Burden

I remember a year or so ago, there was a stage where my dad regularly expressed his worry of being a burden to his children, which I sincerely denied so.

It is still true that his physical ailment (i.e. his cancer) or my mum's mental ailment (i.e. bipolar disorder) is not a burden to me. Those I can help them e.g. plan their hospital appointments, be familiar with the chronoligal development of their ailments and their medication; journey to Butterworth and stay there for a while to bring them to their various appointments; asking doctors pertinent questions, giving them relevant information and help them to rephrase their questions to my parents. Yes, it's exhausting but I can do it.

What I cannot handle, and it frustrates me, is their unreasonable behaviour/attitude. For example,

(1) It's understandable that my dad isn't happy being at nursing home despite him seeing the necessity but it frustrates me that he is making it an even worse experience by not doing things that he would normally do. He didn't reciprocate a person's attempt to engage him in conversation, didn't read newspaper and didn't watch those drama series on his tablet that my sister took time to download. He chooses to sulk all the time. Yet, he had the temerity to complain to me about being "bored" almost every time I met or spoke with him. Luckily now, he stops complaining but he still sulks.

(2) My dad used to complain when nobody visited him. He should know this but I explained anyway: it takes nearly an hour for us to drive there. So if we stay there for 1-2 hours, our total time spent on the trip is 3-4 hours. Imagine doing this every single day. It's very tiring. Moreover, we also have other things to do. Put it another way: at home, we don't even spend that much 1-to-1 time with him everyday.

(3) Clamping up over important matters pertaining to their ailments. If they don't tell me, I can't help and yet my dad (thankfully not my mum) will moan and groan about it.

(4) Both my parents refuse to learn to take Grab, despite us offering to order Grab for them. It will be trememndous help if they use it to merely collect medicine from the public clinic, rather than wait for me to be around to do so. My sister herself is ill and already has a lot on her plate dealing with my parents' routine needs and her own family's needs. Also, I offered my mum this service so that she could visit dad during weekdays (my sister visits him each weekend) but to no avail. Haiz.

So, in short, their ailments are not a burden to me but their behaviour is making it so.

Fell Seal: amazing matching by Ban

This is what happens when I let Ban customise my in-game chracters according to their portraits:



He loves to spend hours on customising his characters. Sometimes that's all he does in a gaming session lol. Muack!

Food vending machine

Saw this at a highway R&R in the north (probably Tapah):




Interesting. I wonder how popular it is.

Hip extension

Five days after consultation with PCU and thirteen days after discharged from Adventist Hospital, my sister and I brought my dad to the hospital for follow-up appointment with Dr P.

The specialist told us that dad was using the walker incorrectly: he wasn't supposed to walk into the 'box' but only to its back. Later, I messaged the manager of Jasper Lodge to get her staff to adjust the walker a little higher so that my dad wouldn't need to bent over using it this way.

Dr P checked the surgical wound on dad's leg as well as tested his leg.

(1) He was happy with the good healing of the wound, without infection.

(2) During surgery, he noticed that the soft tissue around dad's left hip had hardened. This might explain why dad couldn't fully straighten his left leg while lying on the bed. This is a concern as it affects his walking. So Dr P wrote a letter to the physiotherapist on appropriate exercise, especially one that helped with hip extension. My dad was also advised to straighten as much as possible his legs while lying on bed or sitting on chair.

(3) The biopsy on the tumours on the removed part of the femur showed the same conclusion: mucinous adenocarcinoma. Dr P had asked many specialists all over Malaysia. Initially they reacted incredulously when heard that my dad had lived nearly 3 years after diagnosis despite the high suspcion that the cancer originated from the pancreas, but they later concluded that patients with mucinous type of pancreatic cancer tended to live longer than those with other types.

(4) He suggested us to consult oncologist about treatment for cancer in the rest of his body, notably in his abdomen and lungs. We later made appointment to consult Dr D.

Meanwhile, his regular shortness of breath was worrisome. His lungs were clear i.e. no infection. Could it be due to cancer? Jasper Lodge's visiting doctor, Dr T, didn't think so: it's unlike the lung nodules - largest was 1.8cm based on CT scan at the end of May - would suddenly cause mahor problems 3 months later. Her best guess, which was similar to ours, was emotional distress. She would continue to monitor him. We would still consult Dr D on this.

Long roots

....from a single tree!


Nursing home & PCU

Dad changed his mind a few times about staying at nursing home but always relented each time I reminded him the reasons we put forth for him to recuperate there.

However that didn't stop him fron nitpicking when my sister brought him to Jasper Lodge. Geram! The final straw for me, when I was speaking with him on the phone, was about food. I reprimanded him for sweating over the small stuff and that he had to think of the important ones: the reasons why he was there. He hadn't even been there for 24 hours, for goodness sake. It was obviously he already made up his mind that he didn't want to even try and so spewing out negative comments.

It didn't help that the pain in his leg flared up when the staff there tried to lift his legs onto the bed (he was already sitting on the bed. "This is a bad sign." *Groan*. Upon my sister's suggestion, they brought up a lazy chair, newer and sturdier than the one at home, and that worked for him. Phew.

Dad: I try for 2 days.
Me: You have to try with open mind. Don't already made up your mind that in 2 days time you'll ask us to get you out. That's a waste of time for everyone.
Dad: *silent*

Everyone i.e. my sister, CW, nursing home's staff, his siblings (later on) and I tried our best to make sure he was as comfortable as possible and/or persuade him to try for a while. After staying a night, it appeared that he no longer wanted to get out in a couple of days and instead hope to recover sufficiently in a week's time. Since there's a minimum half-month fee payment, we (even his siblings separately thought and did the same) encouraged him to make full use of the facilities there so as to aid his full recovery.

He had shortness of breath for sometime after discharged from Adventist Hospital. I surmised that it was mainly due to physical exertion (later, the main nurse of the nursing home concluded the same) but we all was concerned. I informed the hospice nurse who then checked my dad and said his lungs were ok. The same conclusion from the nursing home's visiting doctor, who happened to be Penang GH's oncologist: she and my dad recognised each other.

However, when consulting the PCU doctor during appointment, he didn't even check and was contented with dad being ok at that time @@. This was the same senior doctor who raised his voice previously. Still, I appreciated him taking a little time to ask my dad about what he thought of the nursing home. "Boring." "Uncle, then you gotta find something to do. Move about. Ask friends or family to help you move."

Unbeknown to me, the nursing home had been giving dad all medication and the PCU doctor maintained them. I guess the good news was that the next appointment was 6 weeks later, which usually meant that doctor had deemed dad's pain management to be ok for now.

Cholesterol 2019: Part 2

Results as compared to 4 months ago:

                                Apr 2019          Aug 2019          Ref. range
Total cholesterol           5.0                 5.5                  < 5.2
HDL ("good")               1.86              2.16                > 1.04
LDL ("bad")                  2.7                3.1                  < 2.6
Triglycerides                 1.0                0.5                  < 1.7
Total/HDL ratio            2.7                 2.5                  < 5.0

I'm not surprised: for the week prior to this test, I couldn't find the appropriate time to properly exercise when I was at Butterworth and had to make do with the usual 10-min routine each morning. Well, have to get back to it while still taking fenofibrate on alternate nights.

Interestingly, HDL went up quite significantly. I wonder whether it's due to the fish oil supplement.

Edit:
Oh, I also added one more test that my regular GP suggested long time ago: High-sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP). The result was humongously far lower than the critical value. Sorry, don't have the exact figures with me hehe.