am. Dr. Guna was preparing the paperwork while we waited outside the clinic. After a while, the clinic nurse brought us to the billing centre to process the admission.

We were being attended by a Malay gentleman. Mom told me he was the guy that Ann talked to about my insurance. His name is Zul. Mom chatted with him a bit. While registering me into the system, he found my name to be familiar. He soon recognised it. After a while, an Indian lady passed by behind us. Mom stopped her and thanked her for helping with out billing during my last hospitalisation. She looked at me and asked, “Sow Pik Hung, right?” She recalled my name just like that. She is Nalini. Wow, I am famous in this hospital now!

Zul told us that Guarantee Letter from insurance might take a while. He asked us to wait for about an hour or so and come back after lunch hour. It should be ready by then. While waiting, we headed up to Dr. Sanjeev’s clinic. I had the Hess Chart test again and had a quick talk with him. The chart look much better than the last one. He want to see me again in 2 months time. Once we are done, the clinic nurse came and informed us that we can head up to the ward but first we need to go to the billing centre.

A staff brought me up to my room in Ward 8B. It’s room 819, a single room. After I’ve settled down, I asked the nurse to call the Rehabilitation Centre if Awatif, my OT therapist is available. The nurse came back and informed me that I can have my session at 3:00 pm and MRI is scheduled at 4:00 pm.

A nurse came in and she brought a guy along. I don’t know what he’s called. He is going to wheel me down to the imaging department. I was taken over by a radiologist. Before she bring me into the room where the MRI machine is, she went through a list of questions. One question – whether I had any issues or problems during my last MRI. I told her that I didn’t know as I was unconscious when the last MRI was taken. Once done, she wheeled me into the room. It was as cold as a freezer! She then brought me to the MRI machine and asked me to lie down on the bed (or table). She put on a headset and then a head cover to prevent my head from moving. She asked me if I have any music preference.

I was feeling nervous as I never have a MRI before, when I was aware though. I’ve read all kind of stories about MRI, especially when I have an ORIF done on my right clavicle. I worried that the super strong magnet will pull it out from my shoulder! I think I might have claustrophobia. Oh, she did ask me that during the questionnaire time. The machine is terribly noisy. I was like in a construction site with all the pounding and machine sound. I had two MRI – brain with contrast and cervical spine. I was told it would take around 30 minutes for each but it took almost 2 hours.

September 20, 2016

MRI result was available. Mom was not around as she needed to pick up Belle and Jasper from school. I followed Dr Guna to the nurse’s station. She used one of the computer at the station to show me the latest MRI scans. She told me that the swelling on my cervical spine is still there although there was improvement from last scan. She expected it to be completely healed by now. She suggested me to take steroid to heal the swelling. It is the same steroid she gave me when I was in CCU. There is an oral version of it. Good things always come with a ‘but’. Although it might expedite the recovery but it also comes with a lot of side effects – weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes and bone problem. I told her I would need to discuss with Mom first before deciding.

Cervical Spine MRI

I explained a bit when Mom came back. She wasn’t that happy when I told her about the MRI result, in the sense that she was worry. I told her about the steroid. Both of us don’t really want to take that option and decided to wait for it to heal on its own.

Dr Guna came back again. Perhaps she want to explain again to Mom. I told her our decision. She said since there is still swelling, I would need to avoid from getting any new infection as they could cause relapse.

Blood tests result was not available yet. Doctor expected it to be available by my next check-up.

I was discharged and home later in the afternoon.

First Check Up After Discharge

Today is follow-up day. I need to visit Dr. Guna, Dr. Loh the speech therapist, Juliana the dietitian and Dr. Sanjeev the eye specialist; in one day. I was in the hospital from 9:00 am till almost 5:00 pm. Went home in the afternoon for lunch and then went back to the hospital for Dr. Sanjeev’s appointment at 2:00 pm. He was stuck in a traffic and reached hospital only at 3:00 pm.

Nothing much from Dr. Guna. She asked me to walk and try to squat and stand up. She said that I have a lot of improvement but I have not regained my balance yet. She asked me to stand on one foot and I could not balance well. I told her that I still feel numbness in my legs and arms. She prescribed ALAnerv to me and asked me to try. It is to repair my nerve.

She also said I would need to have another brain and neck MRI to check on my nerve. I will need to be admitted again on Sep 19 for a night. Some of the test results are not available yet. She said it would take weeks. What bacteria or virus, it’s not known yet. Hopefully, it will be available by Sep 19.

Next was Dr. Loh and Juliana. They were surprised that I can talk smoothly now. Dr Loh brought porridge and blended food while Juliana brought a plate of a normal meal with rice, grilled fish, and vegetable. It was used to assess my swallowing ability. She also said that I have a lot of improvement and I doesn’t seem to have any problem swallowing but she suggested to take things slowly. I can now take soft food. Yay, no more blended food! She said I need to start chewing food to work out my jaw muscle.

We went home a lunch and picked up Jasper and Anabelle from school before heading back to the hospital for Dr. Sanjeev’s appointment. We were waiting since 1:30 pm until Dr. Sanjeev came at 3:00 pm due to traffic congestion. He was surprised as well that I can talk normally now. He told his assistance that they need to do a test case on me.I told him that I am no longer seeing double but everything I see now seems brighter than usual and it gets tired quickly. H ordered a Hess Chart to test if I still have double vision. He told me that although the result was off a little but it was nothing to be concerned about. He suggested to do another test in a month time and asked me when will I have my next follow up with other doctors. I told him that I will need to be admitted on Aug 19 for a MRI. He said he will do it the same day.

He was being told by his assistant that I was in the hospital since morning. He smiled and told me that he will keep things short and sweet. He told me that although the result was off a little but it was nothing to be concerned about. He suggested to do another test in a month time and asked me when will I have my next follow up with other doctors. I told him that I will need to be admitted on Aug 19 for a MRI. He said he will do it the same day.

Anabelle and Jasper were sleeping on the couch when I came out from Dr. Sanjeev’s clinic. We went home at around 4:30 pm – 5:00 pm and all of us were extremely tired and exhausted.

So, What is GBS?

What is Guillain-Barré Syndrome?

Guillain-Barré (ghee’-yan bah-ray’) Syndrome, or GBS, is a rare illness typified by the rapid onset of weakness, often accompanied and sometimes even preceded by abnormal sensations, such as tingling or pain. These various changes reflect damages to peripheral nerves, that is, nerves located outside the brain and spinal cord. Peripheral nerves, includes motor nerves to muscles that enable movement, sensory nerves from the skin and joints that detect texture, limb position, etc., and autonomic nerves that automatically regulate functions such as heart beat, blood pressure, pupil size, and a sense of bladder fullness.

GBS can occur at any time without warning. It varies greatly in severity from mild cases of brief weakness that may no even come to a doctor’s attention, to a devastating, life threatening illness with complete paralysis, respiratory failure and inability to swallow. GBS is rare. Most people have never heard of it, or if they have, know little about it.

Quoted from Guillain-Barré Syndrome, CIDP and Variants: An Overview for the Layperson (GBS/CIDP Foundation International, 10th Edition, 2010)

To know more, head over to Guillain-Barré Syndrome Fact Sheet at NIH’s website.

A short video explaining GBS.