I deeply thank my friends and, I guess, "fans" who have asked me about why I haven't been updating my blog recently. As some of you probably know by now, our family are in the process of moving back to Malaysia for good - our flight out of this country is less than 2 weeks away (gasp!). To say we've been busy the past one month and a half is an understatement, but this post is dedicated to my friends who have been anticipating the continuation of itchiness.blogspot.com (the name of my blog still makes me laugh!)
In almost chronological order, here are the events that has happened in just the past 1.5 months:
26 June 2007 : A case of chicken pox
A few days after Sarah had been infected with chicken pox, Nisa & Amar started showing signs of the pox too. Sure enough, Amar erupted in the characteristic papules and vesicles much to our horror. No surface was spared - the pox surfaced on Amar's scalp, skin, bum, genitals - even his eyelids & mouth!
29 June 2007 : The Trading Post & Shrek 3
As the ward we were working was due to be prematurely closed, and the Althorp team about to be disbanded, we celebrated our supposed last few days together by going to the cinema and watching Shrek 3. The movie was brilliant, and we found the themes of the movie depict each of us with shocking accuracy. After the movie, we went to the "Trading Post", a restaurant close to the hospital, for dinner & desserts. The salmon fillet I had was brilliant - and so was dessert (see for yourself in the picture!)
7 July 2007 : Birmingham Children's Hospital
This week had been one of the most trying in my life when we had to bring the poorly Amar several times to Coventry Hospital Children's A+E. We had to bring Amar when;
1. He fell down while playing with Sarah and his wrist seemed to twist at a very awkward angle and he was crying in severe pain. I feared bony injuries but after waiting a few minutes in A+E he became his normal self.
2. Amar's right eye became inflammed. Our f****** GP was not help at all and was refusing a consultation due to patient load. We had to present Amar to A+E just for eyedrops.
3. Amar's groin - heavily infested with pox marks - became swollen, painful, hot & exuding pus. Again our GP refused consultation. Nisa brought Amar to the walk in centre and a "medical practitioner" I am convinced require retraining diagnosed Amar's swelling as 'molluscum contagiosum'. In his f******, god-**** head (in Malay we say "kepala hotak dia") is a painful, tender, hot & exuding lump a 'molluscum contagiosum'.
4. Extremely unsatisfied with the "doctor's" diagnosis we went to A+E where the surgical attended queried torsion of a testicle. I tell testicle torsion is a serious matter as it could cause testicle death, sepsis and infertility.
--- I cannot say enough at this point how much I hexed, jynxed, cursed and re-cursed the "molluscum-contagiosum" guy ---
5. The urology attendant convinced himself it was not testicle torsion and diagnosed an abscess - which I have thought all along - and asked us to go to Birmingham for the abscess to be operated on. That last part I didn't expect.
6. Amar had to fast from 6.30am the next morning. We waited until 4.30pm for Amar to finally be seen by the surgical team who were "busy in theatres". Once seen, AS I HAVE THOUGHT ALL ALONG, they diagnosed an abscess caused by the open skin from the pox marks. They suggested antibiotics and NOT for any surgery, despite Amar being starved since morning (see picture).
7. I cannot tell you guys how distressing and heart-breaking it was to see Amar hungry for milk and food, weak and eventually crying to be fed. It was utterly cruel that Amar had to fast that long and in the end he was not for surgery. Nisa & I were just happy to get the f****** hell out of that hospital. The nurse who attended us was not at all understanding - she scowled whenever Amar cried - crying for the fact that he was starving close to death, and he had been prodded and handled by strangers.
7 July 2007 : A breather at Coombe Abbey
The very same day, and desperate for Amar & Sarah to get fresh air and to run around, we went to Coombe Abbey for a breather.
As you guys could see, Amar was so much happier. Later that night, we were relieved to see pus in Amar's nappy, as that meant his abscess has burst by itself avoiding the need for a surgical incision (we hoped).
Poor Sarah, who no-doubt was craving for attention during the ordeal. I bet she appreciated the sudden open-space and freedom.
Enjoying the park at Coombe Abbey. That was Nisa speaking to Auntie De telling her about our visit to Birmingham Children's Hospital.
8 July 2007 : Coventry Memorial Park
We went to the Memorial Park, again for a breather. I took pictures of these boys on their skateboards.
Amar continued to improve, including his appetite. In retrospect, he was still lethargic and not quite his self at the time.
Our visit coincided with a concert-in-the-park
Sarah & Nisa enjoying much deserved ice-creams
12 July 2007 : Goodbye good neighbours
We had to say goodbye to our wonderful and friendly neighbours as they were flying on a holiday out of the country for a month. Above is Sarah with her good friend Maryam and below are Maryam's parents. Our next-door neighbour had really made us feel welcomed ever since our move here 3 years ago - and they have been ceaseless in their generosity and friendship. It was a sad moment to finally say goodbye to them.
12 July 2007 : Nottingham
Right after saying goodbye to our neighbours, we head straight for a last visit to Nottingham to say yet another goodbye to one of our closest family friends - Auntie & Uncle Wa. They were kind enough to bring us to Wollaton(?) Park where I had the first chance for a photography session with Uncle De and his new child - a Nikon D80 DSLR complete with an 18-200mm VR lens.
Everyone was much more their normal self - and the chicken pox seemed a distant history. We all had fun that weekend - and again, thank you for accommodating us!
Congratulations Uncle & Auntie De for your purchase of the Nikon D80 and the Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens, I am extremely proud & happy for you!
18 July 2007 : Graduation Photoshoot
I am quite proud of this day, when I was hired by a Warwick University PhD student to photograph his graduation. It was my second ever time being hired, and my first ever time photographing such an important event. I have learnt A LOT in those few hours - a few hours of the most tiring, relentless, fast and challenging of my early photographic career I must say. In fact, I messed up big time when I actually missed the moment of my client receiving his certificate (ironically, I got almost everything else except that one, very important shot!!! I am still kicking myself for the stupid mistake!)
18 July 2007 : Sarah's Farewell to her Nursery
18 July was Sarah's last day at her Nursery, a big regret since she was just getting used to the routine of going to school (after 2 months of coaxing!). Above is a picture of her with her class mates and below with her (not) surprisingly photogenic carer.
21 July 2007 : Bowling with the Althorp Team
Although having said our goodbyes - the closure of our ward had been delayed due to bed crises. Even so, our team was reduced to a skeletal crew of just yours truly & Dawn, our house officer. We decided to make the very most of our remaining few weeks as a team together and that weekend, we went out for a bowling outing at Leicester's Meridian Leisure Park. It was an excellent outing which I enjoyed at various levels:
1. bowling is a sports I enjoy
2. the company is as always, absolutely delightful
3. I enjoyed winning the two games that we had (sorry guys! Must have been beginner's luck!)
4. The meal afterwards was wonderful
5. We had the rare pleasure of having our registrar Sarah Moore on our outing! (she's pictured below-right)
23 July 2007 : Sarah's Goodbye to Auntie Dina
We went out with our good friend Dina to the Noodle Bar & for coffee afterwards at West Orchards. It was our farewell due, as Dina was flying back to Malaysia for a holiday. Sarah as if knew it was her last time with one of her favourite aunties and she was extra close with Dina that day. It was really touching seeing them together.
25 July 2007 Dinner at Lee Gardens
My colleagues had arranged for "everyone" in KGH to turn up for dinner at this wonderful Chinese restaurant. In the end only around 15 people turned up which was a dire but absolutely made up by the WONDERFUL food & company. I thoroughly enjoyed that night - the company was brilliant and ...
... the menu was absolutely delicious :)
28 July 2007 : Coventry BBQ
In the morning we attended a superb barbeque organised by the Coventry Malaysian Society. The barbeque tasted superb and Sarah had fun afterwards in the games with her friends (as opposed to Amar, who just slept).
Above: surrounded by all the girls, no wonder he was so pleased.
28 July 2007 Bradgate Park
In the afternoon we went to Bradgate Park in Leicester to meet up with my friends at work.
Dawn & Ame. Dawn was the one organising our meet up and we were surpised twice. One was: even though she organised the meet up by herself, she managed to prepare a complete feast - fruits, cakes, desserts, sandwiches - it was simply amazing.
The second surprise was that - our consultant Dr Rizvi and his family joined our picnic! He was extremely disappointed he wasn't invited to our BBQ in Rutland Waters the last time and insisted to come this time.
The picture of our team & families together. Notice that guy in the centre wearing the stripy shirt - that is Anand, our fellow SHO and ever elusive in our outings. This was the only one outing he has ever attended!
28 July 2007 : Auntie and Uncle De's surprise visit
(Above: I think Sarah wanted to make the "peace" sign but instead ...)
This is the same day as when we had the BBQ and the outing to Bradgate Park - Auntie and Uncle De gave us a surprise visit to Coventry! I was extremely happy as I always enjoy when they visit, it also meant that ...
29 July 2007
... I could finally bring Uncle De to a photography outing in Coombe Abbey! I've been wanting to for months.
Nisa was kind enough to prepare a picnic of nasi lemak, yoghurt, fruits and juice. Auntie De brought a scrumptious Victoria cake which I enjoyed with tea. Yummy!
29 July 2007 Transformers and Pizza Hut with Dr BELL
Still the same day as when we went to Coombe Abbey with Uncle & Aunite De , I later met up with my previous-house officer and now full-fledged SHO, Dr Ricky Bell (or Dr BELL! for short, and yup the exclamation mark is compulsory). We went to the Meridian Leisure Centre to watch the Transformers Movie ---- I enjoyed the movie SO MUCH, it gets a 5/5 from me --- and later, for Pizza Hut. It was great meeting up with Ricky as he was my house officer when I first started in Kettering General Hospital. The last time I went out with ricky was for another movie, Kng Kong and that time we went out with another SHO Sonali and our physiotherapist and good friend Gina (I still miss her, don't you Ricky?). In retrospect we should have tried to contact our lost team-mates to join our small movie outing.
30 July 2007 : Longford Park while our significant others went shopping
I was extremely happy to hear that Uncle and Auntie De had decided to stay in Coventry for another day. While Nisa & Auntie De went shopping in Bicester, Uncle De and yours truly looked after the kids and brought them out to Longford Park.
A handsome captain
What do you get when you combine 4 hyperactive children?
30 July 2007 : Althorp's Farewell Dinner
That evening was our Althorp Team Farewell Dinner - attended by all of us, including the ward nurses, consultant and medical students. In the end the turn up was a bit short but it was still a fun and interesting party where all our secrets were revealed at the table (especially to our consultant!). Finally, the true meaning of "journal club" was made known to our consultant Dr Clifford, there were love confessions, confessions of "flat sharing", true marital statuses & relationships, age & religion - everything was revealed during that eventful dinner. Our dinner lasted till 12 a.m so:
31 July 2007 : Late Night at Suboohi's Flat
Our evening continued at Suboohi's flat in Kettering General Hospital. We chatted, laughed & enjoyed tea until 1.30 am. I arrived back in Coventry at 3:30 am that morning and had just 3 hours sleep before the finale ...
31 July 2007: Last day at KGH
I was actually supposed to be on annual leave but I chose to attend the wards to say attend one last ward round and say goodbye to all my friends. Needless to say, it was an extremely sad day although quite fun. Our consultant Dr Clifford prolonged his goodbye and at the end he explained to his puzzled medical students, "Sorry I'm taking my time saying goodbye, it's not usually like this but these guys are really good - they're more like family".
I was shocked hearing our consultant's last word and I was amazed he thought so highly of us. We spent the rest of the day enjoying each other's company; cracking last jokes, saying goodbye to everyone possible, enjoying our last tea & lunch together.
On our last day, as a joke, we all decided to wear pink and Dawn called us "Team Pink" (Go Team Pink! she would say). It has been really great working with these guys and Abhishek aptly said during our last "journal club" - 'We have progressed from being colleagues to being friends to what feels like family".
... and that was my last day of work in the UK. It is a gross understatement to say that I woke up the next day feeling absolutely rock-bottom and completely depressed. Thank goodness it lasted for only 2 days as I had the last Harry Potter book to keep me completely engrossed until today.
I have a feeling we are all finding it hard to say goodbye and finding it hard to actually part our ways ... as we are planning for another meet up tomorrow! The team are also planning a vacation in Malaysia sometime in the future - hope it happens.
So, there you have it, the full account of only my last 1 month during my silence on the blog. My activities not yet fully mentioned here were:
1. I was completing a PS2 game - Final Fantasy XII. It is the BEST Final Fantasy game ever, I even prefer the play mechanics compared to what was my previous best Final Fantasy ever - number VII. I am at the very last stage: aboard the Bahamut.
2. I have been making quite a few trips to the cinema, watching:
(a) Transformers, twice. And I want to go and watch it a few more times!
(b) The Simpson's Movie (meh!)
(c) Die Hard 4.0
(d) Wild Hogs
(e) Evan Almighty
(f) Spiderman 3
3. I have been doing LOTS of shopping
4. On top of everything I have also been working some days of this month
5. Reading the Harry Potter book (spectacular end!)