Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Heart To Heart

Well, what do you know…

I was back in a hospital again today. On Monday, it was for Wifey and today for Dad. I took leave off work the whole day today to accompany Dad for a cardiology follow-up.

Dad was hospitalized late February 2009 due to a blood clot detected in his heart. A CT scan meant for his lungs after his 3rd cycle of chemo, but the Oncologist detect a clot in his heart instead.

His chemo stopped abruptly, and the blood thinning medication was started immediately as soon as he checked-in to Singapore General Hospital. Dad was discharged a week after on 3rd March 2009.

He was on anti-coagulation medicine, Warfarin at full dosage of 5 mg for his age initially and was then reduced a week after that when his International Normal Rate or INR was returning to a non-threatening rate, yet the slight risk of a stroke was still possible.

The next couple of weeks saw Dad back at National Heart Centre checking his progress from the prescribed dosage of 4 mg, a brown and a blue pill every morning. He did well but not well enough, so was on a reduced dosage of 4 mg for the next two weeks until today.

Dad’s appointment was at 9:55AM, but we registered 10 minutes later due to the Swine Flu screening before entering the hospital premises.

The same regime again, the queuing, questions on our recent overseas travel and present health before being issued each with a mask and an OK sticker on our clothes, just after our ID details were keyed into their computers for traceability purposes.

Everyone inside the many specialty clinics was seen donned with a mask on. One old man was seen with his mask worn inside out, making me check my own mask if I had put it on correctly.

Dad was an expert on masks. He pointed out to me to have the top side with the metal wire up and pinch in to follow the nose contour so as that it will stay on without slipping up onto the eye… a lesson he learnt from the same place he went a week ago for his CT scan and heart checks.

Today, after taking his blood test at Room 12 where the Pharmacy was, we returned to Clinic A for Dr. Lim in Room 4.

Dad's assigned Cardiologist, Dr. Victor Lim saw him this morning him good news.

After checking through his present Blood INR for today, CT scan and other tests done a week ago, he said that Dad can now stop taking Warfarin entirely. I smiled the widest, I think. I was so happy to hear it.

Dad has always been a fighter and strong-willed. He takes his medicines religiously and sticks to healthy foods. He likes to keep himself busy with house work until he perspires profusely to stay physically active and does hours of gardening as a therapeutic outlet for the soul.

I think the fact that he was active in sports made him kept a healthy lifestyle. Being an awesome looking bodybuilder back in his twenties, Dad still likes to be physically active even today.

As a child, I remember seeing an only picture of a young and buffed Dad in his posing trunks. He looked awesome then. He once told me before that he shared his passion and volunteered his time coaching his fellow mates at the gym where he trained.

My older brothers also told me stories about Dad’s many trophies he won from his bodybuilding competitions days. The brass trophies however, were sold off at one point to the rag-and-bone man for money to feed our large family back then.

I reckon that is probably why I took up weight training and stuck with it since I first picked up a dumbbell in my teens… well, the fact that I was wafer thin back inspired my to be just like Dad. I have never compete before, much less achieved that awesome physique that had, but what stuck with me until now is to keep myself fit and now my family too for a healthy lifestyle… just like Dad.

Coming back to Dad’s condition…

Dad is given Aspirin as a blood thinning agent but to be taken with Omeprazole to protect his stomach against the gastric side effects of Aspirin and Bisoprolol to reduce his rapid heart rate. All 3 medicines were given for a supply of 3 months that cost S$31.50.

He is it take this medication for life. With this too, Dr. Lim hands over Dad back to his Oncologist, Dr. Loo Soo Kien from the National Cancer Centre urging that Dad should resume his chemo treatment.

The time spent alone with Dad on the journey to and fro the hospital, the lunch at Banquet and the unsuspected longer journey we accidentally took back to his home from the Woodlands Regional Bus Interchange were worth it.

I got to know more about Dad and “reacquainted” with him once again as he refreshed my faded memories with those old but nevertheless interesting stories he once told a long time ago.

It was nice to hear it again from him. It helped me understand and appreciate him more of the instances and decisions made back then that were buried deep in my mind and left forgotten, were explained and clarified in the here present where I am more than old enough to comprehend.

We got home a little later than expected, but fortunately Mom did not fuss over for making her wait in hunger for her lunch. Instead she laughed hard when Dad told her of our wrong and long bus route that took us 20 minutes to my younger brother’s home instead of the their flat that is only 2 bus stops away from the interchange.


  1. Thank you for sharing how things are going with your dad, Muhd.

    It sounds like you are taking really good care of him and shouldering such responsibility, but I'm sure you would not have it otherwise.

    Nice that your dad shared with you the "old stories" as remembering them often helps bring to mind what some parents do for their children and family in order to survive.

    Sounds like your dad took care care of his health and worked out well through the years. Good for him. Now it seems you follow his lead. Good for you!

    Take care of yourself also Muhd. Take some deep breaths and re-energize our mind and body.

    Blessings my dear friend,


  2. What an attentive son you are. May your dad live long and prosper.

    I'd love to hear some stories about your childhood and growing-up years.

  3. Thanks for the update on your father. That sounds like such good news.
    It is great you have some flexibilty to take tie off work to go with your dad on his appts.
    I also enjoyed your mother's day post.

  4. Good news to hear!

    I may be wrong but I think Omeprazole should be for the stomach. Do check with the clinic.

  5. Hello Friends,

    Glad to see you here. Thank you.

    Rhianon | I am so happy that you're back on line again. Hope all is well there with your new home.

    Parents can have many children, but children have only their parents whether biological or otherwise. I ma fortunate to have them taken good care of me, so it is only natural for us to take good care of them in return, but will never measure up to their sacrifices how hard one tries. The close bond that binds, I believe.

    Yes, through my busy growing up years and career chasing days and those courting days, I spent less time with them or thinking about them.

    Now that my life is "stable" as I feel it, I can manage and devote some time to be with them and care for them too. Getting reacquainted with a deeper and adult's perspective on things than before. I am blessed to have them and have the time to catch-up on things and know them.

    I feel good to know that they feel appreciated as I think they only want their children to spend time with them more than anything else in their golden years.

    Donna | Thank you. Like all children, I hope my parents will live long and healthy with strong support from their children.

    Incidentally, I talked about my growing up years in few previous posts. I am not fluent in my command of the English language, so I have difficulty articulating the right descriptive words to clearly convey what is on my mind.

    So without pictures that normally accompany my posts, it is tough on readers to visualize what is on my mind.

    You'll get bored or worse, confused before long... nonetheless, I love my childhood days and still am trying to recapture that old feeling again whenever I chanced upon old landmarks and people I see that triggered old memories.

    Mim | I am fortunate enough to be able to take leave off work without difficulty and being turned down by my Superior. I appreciate the nature of my job that allows my to do that and especially my boss' understanding.

    It is scary to see the future and thread it as far as my old folks are concern, but I cherish each time spent with them. I am given that time once again and am happy for it.

    A plan for Mom for a belated mother's day didn't come true. We were suppose to go out after Dad's appointment to a village styled park and restaurant, but we took the wrong bus and were delayed reaching home.

    We bought desserts with her late lunch instead and chatted at home until late afternoon. Mom was too full to get dressed for an outing, so all three of us ended up chatting and gardening instead.

    STST | Oops! Yes you are right. I got the two switched and have corrected it. Thanks for pointing it out to me. Dad knows that the big package Omeprazole is coupled to the Aspirin to protect his stomach.

    Since you posted the Woodlands Park, it triggered me to go see it for myself. It is actually closer to my parents' flat than I initially thought. It is indeed tranquil there, on top of the hill and above the tallest blocks.

    Top of the world feeling right in my parents backyard. I took lot of photos too.

    Unfortunately, not wheelchair accessible.

    Thank you all for the visit and warm wishes.


Hello Everyone,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your messages. I will also try to answer any questions you may have for me.

Thanks again and have a good day.

Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger