Near misses

In the movie Final Destination, victims tend to have near misses before their final death.

I have had near misses of infectious diseases throughout my short career. Once, I had in contact with a patient who had suspected Meningitis. I received a prophylactic shot in my arm because I was pregnant at the time.

Some time down the line, I was in contact with a patient who had pulmonary TB and is on active treatment. He did not declare he had the illness until I saw his family coming in with masks. It looked a bit odd to see these people all in masks when they had no symptoms. It is as though he was immuno-compromised. When I asked them the reason behind the mask, one of the more younger family member said her father has TB.

Trust me, I was furious. Because I was also pregnant at the time. I asked a colleague to take over but I felt sad for the other HCW who tended to him earlier in closer proximity. The patient was very defensive. He said there was no need for us to know. He said if we knew he had TB, we will owe his back pain to TB. Stupid people exist. Little did he know that he was imposing harm to not only us but for other unsuspecting patients.

And now we have COVID-19. People tend to forget that those working in primary care are also front liners – for we are who the patients see first in ill events. Any front liner is risking chancing upon a COVID positive patient during the consultation. Let us just pray that everything will go well.

COVID could be walking around us.

Grasping the unspoken rule

Every morning en route to sending my youngest to nursery, I would pass by a primary school. The parents would drive in a bee line and send their kids in front of the school gate where the teachers and security guard are waiting to assist the drop off safely.

I used to also wait in that bee line as the turn to Ninie’s nursery is just around the corner. Later, I improvised and sent Ninie using a different entry route but my exit was still the road in front of the school. It was very congested because the road (in the morning) looked like it could only fit vehicles going through one way.

I later observed an unspoken rule amongst these parents. They were meant to drive in a loop. You drop off your kid –> take the turn (the one I took for my kid) and then take another left turn into this first row of residential houses and exit accordingly. Inadvertently, I began doing the same although my kid is not going to the school.

The unspoken rule is everywhere. In medicine for instance, it is allowed to prescribe T. Metformin 1g TDS a day for a patient but normal practice only allows a maximum of 1g BD. Similarly, on prescribing HCTZ. Despite the safe dose of 50mg OD, better clinical practice would suggest only 12.5mg OD.

The unspoken rule exists in a family structure too. I cook, you clean. I wash the laundry, you fold the pile. I prepare breakfast, you think of dinner. No instructions involved but people get it and abide to it.

What can you tell from the Unspoken Rule?

You are part of the group

Needless to say part of the family, a community or fraternity. You have observed enough to understand the unspoken rule.

Derives from the best practice

.. with the best results. The drop off loop was unintentionally created most probably by a few parents first driven by logic to ease the congestion. Other parents began to follow suit having seen the results even though it takes a while to make that turn. Other exit methods exist too like making a U Turn or using the main road exit but this loop has proven to be the most practical.

Exclusive. Inclusive

The rule thus enables one to sift out newbies, wannabes etc. If say, someone went against the loop rule – this would raise a flag to the parents that this car owner is not a parent of a child in the school, an outsider OR this parent is simply a rule breaker and being ignorant.

While these rules are in place for the betterment of the community abiding to it, there are some unspoken rules which are ridiculous. I am sure some of us have come across that which then creates unnecessary stress in our lives. Do you have one? What was the most absurd, invisible rule you had to follow in your daily life?

A career or a temporary gig

No one ever said that if you have a medical degree, you are destined to become a doctor forever. What if, like Jonny Kim, it was a temporary gig and that you are destined for greater things in life?

He was a Lieutenant –> Medical Doctor –> Astronaut

Growing up in a traditional society – I have been programmed into thinking if you did a law degree, you should become a lawyer. If you chose accountancy in high school as opposed to biology – you almost certainly are made to become an accountant by your parents. Perhaps it took me too long to notice that in my family, my sister is already breaking the norms and that it is never too late to do something that you like.

She has a degree that qualifies her to become a certified nutritionist. But life has its ways of making my sister walk down a path that led her to teach. She is now a teacher and when I asked her from some advice with regards to food and health – she would honestly say, she does not remember a single thing! LOL.

I am blogging this because I had an epiphany today. What if I am not meant to become a specialist and that this career, as an MD, is just a temporary path for me to sharpen my skills and allow me to blossom into an individual fit enough to undertake a more interesting path in the future. The more I thought about this today, the more euphoric I got with the job choices that came floating in my head.

(I am so excited with this possibility that I am imagining myself in my future chosen career already..)

… and that career spells out as premium, exclusive, dark yet meaningful.

9th year Wedding Anniversary

I have probably said it before. As a wife, the strongest weapon one could have at hand, apart from a supportive mother in law on your side, is DOA. For it is only He, The Almighty who holds someones heart and have the ability to make it go towards the intended direction. Believing in the Divine power helps me, in a way, set my mind that I am still in control of my life. My destiny. With Allah’s will.

There have been times when I am in despair thinking, “why is my husband so obstinate like a goat?” Especially on matters where the black is not as clear as the white and us being in the grey, trying to prove our points. Not all issues have practical solutions to it. Even if there are, it may not be ideal. Or sometimes a problem need not be solved. It just requires time and empathy for it to dissolve and go away. Being married, you need to choose which battles to fight and win. Or in my case, let him win (first) and for Allah to teach him a lesson at another time. Ha ha.

9 years to me is a milestone. It is one of the longest relationship I’ve ever had with another human being after my parents & siblings. Things get more challenging with time but we grow to be more mature and intuitive of each others feelings. I am grateful that my husband, despite being pissed at me at times, has never risen his voice or his hands towards me. His silent treatment says it all! If only I could return the gesture but then I keep finding myself, the one who is perceived as having the patience of a Buddha by people outside my home, as someone with a completely different persona at home. It’s like to the world I’m Dr Jekyll and with my husband, I could easily morph into a Mrs Hyde. I don’t scream but I tend to scowl, sulk and express some sort of fury emoji. LOL

Our conversations evolve more around the kids and work. We don’t really talk about just us. This is something I envy from the Western husband-wife relationships. There is still a lot of I love You going around or at least a ‘that baju kurung looks nice on you’. Well, I guess I’d have to start that with him first and cross fingers, he wouldn’t think I’m dying from an illness or something. Work related talks are also upgrading in terms of knowledge and medical terms. I have to keep up with these intelligent exchanges and if suddenly, I struck a dumb moment – I’d just throw up a random, interesting facts of the world that my husband would not know like ‘did you know the couple who starred in Quiet Place’ is a real husband-wife off screen? ‘


HA ha ha ha.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary with the kids of course. A trip to Langkawi and Penang which of course will be featured in this blog soon. Perhaps next year, if our marriage still holds, InsyaAllah, we could celebrate it with a kenduri doa selamat and perhaps, a meal for just the two of us?