Sick of Being Sick

I had suffered a long and serious illness for the past month. It did not come as a surprise for I had been warned three months before that. During that period, I had sore throat before I slept but I always woke up feeling normal. It happened for quite a number of time and I guessed that I was saved by taking a tiny bit of manuka honey every night. However, there was also an obvious symptom – my scalp was growing acne and it was irritating.

My body had been “heaty” since young and thus I would fall sick often. I was no fan of food but I most preferred western food, fast food and just any fried food. I had been resisting them throughout my life because they made me fall sick very easily.

However, for this year, I was rather rebellious and did not practise self control. Other than taking fast food numerous times, there was a couple of times I took fried food like char kuey teow as my main course meal. My mum had also bought packet roti prata from the NTUC Fairprice for supper, which tasted quite good after frying them and she replenished it quite a few times. My mum’s porridge for lunch was rather healthy but not her dinner, which usually came with food like nuggets. I was very amazed with myself throughout the months before my body failed me.

As usual, it always started with sore throat, followed by cough and flu. I did not take my temperature but I knew I was having fever occasionally. Phlegm, blocked nose and ears were gifts from them and the worst thing was to bring down my energy. I was pretty slow in my work then.

The terrors did not leave me soon. They stayed faithfully with me for over a month. Doctor told me it was not that my body was weak, but I did not have enough rest. I had to agree.

I was badly disturbed almost every morning by my neighbour’s puppy who barked loudly for a few minutes. It was obvious that I did not sleep early and thus being woke up in the morning was a torture.

Resting during the afternoon was almost impossible with my sticky dog around. I had only two bedrooms and my mum barred Luckie from entering one and my sister-in-law did not like anyone to enter the other bedroom when she and my elder brother were not around. I could not leave Luckie alone in the living room because he would end up crying and barking so loudly that I would end up not able to sleep.

Since I was sharing bedroom with my mum and younger brother and both of them would “die” without switching the air-con on even when the weather was not very bad, I had to bear with it despite I was afraid of the low temperature. Flu was never tolerating.

While I was sick, I still had to continue with my daily administration work. It was not difficult at all but to do the same old time-consuming stuffs for the past few years was really sickening. Those boring work would not make me grow.

One of the most stressful things was to arrange for photoshoot. Things would be better if the parties I had to alias with did not give problems, and eventually, I had actually wasted my time and effort. I was all along very easygoing but some people might be fussier than me. Not everyone was very committed.

I had one of the most challenging tasks on hand, which was to update the website for my “xiao mei”. She had changed her webhost a year ago but did not migrate her files over. Somehow, she was lucky that her old files were still inside the old server and the host did not remove the files. I had to try log into both her new and old webhosts, and of course the latter did not work. In the end, I had to rip the source codes and other files from her own webhost and it included a flash file, which was calling other files. I spent a few days to fix everything for her. It was mind-blowing. In fact, she was not in a rush but I was just too determined and eager to solve her problems.

That week, I had promised to do an interior shoot for my cousin-in-law. During the first day, a Tuesday, he was astonished to see me turn up at the bar. I was wrecked by the full-equipment bags that I had carried all the way to the place when my body was so weak. He checked his phone and realised it was the correct date and time. The problem was that there were many staffs working there to setup the place as they were still in preparation for the opening the week after. Even one of the string of LED light was loosen and hanging around. We agreed to shoot during the next morning but he texted me a couple of hours before the shoot that the bar’s staffs would be there to work and thus we postponed to Friday. I had forced myself to wake up early over nothing. On Friday, I was smart enough to not bring my laptop along, in fact, there was no need to even bring my lighting along to the cramp place. The person holding to the key was not around and I had to wait outside the bar for around half an hour. Then, contractors continued to go in to fix things while the lady staff was cleaning things up. Many items such as fruits were laying around the bar counter and tables. The tables were not even in order. To conclude, it was a disaster for a photographer. I had to move things around by myself and even wiping the surfaces of the tables and it was impossible to even capture the widest shoot using my 24-70mm lens. I had to also wait for the staffs and contractors to move away before I could set the long exposure for my camera. It was one of the most horrible photoshoot I had ever done in my illness and I was not even satisfied with the angles and lighting.

The thing that had worsen my illness was the NUS TevaSUN beach volleyball competition on that Saturday. Each team consisted of five players, including one substitute. Tony, Gin, Bernard and his girlfriend signed up for it but Bernard had confinement at Palau Tekong and thus I was roped in. As the substitute who had to cover for Bernard, I had to be present so that our team would not be disqualified. I finished my TCM medicine (that was prescribed to me right before my illness turned for the worst) and I did not have time to get new medicine due to my interior shoot. Eventually, I took panadol and flu tablets to fight the virus. On the actual day of the competition, I was still very sick. Every time I tried to use my strength, I coughed badly. My head was heavy and I could not concentrate. I disgraced myself in front of all the girls. Right after showering, as I tried to blow to clear my nose, the mucus came out with blood. I knew it was not due to bruises inside my nose because I did not blow my nose hard. The situation was so bad that after I got home and tried to clear my nose again, the mucus dripped continuously for more than five seconds and it was bloody on my basin. I went to see the TCM doctor again and was lectured by her for not resting. For a week, the blood was a loyal companion. My illness took even longer to go away.

I was naive at times but at least I kept my words to everyone. I did my best but my best was far from even the level that I could accept for myself.

Spread the Love – June 2013

Thanks to Ahpa Saeyeoh for introducing me to her friends Dickson and William. Dickson has studied Chinese medication for more than three years while William is currently understudying him. Both of them have improved on my back’s condition.

My back problem had lasted for nearly 15 years. It was worsened during my NS days due to the excessive loads I had to carry regularly. I had gone for X-ray and MRI screening but the results were not as “bad” as what doctors expected for me to downgrade permanently. Despite getting temporary “excuse heavy load” medical certificate from the medical officers (MOs), I had to continue to carry heavy stuffs. Well, I was simply unlucky because I had a bastard superior called Captain James during that time who would threaten (indirectly) all the injured co-slaves to work. His moonlighting business – some aquarium shops – should be failed by now after being cursed by so many nice people.

I was in fact one of the fittest guys in my camp other than having the injuries, which nobody could see nor understand. I had to go for regular physiotherapy sessions and campmates would jokily call me “chao geng”, thinking it was just an excuse to skip “work”. Friends who know me well should know that I was a very determined and responsible person who would do everything well and not push work around. An example would be during the BMT’s SIT test, I actually fireman-carried a platoon-mate much bigger size than me over a distance all by myself. Therefore, during my NS days, I was being hurt both physically and mentally.

Anyway, the aching on my back was more terrible than anyone could imagine. For a few times, there were sharp pains when I was jogging – obviously the spine was connected to lower body. The aching happened very often that I had lie down every now and then. More than half of my days, the pains accompanied me faithfully. I simply had to sit down for five minutes without my back supported to trigger the aching for years.

After some examination, Dickson told me I had slipped disc, which was not easily to be detected by both X-ray and MRI. He used a big stick with around five or six split ends to whack my back hard for probably longer than 20 minutes that my face turned red. He was experienced enough to tell that the pain was bearable compared to the 15 years of my torment. However, my back was numbed from the whacking that I was unable to tell him the exact condition so that he could do more.

The sore on my back improved immediately, which stunned me totally. All these years, I always thought the western doctors were right that I could only train my muscle hard to support the injured spine. Most of the time, I thought my back muscle was injured as well. If only I had more faith that my back problem could be cured or improved, so that I could seek better Chinese physician for help earlier, my life would be so much better. The pain had slowed me down badly in my work.

MC for Two Days

Wednesday morning, my mum and younger brother left the house before I woke up to go to Bali.

I had a little difficulty in breathing at first. I hesitated again but decided I should take more rest at home instead of destroying myself at work. I went to see the doctor at the Outram polyclinic finally.

The checkpoint outside the main door was cleared. There was only a poor guy standing inside near the queue ticket machine, asking everyone if there was any symptom of flu, fever or cough. Then, a couple of old people bothering him over the queue machine in quite a rude tone, which I thought was so silly and ridiculous.

After putting on the mask, I realized my breathing had improved somehow. My queue number was F009 and it was not very long before I went into the consultation room. When the doctor was checking my throat, she said it was very red inside and that made me very curious. I remembered when I was in the army, I went to see the doctor for diarrhoea, and I was told the same thing. I was not having a sore throat that time and thus I took it lightly until the next day, it started to hurt.

I was given two days medical leave by the doctor without asking for it. If I were to tell her about my occupation, she would probably make me stay at home until the next Monday.

After reaching home, I dropped a couple of emails. I was planning to go downstairs to buy lunch before my elder brother’s girlfriend offered to do it. She went alone to help me get my wantan mee.

It was a lazy afternoon for me and I spent lots of time lying on the bed.

In the evening, the food delivery man interrupted my sleep. I checked my phone and realized my brother had informed me to wait for the food because his girlfriend could be asleep. My brother got home soon and we shared the two packets of food.

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Jogged in Injuries and under the Rain

On Saturday, I started the morning earlier than usual. Just as I was enjoying myself in the C&C game, my mum asked me if I wanted to go and visit the doctor. I went alone to the Chinese physician for the first time, having a long queue outside.

After that, I went to the POSBank and was punished by the extremely long and slow queue. When it was my turn, I told the lady I wanted to change my ATM card and she claimed that I had to foot $5 for it. immediately, I asked her to upgrade my card to the “Go!” card and thus, the fee was waived off. I wanted to do it since long ago but I did not have a more complicated signature. On the spot, I had to come out with a new one, which I could have forgotten how I would sign it in future.

Before I went home, I went to find my hairdresser to book a schedule at 5.30pm. I had some naps before I went down to get my hair trimmed neatly again.

In the evening, I went for a jog towards my favourite place under the dark sky. I was probably insane to proceed in my body and the weather’s condition. I dragged on my injured right thigh and ankle, struggling since the start of the trip; the past few days of working-out had almost drained my energy completely. One of the greatest problems was that the Chinese medicine seemed to create stomachache for me to release all the toxic inside my body and I felt so uncomfortable throughout.

It started drizzling when I reached the place where there were many coaches around to fetch tourists. Though I took 31 minutes from Shenton Way to reach there, the sun had almost set off since I started off late. Kite-flying was as usual, together with large groups of people. There was a birthday celebration among a group of people, girls wearing gorgeous dresses and the guys seemed very fortunate. There were families and couples but no lonely soul except me.

The journey back took me even longer, increasing the timing by another three minutes. Luckily, the rain did not pour heavily on me. I was famine on the way but there was nothing much I could do. The jog was a test to my limit and I knew I should continue to push myself in all aspects of life. I could do it.

After reaching home, my mum was the only person around and she started nagging that my brothers and my elder brother’s girlfriend had gone out for dinner despite she had cooked porridge with lots of extra ingredients such as bean curd and mushroom.

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Saturday Early Morning

Last Saturday, I finally revisited the Chinese physician for my weak stomach. My mum wanted to go for acupuncture and thus she remembered that I needed to go back to get medicine. I was quite busy but also lazy to go back before that.

I was stunned when she went to my neighbour right before going to the lift. We had to wait for a while for this auntie who often dialed my house’s phone early in the morning even though she was staying only a few doors away.

It was a pathetic wait this time. Every old people seemed to be early and I suspected they waited at the door before the operational hours began.

It took quite some time for the acupuncture and the heavy rain stopped for us. Other than buying food, my mum also did some marketing and I had to accompany her.

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Another Unpleasant Visit to Outram Polyclinic

Last Friday, I went back to Outram Polyclinic again. The queue was short and I got to see Doctor Alfred Wong very soon, which was one of the fastest ever.

He gave me the impression that he was from overseas, or rather, used to work as a journalist; he simply reminded me of a colleague. Anyway, he insisted there was nothing wrong with my eyes except for the recent virus attack, which had subsided since a week ago. Regarding my gum, he was certain that it was probably due to the gum had overgrowth and thus it was “back to normal” after I had some bleeding months ago; he was definitely a moron and I regretted telling him about the problem in the first place. Maybe he was shortsighted that he could not spot the difference.

Nevertheless, I was given two bottles of same artificial tears, which was quite helpful in relaxing my eyes.

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Super Sick

Since the beginning of the week, my throat started to irritate me. Somehow, my eyes were very tired and I could not stop myself from nodding in the afternoon no matter how much sleep I took.

The weather was intemperate and the office was full of sick workers. I could no longer withhold the virus and flu started to emphasise my body by Wednesday. The cough managed to keep me awake for quite some time on my bed.

A visit to the Outram Polyclinic was a new experience during this Swine Flu period, where screening of temperature was done outside the entrance. All the visitors with symptoms such as fever, cough and flu are allocated to a different queue.

I was among the outcast group to be attended within a room. The pharmacy took over the original reception counters and even took my identification card, which was probably used to call up to check whether had I gone overseas within the period.

It was a long wait and Doctor Tan Kai Hui Colin attended to me. I was surprised over his friendliness, which was rare among the polyclinic doctors. He assured me of my condition was normal and gave me MC (medication certificate) to excuse me from work for two days. It was the first time I was given two days of MC in the polyclinic without having to debate with the doctor.

I went home to swallow the disgusting cough syrup, flu pill and sucking the lozenge. Soon, the power of the syrup and pill put me to sleep.

I could feel myself floating at night. My body was warm and I knew fever had joined in the fun. The first thing that came to my mind was I did not have any medicine for fever since my temperature was originally 36.2 degree in the morning. My mum gave me panadols to resist the fever before I went to bed.

My temperature fell between 37.4 and 37.9 degree throughout. I could feel my entire body torching and aching. I predicted the weekend would be wasted.

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Flu Again and Again

I pinned high hopes to get some vicks or strepsils from the Co-Op in the yesterday morning. It was over 10 AM and after looking at the notice on the door, which “9am to 4pm” was written, I happily went in to get my lozenges. The girl at the cashier was asking me what I wanted and told me it was not in operation yet.

It was so ridiculous to have the operating hours indicated at the door and yet the shop was still not opened an hour later. I supposed none of the retail shops out in the market would do this. The excuse was that the girl in charge, Colin, had not arrived yet and probably due to some traffic jams. Her working hours were supposed to be 8 AM to 5 PM and yet the traffic jam could actually cause her to be late for two and a half hours. When the shop was finally opened for business, I realised none of the lozenges was on the shelves anymore and that the excuse given was that it was coming to the end of the semester soon.

I had lunch at the Tradehub with Baey, Joy, Alfni, Alex, Hasnah and Bernard. I ordered a plate of chicken rice for $3 and the can of carrot juice cost $1.50. The meat seemed to taste quite good with the gravy and nasi lemak rice, but I was unfortunately having flu and thus did not get to enjoy much. I did not join in the conversation often since I had to handle my runny nose.

I almost finished a packet of tissue papers in the afternoon; it was a tough afternoon for me.

Was it so difficult to follow instructions when the speaker was not right besides you? Was it just because of your self-discipline problem that your attention was diverted away once nobody was right besides you to monitor you?

This afternoon, I repeated my words many times and did as many times debugging as well.

As I was rushing off from work, Bernard offered to send me to Dover MRT and thus saving me lots of energy and time. I was more appreciative of the companion.

I took the wrong exit out of Outram Park MRT, having to make a detour. As I was asking for Dr Sally, the nurse at the counter disappointed me by telling me Sally was on leave. I had not met her for years and she was one of the best doctors at the polyclinic.

The waiting time was in fact, quite short, at four PM. I got into the room right after around two patients. Dr Ho in room 2 looked quite stylish. My main purpose for visiting the polyclinic instead of a Chinese physician was because I wanted to ask about my swollen right wrist and freckles on my shoulders but she did not seem to be able to help me at all. I was then prescribed the usual flu tablets and cough syrup, and she asked if I needed any lozenges, which quite stunned me since she was the doctor. The short consultation period cost me $9 together with $4 of medicine. I was wondering if I could get better medicine if I were to pay more than thrice the amount in a private clinic.

My mum was cooking dinner when I got home. I took my meal earlier than normal. I finished the last episode of the “Ten Brothers” online, which I missed it a day ago on channel 8, before swallowing a flu tablet and dozed off shortly.

First MC of the Year

I woke up feeling more feverish than before. My body was weak and the joints were aching. The sore throat resided for a while like the day before but the flu did not stop.

I was so terrified of myself whenever I recalled being inside the class, having to move to the back to sneeze badly. When the fluid tried to drip down from nose, it was really gross. I wanted to maintain a clean sheet record but it would certainly hurt my conscience if I were to spread the virus to others.

For the first time since the first day of my work, I went to see a doctor for medical certification. I preferred Chinese physician but it was too bad their certification might not be recognised.

The polyclinic was crowded and I waited for around forty people before I got my queue number. Doctor Sally was busy as usual and when I asked about Doctor Kok Leong, the nurse at the registration counter was stunned and told me that he had been transferred to the headquarter. She checked my record and realised my last visit to the polyclinic was in year 2006, which was more than a year ago.

Surprisingly, I needed not wait as long as the usual two plus hours to get everything done. The doctor, Doctor Mark, assigned to me was from Ireland. I managed to get to see him quite soon with the absence of two to three patients who were not around after their numbers were flashed for minutes. He seemed to be having flu as well. It was a common infection inside my body.

The medicines prescribed were:
Loratadine 10mg Tab
Glycerin Thymol CO Gargle 100ml
Dequalinium CL 0.25mg Loz
Promethazine Codeine Co Linctus
Amoxicillin Cap

As usual, for as far as I could remember, the doctor asked the same question, “Do you need an MC for today?” – How about the next day? The medicine prescribed would definitely cause drowsiness and how could the virus be wiped off within a day? Since I did not want to miss work longer, I did not try my luck.

I spent yesterday lying on the bed, having too much sleep to doze off again.

Thirty Bucks

I was waken up by my phone at around nine o’clock in the morning. The nurse from “Tanjong Pagar Medical Hall” called me to inform me that the Chinese physician was there already.

My brain was numbed in the morning’s laziness, dwelling on the bed. The next thing in mind was that I had to get better soon to embark on the last two months of terror.

vicks - vapodrop

I was second in the queue. Just as I was telling the physician that I had been chewing on VapoDrops, he was shocked. In fact, I had missed out the instruction on the label like most people would do, that I was supposed to take only one to two of them as needed. The physician told me that overdosing would cause giddiness and also breathing difficulties, which I had and was encountering.

The physician told me that I had overworked and the memory of the long working hours for the past few weeks flashed through my mind. I sighed for the regrets. I was issued three types of medicine and that I had to take a total nine pills each time for twice a day.

The most shocking thing was when I was collecting the prescription, I realised the price was thirty bucks; it was more than four times the price I paid years ago. And it was more expensive than visiting a normal clinic. Nevertheless, I still prefer Chinese physicians.

Medicine:
– 益气丸 x 4
– 养阴片 x 4
– 清鼻片 x 1