Friday, 30 November 2018

Pergi menyambut panggilan ilahi...

Semalam 29 November 2018, seorang sahabat kembali ke tempat abadi...

Nor'azah Bt Othman, berasal dari Felda Ulu Tebrau, Johor.

Saya mula mengenali beliau pada tahun 1991 semasa saya berkhidmat dengan sebuah firma perunding kejuruteraan. Pada masa itu, beliau memegang jawatan setiausaha (secretary) kepada Pengurus Projek expat. Saya banyak membantunya dalam mengarang surat dalam Bahasa Inggeris dan beliau pula banyak memberi tunjuk ajar kepada saya cara-cara mengguna word processing software. Zaman itu belum ada Microsoft Word for Windows lagi. Guna DOS software yang bernama Wordstar.

Bila dia berkahwin, saya dapat tahu yang suaminya junior saya semasa di sekolah menengah. Small world.

Setelah berkhidmat di firma perunding, kami sama-sama menyertai syarikat baru yang memegang konsesi perkhidmatan rawatan air. Kira kami ni pioneer staff.

Setelah beberapa tahun di syarikat tersebut, saya berhijrah ke tempat lain sementara Azah kekal bertugas di situ. Agak lama juga saya tidak berhubung dengan beliau sehingga Allah swt mentakdirkan kami bertemu semula pada tahun 2012 di satu majlis jamuan hari raya Aidilfitri.

Pada awal bulan Oktober yang lepas, saya menerima khabar yang beliau berada di wad Hospital Sultanah Aminah kerana rawatan kanser. Saya meluangkan masa untuk ziarah beliau. Semasa saya mula sampai di wad, saya lihat beliau di kelilingi sanak saudara. Jadi saya berdiri dan melihat dari jauh. Setelah beberapa minit berdiri dengan senyap, Azah ternampak saya dan tersenyum. Beliau meminta saya rapat ke katil sambil memperkenalkan saya kepada sanak saudaranya. Ini boss lama saya, ujar beliau.

Aduh... di saat begini masih mengingati saya sebagai boss.

Sanak saudara beliau memberi ruang kepada saya untuk duduk rapat tepi katil. Saya dan Azah rancak bersembang kisah-kisah lama sewaktu kami bertugas di tempat yang sama. Kenangan pahit, manis dan tawar.... semuanya ada. Dapatlah dia senyum dan gelak kecil buat seketika.

Semasa saya ucapkan selamat tinggal padanya, memang berat di hati saya bahawa besar kemungkinan saya tidak akan dapat berjumpanya lagi.

Awal pagi semalam, suami beliau menyampaikan berita sedih yang Azah telah menghembus nafas akhir di waktu hampir subuh di rumahnya di Felda Ulu Tebrau. Jenazah telah selamat dikebumi sekitar jam 11 pagi.

Saya sampai di Ulu Tebrau lewat sedikit, iaitu setelah urusan pengkebumian selesai. Jadi dapatlah saya duduk bersama suaminya untuk berbual dan berkongsi cerita tentang seorang insan yang sangat baik hati.

Nor'azah telah bertarung dengan penyakit kanser selama tiga tahun. Serangan pertama ialah pada bahagian usus. Dapat dikawal dengan rawatan chemo dan stabil untuk beberapa bulan. Serangan seterusnya lebih mengganas... kanser telah merebak ke hati, rahim dan tulang.

Innalillahi wainna ilaihirojiun...

Gambar di bawah ketika saya berjumpa beliau pada tahun 2012. Azah di sebelah kanan dan sahabat lama kami, Hanim di sebelah kiri.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Getting rid of the really bad and tough bacteria

Around three weeks ago, I noticed a small rash on my lower right leg. It was very itchy and I couldn't restrain myself from not scratching. Of course, that made the rash worse, but no worry I thought. I applied some cream medication left over from my last visit to the skin clinic. After a few days, the rash did not heal. In fact, it became much worse. The area of skin affected became reddish and grew to about six inches in diameter. It was horrible to look at. The wound had become infected.

I then went to see my regular dermatologist. He was quite surprised to see me after a lapse of more than one and a half years. I showed him the new ailment. Quite badly infected, he said. I may need to refer you to the hospital, he added. There is a risk that the infection may have gone deeper than just skin. But let's try some oral antibiotics and cream first. Come back in one week and we see if it gets better.

A week passed and the prescribed tablets have been consumed as directed. So I go back to the skin specialist. Tiny improvement, he said, but not quick enough. He asked if I'm willing to be referred to another specialist at a private hospital. Sure, I replied. The terrible itchiness was becoming uncontrollable.

I took his referral letter to an orthopaedic specialist at KPJ Puteri Specialist Hospital (the nearest private hospital to where I live). That's when I learned that orthopaedics is not limited to skeleton and bones but to the related muscles and tissues as well.

The ortho doctor read the referral letter, asked me a few questions and then suggested intravenous antibiotic treatment. This required me to be admitted.

So here I am for my second stay at Puteri after being warded the first time about two years ago for dengue fever. Today is my second day and so far I've had three doses of fluid antibiotics (unasyn) being injected into my bloodstream via an IV needle stuck into my right hand.

I'm trying to kill some of the boredom by using the hospital's wifi to do some mobile blogging. Wish me a speedy recovery..

Enjoying a tasty hospital dinner

Sunday, 21 October 2018

World Psoriasis Day 2018

The state-level event for the 2018 World Psoriasis Day in Johor was held yesterday at the AEON Tebrau City shopping mall. Unlike previous years when the event was held at government hospitals, the public venue gave the occasion a joyous and cheery feel. It also allowed the organizers a wider outreach to spread the knowledge of the skin disease.

Apart from the standard booths and displays relating to the disease and its various treatment methods, there was also a blood donation drive, free health checks and a lucky draw. My better half and I were there for short while to offer moral support and renew acquaintances with other patients and medical personnel.

This year's event was jointly organized by Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Hospital Sultan Ismail, Hospital Pakar Sultanah Fatimah, Johor Doctors Association and the Psoriasis Association of Johor.

Thank you to all involved in this wonderful effort to create better awareness of psoriasis to the general public.

On stage, just for the photo. No presentation involved :-)

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Do something green today...

The title of this post is a phrase often used by a veteran bonsai enthusiast from Canada, Nigel Saunders. I have been watching his youtube videos quite frequently for the past month or so because I've decided to try my hand at growing bonsai plants. Of the thousands of videos about bonsai planting on youtube, I find the presentation by Mr Saunders most useful and interesting because of his clear explanation, good quality recording and consistency of producing updates. At the end of each video, he normally close with this simple advice... `Do something green today.' Plant a tree, or ride a bike, or recycle your trash.

I would list gardening as one of my hobbies and I credit this interest as coming from my mother. My preference is growing plants in pots, especially the green leafy kind. Somehow, the flowering varieties do not thrive under my care. I guess this is due to my inconsistent attention. There have been times when I totally ignore my garden. No watering, no pruning, no weeding and surely no nourishing with fertilizer. When I hit this rough patch, most of my plants die. The few hardy ones that make it would be revived when I somehow find the passion to go green again.

While I may say that gardening is one of my pastimes, I cannot be called a keen gardener. I grow many types of plants but I can only name a few of them. Starting this month, I'm trying to change that. I've been reading up more about the plants and trying to remember their common names (the scientific names would take a bit more time to learn). I browse Google search images to identify plant types and watch youtube videos for gardening tips.

Why am I trying to grow bonsai? I have actually made an attempt at it many years ago but the plant died on me and I subsequently lost interest. Totally my weakness because I dived into it without proper reading of the subject.

This time around, I'm trying it again but with proper advice and guidance from the experts. As to answering the question `why?', I guess it's because of patience. Something that I find myself sorely lacking of late. I hope bonsai gardening would help me recover that trait.

Last month, I re-potted one of my bougainvillea plants which has the shape to become a good bonsai. Actually, I did not do the re-potting entirely correctly as I had not discovered Mr Saunders yet at the time. But we'll see how it goes and if need be, I'll re-pot it again next year.

I'm not sharing a photo of that first bonsai attempt but rather of another shrub which I'm in the process of propagating via stem cutting and later grow into a bonsai. I learned of its common name today. What I initially thought as a species of jasmine is actually something else. Orange jessamine (murraya paniculata), locally known as kemuning. Wish me luck...

Small white flowers with strong, pleasant scent

Wednesday, 26 September 2018


My first grandchild's name is Maisarah Bt. Arshad Khalid.

Before she was born, my wife asked if I had any suggestion for the baby's name. I decided that I would not suggest any but rather allow the honour to be given to my daughter-in-law's parents.

In the end, the name was decided upon by the baby's parents. It was a name that I would have chosen too if I was to have a daughter of my own, many years ago.

For sure this little lady would be growing up fully pampered by her two grandmothers...

Maisarah at 4 days