Wednesday, January 15, 2014

loving my staff...secretly

I am up late doing a HR audit of the company. There's so much to do - looking through contracts, history with the company, considering appraisal results, thinking about individual behaviours and potentials, thinking of the types of benefits that will be best for them...

I don't know if my staff even know how much I care for them.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Come alive

Probably why I'm up
writing at this time.
Sundays are officially my favorite day of the week. After an emotionally exhausting week starting with me trying to tie everything up before my op which was scheduled on Friday, then experiencing the roller coaster ride of the autologous, the eventual postponing of my op, the frustrated redirected attention to work, and the eventual acceptance of the situation... I really needed some R&R. And relax I did - by pretty much sleeping the entire day.

And it felt SO good.

I've been having some interesting conversations this week though - including one with my best friend who is considering setting up a social enterprise, and another tonight with my parents about the future of the family business. What these conversations have done was to make me rethink what I want to do with my life and what makes me happy.

And the answers all came back to the same thing - the love I have for developing and inspiring people; especially university kids.

Ironically, this is what the boy
sent me once to encourage me.
There is a saying I've come across that sounded like "Never give up your dreams for a man" .. Which probably had some follow-up clause about how a good man would spur you on toward them, but that's what I did  with  my "become a professor and  change the world by inspiring the next generation of world leaders" dream. And gosh, is it tough to convince myself otherwise when I have made up my mind.

Getting back to the dream is going to take some serious work. It's going to require a lot of planning and a lot more soul-searching. For years on end , I've postponed trying out for anything because I never knew what I wanted to learn at a graduate school level, or even what I was passionate enough about to devote my life to researching, writing about, and teaching.

Even though I run a business, sometime last week I had an epiphany in my car that "No, I don't think I'd like to teach the next generation about business concepts like marketing and finance." And it was a relief that at least one option was struck off my list. So I guess I'm down to two things - sustainability, issues, and policy making - both of which might just overlap into something really awesome.

I did do a preliminary search for a good post-grad course in sustainability and I found one in the UK - my third place in the world I'd call "home" (after that of Singapore and the Doulos). It's a little dream of mine to study/work in the UK for a while and it was really exciting to read. Earlier this week, I had also heard a BBC report that 1 in 10 British youth feel that they have nothing to live for, a report that really saddened me.

I guess now with the rescheduled surgery (and healing time), I just have to plan my year again. Perhaps these 4 months of waiting will do a bit of good in charting my course on more solid ground.

Come on 2014, come alive with me this year!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

a bad day - surgery postponed :(

I need a silly friend like that today.
Today was the worst.

It was supposed to be a simple day - get to the blood bank to get autologous done. Half an hour tops. Out and back to work. Start preparing for the op on Friday.

Instead, I ended up having to postpone my surgery all the way to LATE APRIL or MAY. :(((

This stupid autologous was supposed to be done last week. And that's where it all started... here's the run down of the not-so-fun events.

  1. Met with anesthetist last week. Everything went smoothly. I asked them if I could get my autologous done. Nurse said "No, it's too early" because a nurse from the dental clinic checked a "between 3-5 days from surgery" box on my form. Anesthetist clinic nurse recommends that I go this Monday (yesterday) instead.
  2. Monday comes and I'm about ready to get out and get my autologous done. I decide to call the blood bank to check that it's not too crowded. The phonecall does not get through and the automatic answering message tells me they are closed on Mondays.
  3. I start thinking, "Okay, there goes my plans to get it settled today." Then I start getting concerned how much time my body needs to replenish the blood and how it would affect the surgery.
  4. I decide to call the hospital nurse about whether it's okay, she seems to panic a bit and reprimands me for going so late.
  5. I tell her the anesthetist clinic told me that I couldn't have gone last week. She tells me I have no choice but to try on Tues (today).
  6. Tuesday: I decide to get to the blood bank as early as possible to get it done. When I get there, the blood bank tells me that they can't get my blood to my surgery in time for the op on Friday because they need at least 3 working days, and between Tuesday and Friday there are only two.
  7. I go into a little shock. Another doctor takes over and decides to check with the lab.
  8. I call the hospital nurse, she says she'll work it out. After a long time of waiting, somehow something is worked out with the senior staff and the blood bank says okay, they can do it.
  9. Blood pressure turns out too low (95/55) because I hadn't had breakfast. The doctor sends me out to eat and tells me she might be going for her break, so she'll pass my form to another nurse. 
  10. I go out and eat a ton to try to get my blood pressure to go up as much as possible, and come back and head to the nurse's office. Blood pressure climbs a bit (97/58), but not enough (they have to see 100 before they will allow the autologous).
  11. I tell the nurse "But I ate a ton! How long do I have to wait till my blood pressure goes up?" The nurse tells me, "It's not what you eat, it's what you drink." How the heck was I supposed to know that?!
  12. I go out again and drink something like a whole litre of vitamin water, back again to the doctor's office. FINALLY BP is 109/something - so she allows the autologous.
  13. I head to haemoglobin count station and by this time I'm so tired of the process taking so long, I just want to get it over and done with.
  14. Haemoglobin count is great! Finally! Let's get this done!
  15. I sit in the blood donation chair and can't wait to get it done whilst nurses are scurrying around everywhere. The nurse checks my veins and tells me "Your veins are too small. We can't do the autologous."
  16. And I am sent back to the doctor who tells me I have no choice.
  17. I leave confused and tired and we start driving out of the hospital. I decide to call the hospital nurse and tell her that they said my veins were too small so she can tell me what I can do about the rescheduling. She tells me it's a huge hassle to reschedule everything because it's all prepared. And she tells me, "Oh! It happens to a lot of my patients. Just go out, get a hot drink, get yourself warm. Go walk around, and then go back. It should be okay."
  18. So we turn the car around from the expressway and drive back.
  19. When we arrive back at the blood bank, my mother decides to ask the blood bank doctor if the nurse's advice was sound and they said "no".
  20. The mother tells me what the blood bank says. I'm about on the verge of breakdown. 
  21. I tell the blood bank, "I don't know what you guys are doing. Everyone is telling me different things and I am tired. You guys sort it out." The blood bank calls the hospital to contact my nurse and finds out she's out to lunch.
  22. With more than half the day gone, and having been pinged about by medical professionals with all sorts of opinions, and with my huge to-do list crammed up now after all the time wasted, on top of all the stress of the upcoming surgery, I'm intensely emotionally and physically exhausted.
  23. The mother insists that I cannot have the surgery with the risk that I have to take someone else's blood. I, too, feel uneasy about the probability.
  24. I leave completely drained - physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And I still am.

It was a terrible day.

The next date my surgeon is available is the 28th of Feb... which will not give me enough time to heal from my surgery for my trade show that I have to be present for in April. And I have been advised by the blood bank to take a few months to get some exercise done and build my veins. But shifting it all the way to late April/May... that's another 4 months away.

I am so tired now.
Maybe it's a blessing in disguise, I don't know. I'm just so exhausted now.
Seriously, I didn't expect this last part to be so emotionally exhausting.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

identity debate

Can't believe I've been watching this... but I've been learning a lot.
Having not been able to sleep, I somehow ended up watching the whole first season of the Jersey Shore.  It was interesting just watching how differently this group of men and women behaved and thought. It was just interesting seeing how they processed situations and responded to them.

There was so much partying, drinking, hooking up in the show... it was a totally new exposure to a new culture for me. Lifestyles I've never seen, thought processes I've never's weird watching a group of adults from such different backgrounds, values and lifestyles. I guess I'm learning a new point of view.

None of these people are me.
I think the last time I actually
clubbed was something tame
and "legit"...I think it was a
wedding entourage party. ;)
Sometime a year ago, part of me really wanted to just rebel and "live it up". Perhaps it was even as far as two years ago that I already had the rebellious itch. I wanted to go out clubbing, go traveling, dance...and just let go. Even though I technically never did act on it. Maybe the itch was due to having been sheltered and being the "good girl" all my life. "Safe", that was who I was...and still am. Take the safe route, no risks, no regrets...But at the same time, I guess I can't help but wonder whether I missed out on life...or "life".  It's as if something in me believes that all these trashy experiences were to teach you lessons, and so many peers of mine seem to have got it by my age...and I'm still catching up. Perhaps it's a wrong understanding of life that I have.

Do I want to be like one of these girls in Jersey Shore?  No. Do I want to meet guys like that? No. Do I really want to be in such situations? Probably not. But at the same time... I don't know if it makes any sense, but it feels as if that I can choose to be anyone I want to be after my surgery on Friday and I guess I'm trying to decide right now. But right now, I'm 30, single, pretty much independent, and am about to have one of the biggest scariest surgeries in my life in a few days... I guess there's just a lot running through my mind right now.

I thought this "self-identity" debate was supposed to happen after the op whilst adjusting. :/
Thinking too much, much?

fear is stealing my sleep

It's four in the morning and I can't seem to get to sleep. Perhaps it was the dim sum my SIL lovingly bought for me tonight, but I've got a better guess - surgery anxiety. And how I know I'm pretty sure is because I have been in a little of a panic mode since the day at the anesthetist's.

My life suddenly feels so upside down right now and I'm in some sort of funk just thinking about the surgery. So many questions keep running through my mind these days about my motivations, whether is this is just another manifestation about post-breakup hurt, about what I want to achieve out of this, whether I will regret this, is it worth all the pain, do I really want plates and screws in my mouth till goodness knows when, and even the thought about "What if I die in surgery?".... it's truly ridiculous.

Talking about death, I have been contemplating that possibility for the past few days. I literally have been asking myself - "What if I really die this Friday?" It's pretty morbid to think, but regardless how advanced medicine is in Singapore, it is still a possibility. In fact, for the past two days, I've been wondering how I would live my life differently if I knew I only had five days left to live and what I would change or say to people if I had limited time left.

It's prolly going to sound really weird, but I used to have a habit when I was younger of writing secret letters to people before I travelled. I remember literally spending hours writing individual letters to all the people I loved or cared for, or just had something to say to, and slotting them in my diary at home before I left - something like a "just in case" note so that if I really did pass on, at least they would discover them when they got to clearing away my stuff. That at least they'd get to read something from my heart... things like that I loved them, or that I was sorry, or just that I believed in them.... Yep, that's silly ol' me. But I figured it didn't hurt anyone to write them, and it'd ensure that if something really did happen, that at least I got the words out... and not to mention that if I did survive, it was a great opportunity to reflect about what words and thoughts I was keeping in my heart and why they were still there.

I'm nervous, I am. I feel like I almost can't be ready for this. I'm not sure how to. And part of me fears the post-surgery segment of this journey too. I mean, I've read blogs of people going through this surgery with fiancees/fiances, or spouses, or some significant other of sorts, and how their presence made the whole process easier, but for me... my mum requested that I stay in the hospital longer because she wouldn't know what to do with me, not to mention that she is afraid to see me in pain. My projection of how things will be at home after I come back from my 4 nights at the hospital would be me hiding away in a little space (probably the living room) which I would set up as a bedroom and office for two months, and just occasionally having the househelper, sisters and SIL popping in to say "hi".

I won't lie, I wish I had the ex with me right now. I'm scared now, and I wish I could talk to him about all that's happening. He was like my best friend and he always had some sort of rational way to just close a matter and calm me down from something scary happening. But I guess as humans, we generally remember the most positive times and aspects of people... or at least I do. Just thinking about the bone sawing, the plates and screws, and changes, and blood.... I'd appreciate someone just telling me "you're going to be okay".

I need to calm down and get some sleep... this is not helping to prep my body for being in the pink of health for surgery. :(

Friday, January 03, 2014

anesthetist visit done.

Time with the anesthetist's.
I still hate needles. :(
So I had my visit at the anesthetist's and they just asked me random questions and took my general stats and stuff. I was SO shocked when I stepped on the scale! I haven't been on a scale for something like a year...and it turns out that I had been overly obedient to my doctor's "please put on some weight" orders. And so I did. NINE kilos, in fact. In 8 months. Gosh!

All the doctor said was that my blood pressure was pretty low. :( Hopefully that wouldn't be a problem. Right now I'm just waiting for the results from my blood test that it'd all go alright. I'll be doing my autologus next week... oh no, more needles. :(

Can't believe that if everything goes smoothly, this time next week, I'll be sleeping in some hospital room with tubes down my nose and throat and attached everywhere. It sounds pretty scary, but something in me wants to face this and fight it.