Friday, January 29, 2016

My Supermom VS Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

It all started from her bad cough.

My mom had been coughing for months and nothing seemed to help. And one day, heard from my pharmacist friend that there's a pretty well-known traditional Chinese doctor (you know, the tongue and pulse examination) in Miri who had helped her friend and also her family members in various type of disease. Therefore I brought my mom to this Chinese doctor along with Bobby.

The three of us all had a pleasant visit to the doctor as she could straightaway state our physical conditions and later prescribed with different batches of medicinals (decoction of several substances). And so we all went home and everything seemed fine until one day...

The rashes began... 

Around two weeks after the visit, my mom had fever and she felt better after taking medicine. Just when we thought she's recovering, the fever came back again. The rashes first developed on her tummy, we all thought it was winter rash because she just came back from Hong Kong that time and she said it was very cold to her. But the rashes spread real quickly. Not only her tummy, her limbs, her face and all over her body.

We went to the KB hospital and the doctor thought it wasn't anything serious and only prescribed Aqueous cream and medicines to treat itching. The doctor said "give some time" and if it's still there, come back NEXT WEEK. That was on Monday,4th of January.

But rashes didn't get any better. Instead... it got worse and turned into widespread purplish skin rash with blisters. We knew we had to go for another doctor for another diagnosis.

Can you see the big blister on her ankle? It was about 6cm in diameter, almost like a hanging water balloon.
And that was not the only blister.

My mom had always preferred Seria clinic because the doctors and nurses there are much nicer and patient. Not to mention, less crowd too.We didn't wait for a week (siao meh! like this wait pi ah) and went to Seria clinic on Wednesday, also to take her annual blood test result.

When the nurse checked my mom's blood pressure and temperature, she saw the rash and blisters and said, "Auntie... I think you drug allergy. Sakit kah? Kasian auntie.."

I had a light-bulb moment after hearing that and thought.. could it be the Chinese medicines?

The nurse was really kind and took as many information as she could and wrote it in my mom's file and quickly sent to the doctor.

The doctor read what the nurse wrote, asked some questions and I also tried to feed him as much info as I can to find the possible causes and examined my mom's rash. He heaved a deep sigh and I knew it's not going to be something I wanted to hear.

"This is a very bad reaction and I suspect she has Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. I'm going to give her some steroids and see how it goes. If the rashes don't subside, we will have to hospitalize her."

"Steroids? So does it mean after taking steroids she will recover very soon? Does she need to take another blood test?"

"Blood test won't help her for now. We need to make sure this rash doesn't get any worse. This is not a small issue. Come back on Saturday and we will decide if she needs to be hospitalized." , the doctor said with a low stern voice. 

I had to translate what the doctor said to my mom, at the same time, I left out some part because I didn't want to scare her.

While waiting for the prescription (Prednisone, 40mg a day *cries* and antibiotic cream), I took out my phone and did a quick search on Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, the more I read, the more I freaked out. Life-threatening complications, blindness, damage to internal organs and permanent skin damage.

It was like the longest three days of my life to wait till Saturday. I slept in my mom's room to take care of her and there was few times I found myself just sitting on the mattress on the floor, looked at my mom just to ensure that she's breathing, then cried uncontrollably to sleep. That's how paranoid I became. I asked her a lot of questions everyday like, do you have sorethroat? Where else pain?! Please don't lie to me and pretend you're fine. Quick tell me where else pain? Can you see clearly? Got blurred vision? Got ulcers inside your mouth or not? And examined her face, her ears, her scalp, her hands and legs, and everywhere else to check for if there's any new rash or blister, or the rash subsiding.

She didn't quite get why was I so in such distress.

Despite of not being able to walk properly due to the blisters around both her ankles, she still remained very very active and had no intention of reducing her workload. I knew I couldn't stop her so I came up with a better idea, I followed her everywhere. I was her driver, her assistant (funny how a cleaner also can have an assistant), her nanny, her cook, her everything. It was the busiest week ever. She coughed, I woke up and checked on her. She went to the toilet, I waited. If we're at home, she would be lying on the couch watching television whereas I would be the one doing all the chores, cooking, sweeping, mopping, laundry, making sure she drank enough water and took all her meds.

And by 8.00 to 8.30am, I would drive her out for breakfast, tapao-ed for this old granny (I also don't understand why this granny only wants bazhang and kopi-c from Wing Soon) and sent the breakfast to her EVERYDAY except Sunday, picked up her other ladyboss from home and sent her to work, went to her work place and I did most of  the heavy job and she did the lighter chores). Cooked lunch, sometimes we need to go to Seria to pick up dirty laundry and a lot lah.... I had no idea how busy my mom was until I was in her shoes for almost the entire month. I told her that being with her these few weeks reminded me of the days when I was young and followed her to her workplace and do the easier job. Just that now tabalik, I'm the one driving her around and doing the heavier job.

Helping her with her work was not the hardest part of this whole SJS saga, what I hated most was the reaction of some people upon seeing her "rotten skin".

We encountered:

- stupid people who thought it was a contagious skin disease and refused my mom to enter the house.

- keh kiang aunties who think they are better than doctor, with conversations like this,
Aiyoo! What happened to you? I know lah, you chicken pox / measles / hives
I tell you what, you must take the xxx plant and shower /  eat xxx medicine / sleep on the magical mattress that can cures everything *roll eyes*
Basically, it's pointless to explain to these type of people because they chose to believe what they want to. My mom told them it was drug allergy and they still insisted on their "analysis". Most of the time I will keep quiet and roll my eyes 1000 rpm in my heart, but when I was in a bad mood or I really disliked that particular person, I will talk back and said, "Wah auntie/uncle, I didn't know you are a doctor! Stupid also those doctors study for so many years while you one glance already know what happened."
- The "You eat crabs / prawns / sotong is it? Last time I also like that you know, then I blah blah blah blah" - Er, no, my mom is a vegetarian you idiot.

-  Worst of all, "Eh, I think you kana "dirty thing", go see bomoh better ok". We explained again it's drug allergy and guess what, another random auntie came along and asked what happened to my mom, the si-pandai, in front of us, told the auntie "She kana dirty thing". Someone please hand me my gun.

安娣s 的耳朵做么酱硬的哈?

 Sorry, I had digressed a little.

Her skin clearing up. No more purple toes!

 After few days of taking the Prednisone, the rash and blisters subsided and my mom's skin was finally clearing up. The big blisters around her ankles looked like a deflated water balloon, wrinkly yet still with fluid inside. We went back to Seria clinic for review on 09/01/2016 and the doctor told us since the blisters were drying up, rash subsided, she won't need to be hospitalized, but she need to go to the skin clinic in KB to consult to taper down the steroid dose and set us up an appointment 10 days later (19/01/2016) .Just when we thought everything will be fine, came another issue. Fluid leaked out from the blisters and didn't quite heal up. Because both her ankles hurt so badly when the skin was stretched around that area, she couldn't even stand up straight not to mention walking properly.

Back to Seria clinic for dressing a week later (16/01/2016)

The nurse told us that the wounds need to be cleaned and dressed daily until it dried up to avoid infection. And so, I had to bring my mom to clinic everyday and at the same time, learned how to do it myself so I can do it at home for her when needed. It was heartbreaking to see my mom in so much pain when the nurse removed the bandage and cleaned it with antiseptic solution. I could see her shaking while anticipating the pain. Yet she still tried her best to smile and kasian the nurse if she knew they were so busy that they had not eaten their breakfast.

When my mom wore the above shirt to KB hospital (because Seria clinic is closed on Sunday, we need to go to the women ward for dressing), the nurse asked if my mom is hospitalized because she was wearing the patient clothing. And then we noticed, ya hor, Brunei government hospitals' patient clothing for women is red and white mini checkered shirt with a red sarong. Hhahhahahahaa.

Soiled bandage = Extreme pain later....

Woke up one morning only to find her watering her beloved plants downstairs. 就是不可以乖乖休息的

She insisted in preparing dinner and took the chair into the kitchen. Don't worry, she only washed the vegetables and I did all the cooking.
The stuffs I got from the clinic to do dressing at home.

Yay, almost back to the original state.
Except for the "world map" at the back of the ankle. Can you imagine how bad it was before?

I'm glad that my mom has always been a very positive person and she strongly believe that she will be fine even when she was in pain.She tried her best to avoid negative people because nothing good comes out from their mouths, such as, "This time ok, who knows when will this happens again?" *CHOI!* and only surrounded herself with the positive people who tells her that she is recovering well. She assured everyone that she's getting better and better day by day and joked that she has new skin for new year. Beh tahan her really. And the good news is, not only her blood test and urine test come back with everything ok (no damage to the liver and kidney), her bad cough is gone and also she hears better now!

My supermom in her "baju hospital"

Huge thanks to all the kind doctors and nurses who helped us on this. I heard so many bad comments about government hospital staffs but really, those we encountered were so patient and nice! (With one or two exception) My mom and I believe that if you treat people with respects and kindness, they will be good to you too.


Friday, January 15, 2016

My 2015

I lied.

I never finish blogging my travelogue. *awkward dry laugh*

But nevermind, let’s try something simpler this time.

Because Maurina (Wow! Hyperlink! Been a really long time since I linked someone in this blog *another awkward dry laugh*) has been super semangat in blogging recently (2016 new year resolution kah?), so here I am now, trying to blog as well.

*Photos all from my Instagram account because I’m lazy like that*


 Tried Blackball with the GBs for the first time and couldn’t even finish half of what we ordered.

Took rock climbing as my ECA in UBD and only attended one session.

My alasans included:
– no time, need to finish my assignments.
- Finally finish my assignment, I deserve a good rest.
- Seems like it’s going to rain soon. No point going.
- Weather very good… in fact, too good liao. So hot, can I just nap at home?
- I don’t know anyone there, very sien, I go also alone gong gong sit there wait for my turn

So ya…. Well, at least I tried… once.

Second year, second semester.
My favorite module – Ceramics and Product Design.
First assignment was making clay stamps and coil pot.

 Cut my hair short because I cannot tahan my hair dropped a lot and left a trail like Hansel and Gretel. Felt much lighter, used less shampoo and less time to dry it. But then, now I don’t know whether I should leave it long again or cut it short. Every woman’s hair dilemma. 

 Celebrated my Chusband’s 31st birthday by making him a carrot cake and a cheat birthday card. 

 Brought 48 down to Miri to choose wedding gown for her big day.

Celebrated Valentine’s day with my pig-dog friends (because we were born either in the year of dog or boar, 猪朋狗友, but we are not bad company hor) in Miri, feasting on seafood. After dinner, we went back to hotel to doll up because we were thinking to go pub or clubbing but failed badly. Went in the club, they ordered a beer, hated the atmosphere and the cigarette smell, left the place and had a Mala-steamboat instead. We were so not cool.  

 Wanted to help 48 save some money and thought bridal car decoration should be an easy task, wah lao eh…. Piece of advice, just let the florists earn lah. Not worth the hassle. Mau mati already doing it.
 But it’s all worth it because she’s my best friend. I’ve been waiting for them to tie the knot till neck also longer than giraffe.

 Door games for the groom. Simple for us, but challenging for Shane. Added in some of my childhood photos to confuse him sekali my own husband also keh kiang, thought my photo is 48 one. Damn fail, or success ah?

 Became a tour guide for the angmohs. 

And… completed my first assignment after several attempts.

The first coil pot I made shattered into pieces after firing in Dr. Martie’s hand because I didn’t connect the pieces properly. So I had to redo everything and luckily the second one finished just in time. Still, never see me as an Art student in my life before.

 Celebrated Chau and Vai’s belated birthday with the Garden Circlings. 

 Second assignment for the ceramic module – Candle holder.
This product is now in my living room helping me to welcome guests. 

 Went crazy and ordered 8 pairs of shoes from Zalora. 2 didn’t fit me well and I sold them cheaply to Natalie and was on a shoe shopping diet till now. 

Still need to attend mundane classes and did an OOTD in the class to pass time.
I’m not a very attentive student, but I know when to “look” attentive, nodding my head and looking straight to the lecturer’s eyes and pretended that I have a clue (because I’m a teacher myself. HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA. Dear future students, please don’t try this unless you are going to be very hardworking after class like teacher Nonnie ok?)

Final assignment for the ceramic class, mask made of air dry clay.
Making the face is not difficult, the hard part was the accessories for the head.
You have no idea how much an art student spent on their assignments… No wonder art students very kapeh.

The Chusband (chubby husband, incase you’re wondering) finally graduated.
He very kanasai ok, everytime we argued or debated over something (which is usually not important or just talking cock), or he wanted to lecture me over something like me procrastinating, he will bring out the “I have the Master’s degree and you are still an undergraduate student. So listen to me ok.”
Please tell me I have every rights to slap him.
(I didn’t la, I know he was just joking but very kanasai lo. But now I suan him back with my CGPA and also with the “I was awarded the book prize and also in the Dean’s list wor, you leh? Save your breath.”


 Had a garage sale with the PSJ girls and donated all the earnings.

First trip of the year, Penang with PSL and Shay.

Bumped into 莎莎 (SaSa) and 顏永烈 (Yan Yong Lie), the two hosts of 食尚玩家 (Super Taste), the most popular tourism and cuisine programme in Taiwan and had my 30 seconds of fame in the show.
(17:30 onwards if you only want to see me. Perasaan)

 Hens Night for Zed and it was an awesome night because it was so rare that we were a complete group!
Now it’s even harder with Zed leaving PSJ. *cries*

 Went to Singapore with mummy dearest. 

Make full use of the Sungkai promotion.
Twice to Excapade, once to Sorisso, i-Lotus and Freshco

 Sent out Raya cards because that’s what we did 15, 20 years ago. 

Had a mini gathering with the D.I.E ladies (Diploma in Education)

The happiest month!

Went to Melbourne…
Played in the snow, had super fresh and cheap oysters, café hopping, the fresh strawberries and cherries. Aiyah, I wanna go back there lah!

And also Gold Coast because 48 is there.
Hello Kangaroo, Bugs Bunny and Batman.


Started my 14 weeks internship in ISB KB and met a lot of awesome people, the staffs and the students. The school wowed me so much that my PSJ colleagues got worried that I may not want to go back to government school. Truth is, I don’t have a choice. 10 years bond man…


 Joined the calligraphy workshop for beginners and met some awesome people!

 Zed finally hitched!

 And we continued to have fun

 Received my first Teacher’s Day gift in 3 years. 

 Registered for the Heroes run but didn’t participate because wasn’t feeling well that morning.
Oh well, there’s always next time. 

I have been awarded the book prize and hope there’s more to come. Must work even harder for my final year!
Bobby got me roses and potato chips to congratulate me and also it was our 3rd ROM anniversary.
He called me his Einstein. Hahahhahahhhaa

 Went crazy in Hallyu. 

 Attended friend’s wedding

 Class trip to OGDC with the Year 3 to 7 and thought them on making containers out of clay.
 We also made a papermache volcano together and also celebrated Halloween for the first time in my life.
 Finally got to try the Nasi Katok Sotong from Café Maurina and it was unforgettable. Bila next pop up sales Mau?
Beach clean up + walkathon with the ISB kids.

 Awesome birthday celebration with the people I love!

 Ended my internship and received really beautiful handmade cards from the students and flowers from the staffs. 

 FussyKelly surprised us with another cake and made us eat sushi full of wasabi from playing the pop-up pirate toy. 


Watched my very first football match

Dressed up as the Flintstones for PSJ annual dinner and got the second place!


 Mrs. Lim for three years already. 

Ate a lot in KK. A LOT!
(And suffered from a real bad food poisoning when we’re back in Brunei…. eat lah, eat more lah!)
 Christmas eve celebration in Miri Marriot with lousy food and bad air-conditioning!
Lucky this awesome bunch made up for the bad thing and we had lots of fun exchanging (stupid) gifts.

Each of us need to buy 3 gifts from Daiso and we made our own rule for white elephant game. 

 Made my own planner because I karit like that.
And also, fell in love with watercolor. 

Spent my new year’s eve having big feast at the Gans and left early to have roti kosong with the sick PSL.

There, my 2015 in a big ass nutshell.
Come to think of it, my 2015 was pretty fruitful and I hope my 2016 will be as good as it.