M203 Diary

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Final part

Sorry for the slight delay,partly because having a fever-World Cup feva. There are 4 parts actually but the third part is actually the actual performance day. So here come the last part. Enjoy.


Monday, June 12, 2006


... was sorta how I imagined our reunions in future would be like.

Minus any immediate physical changes. (I DID NOT LOSE WEIGHT.)

Of course, there were the exclamations, hugs, delighted greetings, mamak sessions, FUTSAL, photo-taking sessions...
Unfortunately, there was also the inevitable question:

So, what have YOU been doing so far?

Chalk it down to my competitive nature, but somehow, saying that I spend my days membancuh kopi doesn't quite hold the candle to say, doing postings, doing research, doing attachments, and other such medically-related activities.

ESPECIALLY since I DON'T bancuh kopi, since my boss at San Francisco Coffee has yet to teach me how to use the espresso machine.

(Yes, this would be the San Francisco Coffee in MIRI. And I'll have you know that Miri ALSO has not one, but TWO Coffee Beans. So there!)

TECHNICALLY, the only drinks from San Francisco that I am trained to make are their frap├ęs. My other claim to fame is that I can make a mean batch of blueberry cheese tarts, chocolate chip cookies, and chicken mushroom pies. From scratch. So there AGAIN!

Then again, I INTENDED this break as a time for me to do things which I will not be able to do once I start medical school & medical work proper. I only wished my voluntary stint could have lasted longer...

Ever since the dialysis centre tranferred all its low-iron patients to the hospital, I have not been called upon for my valuable assistance at blood transfusions.
So, I got myself drafted into helping out Miri General Hospital's Palliative Care Unit. Prior to doing any work, the volunteers had to attend a workshop on Grief & Bereavement. Halfway during the powerpoint presentation, I remember thinking to myself, "Had this been a lecture in IMU, I would have skipped it."

(Turns out there HAD been a lecture on Grief & Bereavement in IMU, and I HAD skipped it.)

After that workshop, I was assigned to accompany an English nurse, as a translator, on home visits to a patient diagnosed with hepatoma. Before my first visit, I prepared myself. Asked the person-in-charge how long did the average patient under the PCU live (4 months), read Davidson's to find out the prognoses of patients with hepatoma (very poor), so it was a surprise for me to find Mr. WL sitting comfortably at home, surrounded by his wife, children & grandchildren, complaining of nothing more than a slight pain in his lower back. We ended the half-hour visit with arrangements to visit again the following Saturday.

He died on Tuesday. 4 days before we were due for our 2nd visit.

I was shocked. I knew he was going to die (I mean, I knew I was working under the PALLIATIVE care unit). I just did not expect it to be so soon.

We visited the widow a week after the funeral, partly to see how they were coping, and partly to ensure they were aware of the official procedures following a death. I was put in a position where I had to ask her delicate questions in my broken Sarawak Malay about things like death certificates in the midst of her mourning, against a background of tearful howls emitted by her 4 year-old grandson when he realised we were there to talk to his grandmother about his late grandfather.

In a desperate attempt to gauge her emotions, I asked, "Aunty, kamu marahkah?"

"Pasal apa saya mahu marah?"

"Um, sebab aunty tidak sangka dia akan mati cepat sangat?"
(I cringe at how bluntly I phrased the question, but it really was the best I could do!)

"Memang kalau boleh saya mahu dia hidup lama, tapi saya tidak marah. Buat apa saya marah dengan Tuhan? I know he is with me. In my heart.

I just miss him."

What do you say in reply?

Before that surprising statement, this widow & I had struggled SO MUCH to overcome the language barrier, and for her to be able to clearly explain to me how she felt, in a language that was so foreign to her...

For those who have faith, death is not something to be feared.

I guess I may not have been as productive compared to most people, but I have no regrets about the way I have spent my time thus far. I learned lessons different from what other people would have learned. Baking lessons included.

All the same, I AM eager to start my clinical years. While I will NOT stoop to saying that I miss studying, this LOOONG break is not making me feel any smarter.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Part II

As promised


Sunday, June 04, 2006


No prizes, but guess whose body parts are these...