Glacier County

19th March 2015

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Salji salji then suddenly what is that? Palm tree??

After leaving Lake Mahinapua DOC, we drove down south the coast towards he Glacier County. The route was lined with snowcapped mountains surrounded by green rainforests. It was remarkable how the two could co-exist within the same vicinity, which could be captured within the same photoframe!

We made an impromptu pit stop at one of the river gorges along the way because thambi wanted to pee. And here in the view of the loo:

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Of course had to mancing.

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The loo with a view

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Bad angle with the double chin, of course

Both Franz Josef and Fox Glacier are packed with tourists wanting a glimpse of the glacier. The sky was buzzing with helicopters bearing eager outsiders for a snow/glacier landing.

We picked Fox Glacier out of the two since it guarantees the closest glacier viewing experience. The entrance to the glacier is accessible via Glacier Access Road, which brought us to a rocky parking area by the mountains.

I whipped out Syaiful’s GoPro cam for the first time during our NZ trip. It was tricky initially before we got the hang of it. From the Lonely Planet guide, the Terminal Face walk was supposed to be an easy walk. But boy, the climb was pretty steep; it took us plenty of stops to get to the top.

Of course this is totally not me exaggerating because there were plenty of pakciks and makciks huffing and puffing along the way.

The reward? Magnificent.

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Need to get one of those humongous camera to do the trick, I suppose

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Amma and her pyjamas

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Thambi and the mountain

West Coast, New Zealand

18th March 2015.

It has been quite a journey.

We woke up this morning in a ridiculously cold weather, I’d dare say it was easily 0 or subzero temperature. But overnight the cloud has cleared Alhamdulillah. Appa claimed he could witness a star or two during the night. We drove to Hokitika. Took us about one a half hour journey across the Kumara Junction Highway.

Along the way we could see endless mountains decorated with creeks and shallow rapids, which made for a beautiful background. Approaching Hokitika, after taking a bend near the town of Awatuna, the ocean came into view.

Hokitika is a quaint little town, very proud of their history as shown by the museum which stands strong in the middle of the town. It has its own historical walks. How many small towns could boast about its history? But we were busy looking for toilets, as our troops are at best only comfortable peeing in the motorhome. The second business takes a lot of guts to be done with your family sitting right outside the toilet.

After taking care of business at the numerous public toilets available in town, we drove 10 km south of Hokitika towards Lake Mahinapua Scenic Reserve. The lake is famous for its lukewarm water (which we found out to be about Malaysian tap water temperature) and other sports activities. Unlike our first night at Mt. White Station, Lake Mahinapua has plenty of campervans sharing the view with us. The DOC site is complete with toilet sheds and washing basins, the best one we’ve been to yet. Plenty of walks around this area, we did the simplest one: Bell Loop Walk which took us about 20 minutes.

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Kain pelekat sampai NZ yoo

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Amma rocking her new New Balance shoes doing the Bell Loop Walk

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Pose nasyid in front of Lake Mahinapua

Pioneer NZ Trip, March 2015.

I had overlooked NZ for the past years of my travelling life. I was in love with Australia and the Scandinavians, but NZ didn’t even cross my mind. But I knew that I always wanted to do a South Island trip. So when MAS had a ticket sale to Auckland (which wasn’t that much of a bargain to begin with), the whole family agreed to go.

It was a five-month planning and re-planning. Five months of reduced pay to substitute for longer day off.

In the end it was all worth it. I fell hard for New Zealand. How did I miss this gem of a country before??

On March 14th, 2015, I rushed through my day shift at the clinic. Left the clinic early at 430 pm in order to be able to leave for the airport at 5. Check in was a breeze; I really appreciate KLIA’s spacious and systematic check-in counter. So we had plenty of time to spare for maghrib and meals. Boarded the flight at 9.30 pm, and off we go to beautiful New Zealand.

March 15th, 2015. We landed at Auckland International Airport. One of the quirkiest airports I’ve seen so far, with the interactive walls lining the hallways, doing their best promoting the country. Customs was not as tedious as I expected it to be, I went to another level of kiasu-ness by preparing a list and brand names of all the foodstuff that we brought. I also made a point to ask my family members to buy new trainers in order to avoid their shoe germs being the cause of delay.

We were picked up by Supershuttle, which is really the most convenient way to travel to Auckland CBD. Much cheaper too if you’re travelling in a group. We were dropped off at our AirBnB accommodation, located very near to the harbour and the CBD. Again, AirBnB is much appreciated.

We spent two nights in Auckland. The first night in we were too tired to do much of anything, so Amma and I went down to the nearby kebab shop and bought us dinner. Of course my thambi gobbled everything up in record time. We also spent time watching X Factor NZ, and saw the trainwreck Natalia Kills practically killed a contestant with her cruel comments. You ugly, ugly woman. We were happy she was kicked off. Bah, semangat. Hahha.

And of course cyclone Pam decided to grace Vanuatu and northern part of NZ with its presence so it started raining heavily that night.

The next day, figuring we didn’t have much time and no transport, I booked us on the Auckland City Highlights tour. Auckland itself is a beautiful and a quaint little city (I called it little when compared to perpetually busy and eternally jammed-up KL), but there wasn’t much to see after 3 hours of touring. The tour guide tried his best entertaining us with the history of the town, which I really appreciate. The tour finished up at about noon.

We were supposed to go for an Auckland Harbour cruise but that was cancelled due to the typhoon report, despite the weather being superfine. Ah well.

My amma and I spent our afternoon (since my appa and thambi decided to sleep the afternoon off) walking to the CBD. I could khatam Auckland CBD on foot in one day. My kind of city.

The next morning, we left early for the airport. Again Supershuttle came through. Our Jetstar flight to Christchurch was on time, and I was seated next to a lovely Australian couple on their way back from visiting their son. The weather outside of the plane looked bleak, which worried me for awhile.

Landed in Christchurch on time to freezing temperature (exaggerated of course) and was so thankful for electricity and heat. Called Wilderness Motorhome up, and we were picked up by Claudia. The warehouse is only about 5 minutes drive from the airport. On the way, we asked her whether 7 degrees is the typical early autumn weather for Christchurch. Her answer: “No! It was still sunny yesterday. I had to dig out boxes to get to my parka this morning. Blame it on the typhoon.”

Hahha.

The check in was pretty smooth. They just got back their Summit 5 the day before and they were still running some checks on the vehicle.

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Check out our pretty ride, Summit 5

First matter of the day was looking for food. So we went to the nearest supermarket (as per advised by Claudia) and made our purchases. Murah wei barang kat NZ, walaupun GST depa 16%. (Iklan sekejap).

After packing our motorhome with food and arranging our luggages into lockers, we set off to Arthur’s Pass, claimed as the most scenic highway in South Island.

And these people don’t lie. There were and still are no words.

From Wildernessts Book supplied to us from the hire, I picked out Mount White Bridge Station.

And yes, it was total wilderness out there.
“Mak takut nak tidur malam tu pasal takdak orang langsung kiri kanan.”
“Clear nya langit malam tadi, boleh kira bintang satu-satu.” My appa.

There was no amenities available. We gosok gigi by the river, while listening to the freight train passing by. It was so serene. So beautiful.

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Waimakariri River

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Sup, yo?

Taking everything in stride makes you appreciate more.

I’m oncall. I’m running high-temperature fever. I follow whatever instructions I always give to patients in case of severe URTI: take your Panadol 2 tablets four times daily and other meds, MANDI, minum plenty of water, jalan-jalan around rumah, makan, and don’t fret, in sha Allah it’ll be over soon.

Alhamdulillah, my call yesterday was good (according to my MA). No referral case at all. Very many thanks to my FMS who pitched in and did my extended hours. If not I’d be clerking patients via sign language tak pun kenyit-kenyit mata. Hahha. Besides no sick person wants to take advice from another sick person (credits to Hezne :)).

Nak dijadikan cerita, today since I’m all better kan, cases pun mula datang. Thank you, people of Maran, for giving me a sick day-in semalam. Hahha. Today started with open fracture of right femur. Kesian budak tu. Put on my proper baju and tudung, grabbed my keys and rushed to my Rush. Only to be disappointed by it. Battery flat! I told you abang Toyota! I told you! I had a major service (apa tah yang major) done two weeks back, and I INFORMED the Toyota personnel, “abang, enjin saya nak start pun dah malu-malu kucing. Rasa bukan starter. Pasal battery pun dah lebih 2 tahun”.

Later abang toyota called and informed, “tak payah tukar battery cause battery ada 60% lagi”. I was skeptical, 2 tahun battery ada 60% lagi. Biar bet. But the expert confirmed, who was I to argue?

But I felt disappointed because I was quite well aware of my own car. I am not the typical female who belasah naik kereta and never services one car and relies on one’s bf/husband/bapak for the general health of said car. I’d like to think that I am responsible of it, much like taking care of one’s child. So if it becomes sick under my care, it almost feels like I’m not doing a good job nurturing it. Twisted logic, but betul kan?

Takpe lah. Nasib baik kereta bawah rumah je. Then of course I had to run to clinic for the femur fracture. Lol, very attractive, with hidung tersumbat and hongeh, I arrived in one piece at the clinic. Kesian budak tu. Dah la family kat Lanchang. Geo lesson for you: Lanchang is about 90 kms from Maran.

Ah well. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be having my voice to communicate with the mechanic. With that, I leave you with this article: The Nature of Gratitude.

 

Thinking Position

I stopped writing because I realized in dismay, that the people I trusted most manipulated my thoughts for their own twisted mind games. It broke me for awhile (a few years), but then I realized, I couldn’t begrudge them for their action. My words were out in the open for everybody’s eyes to feast on, so really, I had nobody else to blame but me.

I hope that explained my disappearance for a bit.

I don’t want to forget what happened on Tuesday night, hence the impromptu blog update.

It was a typical Tuesday night. I finished my extended-hour clinic at 1030 pm. By then I was ready to just die on the bed. The cases were typical URTIs with a few MC seekers in between. Balik, ate Aida’s fantastic ayam masak ros for dinner, changed and prayed, and ready to collapse at 11.30 pm. But as luck had it, I got a call from sickbay, informing a 94 year-old (bless her!) makcik, known hypertensive but defaulted, came in with sudden onset of shortness of breath. SpO2 80% under room air, BP was 220/150. In English, shit wasn’t too good. So I left my bed and made my way to the clinic…

Makcik was a delightful warga emas who could still laugh at her predicament. There she was… with a high-flow oxygen mask on her face, chest heaving, and she could still grin and smile at the staff. My staff were awesome… they knew what to expect. By the time I arrived, one branula was already in, ECG on the way. Makcik claimed she felt better on oxygen. Lungs were fulllll of fluid. It was as if she was breathing in a tub of water. Makcik said she had no chest pain, and shortness of breath started acutely while she was trying to fall asleep.

ECG revealed some ischemic changes with LV strain… BP was still rocketing, I was thinking nitrates. While my SN and MA were preparing for catheterization, I counseled the family member for referral to Temerloh.

Grandson: Saya nak pergi Kuantan. Saya duduk Kuantan.
Me: Encik, Kuantan 88 km. Temerloh 50 km je. Ini kes kecemasan, bukan kes biasa-biasa. Makcik ada kegagalan jantung, sampai buat paru-paru dia penuh air.
Grandson: Saya tak nak pergi Kuantan. Menyusahkan saya je.
Me: Encik, tolong faham. Bukan saya saja-saja taknak pergi Kuantan. Temerloh driver boleh hantar dalam 20 minit je in sha Allah dah sampai. Kuantan nak lalu jalan Gambang lagi, dengan lori lagi. Kita nak cepat nak selamatkan nyawa makcik.
Grandson: Tak payah la doktor. Kami dah bincang bawak je dia ke Kuantan. Saya banyak kerja ni. Susah la kalau dia ke Temerloh. Sapa nak jaga.
Me: Itu kita pikir nanti la, encik. Sekarang yang penting kena selamatkan nyawa dia. Nanti bila dia dah stabil kat Temerloh encik mintak transfer la ke Kuantan.
Grandson: Tak. Muktamad. Kuantan. Saya kerja.
Me: Saya bagi MC untuk esok. Encik settlekan masalah tempat kerja. Sekarang ni fikir yang terbaik untuk nenek encik.
Grandson: Kita dah fikirlah ni. Nak ke Kuantan je.
Me: Encik faham tak, risiko kalau pergi jauh2. Dia kegagalan jantung. Bila-bila masa jantung dia boleh berhenti.
Grandson: Biarlah jantung dia berhenti!
Me: (I lost my cool at this moment). Cuba jangan pentingkan diri! Saya nak encik ingat kata-kata encik sampai bila-bila, agar bila encik tua nanti, anak encik cakap benda yang sama dekat encik, baru encik rasa.
Grandson: (silence).

So yeah, I kurang hajar to the patient’s kin. Did I regret it? Nah. Am I afraid if he would file a complaint? Be my guest.

I asked him to document that he would take the risk of any unfortunate event (including asystole) that were to happen to his grandmother due to his request for Kuantan referral. He took his time writing down, he struggled with the spelling. It’s okay if you are illiterate. What’s not okay is how eff-ed up in the head you are.

I told my driver and SN to pick up the pace and slam a foot on the pedal. So public, please know, because of his arrogance, I had to put my driver and staff nurse’s lives in danger.

Alhamdulillah, makcik arrived in one piece, but I really hope she amended her will soon.

Drama swasta wrapped up around 1 am. So I went back home for a dreamless sleep. Woke up at 635 am (yes I subuh dinosaur here) from another phone call. This time MA Zana’s voice was of despair mixed with sleepiness. 50 something year-old Indian lady, brought in by family members for being unconscious. Son claimed she complained of chest pain and shortness of breath before falling unconscious. Zana said, pulseless, tangan dah keras, pupils dah dilated. Sigh… I put on my jeans (thought about going to clinic in my funky sleep pants but nah…) and sped to the clinic.

I reconfirmed what Zana had already assessed, patient was brought in dead. She lived somewhere in Sri Jaya and that is like half an hour away. I shook my head regretfully and called it, and the children wailed some more. Daughter in-law asked me to reconsider my finding. One son kept on shaking dead mother’s shoulder, asking her to wake up. My heart went out for them. I looked at her record, aunty was recently discharged from ward for MI (serangan jantung, not mission impossible). I wrote the memo necessary for the death certificate and called for one of the sons.

Me: Sorry ya. Saya bagitahu sama you ya sekarang. Jantung dia sudah berhenti. Dan otak dia pun sudah mati. Sudah keras. You mari tengok mata dia saya tunjuk sama you. (Showed how pupils were already fixed and dilated). Itu bermakna otak dia pun sudah mati. Kalau jantung saja berhenti, kita boleh cuba kasi jantung dia start balik. Macam dalam TV tu kita kasi pam sama itu jantung dia.
Son: Jadi memang mak saya sudah takda la?
Me: Ya, memang sudah takda. Saya mintak maaf. Saya tahu you baru sambut tahun baru.
Son: Takpala doktor. Kita penat sembahyang kasi Tuhan, tapi dia takda tolong pun sama kita.
Me: Aiyo. Jangan macam tu. Saya harap you bersabar.

Son thanked me and just gave me a watery smile and left to the police station.

It marveled me how God was trying to teach me in stages. Two different scenarios. Two different outcomes. Two different lessons. I lost faith in my own race sometimes…

So where did we go wrong?

Midnight Meanderings

Wow, it has been so long!

12.50 am and I still can’t sleep. I should be rejoicing as my call tonight seems fairly good… The last call I got from the clinic only wanted me to review patient’s vital sign, so that was all good. I am really lucky. Whoever said that district makes for a bad practice, you guys are wrong. I have some of the best, most experienced staff nurses and JMs around. I cherish them for their knowledge and input, and for without them, my calls are gonna be shitty. Trust me.

I’m getting ponderish tonight because I feel helpless. A friend is about to hit rock bottom and I am too far away to lend a crying shoulder. Should I skip work tomorrow and make the 600 km drive? I shouldn’t even be contemplating this, because if I were a good enough friend, I would have started packing and off I went! I tried to send a care package, but it seems to impersonal. I sent a prayer her way… Hopefully that’ll tide her by before I could meet up with her.

I am also getting ponderish because the best friend is finally getting married. And I am genuinely happy for him. Alhamdulillah, jodoh dah sampaikan? Sampai ke hujung hayat la harapnya. Amin.

On Friday I had multiple patients who came from the neighboring town. It gets you frustrated, you know… Government builds Klinik Kesihatan in each town to accomodate the growing population, so that the rakyats do not have to travel far for health services. But not in this case. When asked, they don’t mind the travel as the staffs are friendlier. What can I say to that lah?

Yes. Euro 2012. So which team is your favorite? I notice with growing interest that Sergio Ramos looks hotter with the new haircut. LOL. I’m pretty adamant that England shall not make it past semi finals. Other than that, I think France and Italy are looking pretty good. And I am on call on 30th. FML. Hopefully that night the people of Maran will be too busy watching football to come to the clinic. Hahha.

I should try sleeping… Yes. Good night.