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...

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.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

the forgotten joy

As expected, being an officer at the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery dept of Hospital Tuanku Jaafar Seremban isn't easy. I have a lot of unlearning and relearning to do. I guess serving at a general dental clinic for almost two years desensitised me to certain things - things I shouldn't have missed in the first place. There, quantity is our pressure point, rather than quality; but at my current workplace, it's the other way round.

Being just another human, I'd reach my limit now and then - stress-wise. I learned from experience that the first step is to acknowledge my stress and understand that at times, to withdraw myself from the stressor is wiser rather than just clinging on. Of course, I learn from my mistakes, but I also know that pushing forward non-stop would only mean putting myself at breaking point - which would be a grave mistake.

Thanks to my colleague who came over and officiated my humongous mixer, once again, I tasted the joy of cooking - or in this case, in the form of baking. I took a day of leave just to bake cupcakes. Whenever I get extremely stressed, my escapism would be food. A little stress would require just enjoying good coffee. Extreme stress would require cooking food instead. I often try my hands on elaborate recipes under such circumstance.

I remember feeling so lonely and stressed when my parents were away for two years and there I was, during eid, recalling recipes my late aunt left me. And I cooked Johorean laksa. We, Malaysians, have so many varieties of laksa. I have cooked almost all of them, except for Sarawakian Laksa. And hands down, Johorean laksa is the toughest one to cook if you're a rigid person like me and happen to be born into a large Johorean family. Preparation alone consumed an hour while cooking it to perfection took me three hours in total.

Once, I had a bad fight, so I started searching on the net and there I was. I made nasi kerabu with ayam percik, ikan kembung celup tepung, kerabu, sambal budu, and sambal kelapa.

So a few days ago, I gathered enough courage to try baking hazelnut sponge cupcake with custard topping, chocolate ganache, and almond croqan. I had this mindset of  'I can't bake' because my mother doesn't bake much because she's not good at it. She's amazing when it comes to Asian cuisine, no kidding, though. I baked once during highschool, and what supposed to be a butter cake turned out like a brick of vanilla-flavoured shortcake. This time, it turned out fine! My sponge cake was so fluffy and not too sweet, even my parents ate them happily. Still, I guess I screwed up on the chocolate ganache. Should've cut on its sugar because that, was on the sweeter side.

"Awak tak nak try buat marble cake ke, Ira? Umi suka marble cake", my mother said to me. 24 hours later...
Right after tarawih, a freshly-baked marble cake was ready for her. She ate a lot of it, smiling all the way. 

"So, Umi, I can bake, can't I?"

"Boleh sangat. Haha, senang aku tak payah order kuih raya dah", she answered.

This Ramadhan, apart from my usual missions, I have a new one - which is to bake one type of eid cookies each weekend. My sister, Wani, requested for corn flake cookies. There's a story behind it:

During our time in Subang, we had a neighbour who we fondly call Aunty Dillah. She used to bake corn flake cookies and the best curry puff (with home-made puff pastry) I have ever tasted till this very second. I used to go to her house a lot, playing with her cat, reading her son's comic books, and growing fatter eating things she cooked and baked. If there's any neighbour I would remember till I die, it'd be her. Since my parents were always busy working, she sort of became my second mum. To whom I told whatever that had happened at home and at school. 

So this afternoon, I read through about 12 recipes of corn flake cookies I found online (may God bless all these generous people for sharing their knowledge at zero cost). If you're used to cooking, you'd acquire another skill which is you can pretty much guess the taste of food from their recipes. So of all 12, one caught my eyes, although it didn't convince me a hundred percent. I did a little tweaking with it here and there and...


Flour explosion - first time using a paddle attachment


And my mother's verdict on it:

I'm a happy daughter.

.............................................................................................................

Edited on 14th June 2016 (as requested by Farah):

Here's the recipe:

Crunchy Corn Flake Cookies (Tweaked)
Originally by: Azie Kitchen (I tweaked here and there and omitted a few ingredients here)

Ingredients:
250g unsalter butter (I increased it to 270-280g)
180g castor sugar (You may adjust this during the creaming process to suit your taste)
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolks
180g Kellogs Cornflakes - crushed lightly

Ingredients to be sieved:
210g corn flour (I reduced this to 190g)
150g general purpose wheat flour (I reduced this to 130g)
1/2 tsp baking powder

Methods:
1. Cream butter and castor sugar well
2. Chuck in egg yolks and vanilla essence and continue creaming for awhile just to mix them well
3. Chuck in sieved ingredients and fold it over with the mixture above
4. Chuck in lightly crushed cornflakes and fold it along with the mixture
5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius
6. Bake the cookies on a baking pan lined with baking paper for 20-25 minutes till they are light brown in colour
7. Once freshly-baked, they'd feel quite soft. So let them cool down. They'd crisp up in about 10minutes



Tips:
1. During step 3 and 4, do not overwork your dough. Fold it over just for the mixture to blend well. The more you work on the dough, the denser and harder your cookies will be which we do not want
2. Unsalted butter is ideal for this recipe, but you may use salted butter too, but that'd result in having to add more castor sugar to achieve ideal sweetness
3. To cream butter and sugar means mixing them both with a mixer until mixture fluffs up, you don't really feel those sugar grains, and the colour of the butter becomes pale yellow
4. If you don't have a baking paper, you may opt for a greased pan. Just thinly grease your pan with butter
5. Egg yolk is the yellow part of the egg

Sunday, June 5, 2016

first cafe latte with cappuccino foam (VCR Coffee Bukit Bintang)

Yet another episode of coffee hunt came to pass.

So a barista suggested for me to visit VCR Cafe (located on Jalan Galloway, Bukit Bintang) if I'd like to experience coffee made by the very barista who holds the title of Malaysian Best Barista 2016.

Typical of me. After a tiring day, a cup of coffee and a dose of Murniyati would usually make my day. Right after I had discharged all my warded patients, I sped off to KL, kidnapped Murni, and brought her to the cafe.

First impression was - "Damn, such a small cafe. Where am I supposed to sit?". Little did I know that it is double-storied.

As I entered the cafe, I was greeted warmly by its barista. Have no idea what's his name though.

"I came all the way from Seremban, please tell me that your cappuccino is made with double shot espresso". Yeah, I am blunt like that, most of the time; but according to him, theirs is made using single shots instead since that's how their machine is calibrated for. "But I can prepare you cafe latte with cappuccino foam instead if you want that kind of topping. It's good, trust me". I took his words and didn't regret it at all. And I had a swan drawn into my froth! Its staff were friendly - which is surprising considering negative feedbacks on Foursquare regarding that; but then, hey, I didn't go there during peak hour.

This place is the perfect one to spend a quiet morning/night, enjoying your coffee. What more if you're a sucker for vintage stuff. Every single deco in this cafe screams vintage. Very cozy.

Murni had squash toast with sausage while mine was smoked duck quiche. If there's one word that I can use to describe the cafe on the whole, it'd be 'fresh'. My salad was lightly dressed and along with bits of pomegranate, it balanced out the saltiness of the quiche. Bear in mind though, that quiche there didn't have the classic tart shell. Its crust had a bread-ish texture. Their sausage isn't the typical factory-made sausage. Expect a huge arse homemade-looking sausage which was super delish! I will order that next time.

Before going back, I ordered yet another cup of coffee. Long black this time. I'm a pretty old school person. I prefer my coffee bitter, but I guess they're into third wave coffee - which means they serve sour long blacks. Not much of a fan of that, though.

Would return, definitely. For another cup of cafe latte and sausages!

...................................

This is Murni, my ex-roommate during matriculation days. A very easy-going and fun lady to spend my day with. I remember the first thing that I noticed about her on day one at the college - hazel eyes. Frankly, I have never met any Malay with a pair of beautifully hazel-coloured iris like hers. And she nagged a lot during that time too. That used to annoy me, but I guess I learnt to embrace that part of her. I would feel awkward if she suddenly becomes quiet instead. She stands up for you (yes, do not underestimate her petite physique).

The best part of her is she's a no-nonsense, mature lady and enjoys food as much as I do, while most of the time, I am quite an airhead (the serious me would show herself only in clinic). Our once weekly cheat day would comprise of one or two slices of dessert (we'd usually ask the waiter, "What's your best dessert here?"), two main courses (at different places), and we'd usually end our day at a quiet cafe (I am so grateful that she tolerates this part of me despite not being a caffeinated-beverage-consumer herself).

................................................

By the way, eh heyyy! My childhood friend, Azizi, has gotten married to the love of his life, Nad. Congratulations. lovebirds. Have a blessed marriage!

Reuniting with Subang-mates in Malacca

Sunday, May 22, 2016

of good cappuccino (Engineers Coffee Bar Putra Nilai)

I have been on calory restriction for about eight months now, but once in awhile, when I have extra free time, I'd make a detour here and there, make space for something out of my daily healthy menu. Therefore, I usually make a mental note whenever I find a good place to eat - so at least my calory and money expenditures are well justified.

This time, I shall leave a review on a cafe which had been around for a year or so, but it's only recently that I started becoming a regular customer there. Reason? Good cappuccino. Good service. Good food. 

Cafe: Engineers Coffee Bar Putra Nilai
Operating Hours: Daily, 3.00PM - 11.30PM (closed on Mondays)


So I guess my coffee addiction is back, thanks to that my recent vacation. So there I was, roaming around, exhausted mentally and physically, ransacking my brain for a cafe with a visible espresso machine. Do note that I live in Nilai - not exactly a place you can bump into one easily. This place popped up in my mind. "They'd better have a good cup of cappuccino", I said to myself.

Walked in, surprised to see its price - which is cheaper than most cafes in Kuala Lumpur. RM9 for a cup of cappuccino. "Darn, cheap coffee. Might be a bad coffee too", pardon my prejudice for the one I received proved me wrong. In fact, it was so good (bonus point - cappuccino here is made with double shot espresso. Triple shot espresso is upon request), I finished it within 2km of drive. I returned the very next day for another dose. And the day after. It came to the point of opening the door to its barista smiling and asked, "Sugarless cappuccino, right?". Trust me. I know my coffee. I have been a coffee drinker since I was four years old and hooked on it ever since, thanks to my late grandpa. 



Today my family and I had our lunch there. They had pastas while I had roast beef sandwich. The portion of my sandwich was humongous. Two sandwiches (yep, two of the one in the picture above) packed with sliced roast beef and cheddar cheese along with about a cup of lightly-spiced french fries presented in rustic style. I'd let those basic store-bought white bread slices slide since I had a lot else on the plate! And only RM8 for all of that? "Are they making any profit out of this? It's too cheap tapi sedap", I asked my father.

RM10 per plate of pasta, which is a huge cut down compared to previously. Expectation wasn't high. I expected much smaller portion, but nope. I think they retained about 80% of the original portion and they still tasted as good as they were before. I highly recommend their lemak cili padi and carbonara pastas. 

I had been eyeing their cylindrical-shaped cheesecakes. Guilty as charged, I have a sweet tooth. Since I had people to share it with today, I ordered for Oreo cheesecake (the above is blueberry cheesecake though). Its base was somewhat thicker than normal cheesecakes and somewhat hard, but I gave it some time and once it had softened, it tasted quite nice. Not the best cheesecake I have had, but decent enough.

If you'd like to have your food packed, they have eco-friendly paper boxes too. 

I will be honest. I lived in Subang for more than two decades. I visited so many cafes in Malaysia already. This one is worth going to especially if you expect a place with quiet and cozy ambience. It certainly isn't one of those overpriced and overrated hipster cafes with Instagrammable but tasteless food.

In case you're wondering if I'm being paid to write this entry - nope. It's a good cafe. Period.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

mental reboot

I am currently under acute post-vacation spell, so severe to the point of randomly driving around, despite feeling exhausted that I am unable to converse properly, just for a cup of cappuccino - which I, thank God, found at Engineers Coffee Bar Putra Nilai.

If there's one thing in Melbourne that I sorely miss, that's its abundant cafes with good coffee! I wouldn't call myself a caffeine addict. I'm more of a coffee junkie. Unlike most people, coffee does not keep me awake. Its scent calms me down and when I have difficulty in falling asleep, a good cup of long black coffee usually would do the trick. I remember my former colleague pointing it out a few months ago. "Z, is it just me or do you just fall asleep right after you get your cup of coffee every single day?", she said.

The very first day in Melbourne, I went straight to Hudsons Cafe and got myself a cup of cappuccino. It was so good that I made a promise to myself to get two doses of coffee daily during my stay in Australia. I went to more than fifteen cafes within eight days! Since I had visited the country a few times before, seeing kangaroos and koalas wasn't included in my itinerary.



I spent most of my time strolling along the streets of Melbourne. I would take trams only when I got too exhausted. Enjoyed the city life from early in the morning till night which of course did not involve clubs and that sort. After all, I am no longer that person who enjoys being in crowded places.


I only went out of town for a couple of days for penguins and chocolate - the latter had me caught in a temporary trance and I ended up spending hundreds of dollars on that - not for myself, though. For my staff and colleagues.

This might sound funny, but however developed and civilised that country seemed, I still longed for my country while I was there. I'm not sure why. I have a pretty vague idea - perhaps the warmth we, Malaysians, have. Culturally and weather-wise. It's just that the current unimpressive economical and political situations along with globalisation are slowly making us forget our roots and values. I haven't given up on Malaysia. I might not be able to change the world, but at least I can still serve the society in manners I deem appropriate and best within my limited capability... and just hope for the best that at least a few people would be reminded of kindness and sincerity from me just as I do from those who do so. The world might feel crueler and more merciless day by day, but we don't have to join the pack... or so I think...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

eat to live


There aren't many people that I am willing to travel hundreds of kilometers for. Fiza is undoubtedly one of the few people I cherish so much. Throughout my six months of struggling to escape major depressive disorder (MDD) about six years ago, this amazing person stayed by my side. I can't recall most of the moments during that period except for four of them:

1. The ceiling of my hostel room
2. My psychiatrist's face
3. My mother's facial expression as she welcomed me home three months after I was diagnosed with MDD
4. The food Fiza bought me thrice daily although I could barely eat a spoonful of them. Most of the time, they'd go wasted, but she still constantly bought food for me every single day without failing and just held my hands as I said to her, tearfully, "Fiza, I am hungry. I am so hungry, but I can't eat this without vomiting. I haven't eaten for days...". At times, she'd cry along with me

Even as I type this entry, I still drop thankful tears. Thankful to Allah for lending me such a caring and loving person. The day I received a text from her informing me about her father being critically ill, I rushed to Johor Bahru (JB) to visit them. The day I broke off my engagement, she flew all the way from JB and kept me company for three days. I fell asleep while holding her hands. Along with my family's support, I heard myself saying, "You are lucky to have all these people. You'll be alright".

Despite being 300km+ away from her, she's still the closest friend I have. Even in silence, we'd read each other's thoughts. A fortnight ago, when she told me that she's getting engaged, my heart skipped a beat. I know how well Fiza takes care of those precious to her and that her happiness means the world to me. I sent prayers to God, hoping that this man is a truly good person. That this man will take care of her as well as she takes care of all of us. That this man will be a loyal partner.

Last Sunday, when I saw that nervous but blissful smile on her face, I couldn't help but to to have tears welling up. After all struggles she had gone through, she deserves a good man by her side till afterlife. May God take care of her. May this lead to a blissful marriage, inshaaAllah...

Well, on a different note, I am currently struggling to keep my weight from dropping drastically. Work has been pretty stressful. Three weeks in a row being in-charge of operation theater, and I am just a junior permanent officer there. Barely one and a half month had passed, and I lost 2.5kg already. I envy stress-eaters. At least they can eat when they're stressed. My body works in the exact opposite way. Despite reaching my minimum calory requirement, perhaps due to the increase in physical tasks, my weight is still dropping fast. I eat thrice daily, but most of the time, I'd push myself to my limits, and force myself to eat only when my hands start to tremble from low blood sugar. I have to learn fast. At my current pace, I don't think I am learning fast enough. Accio strength!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

stabilised

Thanks to a jackass for invading my personal space for real plus my already tough new workplace, my stress level spiked sky high that finally last Friday my focus was totally out. I couldn't even recall which ward my patients were in. I voiced my troubles to my boss. She smiled at me warmly and said that I should address that.

So after almost a year not donating my blood, that very evening, I randomly...


And I urge you to do the same. Blood donation can be done every three months. Here are a few criteria to fulfill before considering to become a blood donor:

- Aged between 18 and 60 years old (for those less than 18, written consent from parents or legal guardian is required)
- Body weight of at least 45 kg.
- In good physical and mental health with no chronic medical illness.
- Not on long term medications and has not been intoxicated by alcohol within 24 hours prior to donation.
- Should not be fasting and have had enough sleep (more than 5 hours) the night before donating.
- Has been staying in Malaysia for at least 1 year (for non-citizen).

So many friends got married this particular month. May all of you be blessed with a happy marriage!
 Ain and Nazrul (also a mini reunion for former matrics and uni mates!)

Nad and Daniel

Hazimah and Mujib (thanks Nep for allowing me to drag you along)

Darn I really need to pay Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman a visit and buy a few pairs of baju kurung since my old ones are all over-sized already. Hundreds of ringgit to be spent. 

Speaking of which, my baby, Alexander Jr, finally had gotten its brand new under tray cover. See, when it comes to clothes, I am pretty calculative but if it's something to do with my car, anything that it takes! Just take my money as long as Alexander Jr is A-okay. At times I wonder if I am actually a man trapped in a woman's body.



I hit yet another milestone this week. The last time I had ever took blood sample before this was uh... four years ago, maybe? During our emergency posting at USM. My super-kind and supportive colleague, Gerald, offered himself for me to set intravenous line and take venous blood sample. Nazirul, the most senior officer among us offered himself too, but I failed. I was so frustrated, my appetite was gone during lunch break. As previously mentioned, my mind wasn't in its optimum state on Friday, but I guess Gerald is my lucky charm, because I succeeded at both under his guidance, on his limbs haha! Thanks, mate, really, thanks. 

No matter how tough my workplace is, as long as I know that I have a strong support system, I guess I can cope with everything, inshaaAllah. Optimism!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

wonders

I love mornings. Every morning, I wake up to the sound of birds chirping, water trickling down the fountain downstairs, take a sip of warm coffee I prepare every single night just before I fall asleep which I keep in a flask, I'd turn on my laptop and play songs resonating with my emotions at that particular time. I'd take my time.

As suggested by Baird and Samson, 2014, in their study, "Music evoked autobiographical memory after severe acquired brain injury: Preliminary findings from a case series", the ability of music in evoking old memories is astounding. So here I am, listening to Adele. Her songs bring back bitter memories.

I woke up this morning feeling... melancholic. I have been having flashbacks these three days. When you're conscious, it's easy to control them. Just shift your attention onto something else. Something that would actually matter in the future, but when they haunt you during your sleep - running away isn't an option. It felt like being tied and your eyelids taped open, you could do nothing but to watch that film reel replaying excerpts from your past again and again. And again.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

five days of five degree celcius


So I just got back from hanging out with my former roomate (during matriculations) one whole day! She just got back from workout while me - 9 months of not getting a proper cheat meal. If there's anyone I can think of to enjoy my food maximally, that person will certainly be Murni! We had a super early dinner at Shell Out, Kota Damansara. RM179.90 for 2pax and you get potatoes, corn on cob, a large crab, 500g of lala, 10 pieces of king prawn, sweet potato fries, and rice. Pretty pricey, but hey, both of us had been wanting to try it. And then we ended our day with a slice of salted caramel cheesecake. Once in awhile, why not splurge and let that endorphin soar high by the means of a happy tummy?

During our long girly talk, I learnt many valuable lessons from her - that we're responsible of our own happiness. That I neither have to give too much face to anyone.nor do I have to justify myself. I'm done being too nice to anyone. At times, I would love to just say, "Dude... could you just... fuck off?... Please?". Nonetheless, since I don't intend to be a mean person, I choose to just be silent instead. I choose my happiness and peace of mind over others.

This coming week will be pretty crazy since Gerald and I will be in charge of assisting during surgeries at the operation theater. What usually are two days of operation theater per week will next be five days of it in a row. Get ready to face 20 degree Celcius and standing for hours assisting surgeries. I can do this, inshaa Allah.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

to face your fears head on

From left to right: Me, Anith, May, Kits, and Hannah

It's Saturday afternoon. The clouds are being pretty kind today and so is the wind. My semi-transparent curtain with green drapes swaying silently. I am enjoying the fig tea Umi brought from Egypt. Tobby is lazing around, nibbling my finger toes now and then. Weezer's Island in the Sun playing on my Youtube page.

So relaxed. 

Had just enough dosage of the Subang girls yesterday, but we all missed Mel. A few hours of hanging out at Alexis Bistro at Gardens, got my pavlova and chocolate cravings satisfied and protein fulfillment by the means of roasted tarragon chicken. 

I think all of us had passed that age of we-gotta-see-each-other-every-freaking-week-to-still-consider-ourselves-friends. Speaking of which, I miss my JB girlfriend, Fiza, so bad. Made a promise to myself to see her this month. Hello, April. We have tons of wedding invitations and plans to fulfill during the next 30 days, alright.

My progress

I have slowly made progress in a few things during these past six months. For a start, I've been eating healthily for nine months now. My daily diet involves a lot of vegetables (makan sayur macam kambing dah), fruits (which I still hate except for durian till today, but I guess I learned to accept watermelon and water apple), roasted/grilled chicken/fish; but I have a sweet tooth, so I'd reward myself with one or two pieces of butter cookies or a decent slice of cake or brownies at the end of every single day.

I have also started doing surgical removal of impacted wisdom teeth on my own now, thanks to my seniors, who pushed and guided me at it, although they'd say things like, "Okay, Z, kau kena buat yang ni (you have to do this on your own), okay? No excuse, no running away", while chuckling as they scooted off. Of course I enjoy watching others do it, hoping I would be able to do the same safely, but I was always scared before. What if I overshoot my handpiece? Surgical blade? Cut vessels or nerves? Nonetheless, I also knew that I had to overcome my worries and fears if I'd really want to be a surgeon. Time doesn't wait for us. The sooner I face them head-on, the more and the faster I get to learn. So I did. Before falling asleep, I'd imagine doing those procedures down to their minute details so that the next day, I have a crystal clear picture of procedures I would execute. Besides, now that no man is pulling me back from chasing after my dreams, I should utilise my time optimally.

Still, after working hard for five days in a row, I'd spend my weekends lazing around. Go for a full-body massage. Give my brains, limbs, neck, and shoulders a break. At the end of each working day, I'd push everything else aside to allow myself to sleep for at least six hours. Personally, I do not believe in 'the best never rest'. After all, a good quality sleep is required for proper memory storage process and focus on the next day. It grants you a good grip on emotional control as well. I, for a start, hate facing a forever-PMS person, so let's start with myself. Senyum itu sedekah (Smile. It's a charity), kan? Still, when I am on-call, it's a different story, but hey, it's not like everyday is an on-call-day, right?

Cheers to facing our fears head-on!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Report and renew your passport is as easy as A B C



So I'll be going on a vacation in May. Being a workaholic, when I was in charge of Klinik Pergigian Linggi, I couldn't let myself go on a leave more than 2 days because I was worried that when I return, things would be all over the place. So I didn't go on any vacation for... I can't remember. My passport had expired and I had never looked for it until now that I need it... and I realised that I had lost my passport. So here's a guide for those who are in the same shoes as I was earlier this morning.

1.  For those wearing hijab, put on a dark colour one. Don't put on coloured contact lenses.
2. Make sure you have your identification card (IC). No need photostated copy of it.
3. Head to the nearest police headquarter (Ibu Pejabat Daerah).
4. See an assistant superintendent (ASP) to be interviewed regarding the loss of your passport. At the end of the interview, you will be handed a summary of your interview by officer.
5. Head to the reporting counter and hand the summary and lodge a police report. The summary will be kept by officer at the counter and you'll be given a copy of the official police report. Just RM4 for that.
6. Head to the nearest Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia. At the cue counter, inform the officer in-charge that you had lost your passport and police report was lodged. You'll be forwarded to 'siasatan/kehilangan' counter.
7. Hand over the police report there.
8. Take your cue for passport renewal. Picture will be taken on the dot.
9. If payment is made before 4.30pm, then your passport will be ready in exactly an hour, on the same day. If it's made after 4.30pm, then you'll have to return on the next working day to claim your new passport. Only RM200/5years and RM3 for a proper passport cover.

Easy as A, B, C!

p/s: I had everything done in Putrajaya. Excellent service at IPD Putrajaya and Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia Putrajaya branch.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

speed of light

It had been a week since I left Klinik Pergigian Linggi for Oral Surgery department of Hospital Tuanku Jaafar (also known as Seremban General Hospital).

Amazing how easy my path gets with all difficulties and challenges life poses, all praises to Allah. My transfer was processed within a week and after requesting to postpone the transfer for a fortnight to pass all my duties as the PPYM (Pegawai Pergigian Yang Menjaga to my colleague, here I am. On the right path to become an oral maxillofacial surgeon.

It's still too early to tell if I am made for it or not. I have superb bosses who are very generous in sharing their knowledge - Dr Latif and Dr Sutina. I have warm and friendly colleagues, Arunth, Dr Suhaila, Nazirul, and Gerald. I am the most junior officer around and I feel very inadequate knowledge and skill-wise, but this feeling... I missed it. I missed it a lot - the feeling of being inadequate. It's only then am I motivated to do more reading. It's the same feeling I had during my undergrad days.

I was inducted pretty fast. Yesterday I was already assisting open reduction internal fixation of bilateral mandibular fracture. 4 days ago I was already assisting Dr Latif at surgical removal of impacted wisdom teeth under general anaesthesia. Arunth offered me to assist him fixing archbars. A lot of assisting and presenting a few cases. Hopefully I'll absorb everything like a sponge.

Currently, I feel that my brain is working in slow motion. It feels like trying to put a few rusty hinges into action, but I feel blissful. Can't recall when was the last time I felt this way.

I am now married. Married to my job :)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

don't judge a book by its cover

It's pretty annoying when I keep receiving comments such as, "Kemain kau sekarang, tepek make-up seinci bagai ye", or maybe, "Kemain baju kau. Yelah anak orang kaya".

Listen here, bitch, the only things I put on my face on daily basis, for work, are basic foundation (since it contains sunscreen and I basically drive a total of nearly 130km everyday, under bright sunlight), brush my eyebrows, and a lipstick. I neither put on any eyeliner nor eyeshadow. I do not smack any concealer onto my face either since I have extremely sensitive skin and pretty big pores. The last thing I want to do is to clog them and have acne swarming my face.

Have you heard of taking care of your skin better makes all the difference? And don't I deserve to pamper my skin with basic skincare products and my body with good clothes using salary I earned on my own? Some people have ample of free time and they prefer wasting it by pissing people off rather than experiencing joy in others' happiness. By the way, however I present myself, it's because I am after all a professional. Even if I'm not one, shouldn't a lady present herself in a proper manner?

Friday, February 5, 2016

those little things


It's Friday noon. I love Friday noons... that is unless if I need to drive to the main office in Port Dickson for CDE (continuous dental education) because of the weather. Blazing hot sun. What does one expect? Kawasan persisiran pantai. Gitu.

A friend asked me, "How long have you gone boyfriend-less? Don't you feel lonely?", while a colleague told me, "Lady, you are so versatile and mostly good at whatever you try your hands on. You should show your talents less because guys are afraid of women like you. They feel intimidated. Men hate intimidation".

I will just put it this way. If one had known me long enough, one would know what kind of person I am. I don't depend on anyone. And if I befriend or love someone, it would be for genuinely sincere intentions. I don't partner up with a guy just because I don't want to be boyfriend-less or perhaps I feel like that person has a good CV. Umi said this to me - numerous times - "Ira, kita orang perempuan ni jangan sampai perlu bergantung pada lelaki. Sebab satu hari nanti kita akan berseorangan. Walaupun masih berpasangan, ada masa tinggal Allah dan diri kita sendiri sahaja yang kita boleh berharap".

I grew up having a very dominant and independent woman as my mother. I look up to her. I want to be like her, or perhaps better. So I acquired more skills and knowledge.

When I'm sick I order my own blood tests or investigations. I know with whom I shall consult or refer myself to.

When my tyre punctures, I change it on my own. Did that thrice. Good old Kelisa. Sort of missing it in a way.

When I'm hungry, I prefer cooking up whatever I feel like eating on my own. I know what I put in. I know that it suits my taste. If I feel like eating something fancy and expensive, I pay for myself.

If my bed breaks, I ransack the house store, take out a drill, and start repairing it myself. Just like when my elder brother broke my bed doing WWF-style chop slam repeatedly and because I hated seeing Ayah run amok, so I'd repair it immediately and try to do it as neatly as possible, or else Ayah would detect the damage. Of course sometimes I'd procrastinate. I'm just a human anyway.

When I struggle with my studies, I push myself further. I'd bury my face in textbooks. I would focus so hard, my eyes would squint as I read those texts, my hands clenched tightly, laptop in its case, handphone away, everyone else shut out. Until I am sure I understand my learning issues down to their molecular level.

When I encounter an emergency situation, I'd stop for a second (at times, I'd act before the impact hits me) and think of a solution, execute it, rather than panicking. I find panicking so exhausting. When one panics, nothing gets solved. Thought block. Innocent bystanders panic and get stressed up. Still, I love the thrill one experiences having to manage emergency situation. Why else would I intend to further my studies in oral maxillofacial surgery?

When I need to rush somewhere, I drive fast on my own. Due to the past accident I was involved in, having another person driving, I do not trust a single soul to drive me around, hence my inability to fall asleep when such situation is unavoidable. Nonetheless, I still love speeding. The temporary adrenaline rush and slipping in between cars, calculating rapidly in a few-hundred-meter-radius whether you can make it and not endangering anyone else. I always see things in slow-mo because when I work, the tongue and cheeks are much faster and unpredictable as I operate a high-speed handpiece (drilling machine) which rotates as fast as 450 000rpm. Deadly enough, it can cut through bone. That sense of anticipation. I love that.

So basically, I am a person who easily enjoys whatever she does. I am pretty much, despite my abilities, just a person who enjoys simple things in life. Like being propped up on my bed with a dimmed bed lamp providing sufficient visual aid. Earphones on, listening to music of all sorts. Jazz. Classical. Metal. Pop. Enjoying all layers of musical instruments used. Writing blogs. Hot sugarless black coffee (or long black if you prefer fancy words for that). The occasional disruption my cat provides. Thick comforter covering half the length of my legs.

Joy comes in many forms if you heighten your senses enough.

Of course, at times I'd think, "Hey, I will maybe one day die alone", but still. I know I have angels by my side. It's just that I can't see them now. Not till I'm on my deathbed. I know I have true friends. Those I would randomly call up and hang out with. I know I have supportive (although at times pressuring) family members I'd see once I come home after a tiring day at work. Partnering up with a guy just for the sake of having a boyfriend isn't my idea of fun, because, please, after all I had gone through, lowering my standards and sacrificing myself to the point of being unkempt for a person... just save me the unnecessary troubles. If a guy is good enough, so good that I feel challenged myself, then perhaps such person is worth the pain. As my elder sister, Wani, said to me, "A soulmate is a person you choose, who you think is worth breaking your heart over and over again". It sounds sadistic and somewhat masochistic, but it's true in away. After all, you're choosing with whom you shall spend decades with. Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. However one chooses to put on shelves how happy her life is, in social media, that's just nonsensical.

In the meantime, I do not intend to fool around, what more if it involves a person's heart. Treat others the way you want yourself to be treated. Simple maths.

Monday, February 1, 2016

a calm Sunday night & work - edited on 01/02/2016

I particularly love listening to Lana Del Rey's voice. "Like liquid gold". Here I am, enjoying my calm Sunday night. Tomorrow's gonna be one tough day. Seven classes to go before I complete treating all students of SMK Dato Yusof.

Speaking of which, I bumped into an old Facebook post related to Klinik Pergigian Linggi - the clinic I manage since mid of 2014. Basically, a mother wrote about having to wait for an hour before being seen by me (she didn't exactly write my name, but who else was there, working as a dentist haha). So here's a post to perhaps educate the public on the workload I sustained.

On 1st July 2013, I took over Klinik Pergigian Linggi as the PPYM (Pegawai Pergigian Yang Menjaga). I was the only dental officer around, not to mention I had just completed my FYDO-ship (rudimentary trainig for first year dentists). I didn't have a clue on how to manage a clinic. I didn't even have a dental staff nurse to help me treating kids. The clinic was a mess in my honest opinion. Dusty shelves, things not in their respective place, staff kept missing in action, incomplete medico-legal documentations, basically it was a major system breakdown. Even our machines broke down eventually. I was left with a dental chair that could only serve as a place for our patient to sit on and nothing more. I felt like a camper in war zone, surrounded by a portable dental cutting unit, portable scaler, portable suction, and we had to use a separate compressor to power our machines and because of the length of its tube, it was placed quite near to me. My already partially deaf ears sustained more damage. Heck, I didn't notice it until one fine day, Ayah said to me, "Awak ni dah makin pekak ke, Ira?". Plus, I got to do upper body workout now and then when I had to pump our manual water pump which provided water aerosol for the portable scaler unit - have I told you that the water pump had air leakage as well? So I had to pump vigorously to generate pressure sufficient enough for water to come out? At times, one patient would require 3 cycles of pumping.
Ransacking old documents and learning fast on things to do as a YM

"Klinik gomen, biasalah. Gaji kau aku yang bayar tau", some ignorant insensitive idiots would say. Let me tell you programs Klinik Pergigian Linggi covers because for your information, I don't sit all day in the clinic, doing nothing else.

1. Program KKIA (Klinik Kesihatan Ibu dan Anak) 
 I basically examine and give talk to all pregnant mothers registered at Klinik Kesihatan Linggi. All dental problems MUST be treated completely during their pregnancy. Proud to say that our coverage for 2015 was close to 99%.

2. Program Toddler
 I treat and give dental education to all kids under the age of six years old, monitor them in regular intervals (3-6 months), and treat them necessarily.

3. Program Inkremental Sekolah
 KP Linggi covers 3 secondary schools. In total annually, we treat close to 1800 secondary school students at school in 8-9 months. Treatments must be done to completion (i.e if a student comes to you with a dirty mouth and 5 cavities, all must be treated till completion at school). I basically go for school treatment on every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Coverage was about 98% in 2015.
Poor ergonomics due to broken dental chair while treating students

Giving talk at SMK Samsudin Nain

4. Program PDK (patients with special needs/OKU)
 PDK Cahaya Ihsan is under my care and every year, along with my staff, we'd go there thrice to treat its residents and again, give dental talk to them.

With residents of PDK Cahaya Ihsan

5. Program Sinar Mutiara
 Each dentist will adopt 5 babies annually for fluoride varnish application and monitor their dental health progress. Each baby would undergo 4 applications, 6 months interval between each visit. And if parents default follow ups, we'd bug them till they come. Haha. Unless they opt themselves out.
Majlis Pelancaran Program Sinar Mutiara Peringkat Negeri

5. Program Kampung Angkat
 I volunteered our clinic to conduct this program on behalf of Port Dickson. I'd choose a village which is furthest from our clinic with highest number of villagers coming from low socioeconomic group and elderly residents - go there, give a talk, conduct exhibitions, interactive activities, and provide outpatient dental treatment, all in a day. Last year, for the first time ever, KP Linggi had hosted such programme. It was a success. Ketua kampung asked us to return this year, but to be fair, I had chosen another village.
Given 36 hours by my boss to design and come up with a banner for Prog Kg Angkat

6. Program Makmal Bergerak (Gigi Palsu)
 This program will start this year. Already proposed a date to my district boss. I had chosen a village which criteria is similar to Prog Kampung Angkat. We'd go to that village along with our mobile dental laboratory and clinic and for one whole week, we'd be constructing dentures till completion for those who are in need. 

7. Program Rawatan Luar dan Gigi Palsu
 Normal dental treatment and denture construction. Do bear in mind that in Port Dickson, KP Linggi is the only without a resident dental technologist. So we basically had to send our cases to a neighbouring clinic for laboratory processing. Occasionally, there'd be simple or special cases that'd require dentures to be constructed fast. Usually, other clinics wouldn't entertain such requests, but how could I say no when a lady told me she's gonna get married soon, or perhaps an old man saying that his daughter's wedding reception was just around the corner and he felt too embarrassed to smile. So in such cases, I'd do both clinical and laboratory procedures on my own except for flasking stage - which I neither have required materials or equipments nor can I go McGuyver to execute it. Such cases would mean sacrificing my lunchbreak :(


8. Duties as a PPYM and dental officer
 As the PPYM, I have my social obligations such as attending activities villagers hold, contribute here and there. I have to perform and record spot checks in many aspects, to ensure that our clinic is safe. Safe in many senses i.e radiation exposure, infection control, financial management, public water fluoride level, occupational hazard, calibration of machines, clinic asset management, public safety, and yaddah yaddah. Attend so many meetings and courses. Occasionally, I'd be sent by the main office to provide free dental check up and treatment to the public during special occasions such as convocations and etc.
Treating a patient in our mobile dental clinic, assisted by two dedicated staff, DSA Kamalliza and PPK Asywan (early 2015) (saw 70+ patients on that day)

As a dental officer, I also feel obliged to help with dental-related missions. For this, I have been an active member of MERCY Malaysia.
Still overweight at this time - mid 2014 

From July 2014 till January 2015, I carried all these workload on my own because I didn't have another dentist to share it with. I was and still am grateful when my new dental assistants and one staff nurse joined us towards the end of 2014. So grateful to know that I wasn't the only one trying to turn the table around. They're all dedicated and enthusiastic young people. They really brighten up my working life. 

End of January 2015, Dr William joined us.
The terribly missed Dr William

Finally I could let him take over the third secondary school and take my well-deserved paid leave and know that the clinic would still run. The joy was pretty much short-lived. 10months later, he left government service. For 2-3months I was on my own again. And then now not anymore. Again, I sent countless thankful words to Allah. So now, eventhough the number of secondary school students had gone up by 200 - which means 2000 secondary students to be treated by us this year, I still feel so grateful because whatever it is, there's another dentist there to treat patients at the clinic whenever I'm not around. And patient influx and efflux are much faster. Twoooo is better than oneeee - cue Taylor Swift. I hope my junior colleague will be around for long. At least till I leave that clinic. Nevertheless, I want to leave a legacy. And I want that clinic to continue performing excellently even after I have left.

People of Pejabat Pergigian Daerah Port Dickson

My job is stressful. It is extreme when it comes to our exposure to occupational hazards. Still. I love my job. I really do; but when the public seems to find satisfaction in scrutinizing us tirelessly, giving destructive criticism... I just hope this compassion is here to stay.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

reaching out

Home sweet home. I can hear the sound of water trickling down our garden fountain from my room. Tobby being her spoilt-self, lazing on my calves. She wanted to show that she should be prioritised over my laptop. Not gonna give her the satisfaction tonight. Nobody entering my room at this hour, asking me to take my meds. No intravenous drip attached to me. I can walk without dragging a bag of normal saline. So good to be out of the hospital and enjoy relaxing before falling asleep in a few minutes time, instead of forcing myself to do so because there's nothing better to do while I was admitted.

 (Standing from left to right: PPK Ain, DSA Sikin, DSA Liza, and DSA Feza; sitting from left to right: Driver Fahmi, me, and JP Mala)

So presenting, us, staff of Klinik Pergigian Linggi. See, when I first joined the clinic, I thought I'd be doomed for eternity. Water leaking from its roof. Termite-infested wooden windows. Unmotivated staff. Unrepaired instruments. Dark and scary looking place. We did not liaise well with our medical counterpart.

"Where shall I start?", I asked myself. "This place feels so down". I am not that kind of person who complains and do nothing about my problems or things I am not happy about. When there's an issue, I tackle it. Head-on. Well of course, at times it'd require a degree of diplomacy. When my two new assistants arrived, I felt like I wasn't the only one trying to change this place around, positive reinforcements would be needed from time to time to continuously motivate them. One by one, new staff joined us. Finally, we revamped the whole place and I gladly call it my second home. Patients began to return for more treatments - from basic to more complicated and more conservative ones. It takes a lot of effort, but I guess I am getting my well-deserved job satisfaction. And I guess, I am now married to my job. At times, my colleagues in gov sector would ask me, "Why would you go extra miles despite being paid inequivalent to your workload and effort?". My answer would be simply - compassion and integrity.

(clockwise from left most: Me, Leen, Najwa's husband, Najwa, Aisyah, Ain, and Murni)

Alright, let's put work-related stuff aside. Last week, the youngest member of aras 4 blok C2 Kolej Matrikulasi Negeri Sembilan got married! Dr Najwa or Busu, as we all affectionately address her. It was a mini reunion for us. All of us reminisced our good old time during college. Those random Maggi and tuna parties. The rare and intimate unity among us floormates. Wherever I go - be it workplace or for studies; I make it a point to create a good and warm environment. I believe that good communication is crucial for everyone to feel welcomed, regardless how tough it is for that to be achieved in the first place. And I'm glad that our former penolong ketua aras, Ain, shared the same thought. Semoga Busu dan suami dikurniakan kebahagiaan serta kejayaan dunia dan akhirat bersama.


Then there's the impromptu dinner at Alexis, Gardens, with Murni. We tried their famous pavlova - it was so good, Murni insisted on having a slice all to herself if ever we dine there again. I had quiche lorraine while Murni had pepperoni pizza. I guess their savory menu was just so-so taste-wise, but they certainly serve superb desserts. Would definitely return for a second round!


Along with Hanif, I had my Sunday brunch at Zawara Coffee. Neat place. Hipster-looking, certainly. I had a slice of dark Belgian chocolate cake. It was uhhhh-mayyyy-zing (except for the fact that they served it with strawberry - which isn't my cuppa tea since I hate sour food - just my weird self). Enjoyed a cup of cappuccino there. Was so-so. I particularly loved their concept, except for the abundant usage of disposable materials. I feel guilty everytime I am handed a plastic bag, what more seeing these stuff in the place of washable cutlery and plates. We're already producing so much waste these days, anyway. Would return for a second round for this one too.


Hey, my former colleague during undergrad years came to KL! That's Helmy. Dr Helmy. Still single and available - as long as you can stand him karaoke-ing almost 24/7! Haha! Still the same old reserved lad who stutters. We missed our partner-in-crime, Kak Bella, though, because only with her presence could we sing Beribu Sesalan by Tiga Suara.


And my younger USM brother - Ziyad, from Sabah, is about to tie the knot this year! Ahhhh, it felt like it was just yesterday that we were jamming and roaming around aimlessly in my old Kelisa along with Cep and Acap. Semoga segala urusan dipermudahkan...

Alrighty, I really need to sleep because I need to go to KL tomorrow for MERCY Malaysia-related stuff. Goodnight, people.

Friday, January 8, 2016

of pain and joy


Not an ideal way of starting my 2016 eh? Well, not really. I had gotten rid of a problem I had been having for quite some time. Got initially admitted into Mawar Medical Center (Umi insisted this particular hospital since my aunt is a matron here) for a surgical procedure, during which I found out the third and fourth drugs I am allergic to - Dormicum and pethidine. Woke up next morning, blood pressure and heart rate crashing, face and neck all swollen, plus my body retained 2kg of additional fluid, I looked like I transplanted a puffer fish onto my face; and also my urination was almost nil, but I am in good hands. So yeah, I am currently entering my third day here. Praying so hard to get discharged in 6 hours time - wink, wink, Dr Ranjit, pretty please? Thanks to a good friend who cooked me my favourite soup. And thanks to you, pretty ladies and boys, who paid me a visit. You guys brightened up my somber days here.

 This time, my entry would be written in retrograde manner chronologically.

Group photo: (from left to right: Leen, me, Anith, Kishie, Mel, and Arif)

As I had promised myself to always keep in touch with my friends, however busy life gets, it was a mini reunion with my Subang clique at Souka Bakery, SS15 Subang Jaya, apart from showing my support for May, who opened a booth at a mini bazaar there. 



As usual, being a sweet-toothed person, I pampered myself with a slice of mixed-berry pavlova there. It was HUMONGOUS, I swear! You may use Leen's hand as a comparison. Its cream and strawberry extract was a tad too sweet for my liking as I believe that the sweetness of its meringue should've been balanced by a rather creamy and much less sweet cream. Their coffees were alright. They serve good pastas though. It's not everyday in Malaysia that you get pastas cooked al dente but you're gonna get just that here. I particularly loved its warm and quiet ambience (pretty sure we made it noise, my apologies, but I hadn't seen these girls for 3 months!). Makes a good hangout spot or for you to bring along your date for lunch maybe. My overall verdict? 3.8/5. Might return.


Right before that. I headed to a spa where I am a regular client and had facial treatment done. To my surprise, my favourite beautician had returned! She's Mrs Irin. Appropriately friendly and gentle. Like I said previously, the old me didn't care shit about myself, my appearance, and whatnot, but this is me telling myself, "You had went through a lot. Time for me-time. Go selfish".


And then there's the Malacca trip! Spent most of our time on the road because of traffic congestion. MAJOR TRAFFIC CONGESTION. Stopped at the famous Klebang Coconut Shake and just look at the line! And also attended an important event.

After so many positive reviews written by my friends regarding La Bodega, Leen and I decided to try it out. Ordered myself spinach and ricotta stuffed ravioli in creamy pesto sauce while Leen had seafood frutti di mare. Well here's one thing that I think all good restaurants should have - a chef who can cook their seafood justly. It is a crime to double murder seafood by overcooking it. So yeah, apparently that was the issue with Leen's pasta. Still, my food was fine apart from its pasta component being slightly overcooked, their presentation was good enough and they make good and flavourful sauces! And waiters and waitresses there were very attentive and friendly. 5 star for service and ambience. Verdict? 4.0/5. Would return.

Next week, there'll be a BBQ session for my staff at my house. Life feels good... even if this entry is written in a ward, at a hospital. Hey, no pain no gain. And happiness doesn't exist without sadness. That's the only way you can really appreciate all ups and downs life has to offer you. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy every moment.