Strangers In The Night

It was a night much like all the other nights. Both my mother and I had just done our Maghrib prayers and then retreated to the family area to unwind. Although the TV was on, we were not really watching, preferring to just sit back and relax. As always, at this time, the spouse would still be at the mosque.

And then we heard the turning of the door knob in the living area, not once but twice. We were not at all bothered by this, thinking that it was the spouse. Sitting where we were, we could not see what was going on in the living area; we could only hear. We knew the drill following every single turn of the door knob by heart. There would be the slamming of the door, the securing of the latches and the hurried footsteps of the spouse to where we were, to catch up on the 8 p.m. news on TV.


The door knob

Strangely enough, there was a complete silence after the turning of the door knob. It took us several minutes to register this. The moment we understood the implication, there was both fear and panic. I ran to the living area to check on the door. It was securely locked. Then I did a hasty check on the other two doors and windows. They were all properly fastened.

A quick glance at the clock was all that I needed to conclude that it was a bit too early
for the spouse to return from his prayers. Yet both my mother and I distinctly heard the knob being turned. It was clearly not a fragment of our imagination. It was for real.

A check with the spouse when he returned home ten minutes later confirmed that it wasn’t him. So, who could it be? It would be too early for the prowlers to start on their rounds. But, if they had been keeping tabs on us, they would know that we were at our most vulnerable between 7.15 to 8.00p.m. when there would only be the two of us in the house.

If not the prowlers, who?


The door

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Don’t Count The Chickens…………….

I love pineapples but not enough to have them grown in my backyard. Don’t have anything against them except that I have this phobia for anything sharp and thorny. So, when the spouse brought home three young plants, a gift from one of his golf buddies, I just flung them in one secluded corner of the backyard, hoping they would wither and die. But die they did not. Even after three days in the hot scorching sun without a single drop of water, they thrived.

The next thing I knew, they were firmly fixed to the ground in a neat row. Obviously this was not the work of the spouse. He prefers the abstract. Haphazardly strewn all over the place would have been more his style.

My mother took pity on the dying plants and decided to give them a new lease of life in our already cramped backyard. Her kind gesture meant that I now have three extra plants to water!!!

Except for water, I gave them nothing. No garden soil, no fertilizers, no tender loving care. Nothing. But they stubbornly fought on, not in the least bothered by my lukewarm treatment of them, pointing their layers of sharp saw-like leaves antagonistically towards potential enemies.

My hostility began to slowly fade away the moment I noticed the unmistakable bloom (or is it plume?) of a small inflorescence deep within the inner recesses of the hollowed centre in one of the plants.


Ready but not quite.......

Upon my mother’s advice, we (the spouse and
I) decided to wait until the skin started to show streaks of gold before we pluck her. According to my mother, she (the pineapple) would be at her sweetest and most succulent then.

Weeks passed before my mother made one final assessment and announced the fruit was ready for harvesting. We decided to do it the next morning.

I went to bed that night thrilled at the prospect of tasting my first ever homegrown pineapple. Somehow home grown breeds are always inexplicably tastier than the ones bought.

But, we woke up to this horror…….


All that's left of her


And the crown came tumbling down.

……. She was brutally attacked. Nothing was spared. There was something sinister about the way her flesh was shredded to bits and scattered all over.

The spouse did not waste time gathering evidence to solve the mystery, bending and peering closely, much like those CSI guys on TV. It did not take him long to sum up his findings……”It happened in the middle of the night”!!!! I knew from the start that it would be a waste of time watching all those shows.

So much for the spouse. My mother, on the other hand, has her own way of nabbing the culprit. She devised a method which was more elaborate. She planted EIGHT new plants hoping to lure the culprit again and catch him this time.

And now I have an additional eight new plants to water.

Moral of the story is…..Don’t count the chickens before they are hatched.

The Old Faithful

Spent the whole of yesterday morning at Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital for the verdict on the blood test. I was the usual bundle of nerves, like on all the other previous occasions, prior to getting the results. The longer-than-usual more-than-3-hour wait did not help to ease the situation either. And it came as no surprise when my blood pressure reading sky-rocketed to almost double the readings at home! I thought I had psyched myself up enough to remain calm, cool and collected for whatever was in store for me. I failed misearably yet again. So, the rest of the waiting game was spent contemplating whether or not to get a new blood pressure machine to replace my old and faithful Omron.

Surprisingly I was able to remain reasonably composed when the doctor was ready to see me. The actress in me did a good job in disguising my fears. I passed with flying colours, as far as the liver was concerned. However, the blood pressure reading did not escape his scrutiny. He was satisfied, though, when I told him that my readings at home rarely exceeded the 110/80 limit.

My next appointment will be in March 2013. That is one whole year from now. I had never been given this much of freedom ever since I was first diagnosed. It started with twice weekly followed by once a week and then once a fortnight, once a month, once in 3 months and twice a year and now this. Syukur Alhamdulillah.

The first thing I did when I got home was to check on my blood pressure, of course! As expected, the reading was lower than the normal 120/80.  Got the spouse to check his blood pressure to eliminate all doubts I had on the old faithful. His reading was as steady as always, regardless of his wherabouts. So, I confidently concluded that the Omron was still reliable.


My blood pressure reading just before posting this entry.

Life’s Many Challenges

Don’t know how many times I’ve done this. Lost count. But I still have to carry on doing it until they set me free. Tried questioning them several times regarding my status but never got a straight answer. After five years, I’ ve learnt to live with it, accepting my destiny AND hoping there will not be a recurrence. But, having said that, I still get the jitters every time I see him, for it is at these meetings my condition is updated. Prior to the meetings, I need to go through the process of getting the data ready for him to analyse.  I used to detest this process, too, but it is quite painless actually. It is the meetings that give me sleepless nights.

Below are some recent pictures of me going through the process of gathering data AGAIN, with some  professional help, of course!


Waiting patiently for my turn


Searching for the veins

The Caregiver

My life revolves around them. Everyday, seven days a week. A heavy commitment, a huge responsibility. A voluntary service which is not done for fame, much less for fortune. I do it because I can’t just turn my back on them. And I do it with such a conviction that saps a tremendous amount of energy.

The mind tries knocking some sense but the heart refuses to listen. Not because I’ve fallen head over heels in love with them. It goes far deeper than that. Inexplicable. And they know it. They keep on coming in various shapes and shades. And I keep on obliging. No discrimination whatsoever. Absolutely in line with 1Malaysia.

Yes, my modest home has become a mini
sanctuary for stray cats. They come thin and hungry, battered and wounded, blind and deaf, maimed and mute, etc, etc, etc. How do I turn a blind eye to all these sufferings?


The once thin and hungry.


The deaf.


The maimed. Walks with a limp.

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What do you do when you’ve had enough of a Facebook friend who has gone totally insane ( to put it mildly) with so much hatred for a political party? It is utterly sickening to see his threads. Losing my patience fast. I just don’t care if you’re a hardcore of anything BUT just don’t go round littering my wall with all those horrible speculations, allegations and accusations. And treating my wall space like a canvas to splash your pent-up anger, dabbing obscenities for added colour.  How dare you!

No, I’m not a narrow-minded person who treats all those on the other side of the divide I’m on with disrespect. I have many friends covering a wide spectrum of beliefs and ideologies but none, I repeat, NONE behaves the way you do.

I think it is justifiable for me to terminate our friendship. Should have done it ages ago. I bid you, sayonara. Not with a heavy heart at all.

The Ramadhan Syndrome

Contrary to the popular belief that one is able to shed off a few kilos during the fasting month of Ramadhan, I experienced the opposite. And I know of many who share the same syndrome. How we ended up with those extra baggage are far too varied to list down. In my case, it was the fear of getting gastritis and vertigo that made me gorge on all those foods; obviously more than was necessary to keep the two at bay. In retrospect, I think it was more of an excuse than a reason.

Ramadhan is just 5 months away from now. I have finally got rid of the extra baggage today. It took me 7 months. Not an easy feat. Hope I won’t be so gullible as to fall into the same trap again.