Thursday, November 12, 2015

I can do it

I am supposed to prepare my presentation, but my anxiety disorder is kicking in now. So I'm giving myself half an hour break. Blogging somewhat helps.

Yesterday I received a call from the hospital. I am the dentist on call for this week. Penat dari Prog Sinar Mutiara tak hilang lagi, berdiri sejam lebih duk jahit mulut orang. I lost count of the number of sutures I placed on that kid. I thought I was alright, driving 60km back and forth from my house to the hospital after bending down for so long, but today my calves are so painful. I guess I tend to push myself too much again and again. I could've sutured cincai-ly and shorten my operative period, but being a perfectionist at work, I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep that night if I had done such thing in that manner.

Today, I lost count of number of patients I treated too. I only had a slice of bread for lunch. Patients kept coming in and I just didn't have time to prepare my presentation. Whenever I feel too exhausted from treating patients, I would tell myself repeatedly, "Zahirah, you are the only dentist here. This makcik you're treating might had walked a few kilometers (it's not rare to have elderly people walking miles away just to seek treatment). This uncle might had not slept for days before seeing you, asking your help to relieve his pain. This lady might had had a bad day at work or at home. Don't you dare show your exhaustion to them. Smile. Greet them warmly. Treat them gently. As painless as possible".

And now, at the back of my mind, I'm thinking of just preparing this presentation halfheartedly, but I know I had encountered so many cases in which extraction of primary dentition was done despite not being indicated. Pain? Take out this deciduous tooth. Another tooth will come out anyway. I wish it's as easy as that, but we're in 2015, 2016 is only weeks away. If that's the mindset some dental nurses and officers still have, then we're in deep trouble. So I have to do this. Properly. I have to try being a change agent even if it's a puny effort.

Ok, back to my work.

Monday, November 9, 2015

finally down with fever, 2 crazy weeks

Last 2 weeks were chaotic. Utmost chaotic. I am not kidding you. I certainly am not kidding you.

Let's start with Friday, 29th October. Finally, after 8 grueling months of treating a total of 2000 secondary school (3 schools altogether), my colleague, William, and I completed our incremental school treatment for 2015. And yep, we still treat patients at clinic as this program went on, mind you. I ended this programme with a talk at Sek. Men. Dato' Mohd Yusoff, Rantau. The response I received from them was overwhelming. I guess putting photos and videos in my presentation instead of tons of words worked. I find it pointless to have a wordy slide when your audience is made up of school kids, whose attention span is pretty short. Heck, even during my undergrad days, I'd admit my attention span during lectures went up to a maximum of only 2 hours.

2nd November marked my former colleague, William's departure from government sector. Us, the staff of Klinik Pergigian Linggi, held a farewell party for him. Our menu included chocolate cake, blueberry cheese tart (75 of them!), nasi kerabu, and bihun tom yam. You know... when your working environment is so good, you wouldn't mind to go the extra mile for each other.

Dear William,
  Thank you for being such a supportive junior colleague. Thanks for all those hours before our noon naps (he'd sleep on his office chair and me on my rock-hard sofa - which I am certainly not complaining about. At least I have something to lie down on; just clarifying in case some people decide to start gossiping) listening to my boring stories. Thanks for all those girly talks. You have more knowledge on girly stuff than I do, no kidding. Thanks for all your encouraging advices. Your optimism and amazing willpower in practising healthy lifestyle are infectious. And I will hold on to them as much as I can. I might had left early on your last day with us as a gov servant. I might had not dropped any tear as I stepped out that door, but that very night I did cry a little. I feel thankful because God lent you to us even if it was for only 10 months. I wish you successful days ahead. And I hope I shared you sufficient knowledge just as you shared me yours.

(from left to right): DSA Ija, me, En Fahmie, William, JP Mala, and DSA Syikin

The very next day, Saturday, all of us joined a bowling tournament held by Pejabat Pergigian Daerah Port Dickson. I suck at bowling. Just look at my scores -

Yep. That's my name there. DZ = Dr Zahirah, but I actually had a few strikes later on after getting 'telur ayam' for 2 throws - which was just a fluke, I guess. It was fun though. I hope my teammates weren't pissed off at how bad I performed haha, and I hope they enjoyed my occasional victory dance.

Murni and I

Barely 24 hours later, I was out, again! Along with Murni, we attended Foodgasmfest 2015 which was held at Dataran Petaling Jaya.

 Sea of people. It was so crowded, I actually suffered a very bad panic attack while lining up for pasta - speaking of which, I thank Hazwan, for practising breathing technique with me on the phone and calmed me down. You're the man!

Sangkaya coconut ice cream with coconut flesh

I guess it rained the night before so it was so muddy that some people took off their shoes. After doing some hunting, we went for Sangkaya coconut ice cream. RM10.50 for 5 small scoops of coconut ice cream in a coconut shell and some coconut flesh. So 'coconut-ty' and so delicious especially for me, who happens to have a sweet tooth.

Murni & I shared a few choices - lasagna, iced chocolate by Kopi Lanun, roasted lamb by Joe Roast Lamb, beef carbonara by The Little Fat Duck, and a salad. Overall I'd say they were overpriced. Perhaps because it's PJ, but ah, who knows. Lasagna was disappointing. Its white sauce was over-floured and its bolognaise was pretty tasteless and lacked tomato puree big time. Iced chocolate tasted like a cheap and over-diluted iced Milo. Beef carbonara tasted like milk mixed with chicken stock poured over cheap Kimball instant spaghetti strands. Nevertheless, my favourite of the day - roast lamb - it was so good, both of us came back for second round, but it was sold out already. Darn.

It was around 5pm when I arrived home. With little energy left in me, I whipped out...

Indian red emperor fish curry! Also my staff's favourite. Brought some of it to my clinic and kering licin habis. Credits to Pn Azlita Masam Manis for such delicious, comprehensive, and honest recipe! I strongly recommend her website if you'd like to learn new recipes or perhaps old ones which you thought you knew.

PDK Cahaya Ihsan, Pengkalan Durian

Yet another programme came to an end for Klinik Pergigian Linggi - PDK (Program Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti) - during which we treated special students. I received handmade souvenirs from them too. I love handmade gifts simply because they showcase true sincerity from their giver. Thank you, kids. It might had been challenging treating you guys, but I learned valuable lessons myself too.

Soundtracks used: Bourne Vivaldi and Beethoven Secret by Piano Guys

The very same day William left us and I ended my PDK programme for 2015, I received a task to produce a short montage for today's Pelancaran Program Sinar Mutiara Peringkat Negeri Sembilan. I was only given 48 hours to produce an acceptable video (and I was still treating patients daily), so I put every single knowledge using Adobe After Effects which was already scarce since I hadn't touched it since 4 years ago. I guess I went to crazy with it but boss wanted a more informative one with less animations. So there it went. I could have done better but hey, 48 hours and still executing my responsibilities as the only dentist in KP Linggi? I basically slept for barely 3-4 hours daily and spent too much time on my laptop, my eyebags were so bad, I'd pass as a panda in a zoo and no one would even recognise that I'm actually a human in disguise. Umi was so worried, she kept asking me to get sufficient rest, but I guess I'm a workaholic. Just like her.

After countless days of not resting, you thought I'd finally lie down on a bed sleeping? 

Nope. Not yet. On Saturday, 7th November, I attended a course at Hospital Serdang - The Heart & Dentistry course which also turned out to be a mini reunion for us, USM graduates. I think I met about 8-9 of them. 9 talks in a day. 8.30am till 6pm. I thought my buttocks detached from my body!! Learned and relearned a lot on that day.

(from left to right): 5 batches of USM graduates - Dr Mastura, me, Dr Noraida, Dr Ferdaus, & Dr Choudhry

And at last, this morning, the very event I had been wanting to just get over with - Pelancaran Program Sinar Mutiara Peringkat Negeri Sembilan was held.

Chong Ren and I. Also in the picture - silat performance by kindergarten kids

I feel glad and thankful that my KKM, state, and district bosses were all happy with my montage video, multimedia quiz, as well as exhibition. Even got to meet my former colleague during my Kuala Pilah days - Dr Wai Chong Ren! Still the same gleeful person :) Nonetheless, I didn't stay back after the event because my body finally gave up and succumbed to fever. All my joints are aching now and I feel so lethargic. One thing good about me is however bad I am down with fever, my appetite stays tethered, and if ever I drink any hot beverage, do understand that I'm really sick. I hate hot beverage. Anyhoo, congratulations to Pejabat Pergigian Daerah Port Dickson for making this event a success!

The moment I reached home, I had a hearty lunch, Umi's cooking, and fell asleep right after. Hopefully I'll recover soon and fit to work by this Wednesday. Alhamdulillah, tomorrow is a public holiday. So I'm just taking paracetamol and finally getting my very-long-needed rest, hoping for the best.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

young and fabulous

Zaman masih gemuk hur hur

I posted something similar on Facebook, because these lads are such important people in my life, still, I will write again about them because today, tonight, I rejoice in reminiscing all good memories I made with them.

They stick with me through thick and thin - literally - from the first day meeting them at Dewan Nurani, USM, while I was still morbidly obese (yes, I weighed 100kg+) till today, I am 40kg+ lighter, reached my ideal BMI (body mass index) and excellent waist to hip circumference ratio. When I had to extend 6 months because I didn't fulfill my dental public health requirement, they were there, cheering me on till I finally held that scroll in my hands. Even till today, I'm still in touch with my two brothers, Acap & Ziyad.

It felt like I had spent most of my undergrad days with these two lads. I still remember first talking to them at Dewan Nurani when we all were in different bands and had to perform during Dental Sports Night.

"What's with budak ni control macho sangat? Tapi sedap dia main gitar", I said to myself when I first saw Ziyad. I was a pretty ignorant senior. I didn't care much about other students. I cared only for my few close friends, music, and my studies. They were in their second year and I was a fourth year student, still I had never noticed these two lads, but I guess music has its magical ways in bringing physically different people together.

Then again, my good friend, Hazwan, who at that time was a medical student, asked me to form a band for yet another performance. At that time, I have had enough of band members with attitude. So my mind immediately thought of them and then on, we stayed as a band till I graduate.


Sounds simple, huh? Yes, it's oversimplified. The bond between us is much more than mere band members. Till today, I am their elder sister and them to me are my brothers.

Eventually we're joined by Wan 'cantik', Cep, and Min (now missing in action). Due to my nature of not being a hypocrite, people tend to misunderstand me and false rumours lingered around me, but these guys knew better the person I was and still am. No rumour could break me down because I always knew that I got them. They know. Allah knows. Why should I bother?

It's 3am currently. Those days, at 3am, we would be found roaming along coastlines and riversides because at times, due to my anxiety disorder, I'd have trouble falling asleep. "Yo, you're awake? Naan Khaleel, jom?", either one of us would text each other. And just 15minutes later, we'd already be at Khaleel, a mamak stall near USM, me enjoying my garlic naan with tandoori, Acap and Ziyad would have cheese naan. Best chutney. We'd be at Ridel too, just hanging out, chit-chatting till I felt sleepy and then we'd head back through longest routes we could find, blasting metal songs through those seasoned speakers on my old Perodua Kelisa.

They were so important to me, I had never helped anyone with his/her studies as much as I did to them. When they graduated, I dropped a few tears of thankfulness to Allah for granting them success. When I bade them farewell before I left USM for good, I cried silently. I'm not sure whether Ziyad remembers this, but he did too ahahahhaa! There was no ego games between the three of us. What you see is what you get. We know each other's deepest secrets and we know that they're kept safely among us.

Frankly, I didn't expect much from them, but when Acap came during my convocation, I smiled from ear to ear. The sincerest smile I could give. And this year, Ziyad, who's working in Sabah, stopped by KL and we had a good lunch. Acap and Cep, who are both working and studying in Penang, also came by and we spent one full day together. Not exactly like the good old days, but good enough.

Whenever I felt a hint of regret for certain wrong choices I had made during my final year, it'd immediately absolve as I remember those memories with them. I shall cherish every single day. Every single hour. Every single minute. Every single second I had spent with them.

Next year, inshaaAllah I shall travel to Penang and Sabah to visit my brothers. It's my turn this time :)