Mr Kora

It was a calm day in clinic today. Too calm for a Monday. Calm is good.

Calm clinic means I get to spend more time with certain patients especially those who needs a tad more advice and guidance in managing their chronic disease. It’s also a good time to just listen to those grandmother stories that are usually cut off (with style and grace) during other busy clinic sessions. As of today, I get to listen to Mr Kora’s story.

Mr Kora was a 63 years old Indian gentlemen with underlying diabetes. He is working as a security guard including night shifts on a monthly wage of RM1600. He came to clinic today with back pain. Understandably, the night hours for such an elderly man can be detrimental to one’s health especially when he has been in this line of job for the past 5 years. I mean, how could you not doze off once in a while, in an awkward position during your shift. Even doctors need to rest for a bit before continuing with their work. And yet, he said working the night shift is his choice as he needs his daytime to be free so that he could attend to matters pertaining to his wife and children like sending to clinic or school, grocery run and all.

I ordered him an an Xray, discharged him with pain killers and gave him a medical certificate to rest for 2 days. Whilst writing his prescription, I asked about his family, I enquired if he has applied for BPN and all. He was not sure if he had applied for BPN, so we checked his MyKad number and his wife’s MyKad number. His family after all is eligible for the B40 category. Alhamdulilah, the wife’s name is in the system and they should be receiving the financial benefits soon.

Throughout the session, he never stopped mentioning how glad he is for getting the job and his supportive immediate boss, how happy he is for his children and how, even at the receiving end of benefits, he still gives a bit of ‘charity’ to other people in his area.

What struck to me most afterwards was when he told me a story about KFC.

One day, he and his son received an SMS promo on their phones saying there is a KFC voucher you can claim to get a BUY ONE FREE ONE meal. Naturally, they were very excited with the deal and started to fill in sensitive data as required. Unbeknownst to Mr Kora at the time, it was of course, a scam.

Thankfully, due to his keen eye, he realized that the little money he deposited into his bank account were missing periodically. Sometimes it is RM40, others it is RM20. So he visit the bank and thus discovered that his bank account had been hacked. The bankers were really helpful though and reassured him that they will try to get his money back. At the same time, they created a new bank account for him. In total, about RM100 were taken from his account illegally. For a man who earns less than RM2K per month and having mouths to feed on top of bills and a car to pay, it is a significant amount.

What happened next was a moment of WOW.

  1. He was upset that the criminals took his money for he felt that the RM100 could be used to help the people he usually helps.
  2. He was concerned of those who have more money in their accounts being scammed the same way like he did. His words, I translate, being “what if that person had thousands of money, they could have taken more. Poor guy! (kesian)

There I was thinking – such an awful thing has happened to this uncle and yet he could still think of other people. In this very modern, self-absorbed and sometimes, self-centered world – it is very difficult to come across someone like Mr Kora, who being the one in despair is still concerned about the wellbeing of others. Nowadays, if the rich gets in trouble, rarely people get empathetic. Orang pandai bisnes kan, takkan takde geng yang boleh tolong. When the parent of a doctor is admitted to ICU in a foreign country during a holiday trip, you can be sure that the donation drive would be less energetic. Doktor kan kaya, takkan takde duit langsung.

Mr Kora may not have met Syed Azmi, I wouldn’t know. But it seems that they live their lives based on the wisdom of “helping those in NEED”. A person may have mansion but if what they NEED right now is RM10 for a hot meal because they have no cash at all (accounts got beku or something) then we will give it to them. A person may not be illiterate but if what the person NEEDS right now is a pencil and a book, we will give it to them.

A person IN NEED doesn’t have to look shabby, smelly or poor. It can be anybody, a person with their own pressing, special needs. Mr Kora understood that virtue in life which is why even when he have so little, he still thinks about those who have more.

Fasakh. For her.

Once in a while I would come across patients who need more than a formal medical consult. They may need a meal, a lift back home or genuine advice as to how to navigate their lives. I try my best to do what I can within my capacity. Sometimes it helps, rarely it doesn’t.

Recently, I crossed path with a mom of 4. She initially brought one of her kids to the clinic for an upper respiratory tract infection. I treated the child accordingly and like any medical clerking – I asked about her social history. Meaning how big the family was, was she working, how was the kids school etc. That was when I learnt that she was ‘divorced’ while being pregnant and that now she is a single mother.

I enquired if she had help to manage her kids from a financial aspect and if she had a good social support – it seems that she is stuck at the part of defining her marital status. Her talak was never brought to court for confirmation and her husband had left her without a single cent (this is only from her side of the story, of course). She now has difficulties to proceed with fasakh because she was unsure of what to do . Her family was in the same clueless boat.

I asked if she wanted me to have a look at what her problem was. She seemed glad. Since I was also not truly familiar with how the syariah system works, I did some digging myself – asking on watsapp groups and from friends who at least knows a lawyer to explain the procedure to me.

It was actually very simple. And I believe the officer at court gave her proper instructions on what to do – she just seemed a bit lost on the computer part. So I did what I can and helped her type out her application for fasakh in a readily available template from the website.

This was done on a separate ‘special consult’ session that I arranged with her on one of my lunch call days in the clinic. She brought the necessary documents and boy, she was in awe when I started filling in the details. It was not tech savvy level – just something you can do on WPS Office. She told me that she had wanted to do them at a cyber cafe but they were charging her quite a lot for an hour – (.. again, only her side of the story).

While I was typing, I reminded her to later secure a job that could keep her family afloat and not to rely 100% on zakat and welfare money. I made her promise to keep her kids in school and have them get the highest education that they can get. I babbled on how she should think of a skill that she is good at and monetize from that. She seems to be listening and said yes to everything. I am good in giving advices and encouraging other people – but I am not doing that for myself. HA HA HA.

Once I have completed typing out the forms, I printed out a copy and told her to make more copies for her self. I created an email account for her so she could use them in the future. I also told her about a thrift shop I came across near her residence if she ever needed cheap, new pair of clothes for herself and her kids. And just before she left, I slipped some birthday money in her hand for her youngest kid hoping that it will be put to good use.

I felt good after this experience and I wonder if there are other women who are in the same dilemma of not being able to fight for themselves because they cannot type out a form. In this case, fasakh is important for her because I want this lady to establish herself as a single mother and benefit from the various programmes we have in Malaysia.

I wish I could help out more. I wish I understand the system better when it comes to social rights and welfare. Perhaps there is a class, a course or a diploma I can take to learn more about it. So I could do it just as well as Syed Azmi because in this line of duty – networking and reliable resources helps.

A line from the movie Widow

I was watching this movie called Widow. There was a scene in church. The priest was giving out this speech, voicing out his frustration of how people are so complacent, not willing to thrive & strive for success. And a sentence resonated with the current social climate of my country,

“.. Ignorance is now Excellence..”

and I could not agree more

Recently, I received a complaint for a minor problem blown out of proportion. After hearing out what the problem was, I could not help thinking,

… if you as a child grazed your knee and elbow while learning how to ride a bike, could just get up and apply an antiseptic ointment on the wound – why would it be any different once you become an adult. This is on the condition that the wound is relatively the same size and acquired via the same mechanism – only difference being the vehicle is a motorbike. Dah kenapa plak badan dah besar nak mintak org bukak dressing set and cuci a wound that you could have easily do at home. It is not that I did not provide you with a medical certificate for you to rest at home and recuperate.

And these people act like I chop up their leg. Sheesh.

I found my Patience Guru , it came in the form of a teenage boy

It was already 2 minutes to 5PM. We close at 5PM. Despite how altruistic the doctors are, to see a non emergency patient after hours in a clinic which opens only from 8 to 5 – we cannot even run a simple blood tests because the lab is closed. Hence, any emergency cases that comes after 5PM will be attended, stabilized using the drugs and equipment we have in the emergency area and then transferred swiftly to the nearest tertiary centre.

So when the boy who came for his medical checkup looked lost outside my door because he has not apparently been seen since he arrived, I felt sorry for him. He had asked a staff earlier of what to do but his questions were probably not understood correctly hence he was told to wait for his number to come up. The young teenage boy failed to realize that he first needs to put his card with the number outside the respective doctor rooms before he was called. Thus, he was never called into the doctors room because they never got his card.

And he waited patiently throughout the afternoon session. Even nearing 5PM, not a single staff at the waiting area asked him which room he was waiting on. Us in the room.. we were already swamped with whatever cards that were coming through the door, frantically writing down our prescriptions so our fellow pharmacists need not have to work late every single day and writing treatment plans promptly so our colleagues could follow up on it during the next appointment –  and now is it also our job to ask everyone in the waiting room  –

“Hi, may I ask, have you seen the doctor, are you waiting for anything or anyone in particular?”

I was disappointed that this kid had to wait that long. So I told him to give me a few seconds while I finish up on my last patient and I will see him. Thankfully, another colleague swung by my room and helped out. What broke my heart was to realize that he was there even before the afternoon session started, had his relevant tests done and yet he waited. And waited. Asked a question to a wrong person and kept on waiting. What then crushed me to pieces was that once he has been clerked and examined, he was still able to smile and utter a very sincere and grateful THANK YOU to my colleague and I.  I rasa macam nak nangis pun ada bila jumpa manusia penyabar macam ni. Bless his  beautiful soul. Bless his elderly father too for the father was also very patient, who also smiled and said a thank you.

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I take this experience as a sign from Allah that I should be more patient in my daily undertakings. The boys affairs were easily done and gotten over with in less than 5 minutes but he remained patient for hours waiting outside our doors! And was still able to be on the sunny side of his character. I felt so embarrassed of my own short fused temperaments nowadays as a Muslim. That boy, he was not even muslim. 

I pray he gets the college admission he’s applying for. I pray that Allah will ease his sufferings (if any). I pray that my Patience Guru will have success in life. InsyaAllah. 

I had too much People today

Working in a Primary Care setting demands a certain set of skills. Apart from having the best clinical acumen across a breadth of medical knowledge, you must be prepared to talk. A LOT.

Consultation is the word.

Patients take this for granted in Klinik Kesihatan because they just pay RM1 at the registration counter. Which explains why some people throw a fit when GP’s charge them a fee for consultation in cases where medicine is not prescribed . The public fail to realize that for every

“saya nak tanyalah doktor… ” 

the answer comes with a fee that is glaringly noticeable in a private setting.

Anyway, back to what I was saying – talking can be a chore. A burden. A pain. An energy draining job for people who have an INFJ personality. Today, for instance… I just had too many ‘people’. I was basically talking, counseling, taking a history and god knows what from 730AM to 4PM. I was just glad that I get to finish early because I don’t think I can talk for another hour or so.

To reward myself, I bought a handbag that I could bring for my short trips to Tesco or shopping mall without the kids. It’s a fresh breath of air as I do not have to carry a big bag which is almost always an equivalent to a diaper bag.

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The bag is from Vincci and it costs me RM99. Gosh, mentioning the price reminds me #cikepal. I think people forget that as a full time lifestyle blogger – it’s part of her job description to Advertise, Show & Tell. Inevitably these characteristics tend to spill into their daily lives. Which I get it, can irk some netizens. But you cannot blame cikepal for that as she was wired, ‘trained’to blog for probably more than a decade. It is part of her intrinsic traits to share her experiences. Like every single detail. And trust me, it is not easy.

Like how I would try to look for reliable evidences before advocating Peppermint EO cures cancer (it doesn’t, I am just taking this as an example). It is because apart from calling myself a doTERRA advocate, I must first remember that I am a medical doctor. Kau mislead public with health related information using your doctor title, bersedialah kena tatatertib. Which can be suspension or termination. Its part of my trait to take testimonials as the lowest credible form of evidence to a claim.

Please do not get me wrong. I have no problems with advocates or sellers using testimonials to help convince their prospects/ buyers. It’s just that, because of my profession, I cannot lah duplicate their method 100%. I still want to keep my job. Although I hate the talking part. I feel that I have yet to find the field or terrain in medicine where this flower can bloom at its best.

I had actually wanted to vent this matter out as my status on Facebook but I realized that my agonizing little problem of forcible talking in my daily job is nothing compared to some of the things my friends went through today. A divorce, a case in court, and just a few hours ago.. a family members death. Sometimes you are just at lost of words of what to say, but I feel that if you speak of things from the  heart – the message will get there, to where its gotta be.

Which is why I am thankful for this space in the blogosphere. I can pour out my woes here who could be looking for a cyber friend to sulk with. I rarely journal about sad and stressful stuff in my HoboMinci as it is supposed to be perceived as a book where I highlight positive agendas of my day. Ha ha.

I think my People battery has been recharged to 75% having bought the bag, had an avocado juice, a pretzel, a slice of pizza, my kids kisses and hugs and stories of their days, a sniff from my doTERRA diffuser (its Sandalwood + Bergamot tonight) and of course blogging. As for the remaining 25%, I’ll just do some work to top it up.

Thank you Allah. Alhamdulilah. For all the blessings you have given me today.