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.