Thursday, 31 January 2019

A new ride in the new year

In early December last year, my business partner decided that it was time to change the car that he had assigned to me. The Toyota Fortuner that I was using was more than 8 years old and was full paid-up. Actually, there wasn't much issue with the Fortuner. It had been regularly maintained, bodywork still in reasonable shape and drives well. Except that it had clocked a fairly huge mileage run and has a very thirsty engine.

The original idea was to trade it in for the latest Fortuner model but upon receiving feedback from friends who already own one, the new model petrol consumption figures aren't any much better. My business partner then asked me to suggest other alternative SUVs that are more suitable.

The first car that came to my mind was the Mitsubishi Outlander. It is not a very popular car... you hardly come across it as you drive along the highways. More likely for you to spot other mid-size SUVs like the Honda CRV or even the Mazda CX5.

I thought of the Outlander because of an advert I saw in a movie theatre. It showed an alien spaceship floating stationary over somewhere on Earth while facing a group of humans, presumably in telepathic negotiations. On being asked what the aliens wanted, a remote car key was lifted off the pocket of one of the humans by invisible forces. The man managed to grab the key before it floated out of reach. He then ran to his car and quickly drove it off. The said car was the Outlander.

Really good commercial. Talk about the influence of advertising. By the way, I tried searching for a video of that commercial but could not find it.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went to a Mitsubishi dealer to check out the car and arrange for a test drive. Mitsubishi was offering an attractive rebate to the already competitive price. At the same time, I checked online for independent reviews from local motoring websites. Turns out that the Outlander was voted the best family SUV by the Cars of Malaysia for 2018.

I've been driving the car for a few weeks now and I truly like it. I hope it will continue to give me a good run.

A lovely start to the new year.

Mitsubishi Outlander 2.4L at Masjid Taman Impian Emas, Johor Bahru

Sunday, 16 December 2018

My first grandfather-granddaughter moment

Two days ago, we went out for dinner to celebrate the birthday of this little lady's mother. I had finished my plate early so I took turn to care for her while the other family members enjoy their meal. I held her in my arms and we had a stroll outside the restaurant to savour the cool night air. At first, her eyes were wide open with awe, looking at the bright lights of passing cars. As I softly chatted with her in babyspeak, she comfortably drifted off to sleep. Indeed... I could've held her all night like this and not feel any hint of weariness.

My first grandfather - granddaughter moment. Looking forward to more moments like this...

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 :-)