Tuesday, December 27, 2016

teenage in me


I am pretty childish when it comes to love. I run away the moment I feel trapped and suffocated in a relationship. I guess I am just a train-wreck with a badly scarred heart.

The last fortnight taught me something. Perhaps instead of expecting everything to just fall into its place, I should learn to unlearn and relearn a chapter I thought I no longer have hope and faith in - love.

That daily walk from my clinic to my car which would take about ten minutes would feel so long. I'd hold myself hard from sobbing. "You'll be okay, Zahirah. You'll be okay. It's just another hiccup. You'll get over this too". I pushed myself and work day and night as frequent as I could so that when I get back home, I'd be too exhausted to think about anything else. I could not let my mind be clouded by personal matters. After all, I serve the people. They travel a distance to be seen by my specialist, my colleagues, and I at that specialty clinic. I cannot allow my focus to be shaken, not even a second... when I see my patients.

Still, I am just a human. I possess a heart. A very fragile one.

A few days passed, I was rushing to get to my next workplace. "I guess I'd have to delay my dinner", I said to myself. As I arrived at my car, I saw a paper bag placed on my car hood.

"Take me". A piece of paper clipped on it.

I looked into it. A huge slice of New York cheesecake with strawberry coulis from Italiannies - the first cheesecake we had together.

"Meh... must be just one single attempt". I ended up getting so caught up with work that the cake got spoilt.

 A couple of days later, again my day went hectic with on call. I thought of buying just a bun from 7-eleven. As long as I can get sufficient energy to function properly. There it was - another paper bag on my car hood. This time with a card attached to it.

I looked into it. Oranges. Mineral water. A cheese custard bun from Tous Le Jour - the first bun he bought me and it was love at first sight - food-wise. And roasted chicken sandwich - the first sandwich he bought me whenever I get too busy with work and would most probably forget my dinner.

Again and again after that. They were about things we used to do together. I am bad at memorising things which are not work-related. I guess I did not appreciate this part of him - a sentimental and sensitive person. I remember him telling me earlier in our relationship, "Even if we don't end up being together, or perhaps one day if you decide to leave me, I will still take care of you from afar. You will not see me, but you'll be taken care of". He kept his words despite me snorting at him cynically when he said so.

So I thought... why not give it another try. Just as Murni and Kurol said, "Give him a second chance. At least you will not look back one day and regret not giving it another try. So that if things go wrong again, you get to walk away knowing you had tried your best".

I wish I am not such a wuss though. Not this time.

p/s: To those who think that I share these things to show off, screw you. This blog is one of the reasons I could pick myself up from my dark moments because it is here that most of my truest thoughts are recorded

Sunday, December 18, 2016

self perception

Never did I think that the person I thought I knew for years is that toxic (nothing done online goes deleted for real from cyberspace), but just as during each dark moment of my life, I still thank my Creator for granting me the strength to distance myself from certain people. And as usual, I shall not stoop down to that person's level. I still refuse to spread stories about you, because I feel sorry for you. And if I do that, I'd have to crawl in afterlife and repay you with my deeds. Heck, my good deeds are so scarce already. May one day Allah open your heart to become a sincere person. To learn appreciating people who are still by your side because me... I'm outta here.

Ya Allah, thank you for lending me truly supportive people who protect me.

At the meantime, I shall further build emotional walls around me because I have to be mentally fit to attend to my patients. I have countless things to feel grateful for :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

limits

I chose to end it yesterday. Months of mental abuse, I had reached my limit.

When I closed my heart for nearly a year, I gathered every ounce of courage I had to unlock it again. Make space for another person. Put a piece my heart in that man's hands. It's like putting my neck on a chopping block, handing him an axe, and hoping he wouldn't behead me.

And as expected, my newly mended heart shattered into pieces once again although this time, there's no absolute line i.e infidelity was drawn to bring me to my decision. I chose to walk away because I am no longer happy.

True, love is like a gamble. You win some. You lose some. Still, when your chips run out, it is wiser to walk away. And my patience, sanity, and affection are represented by those chips.

Apologies when in abundance loses its value. Especially when the same damned mistakes are repeated again and again, and by the time you notice it, seeing your significant other becomes something you dread about.

And yet, I have my flaws. Many flaws over which I decided to stick by his side. Until yesterday.

Despite going through yet another failed relationship, I learnt one important lesson. And that is... perhaps to thrive in a relationship isn't something that is meant for me, mainly due to my major trust issues. That the day I chose to be with the first man I got engaged to was the day I chose to destroy my love life forever.

"Move on", they said.

I did. I really did, but am I not just a human who possesses memory? Such physically and mentally abusive relationship surely did leave a huge scar in me. Just like old scars on your skin. When it's big enough and you decide to get rid of it by the means of skin grafting. You'll be left with a patch of abnormal looking skin. That despite having similar colour (if you're lucky enough), it does not contract, wrinkle, or aesthetically appear as how it originally did.

And because of this shortcoming, perhaps it is best for me to live a monotonous life rather than constantly experiencing emotional roller-coaster because the latter would kill me. Eventually.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

a glimpse

So someone who used to be close to me attempted suicide yesterday. She sustained multiple fractures and intraabdominal injury.

I used to be there for her, listening to stories she would tell me excitedly everytime she came back from school. I used to teach and motivate her to become a good daughter. I taught her manners and responsibility... until one day, I had to leave her for my own sake. A decision I do not regret for selflessness should have its limit.

Nevertheless, today, I decided to visit her at a hospital. THE hospital, in fact - my very workplace. Of course, such decision complicates my relationship with people around me.

"I don't know why you're doing this... she has nothing to do with you anymore", some said.

Once upon a time, I, myself, shamefully, committed self-injurious acts. I did them silently until I hit a vessel - which was my turning point. To admit that I was psychologically ill, it was a tough decision to make. It was tougher to try standing up once again.

Once upon a time, during my highschool years, I was that equally confused young adult, facing peer pressure, lost, and getting inadequate attention - and so I thought at that time. There's no use being born with an intelligent mind without actually further developing it. I started to flunk academically and morally.

All of these, they share a few similar factors. One of them is the feeling of being invisible. That no one cares about you. Eventhough I'm just a small person and my presence might not exert sustainable optimism, the compassion in me is telling me, "Let her know that people actually do care. That she is not alone eventhough physically, you can no longer be there for her", and my decision stays tethered.

I believe that if my intention is pure and sincere, Allah will protect me from those with evil desires. InshaaAllah...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

the gamble

Thank you, you-know-who-you-are :)

I remember the day you thought it'd be cool to use, "Dentist?", as an ice-breaker. Although you eventually discovered that this dentist is financially poorer than you. I learnt to open up to you maybe because you have been persistent till today...

Or maybe because of that time when you drove from hundreds of kilometers away, dropped all your meetings, and I woke up at a hospital to you staring at me. Wrinkles all over your face, looking worried and exhausted, in your working attire. I thought it'd be just a one-time thing. Second time I got warded, again, there you were, sleeping on a chair at my bedside, 6 o'clock in the morning, although barely 12 hours before, you told me you were in Terengganu on official reasons. I never had to eat food they served at the hospital because you'd always equip me with food supply enough for days when you had to get back to work. Till today, whenever I need you, you'd always make space and time for me, no matter how busy you are. Even if for only an hour, but you'd make sure that you're there for me because I am a hopeless train-wreck.

Or perhaps as I threw tantrums, you'd pop up at places you know I'd go to because my life is boring and every single day, I always stick to my mundane routine. And you had never tried to change it because you know how strict I am with my dietary habits.

Or days when I'd be financially tumbled but because I'm such an egomaniac, I'd refuse to admit it, but I'd suddenly find navel oranges and Subway sandwich hidden somewhere somehow. 

Or your panicked facial expression when I found the handphone you planned to surprise me with as my birthday gift, which unfortunately got stolen by an arsehole.

Or maybe because after 3-4 months already, I still get my daily wake up calls from you at 6 o'clock. They even come with snooze mode because when I go silent for half an hour, you'd call me again because you know that I often fall back asleep.

Or how you'd almost always pick me up no matter where you were before that and not even once did you complain about having to drive me wherever I want to go although I am an indecisive bitch when it comes to choosing a place to eat. 

Or how you'd remember things about me... like how I prefer my sandwich to be - roasted chicken on a parmesan oregano bread, with extra lettuce and onions, capsicum, cucumber, jalapeno pepper, and tomato. No sauce, please. Or the only 2 types of coffee that I'd usually go for - long black or cappuccino. Or my favourite cakes - red velvet, hummingbird, cheesecake, and chocolate cake (when I'm PMS-ing). Or my favourite chocolates - Kinder Bueno, good dark or Belgian chocolates.

Or the way you always figured out that I was having chest pain during that one month of my heart acting up, eventhough I was talking, trying to act as if everything was fine.

Or how we'd laugh at my ridiculous imaginations and at times, we'd converse as if we're just normal friends. I feel like I can always be silly self around you.

Or perhaps when you accurately described things I did during my school days although I was such an ignorant kid, I almost never knew that you existed - like which sports house I was in. Which monsoon drain became my playground. Which song my band used to jam a lot (but I guess that's almost never a secret anyway). The way I dressed up before.

Or how I eventually learnt to look at you. And I caught myself falling in love with your smile. And eventually - for you.

Hey you... maybe because my previous experience was terribly dark. I am always pessimistic when it comes to my love life. I don't know how long will you stay. I know that I don't cope well with your flaws although you welcomed mine with open arms. But I do know one thing - I'm gonna enjoy this moment while I still can. And I thank you for this :)

Saturday, September 3, 2016

health, the priceless wealth

I've been unwell these few months. Imagine just surviving among the darkest moments in my life, being caged for three years. I had been locking my eyes on becoming an oral maxillofacial surgeon, but when I was engaged, I put that dream aside because I was idiotic enough to listen to a man telling me that I should spend more time at home as a wife. Finally, when I broke free from him, a path suddenly opened up.

I remember performing root canal treatment on a patient when I received a call from my superior telling that a post was just opened at oral maxillofacial surgery department of Hospital Tuanku Jaafar Seremban (HTJS). A fortnight later, there I was - finally free of admin works and mundane general dental practice. I finally got more used to manipulating that surgical scalpel, trimming bones, entering operation theaters, working at odd hours.

I was thriving. Despite at times feeling overworked, I was thriving. I am that type of person who enjoys being under pressure. Umi said, "I have never seen you happier than you are now walaupun kau penat".

Suddenly, a couple of months later, I started to experience breathlessness, chest pain, and giddiness. I have never failed to donate my blood every three months. Most of the time, my health status would be in excellent condition. In August, for the first time ever, I didn't make it through triage for blood donors. My blood pressure was 90/60mmHg. My haemoglobin level was excellent. "Maybe I'm not in my best form now", I reassured myself.

A few weeks later, while I was walking from my bed to the toilet, I didn't know what exactly happened, but I only remember waking up, lying beside my toilet cubicle. Two days later, while organising Basic Life Support course, the giddiness returned, worse. I could barely walk. I excused myself to seek medical attention. While I was driving there, I basically passed out thrice. Since the giddiness would occur preceding my syncopal attack, I was prepared for it. Hazard lights turned on, I'd stop on emergency lane.

As I arrived at the clinic, while waiting for my cue to be seen, again, I passed out for an hour, I missed my turn. When I entered that consultation room, I was examined by a medical officer. My blood pressure was 90/65mmHg (normal blood pressure 120/80), pulse rate was 44 beats per minute (bpm) (normal 60-100bpm). He ordered for ECG to be done and presented my case to the visiting family medicine specialist. Next thing I knew, they told me that they're transferring me to HTJS on an ambulance. A branula was fixed into my vein.

"Hmm... maybe they needed to just perform a few additional investigations on me", I didn't know that my condition was serious, because as long as I can still walk on my own, I would reassure myself that I am still quite fine... until I arrived there, double beeps, and I was pushed to red zone (emergency department is divided into three zones. Green - for non-critical. Yellow - Not so critical. Red - Life-threatening conditions).

"What. The. Fuck? Red zone?". And I had a defibrillator placed at my bedside and numerous wires attached onto my chest. Cardiac monitors. Continuous vital sign monitors. That's when I saw my heart rate further dropping to 37bpm and my blood pressure going to 85/44mmHg. My branula got thrombosed. I have prominent veins due to nature of my work, so it's usually very easy to set an IV line on me, but unfortunately this time, my veins started to go shitty on me, and they tried to access it through about 5 routes. Not funny getting pricked twice or thrice at each spot.



I was warded for about 4 days. The dreaded possibility of having to let go of my dream specialisation was daunting when the specialist said, "We suspect you to be having this condition congenitally, but it was never caught on ECG because it had been occuring transiently all these while, but not anymore now. I'm afraid that you might need a pacemaker implanted, so I am referring you to IJN. They'll decide". I would wake up at 4 to 5 o'clock in the morning for them to record my vital signs, crying. I was dispirited. They ruled out all possible causes they could think of. So many blood samples were taken, I eventually felt sorry for the houseman in-charge who had to do them. I was supposed to be admitted for one more week, but I begged that specialist to discharge me so that I could get back to work.

"I would, but promise me that you'd record your vital signs from time to time and if your blood pressure crashes, come to our emergency department STAT and go easy on working. Push too hard and your heart can possibly shut down. And I want you to rest for the next five days", he said. Doctors make worst patients. I didn't listen to him and I had to face its consequences. I was discharged on Friday. By Saturday, I was already attending a two-day course held by USIM. I felt my extremities going cold and clammy, breathless, and a bit giddy. Still. I pushed myself until a few days later...


My blood pressure crashed again to 75/50mmHg. My pulse rate went haywire for awhile. Most of the time around 40bpm and once when I had palpitations, I looked at my cardiac monitor and saw my heart rate soaring to nearly 200bpm before settling too far down again.

"I'm very sorry, Dr. I guess you're gonna spend your birthday in the ward". Morning of 23rd August 2016, I woke up, tearful again, but how ungrateful was I? I am blessed to know many genuinely sincere and kind people. I had so many visitors coming with cakes, gifts, and well wishes. I thought my boss wouldn't understand my condition. After all, he used to yell at me all the time, questioning my competency, but Allah is the All-Merciful.

"Girl, so how are you?", asked Dr Latif and I poured out all my troubles to him. Mostly about me feeling unsure whether I can still further my studies in oral maxillofacial surgery with a pacemaker in me and this heart condition. "You know Prof ****? His sinoatrial node is problemmatic just like yours too. He had a pacemaker implanted and he handles all instruments fine. And today he's one of the best surgeons around. Even with this you braved through performing and assisting all surgeries and never complained to us about it, I'm sure you'll be okay. Just get your health issues sorted out first".

Health is indeed a priceless wealth. However much I want to become a surgeon, it will all mean nothing if I lose my life pushing myself too hard. In the meantime, I'm feeling quite alright. In two days time, I shall go to IJN for my appointment. Let's just hope for the best.

Monday, July 18, 2016

the thrill of doing things impromptu

Within 30 days, I made 2 decisions impromptu. Flew to Penang to see my brother from another mother, Acap, and I tagged along with Murni to Kelantan for food hunt. I guess the past 30 days had been all about reminiscing my good old undergrad days.

Having my pisang brother by my side, I didn't expect fancy things. Roaming aimlessly while listening to metal and a few ridiculous (i.e Ayda Jebat) songs on his radio, trying on a pair of RM3000-worth earphones and experience a few seconds of eargasm, eating food similar to those we had during those days, spending hours at a guitar shop, drooling over guitars priced RM10000 and above - those were enough to put a smile on my face.

And more of reminiscing my undergrad days - I tagged along with Murni to Kelantan and we hunted for good food for a couple of days. While we're at that, I got to meet a few former colleagues, lecturers, and a staff nurse who used to nag at me affectionately all the time. These people - they had never given up on me although I screwed up again and again.

Murni, me, Yana, and Ajih 

Met Helmy, Prof Azizah, Dr Sarliza, and Che Mi

We enjoyed our super short trip to Kelantan a lot despite having to end it with a pretty severe episode of food poisoning. So severe I almost fell asleep in a toilet cubicle!

Although my former matrics-mate, Nik Ahmad Fadhil, and I intended to meet up in Kelantan, he coincidentally flew here for a marathon a day before my trip, so we hung out that night instead.


Who would've thought that Nik, the very person who was pretty reserved and passive five years ago, would chit chat over coffee till midnight passed? He wasn't even a coffee-person back then! I guess people change with time. We eventually learn to enjoy the ups and downs of life and explore new things, because hey! Life is short.

As I look back at these moments, I can't help but to think how good being free feels like. I lost my freedom for three years. Not gonna lose it ever again. I now know well enough - if a person truly loves you, he won't let you feel caged and trapped.

Maybe I am a true free spirit. As free as a bird.