Saturday, August 25, 2007

Motivated by pain...

Even though I am 20 years of age I still don’t have the guts to go visit the doctor or dentist by myself. Maybe that’s because I am not sure about the procedure and all to meet them, and would probably make a fool of myself in the process. That… and the fact that I need to talk to someone whom I don’t know seems… really scary.

On Wednesday though, I finally broke a personal record by going to the dentist alone. I guess pain and suffering has a way to drive you to do the impossible, the totally unimaginable.

I had a gum infection at the bottom left wisdom tooth. It started on Sunday morning and initially I thought it wasn’t a big deal as I could still chew at that area though with minor pain. There doesn’t seem to have any open wounds or the like which made me think that it could perhaps be those minor pains I have in my gums every once in awhile when my white cell count is at the low side, as the gums tend to swell and hurt.

It didn’t get any better and by Monday I could see a wound at the side of my teeth, which made me go: Uh-oh, it’s another gum infection. Yeah, “another” as during college I once had a gum infection too near April (I think I did mentioned it in the blog somewhere), which was a double bummer as first of all I couldn’t enjoy food on my birthday and during then I had an English “interview” like oral. My teacher wondered and commented on why I was mumbling all the way through it when she was giving out the result. She was surprised when I said that I had a gum infection and asked me why I didn’t told her so then, which was exactly what I was thinking in my mind.

Back to last Monday, I still insisted on not going to the doctor as I could bear the pain. Tuesday it became worst but I was still as stubborn as ever. Perhaps the other factor that made me not want to go to the dentist was because my mom was out on vacation (meaning no one to “teman” me), and I didn’t wanted to bother dad to take me to the dentist since he’s working, and most probably he’ll just ask me to “be a man” and go see the dentist alone, and being me I was too afraid to go alone.

On Wednesday though, it was so painful that I woke up half way in my sleep and that’s when I thought, alright, enough is enough. It’s time to be a man! Thank God that my dad didn’t off his phone when I called him and was able to ask him to give me some money and borrow the driver to take me to the dentist. Thus, started my quest to search for a dentist.

It was easy to find a dental clinic, but trying to meet the dentist is a different matter altogether. The first place I went to was closed on Wednesday (Oh, great!). The second one was open, but they said they were filled to the brim with appointments, suggesting me to come tomorrow and gave me their business card that look like it drop into the longkang and got picked up again. The third one, which I skipped pass it initially to go straight for the second because it looks so ancient (it looks the same since I can ever remember staying in Sri Petaling), was also filled with appointments but was free at 4 in the evening. There was only one more left and if it closed or filled with appointments I would need to search further or just bear with the pain for another day. Thank God that this one was open AND willing to accept poor old me.

Thinking about it, I just can’t understand those receptionists at the dental clinic at all. If I come and visit you without an appointment it must mean an emergency where I am in pain right? And there they were asking me to come the next day or several hours later. Okay, maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt that “some” really health conscious people come unexpectedly to check their teeth so they won’t mind making an appointment if the doctor’s schedule is full, thus making them not sure if it’s an emergency or not. But… when I came into the clinic, the second one only had one man, the third one was empty… couldn’t you just spare 10-15 minutes to check up on me? I bet the waiting time when one patient comes out till the next one goes in takes around that much time anyway. Then again, if their schedule is so hectic that would mean the dentist is really good, and that would me the one that I went to… hmm… let’s forget about that.

Oh, and for the first time in my life, when filling up a form I need to tick that I am a ‘cancer’ patient. It feels… weird in way, like you feel special, but at the same time very vulnerable. Just a minute after filling the form I was able to meet the dentist, and to my horror she said because I had leukemia and was just off treatment 2 months ago, she couldn’t do anything for the gum infection like what she would do for the other patients as I may bleed uncontrollably. Arghh… so you mean you wouldn’t do anything? Well, at the end all she could do was clean the wound with cotton, and prescribe me with some painkillers and antibiotics, not to forget a bottle of mouthwash especially for my gums.

Back home, I had another dilemma. I couldn’t decide whether to eat the pill or call my doctor to know if it’s okay to eat the pills that was prescribed. The antibiotics were fine, but the painkillers may interfere with the chemotherapy pills that I am taking. Even after checking the internet I still couldn’t find a solid answer, I couldn’t call my doctor as I don’t have his phone number, and calling mum wasn’t much help either as then she oh-so-conveniently went out of the mobile phone range in her area.

After thinking 30 minutes between being safe or relieving from the pain, I chose the latter. Thank God that as of now I didn’t collapse or anything, though I am sure if I visit my doctor again, I am going to get a scolding if it really is dangerous.

That wasn’t all, when I saw the amount of painkillers there were in the packet, I started to get a little worried. It only had 10 pills, and I need to eat 2 “whenever I feel the pain”. Last time when I had the infection and went to Wilson’s clinic I needed to take painkillers every 8 hours or so, being optimistic and say the infection last another 2 days? The pills couldn’t even last me to the last day! Or perhaps… these pills are different and could last me for at least a day. Thank God though, that after eating the painkillers once, I didn’t suffer that much pain anymore and didn’t need to eat another one.

Well… as of today, there’s still pain lingering at the infection site, I am still having flu, and another skin infection at my right thumb. I guess the combination of all 3 got me really worried as it may mean I need to stop the chemotherapy pills because my body was going on overdrive and could collapse anytime, which I couldn’t decide then. Then again, after reassuring myself that I have went through all of those before, there isn’t much that I need to worry about. Besides, why worry so much if all I need to do is pay the doctor a visit and more importantly, leave it to God?

Phew, really hope that all these infections would be cured, at least that would give me a piece of mind. Though, this is one experience to remember, at least I finally went to a dentist, alone… and boy, now I know why people wouldn’t want to be sick when they are working adults, medical fees are the bomb.

The business cards from the dental clinic. The middle one is suppose to be the one from the longkang, but due to my bad camera, it looks fine here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Having your immunity suppressed really is… terrible.

This is the first time in 20 years that I got flu… while I am still having flu.

Well, you know when your flu is about to get well when it starts turning sticky green instead of the white watery liquid that constantly flows out, right? Apparently since my immunity was suppressed, a complete recovery that should take around a few days when that sticky green stuff appears took more than a week. I guess during this long recovery time I somehow got another flu from someone (since everyone seems to be having cough and flu this few days) and my flu turned into the white watery liquid again… which means my body had to start from square one to recover… bah~ Not only that, I guess the infection spread and left me coughing a little.

Thus, I have been suffering flu for 3 weeks and I guess it will continue for a few more days. When to the hospital doctor 2 days ago because I couldn’t afford to let my body’s immunity system do all the recover by itself (when you rub your nose so much that the skin seems to wear off and it starts bleeding, you know your body needs help)… didn’t wanted to eat any medication at first as I was afraid it may interfere with the chemotherapy pills, and who would expect a simple flu could last this long.

The flu not only attacked me physically but mentally too. I was starting to get really paranoid, thinking that I may have a relapse and all seeing that my body was getting tired easily again and thinking that my lymph nodes were getting swollen, which when now I think about it… duh, of course you get tired more easily when you are sick.

That was why before I went to the doctor’s clinic, I was praying really hard that it wasn’t a relapse. Some of you may think… wah, got so big of a problem or not worh? But to me I learnt that every thing shouldn’t be taken lightly, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you at first, as many things aren’t what they seem. I remembered back then, before I was admitted to the hospital for leukemia and I was still going for dance practices for the coming Asian Baptist Youth Convention then, I remembered telling my dance instructor, Ai Nah, that I may need to go for surgery as a worst case scenario to remove the swollen lymph node, but if it’s nothing serious it would just be a virus and eating pills would suffice. I happily told the entire dance team not to worry as I would only get admitted after the youth event was over if it’s a surgery. When we ended the practice and was about to leave, Ai Nah said that we should pray for the swollen lymph node. I just shrugged them off telling them: “Aiyoh, nothing lah, just swollen only mah, what’s the big deal.” At the end we did pray, but back then in my mind I was still thinking why they would pray for something so insignificant. And there you have it, the worst case scenario wasn’t a surgery but I had leukemia. Sometimes I wonder if during then I did seriously pray about it would it be any different… would it become just a viral infection instead? Nevertheless, I guess God knows best, for He doeth all things well.

Thank God though, that after the blood check in the hospital’s clinic, all my counts were normal (normal for an immunity suppressed individual that is, it’s almost like half of everything you guys have, but still safe enough to sustain me). Praise the Lord! I let out a sigh in relief, like those who just saw their exam results and found out that they manage to pass subject. The doctor prescribed me to take some antibiotic pills and assured me that it’s okay to take the flu medicines.

When we were about to leave the clinic, the nurse who was working there wanted to go to Times Square to meet up with some old friends of hers, since it already was time for the clinic to close. Well, being such friends with mom and I after a year plus, we decided to give her a ride, and being the person who would make use of every opportunity, I decided to lepak around Times Square, too.

After all these years, this was the first time I entered Times Square. My first impression of it: “Eh… why everyone say this place full of sea food smell (LaLa)? Quite class wert.”

Just then elder brother called from Aussie and even before I could start telling him how wrong his perception of the place was, I started smelling the scent of seafood after ascending a floor or two. “Wah! Like Endah Parade only!?” I said to my brother. Well, if you just stay in middle and don’t stray to the sides of Times Square, you would say that it’s full of class (they even have a theme park! So why not!), but when you start straying to the sides… aiyoh… really… like pasar already. The majority of people I could see there are either secondary school students that just finish classes (or ponteng) and tourist, I guess it isn’t that good of a shopping destination compared to Midvalley and other places which I guess the local shoppers know it, I could be wrong though, but the thought of having to travel so high up just to see different shops and the pasar borong feel makes me think otherwise. So after having lunch in some Hong Kong fast food restaurant, I had to rush back for guitar lessons.

I guess the paranoid issue won’t be gone so easily, and would the thought of relapse might pop up every now and then to scare me… till like maybe 5 years plus which normally is the time period where a cancer is considered cure. Then again, in the world, there are no guarantees. The only guarantee in the world is in Christ. I wouldn’t say that having this thought of a relapse haunting me is a bad thing, on the contrary, it always reminds me that my life is in God’s hands, that I am not as in control as I thought I was. Thus, humbling myself down, knowing full well that God is in control. Besides… it makes me treasure every day even more… just being able to live another day normally never seem so good and special.

Alright, time to eat my flu medicines. Don’t know why, but whenever I eat it, it makes me sleepy but at the same time my brain is so active as if I am rushing for a train or something. The contradiction is… terrible.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wee! A Wii!

I have no idea what made me buy a Nintendo Wii.

It started out with my brother asking the price for a Wii (after I bugged him) when we went there to check if the new PSP was out. The man said it was RM 970, which surprised me because most of the next-gen consoles are above the 1000 Ringgit mark. When mom finished her shopping and we were about to go back, I saw another game shop and ask my mom (don’t need to bug) to check the price for a Wii there, and found out it was RM 950. Whoa! Even cheaper than before.

After that day, whenever my mom goes shopping for groceries at our friendly neighborhood shopping centre Endah Parade, I would ask my mom to inquire about the Wii from the first shop we went as mentioned, since most of the time we buy our Playstation stuff there and get really good deals, telling my mom to see how much price cut she could get from there and what deals are there in the package.

I was kind of surprised actually that my mom didn’t object me from buying it, as most of the time if I were to buy something that isn’t clothes or educational thingy’s she would object and ask me to get it as a birthday/Christmas present some other time. Last Wednesday though, when she wanted to change my younger brother’s school uniform from Carrefour, she just asked me: “Eh, so you want to buy the Wii or not?”

“No, don’t want.”

As if I would say that! Instead, I was more like: “Thank God! It’s a miracle!”

Since I already did my research and all about the product I finally decided to follow mom and go buy the Wii. I am sure that the shop owner must be really frustrated as mom just kept asking so many times and did not buy anything at all. The price of the Japanese version of the Wii which the man was willing to sell cost RM 900 from RM 950 after many price cuts, but after some research I wanted the US version as the menus would be in English, while the Japanese version would be in Japanese and I don’t understand a single word of it. Though in the long run it would be better to have the US version, it cost a whopping RM 1370 (manage to get a RM 30 discount though), goodness… and just because the language is in English and they give one free original game…

And that’s not all, apparently since the voltage system of the Americans are different than us Malaysians, I need to get an adapter, which cost RM 80; and not to forget another Wii controller and Nunchuk, which cost RM 280 a set… arghH! All together it became RM 1700 plus RM 30 for the credit card charge… ouch!

Went home, immediately open the Wii box and started playing the free original game which was “Wii sport”. The first thing I realized was how true when they say: “It’s a whole new gaming experience that attracts the whole family”, as my mom was actually enjoying a game of virtual tennis and not complaining about which buttons she should press, etc. The Wii controller that has a motion sensor really lures people who aren’t hardcore gamers to play the Wii as playing for example, sport games, is so much easier when you could just follow the exact movements to hit the tennis/golf ball while holding the controller, no more complicated button pressing or joystick moving anymore that hinders the older generation. It was also relatively easy and smooth to point at things on the screen with the motion sensor controller. And there I was at first, worrying about the difficulties I might face just to point and press a button, of course though, you can’t compare it to the pixel perfect accuracy of the computer mouse.

I was kind of dumb struck as this is my first time playing a next-gen console. Having no wires connected to the controller from the console, able to hook up to the internet to receive news and weather reports from its inbuilt wi-fi system, heck, even loading the games seems pretty cool (there’s a channel and all to load games). I still remember that even though the Playstation 2 announced that it has the capability to go online with a network card, nobody really bothered over here as it’s a big hassle and it seems really unstable at that time with not many game companies developing this feature. And now in front of me this console has an inbuilt wi-fi that isn’t much of a prototype but very usable (you can send messages to another person with a Wii, too). How time flies, eh?

So, after playing it what do I think about this gaming console?

Well, one thing about this machine is its ability to play party games (4 or more player games), which I guess Nintendo is good at doing. Most of the games on the list for Wii seem to be party games; even the Sonic game I bought has a Party Mode built in it. As if have said, the fact that you don’t need to press buttons to activate a complicated move, do a combo or super attack or just run around helps those who aren’t so good in gaming to have a fair advantage over those hardcore gamers and thus puts the fun factor in.

The Wii is also especially interesting when it comes to sport and action games, as you could use the Wii remote to be any sport equipment or any weapon, giving you a different and more realistic way to play those games. And it really “is” sports as it makes you sweat with the workout (believe me, it’s enough to make my joints ache).

Unfortunately, as an RPG fan, the downside of the Wii would be its lack of well… RPG games. I guess it’s nothing to be amaze of as if you play RPG, the only thing you need would be just to mash buttons and it gets the things done. Then again, I might be wrong and somehow RPG developers may start venturing into the Wii console to create a whole new way of playing RPG games. The other thing would be that many Wii users are overrating the old console games (SNES, Gamecube, etc). They are really fun to play, yes I admit that, but shouldn’t those games be left to their old consoles and just be a plus that the Wii is able to play it instead? Oh, and not to forget, the Wii isn’t much fun when you just want to lay back and enjoy a game without moving any muscle except your fingers as most of the time, you need to position yourself and at the very least use your whole arm for most of the games.

Hmm… thinking about it, I guess the other reason I bought the Wii besides the lower price was because I was more certain that the Wii is completely different than the X-Box 360 or the Playstation 3. Let’s just say I saw the Wii as neutral when it comes to the console wars which created sides in the gamer’s community (Playstation, X-Box, the Wii, and those crazy people that buy all 3, all predicting/claiming which console would be one to reign supreme, though I am pretty sure which one will through my observation). Though if possible I would love to get a PS 3 as I am sure most of the Japanese developers prefer that console and I don’t really enjoy the games out in X-Box as of now. Then again I maybe wrong, perhaps there’ll be something that’ll attract me there? Who knows?

All in all, thank God for my parents that I was able to buy the Wii, shouldn’t be complaining about other console or stuff now, ha-ha!

Alright, a few pictures of my Wii, forgive me for the poor quality pictures as the best camera I have at home is the 1st 3G phone out for Sony-Ericson.