Archive for the 'family' Category

beautiful boy

I should point out that there was a brand new 6 pound addition to the family yesterday at 4pm, courtesy of my brother and sister-in-law. Little Vernon is a fantastic little kicking meat-bundle, with the superhuman ability to not-blink and a snorty derision of nipples, and he has come to save the universe.

I was too busy trying not to drop him to remember to take pictures. Will upload after seeing him again tonight.

Yes, I know the orientation’s wrong. I usually just view these on my phone anyway.


obligatory stock-take

Actually this should have been done last night, but what the hell. This blog’s been up a year with a view to documenting my major lifehack – and I’d say the remix of my life has been not too bad.

Let’s see, I quit my shitty job, found a new job, my parents got sick (again), my dad had to go for major surgery, he kicked its ass, my brother got married, my sister-in-law got pregnant, and I’m enjoying the hell out of being a student again. For all intents and purposes, 2006 pretty freaking rocked. I think I didn’t fuck it up this time. Very cool.

In keeping with my frankly quite dumb blog title of zerotwohero, I’m upgrading myself to 0.3 since my last grade of 0.1 when I got my new job. Still got a ways to go, but I think I’ve some idea how to get there.

the big 60

Five months on from this.

fuck yes

Yesterday my dad had an appointment with his kidney specialist to talk about the need to continue dialysis. Basically my dad’s been off dialysis for a month so they can measure how his kidney’s holding up by itself.

30%, mofos!

Of course, that’s not ideal, but its way above the 15% cutoff-point for not needing dialysis. So the kidney pretty much regenerated itself the past couple of months, and my dad’s king of the fucking lizards (this is a good thing). Now he just has to watch his diet and lifestyle, as well as the occasional checkup and follow-up with the specialist.

They also finally took out the catheter he’s had stuck in his chest for over a month, which means he can finally take a shower without having to tape up his right chest for waterproofing.

Regarding the aneurysm at his artery, it’s pretty much collapsed at the arch near his heart, but shifted down to the lower artery just above his kidney. His kidney’s actually being supplied blood by the swollen lumen, so the doctor’s just going to let that pass for now. It looks to be in no danger of bursting within the next 10 years, so for all intents and purposes, my dad’s beaten the odds.

Thanks again to everyone who’s been asking after him. Fuck yes.

the end is the beginning is the end is the beginning

Well, my dad's finally been discharged, exactly a month and a day after checking in.

He's still weak as a kitten, but doing pretty well compared to his last surgery 9 years back. We went to get his hair washed at a salon on the way back. He couldn't make it 10 metres without stopping for 5 minutes. The exertion immediately brought on a fever when we got home. He'll get stronger, but we need to be careful.

The remaining kidney's not totally gone, still got 11% functionality. But cut-off point is 15%, which means regular dialysis anyway. Good thing is he only needs to go twice a week, which is massively different from three times, in terms of financial cost and quality of life. Not as bad as we thought, but not much consolation either. Kidney failure was a complication that really had no business happening in a monitored environment.

Got to go back to meet the doctor to talk about the aortic aneurysm and the stent. There's still a leak, and things still need to be fixed. Blood's still being supplied through his false lumen and feeding his spine, legs and kidney remnant. So if they plug the leak, we still got a bunch of shit to worry about, such as stroke, paralysis, and heavier dialysis. Not sure if we'll go through with it.

Despite all the gloom, I have to say I rather enjoyed – and will continue to enjoy – my role as my dad's nurse and medical adminstrator. Learning the right way to physically move a patient and handling all the logistics of medicine and appointments. I'm actually feeling a bit of guilty pleasure from being somewhat familiar with the medical jargon. I'm sure there're less depressing ways of learning this stuff, but I doubt I'd have been as motivated.

Also been good to connect again with relatives outside of the regular CNY gatherings. My dad's the oldest among 10 siblings, so that's alot of relatives. Not to mention a couple of elders and my mum's side. It's been made painfully obvious who really gives a shit and who doesn't. Also great to have met some of my dad's colleagues and old friends.

Of greatest note was when my dad's two Indian warehouse helpers came to visit him really late at night, about 8pm – even though it was in Clementi and they lived in freaking Serangoon – staying past 10pm. According to my dad, about a year back when my mum was in hospital, one of them gave my dad $200 out of his $300 monthly salary, so we might have enough for medicine. My dad gave it back, of course. My brother and I were quite stunned by the sheer generosity of the gesture, and we still are.

Needless to say, my dad is a well-loved man, so the karmic inequalities of what happened is fucked up on a number of levels. Still, he's back, his spirits are rising, and he's pretty much ok. I can't really ask for much more.

Thanks to everyone who dropped me a comment or sms. I really appreciated hearing from all of you.

elephant stone

Today was a good day. All 6 of us actually had a good bit of a laugh in the ward today.

This sounds like how I’m feeling.

low ebb

Things aren't going as well as we thought with my dad.

My dad's remaining kidney is failing, and not likely to hold out much longer. Either someone fucked up or we're really fucking unlucky cos the reason his kidney's failing is possibly due to human error. We don't really know yet but now our main concern is just to get my dad healthy again.

Also, there's still a leak despite the stent, and there's still a risk of aneurysm. Because of the leak, the false lumen of his aorta is still being supplied with blood. The possible side effects of the surgery were paralysis, stroke and kidney failure due to a drop in blood supply from the false lumen. We thought that at least the risk of aneurysm was fixed, with no danger of paralysis and stroke. That getting kidney failure was just the least of all evils.

Instead what we've got instead is continued risk of aneurysm – albeit arrested to some degree – and total kidney failure. Attempts to plug the leak will still risk paralysis and stroke. He's actually kind of worse off than what he started with.

So now we're looking at long-term dialysis – thrice weekly sessions of some very painful 3 to 5 hours, costing up to around 3K per month. I guess I should be grateful he's still alive but it still looks pretty bleak.

11 hours

That's how long the surgery took. Bloody incredible for the surgeons to be on their feet and performing surgery for a marathon duration. If those guys aren't heroes, I don't what they are…

For me, those 11 hours started at 9am plus with a stab of abject terror as my dad was wheeled in, next, a hasty front of outright denial an hour later, which slowly melted into mindless boredom until about 530pm, when terror started to creep on me again, which subsided when the surgeons finally came out at 830pm to tell us that the surgery went well; my state of mind immediately flipped to a feeling I can best describe as HAPPY-LIKE-FUCK when they wheeled Dad out. I'm glad my 3rd and 5th uncles turned up for moral support, especially for my mum. Luckily I had/have Grace around to keep me sane as well. Thanks, baby.

Dad's doing pretty close to the best case scenario, no stroke, no paralysis, legs seem to be fine. Still unsure about the kidney and his blood oxygen levels are still quite low. Still in ICU, not really able to talk and feeling quite pissed off from being immobile and mute. He had a breathing tube in his mouth for more than 24 hours, couldn't sleep or talk properly, and kept giving us wild looks.

We've pretty much assuaged his fears of paralysis, but he's going bloody mad from constant itching. So still a little pissed off, but generally, this time is leagues better than his last operation 9 years ago. He was in a coma for 8 days then, and literally reduced to skin and bones. This time, he woke up pretty soon, and looks more or less like himself. We're incredibly thankful, hopefully he'll be fighting fit and home as soon as possible.

Thanks to my membersss Aaron and Willy for asking after him.

Dad’s operation tomorrow

I neglected to mention awhile back that my dad's operation was pushed back. Well, it's tomorrow, probably around 9plus in the morning. We'll be there at 7.
A lot of final details were only told to us by the doctors earlier today as we checked Dad into NUH. Quite a lot to consider at the last moment, but we're generally quite reassured. The element of risk is still quite large, but the lead surgeon assures us he's got it all pretty much covered.
Dad was in good spirits as we left, which is good.
Still, it'll be a long day tomorrow for all of us.

May 8

That's the date set for Dad's surgery. We'll be going in on Sunday, 7th and Monday will be a full day operation, Professors Robless and Wong presiding.

After that, 2 days of ICU, and 10 days observation in the hospital. 2-3 months recovery to get back to fighting strength.

Best case scenario.