Friday, October 16, 2009

Childhood Dreams And The Reality Of Adulthood II: The Prodigal Grows Up

Thought you had all the answers,
To rest your heart upon,
But something happens,
Don't see it coming now,
You can't stop yourself,
Now you're out there swimming...
In the deep.
In the deep.
- In The Deep, Bird York, 2006

Her last words to me were to take care of him, not to bully him but to look out for him.

My last words to her were unbelievingly bitter and insensitive, uttered with implosive hatred and stupid teenage anger.

The years in our walk of life rush by faster than we know and would allow them to.

We lose the people we love before we’re ready to, and usually at a time and age when we need them the most.

We sincerely want to repay the generosity and kindness we’ve received in life, and yet our struggles with daily survival get in the way.

Before we know it, something happens to the ones we love.

We are left helplessly lost, stuck and stranded in a place far and away.

Life keeps tumbling your heart in circles,
Till you let go,
Till you shed your pride,
And you climb to heaven,
And you throw yourself off,
Now you're out there spinning...
Now you're out there spinning...
In the deep.
In the deep.

It’s yet another sleepless night in the clinic, not because it was busy but because insomnia has trailed me here as well.

I counseled an asthmatic, drained a thigh abscess and reassured and anxious father, among others.

He called me up but I was not free.

The disappointment in his voice was palpable.

I promised to call back and I did so but reached his voice mail instead.

This cycle has been going on for quite a while now.

Our days of swimming and getting sunburn are gone now, the silly drives past funeral parlors at night also.

I won’t forget his tears when I left home to serve needy strangers across the South China Sea.

His phone call on my first day here were desperate pleas to come home.

I’ve saved strangers and relieved much pain here.

I could not mend his betrayed trust though.

What’s the point of saving strangers around you when your own loved ones are in pain and emotional distress?

In the silence,
All your secrets will raise their worried heads,
Well, you can pin yourself back together,
To who you thought you were.
Now you're out there living…
In the deep.
In the deep.

Have I made inroads in my medical career so far?

Yes, and quite certainly too.

Perhaps even to the envy of some senior colleagues.

Am I appreciative of the opportunities I have received in life?

Obviously and so much more reason to fight for social justice and greater equity for the poor and downtrodden.

Do I realize that I am greatly and wonderfully blessed?

Definitely and with great thanksgiving to the Almighty God.

Can I blame anyone anywhere for the mess that I feel I have created?

No, the prodigal has come of age but remains a prodigal still.

To my loved ones whom I left behind, I am truly sorry.

Now you're out there spinning...
Now you're out there swimming...
Now you're out there spinning...
In the deep.
In the deep.
In the deep.
In the deep...

Read more!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Childhood Dreams And The Reality of Adulthood

I haven't seen your face around
Since I was a kid
You're bringing back those memories
Of the things that we did
You're hangin round
And climbing trees
Pretending to fly
D'Yer wanna be a spaceman
And live in the sky

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, By Oasis, 1994.

I had a long chat with a colleague yesterday, someone I do not meet regularly or even call up occasionally.

We went through housemanship together where we endured the nags and outbursts so commonplace in obstetrics and gynaecology.

Our paths had hardly crossed since then.

Life is such that there will be those whom we meet everyday but find little in common, and then there are those whom we meet once in ages and still realize we have much that we share in thoughts and views.

“POTS, do you realize that the more we progress in our medical career, the less option we seem to have?” he said.

His statement reminded me of the 1994 hit song by the now-defunct rock band Oasis.

It was also a stark reminder of how far I and We and probably most of us have strayed from our original passion and childhood dreams.

At the height of my STPM exams, I kneeled and prayed and ask God for a shot in medical school.

The enthusiasm of doing missionary work in wretched nations torn by war and strife was burning within me then.

In the final years of medical school, I made grandiose plans to sit for the USMLE, PLAB or AMC exam, or all of them, hoping to make groundbreaking contributions in healthcare and medicine.

Now all I want to do is to make money and provide a comfortable life for my family.

You got how many bills to pay
And how many kids
And you forgot about
The things that we did
The town where we're living
Has made you a man
And all of your dreams
Are washed away in the sand

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, 2nd verse, Oasis, 1994.

I looked through some old photo albums of the family not too long ago.

At age 16, my dear father cycled from Batu Gajah to Sitiawan as part of his criteria of attaining the King Scout award.

Last year at age 60, he spent Christmas playing Solitaire on his desktop.

I am sure he has dreams and wishes somewhere deep within him but if he had any, he isn’t expressing them.

I wish he would, because I would do anything to see them come true.

My sister the high achiever can achieve anything she put her heart and mind into.

Somewhere between graduating summa cum laude from university, one rocky marriage and a few tyrant bosses, her dreams of revolutionizing the Malaysian healthcare system from within the system went up in flames.

Out of civil service and with two young children now, she’s content just being a responsible mother and peace-making wife.

Well it's alright
It's alright
Who are you and me to say
What's wrong and what's right
Do you still feel like me
We sit down here
And we shall see
We can talk
And find common ground
And we can just forget
About feeling down
We can just forget
About life in this town.

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, Chorus, Oasis, 1994.

My friend from secondary school days, Lee had this to message me the other day:
“Sometimes I feel like giving up on job, God, girl and all.”

It was a message one would never have expected from him, a person more fondly remembered to be the life of the party and a genius in his own rights.

These days, Lee sends me hollow, single-worded replies in SMSes.

I still think he’d one day be a successful paediatrician, but for now he is another dejected soul guessing over the life that could have been if he had left for Singapore after STPM.

It's funny how your dreams

Change as you're growing old
You don't wanna be no spaceman
You just want the gold
All the dream stealers
Are lying in wait
But if you wanna be a spaceman
It's still not too late

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, Final Verse, Oasis, 1994.

Someone very dear to me has all but given up her dreams of cruising the open seas and opening a kindergarten.

She spent a large period of her youth caring for an ill mother, and thereafter poured in a tremendous amount of effort rehabilitating patients incapacitate by stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

Now stricken by endometriosis, she’s spending a great sum just trying to get pregnant.

Her self image has taken a blow, especially when she’s surrounded by baby-bloomers who seem to reproduce so very effortlessly.

Is this what life does to us as we grow up and age?

Maybe this all is all God’s plans – personal tragedies, familial diseases and financial struggles.

If it is, should I then abide by it or swim against the flow just as I have done my whole life?

Well it's alright
And It's alright
Who are you and me to say
What's wrong and what's right
Do you still feel like me
We sit down here
And we shall see
We can talk
And find common ground
And we can just forget
About feeling down
We can just forget
About life in this town.

- D'Yer wanna be a spaceman, Oasis, 1994.

Read more!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I’m not and neither are you.

I’m not a Muslim, Christian or Jew, just a sinner saved by grace.

I’m not Malay, Chinese or bumiputera, just a prodigal in search of my niche.

I’m not a learned doctor with gifted healing hands, just another mortal who bleeds and grieves.

I’m not depressed, deranged or even remotely disenchanted; I’m just posing questions unto the heavens.

I’m not anti-government or pro-opposition, just a lover of justice and hater of corruption.

I’m not a rumor monger or doomsday prophet, just a self-appointed whistle blower.

I’m not a slanderous rebel blogger with an open identity, just a restless soul drinking from my cup.

You’re not special in the strictest sense of the word, just a person born into a certain skin and creed.

You’re not the Holy Father or a bona fide martyr, just a hypocritical phony who’s misleading millions.

You’re not afflicted, handicapped or even imperfect, just an individual among many others carrying one’s cross.

You’re not immortal or the least invincible, just a fat-ass pseudo-surgeon who will die like the patients you transformed into vegetables.

You’re not the democratically elected leader of an apartheid nation, just a horny old man who denied any involvement with a voluptuous Mongolian model.

You’re not insignificant or fighting a lost cause, just a drop of goodness making its ripples.

You’re not better off or worse than your brother, just blessed in the bittersweet manner of the Lord our God.

You’re not lost on a one way street to nowhere, at least not any more than how I am currently.

Read more!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Beginning of the End?

Just as I had expected, treatment of my recently diagnosed medical condition has turned me into a dull and stoned person if not already, prior to this.

I have been struggling to think and write but each time the blank page of Microsoft Word appears, my goes as blank as the white screen.

There is no motivation to pen my thoughts, no drive to make any shocking exposẻ and no irritation to the things that usually drive me up the wall.

Is this the beginning of the end of POTS?

Or is this the beginning of another beginning, one with a more subdued and mellow version of myself?

Was all my supposed righteous rebellion the result of misguided neurons instead of an inherent sense of right and wrong?

Am I now my true self, the personality I am suppose to possess all this while without the influence of a deranged physiology?

Will I be happy rediscovering a fresh identity or will I cling on to a deceased self that continues to linger around for a while? Read more!