Oh would you look at that..


Well, i can safely say its been close to a year that I've left off even trying to update this blog. I think my last entry can explain why I've just been focusing on a whole lot of other things lately.

But, I'm in the middle of writing the draft for my thesis and this just happens to be my 30 minute break to overcome that writers wall that so often happens when you're neck deep in something pretty dry ne..

Alhamdulillah I recently submitted my notice of submission, which means whether I want to or not, a final draft on my thesis has to be handed in by august to my supervisor. I've always worked best under pressure. So pressure it is ^_^v How long has it been? 4 years? I could be a pHd holder with that much time under my belt. Hahah. But jokes aside, 4 years filled with so many things, so many lessons. To say I wouldn't have it any other way might be a bit much, but to say I regretted taking this long would be a lie as well. Pray for me that this is truly the last chapter in my masters saga.

Oh and my brother is married. Last January, to a high school friend. The other one is back from France and is currently trying out his hand in the F&B business. My dad is doing alright. Still has his stubborn bouts of not taking his medication sometimes. But all in all family is stable.

A lot goes through my mind while i'm nearing the end of my studies. Like what i want to do with my life. What I actually want out of it. I feel being 27 going on 28 and just barely stepping out in search of a career is a daunting and to a certain extent embarrassing thing. To make matters worse, I'm unable to drive, ( well unable is stretching it. I haven't driven after obtaining my license), so I'm not very social or have particularly my own freedom in a lot of things. Granted living away from home does give me some personal freedom, but my group of 'people' is certainly very small with my family and namjah making up the bulk of it.

Ask me where I see myself in 10 years? Even 5? I cant say. The parents obviously wanting me to have a secure job in the government. Pencen. Pencen is key. But is it my key? Will that make me happy in life? Am i happy now? It's amazing that when you actually get to that basic question, the answer is not always at the tip of your tongue. I don't know if i'm happy. But i know what makes me happy, and i guess if i focus on those things maybe life will get a little simpler to puzzle out.

Sometimes things come at you in a knotted ball and you have to sit yourself down a pick through things one strand at a time because you cant possibly make anything out of knotted ball right? Time consuming? Yes, very. I think i've always been good at multitasking, but when it comes to big events concerning my future, then a lot of thought and consideration needs to be focused on the task at hand. The hardest part is being absolutely unrelentingly honest to yourself. Honest on how much effort you put in something. How much you want something. How much you need something, all the way down to how good of a person am i, religiously as well as just another human being.

Haha, sooooooo yeah, half an our of pouring I don't know what into this sad little blog of mind, just to unwind my thoughts. It helps though. I'm a bit calmer than when i started. Welpz, hopefully by the next time I update, i've figured a few things out in my life and maybe there will be a job prospect in the air. InsyaAllah!


Berat mata memandang..

I’m pretty sure everyone knows how this phrase ends. But sometimes we fail to fully comprehend what it means.

For the past 6 months, my family has been going through an emotional as well as physical roller coaster which from the looks of it will not be subsiding any time soon. In reference to my last post, my dad successfully underwent his bypass 2 weeks ago during ramadhan, which I can say has been the most haywire fasting month I have undergone in my entire life. I doubt I had a proper meal during the whole ordeal what with going back and forth from serdang to IJN, to trying to not miss terawih until my sister actually fell sick. She was then followed by my brother.

To be perfectly honest my dad is a restless patient. He needs constant supervision and constant emotional support which requires our physical presence. Even then, there is never an assurance that an emotional tantrum will not lash out. But because that is what a sick person goes through, you learn to be very patient.  I’m sure for those who have handled frequent hospital visits will understand. And I’m sure emotions run high for both patient and care giver. This is not in any way abnormal.  That being what it was my dad demanded to be released from IJN one week post operation even when we thought it was best for him to stay a while longer. Why did we concede? Because the doctors seemed to think that is was perfectly permissible and when a sick person stresses themselves out, especially after a bypass, it can lead to so many other complications.

But true enough, that very night my father suffered palpitations with his heart rate peaking at 220. Thankfully my brother was able to bring him straight to emergency and he was stabilized once again. My sister and I of course made the trip home and waited till 3 am to get him into a ward. Out from one hospital and into the next.  He was finally released from the hospital the night before raya.

And for two weeks he seemed well. Religiously taking his medication, and kept to a strict diet that we carved out for him. It was planned that by the end of the 2nd week of raya my family was supposed to meet up with their bakal besan back in tanjung malim. To be on the safe side we asked doctors if my dad was fit to travel and none had told us that he needed to stay put. In fact his physiologist had told him to keep moving, since it was the only way for him to regain strength. That being said we monitored him for the whole two weeks checking his blood sugar every day, as well as his blood pressure, which remained stable. We also constantly asked his condition, asking whether he felt his body was strong enough to travel. He seemed perfectly excited for the trip. We took precautions as to take a homestay so that they could rest before and after the travel. And I thought everything would be going alright.

But it seemed that our test was far from over. Later that evening I got a call from my brother saying that my dad had suffered a 3rd stroke right at his fiance’s house. So again, my sister and I made the drive to slim river hospital where my dad was thankfully stabilized once again and was transferred that night itself to HKL where again we waited out till 3 am until he was properly warded.

I think Allah swt really loves him. 3 strokes and my dad is still talking and able to move all his limbs. And whenever he suffers from these strokes there are always people around to get him immediate medical attention.  I think the doctors themselves are confused as to what is happening to him. As with vascular dementia, the strokes are like time bombs. It seems like they come without any trigger whatsoever. My dad suffered his third stroke in the middle of talking and laughing with his bakal besan.  He was not stressed, he was on medication and he was not eating anything out of the ordinary. When he first came to and my brother told him he had suffered another stroke he was exasperated and asked why? I felt so sorry then because even I was shocked that he had a re-occurrence after all the precautions we had taken.  Amazingly enough, during the transport of my dad to HKL from slim river the nurses had forgotten to bring his box of medication along with him in the ambulance. Thus the next day, my brother, sister and I made the round trip once again to retrieve his meds. It was then my turn to get sick. And by Monday I was a walking zombie.

It is not my intention to lament about the hurdles that me and my family go through. It is to inform that as difficult as it is for people who are watching, it is that much harder for those involved to cope. As much as you can pity my dad who is constantly in and out of the hospital, imagine how we feel when he says he is sorry for causing so much trouble, or asking if it was his fault that he is once again laying in a hospital bed. As much as you can get emotional, imagine how emotional we are but are not able to show it just because we do not want him to worry. And as much as you can give advice and say things should be done a certain way, understand that as his immediate family members we are doing our level best to give him the care and attention that he needs to get better. Remember that he is our dad, and we want the best for him just as you would with your own.

This serves also as a reminder to myself to be able to put myself in other people’s shoes. To try to understand their position first, instead of judging them without knowing what they go though.

Berat mata memandang,

Lagi berat bahu yang memikul.


Things never happen when you're ready for them

This is a little off tangent from the Sabah travelogue, which I do intend to finish, however for the time being a whole lot of serious stuff has been happening in my household lately. 

My dad had a major heart attack 3 months back. The kind where they take him into the red room and tell family members to be ready for anything. I don't think i need to explain what kinds of thoughts go through your head while you sit there waiting, with every doa you know spilling endlessly from your lips. 

His first words to me when the doctors finally did allow us to see him was "i'm ok" at which point I could do nothing but burst into tears and hold on to him. Miraculously, he recovered from the incident almost immediately. But of course, he was discharged with 9 different medication, which I was almost sure he was not going to take.

Subsequently was his visit to Institute Jantung Negara (IJN) where he underwent an angiogram. The diagnosis was rough. 3 out of 4 arteries blocked. 2 almost completely. His specialist told him that there was no other option than to do a bypass. They gave him a month to think about it before giving his final answer.

That month, was a hard one for the family. My dad refused to undergo surgery, saying that he didn't want to die in a hospital bed. On one hand we understood the fear of undergoing such a major surgery and on the other hand we also understood that the longer he waited the higher the risks of a second attack. To make things worse, he began refusing to take medication, relying on alternative medicine he bought from a mutual friend. And not only this, anything and everything that he though would help him he'd consume except for the prescribed medication. 

People will say that it was irresponsible of us to allow him down that path. I will say this much. Sick people undergo a huge plethora of emotional fits. If he was a child, it may have been easier to deal with. We got angry, we tried coaxing, we tried everything short of pushing the pills down his throat without his consent. After a while he began doing strenuous activities, convinced that if he worked himself hard enough the clot in his arteries would clear and he'll be back to health again. 

Then the inevitable happened. Saturday night, my sister and I was making our way home when I received a phone call from my mom. 

" Papa terjatuh. I think he's having a stroke"

It's phone calls like these that make you dread seeing  that home number flash on your mobile screen. When we reached home my dad was interestingly enough propped up at the dinning room chair, staring blankly at his fingers. Once I got a closer look, half his face was paralyzed and when he tried speaking to me, his slurs were incomprehensible. I think my heart dropped to the floor right then. We were having such a hard time deciding whether we should just whisk him off the the hospital ourselves or wait till the ambulance arrived. Luckily, we didn't have to wait long, and the paramedics handled everything quite smoothly, despite the fact that my dad kept trying to ask where they were going. 

We were at the hospital till close to 2 am. My dad went from not even having a gag reflex, to being able to move his facial muscles, to recognizing people and finally understanding conversations. Again a miraculous recovery. When he did stabilize, we found that he had a slight trouble with his speech. Not to the extent where people didn't understand but, there were words, here and there that he could not pronounce or took sometime to figure out. It was the same thing with his writing. After 3 days and 3 doctors later we learned that my dad had suffered multiple infarctions, majority on the left side of the brain. During our stay, I sensed that he was undergoing some kind of depression. Coming to terms with the abilities he had lost. And worrying if they would ever come back. He was particularly distraught that he was unable to read Yaasin as he had so often done before. It took a lot of patience and calming him down in order for him not to stress himself out. And it was also difficult for us to get used to what was happening and what it entailed.

Luckily, the stroke brought him back to his senses. He finally consented to taking his proper medications. I have memorized their uses and the times when he needs to take them. i sometimes call home to  check if he is indeed taking them. And we rescheduled his bypass with IJN. We thought all was well, at least as well as it could have gone at that moment. We were yet to be surprised again. The night after the IJN visit, my dad started to become agitated, and repeating questions over and over again. There were already warning bells ringing in my head then, but we told him to rest and not think to much since his brain needed a lot of time to recuperate. The next morning, he was still anxious and his body was becoming weaker. I decided to take leave to watch him. It wasn't long before I realized something was clearly wrong when I found that his eyes were not only focusing but  was also wandering!

So for the second time within a month, the ambulance came to take him to the hospital. This time to HKL, where he was warded in the neuro department in order to see what kind of damages have been occurring in his brain. He was very forgetful, not remembering huge chunks of events that happened only a day ago or sometimes a few hours prior. The doctor told us that the two strokes that we had witnessed might not have been the only strokes that have been occurring. She told us that my dad was most probably suffering from vascular dimentia as well as expressive aphasia. It was a lot to take. A lot to handle in a span of only a few months. 

Now, currently, our family is trying to figure out what our next game plan is. How we are to sort things out where someone will always be at home at all times. My maid can only do so much in the case of emergencies. My mom who will be retiring this month is also not apt to handle emergencies and is also entering old age where she too will need someone to look after her. Even now my dad rings me almost every other day asking if I'll be coming back, Alhamdulillah i'm seeing progress in his memory strength, his speech as well as his moods. But it breaks your heart to see them so frail and so in need of help. Especially when it happens all of a sudden and out of the blue.

So now I feel that I need to be home. I need to finish this masters thing yesterday. And I need to focus on what my family needs right now. Because when you think of how little time you could have left to spend with your parents, it puts all your priorities in order. 


Travelogue: Sabah Day 2

Second Day was our Island Day.

And by that I mean we went island hopping also known as the Tungku Abdul Rahman Water Park. Our most trusted tourist guide suggested that we stop at two islands: Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sapi, the latter being the smaller island of the two. This was because we didn't want to feel rushed, getting in and out of the water to change from one island to the next. Unfortunately because Syamil made all the payments, I'm a little unclear as to the pricing of the trip. You can get a rough idea here.

The application of spf 80 banana boat for the 100th time courtesy of Mrs. Yoge. By the way this sunblock really works. I am dang prone getting downright rentung after exposure to the sun. Especially by the water. But I came back virtually unscathed. So, it's a winner people!

So pretty much, half way to manukan, our boat driver kept reducing the price for parasailing until it reached RM 50 per person. I think originally it was around RM 180/2 people. To be perfectly honest it never even crossed my mind. But then, whats the point of travelling if you're not going to let yourself experience things you never wanted to before ne? So we paired ourselves in two's and had our first taste of flying above water ^^

FYI though, they have the dry and wet option for this activity. We chose, dry, but for a moment then I wondered if I should have just let them drop me in the water. haha. Oh but a word of caution. While you're up happily dangling your feet high in the sky, the people still on the boat go through some serious rocking. I totally advise motion sickness pills. Even while waiting for kak Izan and Mid to fly, I was close to spewing. And that was after I had taken a pill that morning. -__-v

The actual duration of to get to Manukan Island was probably around 10 to 15 minutes. Manukan was pretty large. Enough area for you to swim without bumping into too many people at least. Mrs. Yoge was not feeling that well that day so she chose to lay beneath the trees with the cool wind passing through. They do rent out tikar or spreads for rm 10.

We wasted no time to go off snorkeling. We were a little unlucky though since the weather was causing a whole lot of big waves making the water  slightly murkier than normal. Comparatively, I think my previous trip to Redang Island offered more aquatic scenery, but who knows your luck ne? We had previously packed a briani lunch that morning, cuz you know how famished you get after swimming. ^_~ Pulau Sapi was a much smaller island, and we were given just a short while to swim around. interestingly enough we came across a family of wild boar while we were there though.

After changing and heading back, we stopped by Pasar Philippine to buy some kudap2 to bring home. Of course we bought ourselves the infamous amplang and a variety of other crunchy delectables. Later we stopped by Jamilah Mutiara for some souvenir shopping. There were plenty of pearls to choose from. And the price range is quite large, so i'm sure anyone can find something that fits their taste and their wallet. We didn't snap too many pictures after the island though cuz we were all pretty much exhausted. 

We had our dinner at home. Syamil was nice enough to buy us some take out, while we sat marveling at our previous photos ahaha, We also got a sneak peak of syamil's bachelor pad, which was seriously cute. I wouldn't mind having a studio either if it came with the furniture. Mwuahahah.


Travelogue : Sabah Day 1

I am actually waaaaay overdue for this travelogue entry. As always i've been fussing over some unfinished business, as well as taking forever to finish my photobook for the trip, which is so time consuming >_<

At present I am supposed to be supervising an undergraduate in the lab, so I only have short bursts of free time which is useless if I am ever to get any academic writing done. Thus, the writing of this should be less stress full.

I must apologize up front however that this particular travelogue might not be as detailed as I had originally hoped to make it. after a few weeks my memory fades. Hard drive is over worked, what can I say.

Ok! Without further adue...

Day 1:

We reached Sabah I think around 8 pm, to a cute little airport in Kota Kinabalu. Syamil had previously booked us an avansa (RM 570) for the whole 3 day four night stay. The initial squeezing in was a bit tight considering our luggages. Being the smallest of the group I opted for the back seat.

We went for dinner at a row of shops, I forget the name, but it was not too far from the airport and it was by the water. First I must say, the food portions in Sabah are humongous. If me and Zafu can share a semenanjung portion, then in Sabah we would likely have needed a third person to split the food. Needless to say, the seafood was amazing. I'm not a seafood lover myself but I made an exception for this trip. I had been forewarned that Sabah food was a little bland. But to be completely honest I was very satisfied with the meals we had there. Maybe it was just Syamil's good picks, but my stomach was pretty happy for the whole of the trip.

Syamil boarded the 5 of us in a cozy little apartment at Universiti Utama Condomenium, for RM 450 for 3 days. Cheap? So freakishly cheap. And the place was so adorable I couldn't. Given the price, Zafu and I slept in the living room with me on the couch and Zafu on the extra toto. It was perfectly comfortable especially with the air conditioning. Personally, I f I was a single working female, I would not have minded have a cute pad like that to come home to. =p

So actual day 1 started way earlier than my normal routine. We were up and out by 6.45 am to make our way to the Kinabalu Park. The day gets light so very early in Sabah, so it feels like you've been up forever, but in fact its still 7 in the morning. As precaution, I took motion sickness pill before heading out. The road there to be fair was not as bad as say the drive to Genting. But with the car suspension being what it was, plus me sitting in the back seat, I didn't intend on spraying my insides all over the interior of the car.

Entrace fee to the park was RM 3 / adult, this also included access to the Poring Hotsprings. The view is just amazing. So much greens and blues, was a welcomed change of scenery to out normal dull greys.

 We also made a pit stop at one a roadside market selling all sorts of vegetables and flowers. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to bring any produce back home since we would be charged under phytosanitary offences, so we just looked on and drooled.

Next, comes one of my favorite places ever. Tagal, Sungai Moroli, Kampung Luanti Baru Fish Spa. Enterance fee is RM 3/ person and you can buy fish feed for 20 cents per package. We were lucky enough the be the only people there, so there was plenty of one on one time with these adorable fishes. They're actually ikan kelah, known as ikan pelian in Sabah. And man are they manja! Exactly like cats, I don't even know how else to describe them. I'm usually really nervous around fish bigger than goldfishes, but I couldn't resist playing with these. They kept nibbling at our toes, and I must say, my cracked heals were much improved after our session Xp. Strictly speaking you are only allowed 15 minutes to enter the enclosure, but my mom told me previously when she went, they were there from afternoon till evening. It would be advisable to bring a change of clothes if you plan on stopping by, Because I would have given anything to be able to swim with them, but I had to restrain myself, lest i show up dripping wet to out next destination.

 After drying ourselves off, we pushed off to Poring hot springs which actually has a whole lot of other attractions aside from the hot springs themselves. We decided to do a canopy walkway (RM 3/ adult), which required a short distance of hiking before reaching the starting point. It was an equivalent of several consecutive squats, and I was already feeling the burn by the time we reached the top. The walkway was not very long, but it was quite high. I think considerably higher than the one we have in FRIM.

 Luckily afterwards we did a little foot soaking in one of the hotspring tubs. I think they have a pretty cool system where they have pipes which fill each individual pool. Kind of like a bath tub. So when one group of people are done using is, it can be drained and refilled with natural hot spring water for the next visitor. They also have closed huts, for family use or for the very the shy people. ^^

 We made a little stop before leaving at the Rafflesia blooming site, just a few hundred meters away from the hots spring pools. There was 1 flower in bloom, i think it was already on its 3rd blooming day out of 5. Not only this, but we were also able to see the different stages of the rafflesia life cycle. Though I've heard that rafflesia's tend to have a rotting smell, I didn't get a whiff of anything unpleasant while we were viewing thank goodness. They say it's very rare to catch one in bloom. So we considered ourselves pretty lucky.

 We stopped for lunch at a place called Nabalu, before making out way to the final destination that day, Desa Cattle Farm Kundasang (rm 4/ adult), where aside from sightseeing, we were there to meet a former batch mate. The perks of having friends in the industry for VIP treatment. Mwuahahaha. Apparently Sabah's dairy industry is no joke. For the time being however the milk they produce here is still sold locally if I'm not mistaken. But they have some awesome fresh milk, coming from a milkaholic like myself. I think most people would agree that the desa cattle farm is the representative New Zealand of Malaysia. It was so serene, I half wished they had a job opening I could apply for. They even have a viewing bay of how they milk the cows. We've been introduced to this earlier during our dairy class way back when, but obviously desa cattle had a much more robust system going on. It was amusing to see that the cows knew exactly where to stand to get milked. And they lined up so well.

Food Tech Class 2011 Hoyeah
The milk cows on the farm are imported from New Zealand as well as Australia. They looked exactly like the ones in the Dutchlady commercial i swear albeit a little smudged with dirt. Once retired these milk cows are sold for meat, at a slightly lower price than the actual designated meat cows. Even the grass grown there are imported. And you can definitely tell, cuz they look nothing like the ones in our back yard. Ridzuan Yusuf ( the one in white boots, hamek kau full name, free promo), our undergradate batch mate now works as the plant executive, figuring out the processing lines to upgrade the establishment. Its really motivating to see people at work doing and talking about what they know best. Syamil and Wan are even professionally related seeing that Syamil is a food technologist officer who helps Wan in implementing certain systems within the company. It makes me wanna a get a job so bad right now T-T.

Aaaaand of course when you have good lighting and contrast colors, what else is there than to take a ridiculous amount of pictures.

 ooookeh. So i think that's about it. I need to get back, i'm hearing telltales of a storm coming.. till later!