Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Little Oasis

Fresh from our techno gadget shopping at Singapore Expo, it was time for my second favourite thing to shop for... plants!

A walking distance away from where we alighted at Tanah Merah MRT station, are two nurseries we normally frequent for our gardening needs.

The Katong Flower Shop did not have what I wanted after browsing its many beautiful array of plants.

We headed next to its neighbour, Chye Heng Orchid Garden along Simpang Bedok Road.

There, even before we entered its compounds, were rows and rows of Jasmine plants… the exact ones I was looking for!

We could smell its sweet fragrance from the blooming white flowers as we walked closer to look. The exact experience I wish to have in our garden!

All excited, Wifey and I still browsed the entire nursery, simply because we both love looking at the different kinds of blooms there, all healthy, under the expert care.

With the assistance of the helper there, he tagged along as we browsed and asked for his opinions on the best bet of plants that are hardy enough to survive under our amateurish care.

Knowledgeable as he was, it made it easier for us to finally narrow down to several types of plants that did not require much sunlight to survive.

The hot contenders were the Iron Tree, Yuka Tree and a few others, of which the long and complicated botanical names had escaped my mind as soon as I stepped out of the nursery, we settled for my favourite Murraya Jasmine and Fichus Tree.

We bought 6 pots of the flowering Jasmines and 1 pot of the decorative Fichus Tree.

The Jasmines replaced by the ailing Durantas, I repotted three each into the two, four by one feet planters. Those were placed right near the metal railing parapet where they receive the full two or three hours of morning sunlight each day.

The Fichus Tree took over the large terracotta pot we got from Ikea years back, from the overgrown Traveler’s Palm. We placed it at the inner part of the corridor where only the brightness of the sunlight is received.

The strategic location is to keep some privacy against prying eyes where our open door is visible from the lift landing. I like to keep the front door open on weekends to have the garden in plain view and fresh air circulating.

We were assured that the Fichus Tree needed just bright area without direct sunlight, along with the advice to water it once in a few days and fertilize it once every two weeks.

Unlike the Fichus Tree, the Jasmines need to be watered daily and fertilized once a week. The pink coloured liquid fertilizer works very well to encourage our Durantas to flowers, so Wifey wanted the same one for our new Jasmines.

I worked through the afternoon right after reaching home and into the early evening; intermittently getting help from Sonny and Wifey.

When I finally completed my garden makeover project, I was totally happy and satisfied by the way it all turned out. Mission accomplished!

Our family now has a brand new garden we could enjoy again. It will be even wonderful when the flowers actually bloom. It will be a spectacular view to enjoy and with it, the sweet fragrance that the flowers will give off that will be blown into our home!

I am hoping that that time will come soon enough and will be a repeatable occasion in our garden for us to enjoy. I know our next-door neighbours will enjoy too.

So, for now, with mine and Wifey's tender loving and care, we really are hoping that the plants will grow well and hardy against the mealy bugs infestation like what had happened to Durantas.

We are hoping that the sunbirds will once again come by to get their fill of the red berries the Jasmines will provide after every bloom and sing their gratefulness song to their hosts who truly enjoy their melodies.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Great Singapore Sale!

Sold! Sold! Sold!

That was what happened most of time today.

All three of us went to "Licensed 2 Play" sale at Singapore Expo to get two electronics items we already eyed for some time but only got the opportunity to buy it because the prices have become rock bottom at the annual nation-wide Great Singapore Sale.

Wifey wanted a new camcorder... something that is light and virtually with no techno hassle to remember. There are many choices but we did not narrow down to one until we saw the two-page advert in the newspapers.

The one we bought in year 2000 for our family vacation to Europe was a JVC GR-DVX40. It was costly then as we splurged a S$1,990.00 as an investment for our family moments posterity.

A wonderful and still working camcorder that uses a MiniDV cassette tape. Its decade-old technology has served us well. The camcorder has tagged along and captured many happy moments during our yearly faraway family vacations throughout these years.

Sonny needed a new laptop. Conveniently, the last one he got, a Packard Bell ALP Ajax C2, broke down several times before it finally gave way for good a few days after its warranty of 3 years expired!

We have the option to send it for a third party repairs, after the official recommendation by Packard Bell's service centre to scrap it and get a new one since it will cost a little over S$700.00 to replace its motherboard... essentially the major part of the whole notebook.

The third party repair at Sim Lim Tower will cost us S$200.00 with a month warranty. I guess that is the best bet to have it working again at least than chucking it down the rubbish chute.

As for me, there was nothing techno to buy, only organic. My beloved Durantas have been displaying beautiful velvety-purple flowers and attracting many sunbirds throughout the day for its orange fruits. Unfortunately, it also attracted white mealy bugs that infected two planters.

Many attempts to rid it off the plants proved futile. It then infected other neighbouring plants as well. It saddens me to see the state now from the once striking blooms in the whole block to one with is full blown infection!

I want my beautiful corridor garden back. I want to feel happy and relaxed whenever I reach home! My garden at my front door is the first thing I see when I reach home. I consider it a symbol of serenity... home is where the heart is.

We stepped into the event hall at Singapore Expo just half hour after it opened at 11am. Already hordes of bargain hunters were already there!

True to its intention, the place was loud with hour sales and knockdown prices promotions announced by the numerous booths.

We checked out Acer i3 330M laptops that went for S$799.00 but the limited number of sets was already sold out! The current offer price at the fair was S$1,099.00, lower than the usual price outside the fair.

We went around the hall several times, searching for our target items with our bargain prices in mind. We found many other better configurations with prices being offered and worth considering.

We completed our scouting phase but left confused with the many options that were opened to us, we had to take a break for lunch before we making our decision.

A Burger King meal later, we continued our shopping with our buying phase...

Wifey got her lightweight and petite camcorder, a love at first sight for her!

Not larger or thicker than a cell phone, she settled for another JVC CG-FM1 HD Camcorder that can slip into a pocket easily. A high-definition video that uses Secure Digital Memory Card and doubles as an 8 megapixel still picture camera was selling for S$199.00.

It was bundled with another piece of 8GB SD card, mini tripod and a set of cleaning kit.

After ten years, all is miniaturized to 1 tenth of its original form... from the larger size to a cell phone type that fits right in your palm, so too is the price.

The weight has trimmed to about the same amount too. The hand needs to be strapped on to the camcorder strap with the palm supporting its weight. The hand will get tired and shaky after operating it for longer periods. This new camcorder needs only fingers to hold and operate.

What remained about the same is the hours of video recording both has... about 2 hours on a single charge.

What is larger though, is the video resolution. From the pixilated movies when viewed from our Sharp Aquos 32 Inch LCD TV we had for the past five years.
Next was Sonny's laptop.

We decided on Lenovo's i7 720QM Game Laptop instead of the Acer i5 550M that was selling for S$1,398.00, simply because its CPU set is the latest and fastest. With dedicated nVidia GeForce GT240 1GB graphics card, it frees up further its already bloated 4GB DDR3 SDRAM onboard.

A large capacity 500GB harddisk and a high-definition display screen of 15.6 Inch packs a hefty weight, tipped at 2.5 KG. Its IT Sale price was a surprising S$1,299.00 from the usual S$2,499.00... a "S$1,200.00 cash off" offer!

Everybody left the hall happy with his or her own new toy.

I, for one, just want my garden... we left for the nursery near Tanah Merah MRT station but that is another post entirely because it will be beautiful when I am done with it and be very happy with my accomplishment.

Well, the garden and my own techno gadget. I did not get any today but am just happy that mine will come eventually... the Apple iPad Wifi-3G! That will be mine when it is launched in Singapore in July 2010.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sweet Little Angel

It was the worst of times. It was the best of times...

Well, it was not that bad but it definitely was not short of a little miracle for me.

It happened a few weeks ago. I wrote it as soon as I got my hands on my keyboard but somehow I did not get to complete writing about it.

I need to get this out because I want everyone to know that there are angels on this earth and you may very well meet one in an unlikely place, with an unlikely stranger.

It was a Sunday afternoon. I was out buying stationary in preparation for my 2 weeks course that was to start the following day.

While paying at the cashier, I unknowingly dropped my little brown pouch that contained my EZLink commuter card, my iPhone earphones, my thumbdrive and business cards.

I realized that my pouch was not in my right-side pocket as usual upon leaving the store. Tracking immediately back into the store, I frantically searched for it by retracing my steps around the isles.

Hoping that no one had found it yet before me, I felt panicky because I had never lost anything before. I consciously check things I carry on me at all times. I am mindful of this so that I do not find myself in this exact situation... but I was, that Sunday afternoon.

I headed to the cashier counter near the entrance. I informed the lady of my loss and asked if anyone had found and surrendered it there. Nope! No such luck. So I left my name and contact as the lady suggested, just in case.

At that point, I felt really pessimistic about getting any of the stuff inside the pouch back at all... not even the business cards. After all, most of the items could be used by anyone without getting into any trouble... finders keepers.

I left the store a little distraught but as soon as I stepped out, a little old lady stopped me.

"I heard you'd lost something." The old lady said and reached out to hold my hand.

She was a petite Eurasian lady with short and curly graying hair. She was in her mid-sixties.

Wearing a washed-out, small printed, flowery dress, she had old brown slippers on her. A seasoned, black tote bag slung on her right shoulder and a plastic bag, bearing the name of stationary shop was slung on her left arm, right to her elbow.

I noticed that she did not have any jewelery on her, not even a watch or a wedding ring. From her appearance, I gathered that she led a humble life. Yet, what stood out was that compassionate, motherly face, with those kind eyes and a warm smile that I cannot forget.

"Yes. My pouch." I replied with a forced smile, still in disbelief that I had lost it despite being a careful person that I am. I was not up for small chats at all.

"Don't worry," she continued, "I'll stay here and pray to Saint Anthony for you."

I was bewildered at this point, not knowing what to think. I was already in distraught. My only concern then was to have enough change in my pocket to take the bus back home.

"Go back inside," the little old lady said. Her voice was calm and caring. She gave my arm a little squeeze to reassure me, "look again. Slowly this time."

"I have gone around twice, I can't find it." I said, resigned to my fate.

"You will find it. I know you will," she replied, looking into my eyes, "Saint Anthony's never let me down before. Go. Go on."

I went inside once again, obliging her more than actually believing that I could ever find it the third time around. I went inside and instead of retracing my steps again, I approached two ladies who worked there and asked for their help to find my lost pouch.

As soon as I described the lost item, they started searching the area. They went separate ways looking down at the floor and under shelves and inside containers, really thorough.

I went around again, this time slowly and as thoroughly as I could, but it was nowhere to be found. There were not many customers in the shop at the time, so as I went back to the entrance of the shop. Doubts began to form in my mind... I might have dropped it on my way to there!

At that point, I thought that that was the end of it. I would never see my stuff again. I surrendered it to fate and faith of a Samaritan to return it whole to me.

Just as I was thanking the cashier for the last time and walking out, my eyes suddenly caught sight of my pouch! It was at the foot of a stack of books, snug in between the stack and the counter.

I felt a sudden flush. I was in disbelief but this time, relieved, as I went to pick my pouch up.

Quite excitedly, I told the two kind ladies of my good news and thanked them. The cashier was obviously happy for me as well. I gave a silent "thank you" prayer to The Almighty as I walked out of the shop.

Outside, a even pleasant surprise was waiting for me. The little old lady was still at the same spot! Standing there, waiting for me, her hands clasped together. She was really praying for me!

An overwhelming feeling of warmth and joy tingled inside me. It was a lot like a movie scene! A perfect picture of compassion was in front of me.

"Did you find it?" She asked me as soon as her eyes met mine.

"Yes! Thank you so much for your concern." I replied gratefully and with a big smile.

"I told you, you’d find it." She continued, giving a warm smile and whispered "Thank you" into the air.

She then went about telling me the story of Saint Anthony... a baker who once lost his keys to this bakery. He promised that if God were to let him find his keys, he would give his whole day's takings to charity.

He did find them and fulfilled his promised by giving his bread to less fortunate that day. He soon became popular with his kind deeds that people began to treat him like an angel sent.

She told me of her personal experience of loosing her keys too. It fell out in the cab she was taking a ride home. The cab was already gone by the time she realized that she had lost them.

Uncertain where she had lost it, left at her void deck of her flat, she started praying to Saint Anthony for help. Like a miracle, the cab driver turned back to where he had dropped her to return the keys he found in his cab.

Being of the Muslim faith, I obliged to listen to her stories, even though I believe it was The Almighty's will that I had found it but it was through her. She asked me to look for the time.

Nonetheless, I was totally grateful for her concern and compassion, her confidence and her strong faith in her religion. She was just like an angel sent.

Her Catholic faith was strong and sincere, and without boundaries! She gave her time to pray for a stranger's well being. Selflessly she tried to help any way she could within her capacity. She was my Mother Theresa!

I gave her some money as little a token of enormous gratitude. She refused at first, saying that it was too much. I insisted that she take it because her kind act was more valuable to me than the amount of money I gave her. Of which she asked if I wanted her to donate it to charity just like Saint Anthony.

"It's for you and your husband's dinner tonight." I replied. "It's your money, do what you want with it. Give some to charity if you wish to."

"Thank you for your prayers." I continued. "For some reason, God has made our paths crossed. I get to meet you who have helped me today. Thank you, auntie." I said sincerely from the bottom of my heart.

She went on to tell that she was at the shop for a pen and a pack of white envelops.

"I'll use some of this money as a contribution to my neighbour." She said further. "She'd just lost her husband. That poor woman is now alone." The little angel was talking about her neighbour of many years, who was of her age too.

All too soon, we said our goodbyes and parted ways.

"I'll remember you, Imran." She said after I walked a certain distance away.

Wait... how did she know my name?

I looked back upon realizing but had lost sight of her by then. I did not walked back to look for her; I just brushed it off as just a coincidence... then again...

While on the bus ride home, I went through the whole afternoon incident again in my head. I tried much to figure out the "coincidence" too.

Maybe we had met before. But I could not recall any occasion.

"You look like Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket player."

That was what I remembered she said from one of our conversations. I just laughed and blushingly replied that the cricket hero was a handsome guy, so much that I was not... but I was sure I did not confirm to her that we shared the same first name.

Maybe she was just teasing me. I did not get her name...

May The Almighty bless that little lady's big heart.

Thank you, sweet little angel.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sleep Tight, Mom

I called Mom this afternoon to a wonderful news.

"I overslept today, Imran." Mom told me with a chuckle. "You know what time I woke up this morning?" Mom asked me, sounding cheerful and a little cheeky.

"What time?" I asked, indulging her.

"10:30!" Mom broke the good news to me. "I turned in around 11 or 12 o'clock... I'm not sure."

Mom sounded happy and refreshed.

I only knew Mom was having trouble sleeping since in her early 40's when she answered Dr. Vincent Yeo's many questions. She kept worrying for her 11 children of which 3 had passed away when they were still babies.

She has been having only 2 to 4 hours sleep a day. She had not slept soundly for a whole night for so long because she had gotten used to staying awake at night caring for her babies and toddlers... year after year.

She then worried about each of her children's education when they were in their schooling years... the money to feed, to clothe and to have a roof over their heads while Dad was working constantly, often late into the night, to bring in the bread.

It had been a tough life for both of our my parents. Times were not as good then as they are now. Being a low income family with many children, and Dad as a sole breadwinner, was such a fragile state to juggle.

God willing, with their perseverance and a lot of sacrifices, they were able to bring up all their 8 surviving children healthy and safe.

Yesterday was Mom's first consultation at Tan Tock Seng Hospital or TTSH with an Anesthetist, Dr. Vincent Yeo ST.

She was referred to by her Orthopaedic Consultant, Dr. Danny Louange after the results of her MRI scan on her spine showed that she would not be safe going under a prolonged surgery for her spondylolisthesis. Being too old and with a history of stroke she suffered 6 years ago, the odds of surviving the surgery were against her.

Mom is now under TTSH Pain Management care.

Her appointment at Clinic B1B was at 8:30am yesterday did not go so well from the very start.

Youngest Brother drove her to TTSH while I went straight from home to meet them at the clinic. They were caught in the morning rush hour along Seletar Expressway or SLE due to a traffic accident.

It was not a good bus ride for me either. Rush hour and a rainy morning do not make a good combination! What should take about 20 minutes journey on the Express 518 bus from Tampines to TTSH became doubled the time when the traffic slowed down to a crawl along Pan Island Expressway or PIE.

As my bus passed slowly by, it seemed to be, a cab driver had a medical emergency and stopped his cab at the left most lane. It caused a very long tailgating just after Paya Lebar entry. Fortunately, I still managed to get to my destination by 8:30am.

Younger Brother and Mom, together with our Niece who tagged along were not as lucky. They arrived 40 minutes late. Fortunately, the doctor was able to slot in Mom's consultation 10 minutes after we registered.

The consultation was not exactly smooth flowing either...

Dr. Vincent was not ready for Mom. We gathered that much when we entered the room. He uttered to his attending nurse that he did not have time to read Mom's file first. The nurse buzzed our queue number too early.

He instead jumped into numerous questions on Mom's medical history, asking for specific answers to get to his prognosis fast like when she started having the problems, her stroke condition then, names of medicines that she took for blood thinning, all the medications she is taking for her current illnesses, her current insulin level, etc.

So much of which I could not provide accurately from sheer memory. I had been taking care of Dad while Elder Sis was caring for Mom. I offered to call her for information but was turned down.

Being the first visit, I thought the doctor would certainly expected a longer consultation than a follow-up one. He instead rushed us and became obviously agitated, seeing his facial expressions and at times, insinuated that we were not caring enough for Mom to remember specific things.

I suggested that he look at his computer where all of Mom's medical history shared from Woodlands Polyclinic which has been handling Mom's case all these years, including Mom's current condition told and recorded by Dr. Danny, were available in their central file.

Dr. Vincent just brushed it off by saying that there were too much and he had no time to sift through them. We were left equally frustrated by the way he conducted the consultation.

Mom was visibly irritated by him, reading from his frustrated facial expressions, even though she did not understand a word of English.

By the end of the consultation, I felt so dissatisfied by the way it went. I felt that the doctor got a sketchy information on Mom's current condition and the reasons why she was there.

It was ironic. It was suppose to be Pain Management Clinic, but unmanageable pain was what we got instead! The doctor should go for anger management so that his attending patients will not be.

I went ahead to recap, telling the doctor our objectives for being there even after the doctor indirectly implied that we had eaten into his next patient's time.

"Why didn't you tell me before?" Dr. Vincent quipped.

"Because you jumped right into your questions without knowing what's wrong with her first." I answered.

The doctor then mellowed down and started being the many doctors, specialists and consultants I had spoken and became accustomed to... patient and polite, and not rushing his patient as if there was a quota to be met... being the first visit and all!

We finally got what we came for...

To relieve, if not prevent, Mom from getting painful cramping attacks especially when she lies down at night, and to strengthen her weakening legs, a direct result of the nerves damage from the attacks.

Dr. Vincent then prescribed Mom 3 types of medications.

The usual Paracetamol for her aches and minor pains. A new medicine, Gabapentin 300MG is to be taken for severe attacks. These are to be taken when necessary.

He also gave Mom Tramadol 25MG to relieve her from pains and enable her to sleep throughout the night. She will have to take one every night after dinner for the first 3 months.

This medication has side effects. We have to look out if Mom experiences any nausea or vomiting, or worse, confusion, like morphine effect after taking it. He will then have to change to another milder alternative.

I still do worry about the two medicines - Gabapentin and Tramadol. These may effect her already weak kidney functions... but I pray that the doctor really knows what he is doing thousand times better than his consultation.

He also referred Mom to Elderly Pain Management Clinic and recommended that she goes for long term physiotherapy near her home in Woodlands before we left his room.

"Why don't we complain about this doctor?" My Niece suggested, obviously what had transpired affected her too.

"He should have read Mom's file first," Youngest Brother said while we approached the payment counter, "regardless if we were on time or late." He was not happy either.

All that hassle and tension with the doctor yesterday, at least came to a fruition today!

A known light sleeper-Mom, slept like a baby last night and experienced no side effects. That is all that counts.

"I feel so refreshed, Imran." Mom said gladly. "I've never had deep sleep for such a long time!"

Those words sang in my ear and made my heart flutters in happiness. I was all smiles the whole afternoon... I hope Mom will continue having good sleep from now on.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

My Dear Susan

I received a text message from my friend late this afternoon.

It bore a shocking message...

Our long time friend from the old Kalang plant had passed away on Friday. It was the day I took leave off work to take Mom to TTSH for her MRI results.

I quickly checked the obituary in the Sunday Times newspaper and there it was, her face, the Finance Supervisor lady I had known for the past 18 years had passed on.

She succumbed to lung cancer, just like my late Dad.

Coincidentally, I met her at National Cancer Centre late last year. We met at the pharmacy... she was leaving the centre after collecting her medications while I was passing by to go to Clinic A for Dad's routine follow-up.

That was the first and only time I met her after she resigned from the company a year after we moved from our old to the current HQ in Ang Mo Kio.

We initially were not close because she was in Finance on the 3rd floor, while I was in operations on the 4th. We interacted only when there were money matters to settle for the vendors or orders.

Eventually, the more interactions brought our common interests together... our sons. While my son was doing well in school, hers was in the gifted programme.

She was so proud of him it inspired me. Her son was studying in Raffles Institution, one of the top and most sort after secondary schools on the island. He played the piano very well and a talented writer too. He wrote a few intriguing poems compiled in a booklet with the other students' work in his school. The booklets were sold for charity.

I bought one for Sonny to read and get inspired by the many talented works.

Since then, she would call me at my desk and have short chats about work but mostly about family and education.

She kept the calls coming even after we moved to our new site. She kept in touch well after she quit her job to rest. After short hiatus, she called to inform of her new job as a Customer Service officer, "a simpler and not as demanding a job as closing balances every month end."

"I don't know why I was so caught-up with work so much... so much stress I put myself in... I forgot to rest to enjoy life." Her words that I remember she said not two years ago.

After a while, the calls were far in between and then stopped.

The time I met her at NCC was my last with her. She did looked a little frail but nonetheless high spirited and positive. It was a shocker then to know of her illness... something we again had in common.

She gave me her cell phone number so that we could keep in touch. She called my desk once asking how the company was doing, how I was coping during the recession, just wanted to chat for a while. It was a short call but a nice and welcomed one to hear her voice after knowing what she was going through.

On Friday, 7th May 2010, she returned to her Lord. Her battle with cancer had ended. She was 55. She left her husband and an exceptionally bright son.

May you rest in peace dear Susan.

Friday, May 07, 2010

You'll Be Alright

Mom after lunch at TTSH B1 Garden

Mom looked nervous as she sat right in front of Dr. Danny Louange in his consultation room. Mom was about to find out if she was suitable to undergo a spine correction surgery for her spondylolisthesis... the second time.

The last MRI done in Tan Tock Seng Hospital or TTSH in 2006 showed her 4th vertebrae had slipped and at times pressed against her spinal cord. She refused the recommended surgery and opted for physiotherapy instead.

It worked to relieve the pains and attacks only to certain extent. It has gotten worse as she ages.

This time around, I was there with Elder Sis instead of our late Dad. Equally anxious, the three of us waited as the result of the MRI Mom had taken on Monday, 3rd May 2010 was being revealed by the doctor.

"I'll pull out your Mom's MRI scan on the screen here." Dr. Danny typed away on his computer and several of Mom's MRI photos were displayed.

The orthopedic surgeon then began to explain all that we needed to know on Mom's present condition after his many questions on Mom.

As he pointed on the screen, we saw that Mom's 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae had deteriorated much, together with the 3rd since the last MRI. At one point, the spinal canal was so small that it pinched spinal cord badly.

"We are talking about high risk operation here." Dr. Danny continued.

That set the tone throughout the whole consultation. That answered the question and stopped the need to contemplate further on whether to operate or not.

Mom & Elder Sis at TTSH Garden

Mom would undergo a four-hour operation to fix all three of the lumbar vertebrae with four metal braces that would be screwed into the three bones.

The doctor sighted two compelling reasons for the high risk...

One, was due to her age. At 77 this year, she is too old to undergo such an extensive operation. Dr. Danny explained that he would normally recommend the operation for people below the age of early 70s.

Two, the most risky one, was that Mom had a stroke before.

She had a stroke in 2008. Combined with her other medical conditions like hypertension, marginally functional kidneys and diabetes, the odds of her getting another stroke became increasingly high due to the general anesthesia.

"Her major organs are already being stressed because of her medical condition and age," Dr. Danny explained, "she may have a heart attack or kidney failure during or even well after the operation."

The reality of that struck me badly. I was really hoping that Mom would be fit enough for the operation since she had controlled her medical condition stable for many months now.

I pictured her able to walk again and able to go outings with her children or grandchildren without the need for a wheelchair, just like before. She would be able to walk again and do all the house chores she always wanted to keep doing as "it gives me the exercise."

Mom has always been house proud. She loves cleaning and especially cooking... her first love, and we love her cooking!

Elder Sis & Mom at TTSH Crane Fountain Garden

"Her risk of organ failure during or post operation has increased to 10% and maybe even more." Dr. Danny continued. "I cannot give you any percentage of success rate or the worse will not happen in her case."

I had to explain to Mom what the doctor had said. Her expression was of mixed feelings...

On one hand she was relieved she did not have to undergo any operation. Yet she already psyched herself to go for it because she wanted "to go Umrah" with us and our niece who stays with her since Dad's passing.

A lot of questions came from me. I wanted to be very sure that Mom was not suitable. All the options discussed. Dr. Danny was very patient to answer and further explained all my doubts and concerns.

He recommended Mom to undergo "intervention medicine" at Pain Management Clinic or PMC as a replacement of the surgery. Dr. Danny also prescribed Mom with pain relieve medications and strong dosage of vitamins specifically for repairing damaged nerves that may happen for every attack that she may get...

We found ourselves at the hospital cafeteria having our lunch.

Elder Sis and I got to explain to Mom about the outcome of the MRI. She listened intently the whys and whats the doctor had told us and his recommendation going forward.

I was a little surprised that Mom took it calmly and was not much affected after the outcome of visit.

I sent Elder Sis home and then Mom. Elder Sis had 600 cupcakes to make before Sunday morning so she could not stop over awhile at Mom's place. She is into catering, making scrumptious deserts.

Mom & I at TTSH garden

While at Mom's place, I began to start cleaning her house. So engrossed that I stayed late into the night past eleven o'clock. I was totally energetic... drawing it from somewhere unknown, I changed the drapes on all windows, cleaned the dust off anything that I could reach or grab.

I ended up sweeping the floor of the entire house, especially under and behind the large furniture much like spring cleaning. Cleared-up the store room of old and unwanted items... with her blessing of course, I got to throw them out, including the clutter found around the house.

By the time I was finished, I was drenched in sweat and very dirty. Mom's cold pineapple syrup drink she made me was such a welcomed treat.

I had a refreshing shower, wore Dad's leftover clothes I found in his cupboard. I gave Mom her monthly spending money as usual and got a big hug before I left. My niece was already home before I left, so it was comforting that Mom was not left home alone.

Mom will have her PMC appointment on Monday, 17 May 2010. I will have to take leave off work again, like I did today to attend to her first of many PMC sessions...

For the love of dear Mom.