|i could go on for 40 days and 40 nights about my blog title and bore you to bits and pieces with 10,000 different ideas i actually had for the name of this blog but because of the 500 characters limit that is imposed upon this mechanism which, by the way, is supposed to promote free speech, i shall shorten it to just two words basically describing what the hell this is all about and who this hell belongs to.|
Monday, February 25, 2008
why i love kegal laughs so much as a friend
you know the kind of friends that you have at work, whereby the progress of friendship is hampered solely by the fact that the relationship is founded in the roots of the workplace? the type that you find yourself digging deep into the recesses of your heart (and if i could go lower, the intestinal tracts, the bladder or perhaps the bowels), simply for conversational topics. conversational topics not about work and gossip, but about anything else other than that. the type that you find yourself wanting to avoid taking the same train as them before or after work, just so that you won't have to go through that golden moment of awkwardness when you guys have absolutely nothing better to talk about other than this colleague's tight uniform and that other's work integrity?
well, Kegal Laughs is one of those colleagues. i love her to bits, i really do. and in an alternative world where i love boobs and i love her bits rather than loving her to bits, she would be the type of girl that i would be chasing after. she's funny. she's pretty. and she has a great family background. plus, she's a bit of a nympho. in that alternative world, we might actually have an agreement of sorts to make full use of her nympho tendencies.
each time we smoke between shifts, we never fail to relate our clubbing escapades and sexcapades (just that i use non-gendered terms; nope, she doesn't know that i'm gay). she would always be telling me about how her girlfriends who always go home to sleep after clubbing. not in their own bed per say, but that of others. and obviously not alone as well. typically, they would be sleeping with some random Matrep (pronounced Maht Rape, a common local term used to describe typical Malay adolescents who smoke and live typical Malay lives, some of them come with piercings and tattoos even) they picked up at the club. and did i mention about her strong family background?
she has a brother whom i met once and i suspect is gay (he just happens to look very much like a Twink). and they are very tight as siblings. her mother is quite the riot as well, based on the stories that she has shared with me. one of them involves her mother strutting around at home in nothing more than a pair of panties and a bra. out of a curiosity for details i asked Kegal Laughs, 'What's the colour of the panties and bra, eh?' to which she replied after taking a puff of her Viceroy Menthol Lights, 'Beige! it's like wearing contact lens, like wearing nothing at all (there's a local advertisement for contact lens that has such a tagline)!' and then she proceeded to laugh her very Japanese-porn-inspired sounding laughter that i've come to be so familiar with.
of course, all would be well if not for the fact that her mother was coming close to a full monty while her rather religious father was doing his evening prayers (Kegal comes from a family of Muslims) at the side of the living room. 'Panas lah!' her mother explained as she plonked herself down on the sofa. from the corner of her eye, she could also see her father, poised upright and reciting prayers. yes, it was obviously that humid.
in the last year alone, i believe that our friendship has made some progress though. good enough for smoke breaks and Christmas gift exchanges, but alas, still not enough for a train ride home together. for the Christmas that just passed, Kegal bought me a bottle of Beckham's Intense Instinct. and this may sound bizarre but nobody other than the first boyfriend of three years has bought me cologne before. and please, relatives don't count. besides, they didn't buy eau de toilette or cologne or parfum. they are the bigger fans of thrift stores, preferring that pervasive smell of deodorant that reeks of cheapness and words along the lines of 'least-favourite relative'.
for being the second person in my entire life to buy me cologne, i decided to brave a trip into the legendary women's encampment named, Forever 21. not by myself, thankfully ('Can i help you sir?' 'Oh it's okay, i'm just shopping for a weekend dress'), but with Sunanthar. after acting like a heterosexual couple for several minutes, i settled for a gold clutch. it was a battle between gold and silver, but like i told Sunanthar, 'why settle for silver when you can go for gold?' and that was the message for Kegal Laughs when i bought her that clutch.
i had the unfortunate circumstance of taking the train home with her the other day post-morning shift. maybe it was the fact that i was so used to talking to her in uniform. or maybe it was just that i was too tired to make any small talk about her boyfriends and her life. but about ten minutes into the trip home, we both took out our headphones and blasted random tunes on our ipods. it was that bad actually. and i'm the type of person who would rather go home by the longer and lonelier route, thank brave an awkward conversation without the aid of an alcoholic beverage in hand. perhaps that's why Pangkeng and i function so well as friends. of course we also have sex (as in a vested interest, not the act itself committed between the two of us), beer, cigarettes and an overuse of Hokkien expletives to keep the sparks alive. plus, he verges on being a bisexual.
so obviously, 'great friends at work' doesn't exactly translate to 'great friends outside of work'. Kegal Laughs is the type of person who will most-willingly help out at work even though she has tonnes of things to do. when i hand over the nursing reports to her, she will be the first to say 'it's okay, just pass it to me and i'll finish up for you.' of course, being the one person who loves her to bits, i would do the same for her as well. such a great person, that i'm just simply not all that keen to lose her as a friend when we're outside of work. armed with determination to resolve this issue, i therefore decided to organize the second-ever colleagues-based dinner outing. my ward colleagues simply don't have this 'outside of work' culture. they mainly keep to themselves. which is very irritating when i try to organize outings. they seem so keen when i bring it up during work, but they are the queens of throwing in the towel at the eleventh hour.
most of them are prolly afraid of the social awkwardness as they haven't existed outside of work together before in plain clothes. so in order to spice up the ol' dinner-and-movies routine, i suggested shishah. for some reason beyond me, the majority of the Malay people her really like shishah. i gathered Kegal Laughs and two other colleagues that smoke with me during breaks as well and planned an outing to Ambrosia, a local Mediterranean restaurant at Arab Street. at this point, i have to say thanks to Audrey, Jiayuan, Fadhil and his boyfriend Charlie for organizing the previous wonderful outing Ambrosia. Ambrosia has all the charms that can wow the pants of people. it's dark, it's filled with Middle Eastern carpeting and cushions, and serves over-priced but somewhat great food. and most importantly, it's an indoor setting with a free-smoking policy. all that smoke and carpets always make me think about one of my favourite porn films, Arabesque. of course, the men in the film are smoking shishah of a different sort.
it was a small cosy outing with three other female colleagues, all of them Malay, all of the smokers. Kegal Laughs was there of course. we made small talk about our lives and mainly about work. and the weird thing was that no matter how hard i tried to divert the conversation away from work, they would always bring it right back to the start. we could be exchanging fleeting sexual encounters when the whole conversation would revert back to work again ('And speaking of big penises, did you see the doctor with the big bulge in the pants?').
as i sat on the floor of Ambrosia that night, smoking shishah and cigarettes while listening to the girls exchange ward gossip, my mind started to wander. i was getting contemplative. and that's always a bad sign. i noticed as well that the Middle Eastern carpets that decorate the floor were not very well-maintained. i found a very long strand of bleached hair, which i started curling around my fingers. at the same time, i also wondered why i was fighting so hard to make the friendship between Kegal and me go beyond the settings of work. was it that i just wanted more funny sex stories from Kegal Laughs? or was it that twenty years down the road, i would like to have a friend of decent character to be by my side? and believe me, being a homosexual, it's hard to find decent friends with good character. i'm sure you gay people out there know what i mean.
we ended the night walking along Arab Street trying to make small talk and smoking. one smoked Viceroys, the other Marlboro Red, and another a pack of lights. as i puffed on my Consulates, i came to realize that sometimes colleagues will just remain as that, colleagues. no matter how much you may be helping them out at work, social mechanics just can't seem to pull things close together.
and that's a fact of life i guess i'll just have to live with.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
why i like Pangkeng so much as a friend
the other day, Pangkeng SMSed me.
PK: hows life? (in his typical SMS shorthand)
Me: Ok lor. Sore throat, smoke too much. (in my typical Queen's English format)
PK: i tink we need 2 cool down, may b drink sum Ang Moh Herbal Tea. (Ang Moh is our local term for Caucasians, it's a Hokkien-based term)
Me: like what? Earl Grey? Chamomile? Lavender? i drink a lot of that.
ME: KNN lah. hur hur.
we met up for our weekly beer drinking session at a tacky hole-in-the-wall bar in Kitchener Road after that. the name of the Bar was 'Oh Carol!'. i dare you to guess the name of the bar owner.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
how my brother beat me to a rhinoplasty
there are apparently several physical traits that run through the Teo family. but before i go on, just let me clarify that i'm not a child from a previous marriage or an adopted refugee from the mountainous regions of China. my father's a Teo. and i'm a Zhang. for our not so culturally-inclined friends out there who can't tell whether a Park is Korean or Chinese (it's neither, it more like architectural landscaping involving plenty of horticulture), Teo's the mandarin version of Zhang. Zhang is simply the local dialect that we use in our names, Teochew, to be precise. on days when i've got nothing to thank God for, i simply count my blessings that i'm Jonathan Zhang Hong'en when my dad applied for my birth certificate. in a different time and era, i would have been Jonathan Teo Hong Woon. i already sound like a comic book, and that's not a good thing. if Caucasians adopted Chinese-naming cultures, they would have very fond and humorous names like John POW BANG WHOCK. and a lot of !'s thrown in for good measure. POW!!! BANG!!! WHOCK!!!
none the less, i'm proud to be part of the Teo family. simply because there are several physical traits that run through the Teo family. i would like to say 'well-endowed' being one of them. but i haven't seen my brother's privates and have no intention of a viewing either. so that's a miss. but on first glance, the Teo family has generally great eyebrows. thick, fully-formed clusters of hair that sit above our eyes. the cool thing about them is that don't require much primping and plucking. unfortunately, this also means the looming threat of uni-brows. my brother and i both own eyebrow tweezers. he owns the one that my mother previously used for plucking hairs from raw chickens.
hairy legs are also pretty evident. the type that ants and many other six/seven/eight/eighty/eight-hundred legged insects of this good Earth have to come to fear and revere as 'The Jungle of Immobility'. as a non-effeminate gay person, i am actually a tad embarrassed to admit that i have shaved my legs before on one boring afternoon after the 'O' levels. suffice to say, i shaved off a lot of skin along the shins and bled so much that a hypochondriac would be screaming for a pint of fresh blood. i have to admit though that i like the feeling of bare skin under comforters and blankets. the problem wasn't evident until i tried having sex one week post-shaving. i was labelled with 'cacti legs'. and the ants were having a good time too.
i'm a bit pissed off though. the one thing that i didn't inherit from Mother Teo was the nose. my brother got lucky and was at the front of the line when they were giving out straight noses in the Gene Bank. given my homosexual disposition, i was prolly queuing up at 'well-endowed'. until i realized that i was at the queue for 'okay-sized'. but then, i've already acquired 'fire-power' and 'sex-drive' and 'great torque settings'. the nose though, has always been a sore point with me. back in the days of secondary school and puberty, i had plenty of blackheads and acne. admittedly, it was quite a horrid time for me. i squeezed, prodded and pressed every single pustule i could find on my face. my mirror was constantly wiped with glass cleaner to remove pus stains. and seven to eight years later, i have scarring that i have no intention to remove. there was one rather bad pimple that appeared on the tip of my nose. that left a deep indentation that isn't that noticeable until you see it at close view.
practically everyone has made fun of my nose at one point of time or other. these people include my Math tutor, my grandmother, an ex-boyfriend, my swimming coach during the primary school days, several nursing school mates and many others that have much more aesthetically-pleasing noses than mine. they have called it everything from big to rotund. there was even this really bizarre one from a random sex partner who said 'it ought to be a seperate entity and given a name of its own'. one other person said it was a Jackie Chan. as much as i would like to be associate with Jackie Chan for martial arts, back-flips, stunts and one-time marital affairs, i'm afraid the closest i can get is just the nose.
and so that's how i'm stuck with my Jackie Chan nose.
my brother's name, in case you didn't know, is Jeremy. he's a nurse as well. and he has recently signed a three-year contract with the same hospital organization as mine. so that makes a pair of nursing brothers in the same hospital. he's much slimmer and inherited vanity from me. we both dress up for the simplest occasions, use a lot of hair products and squirt enough cologne to put the fragrance counter to shame. unlike me who thinks going to the gym and jogging is a sport of its own, Jeremy plays basketball on a frequent basis (the post-gym activities in the showers burn calories, no?). he's the handsome, sportier and stylish version of Jonathan that prolly are quite popular with the gay crowd these days.--
unfortunately, he's also more accident-prone than me. my mother constantly fears the day when he'll be knocked down by a Nissan Sunny when he's jogging. she's terrified that he's to suffer a cardiac arrest when he plays basketball. she's the one who always screams from the kitchen 'make sure you don't do anything dangerous!' when the brother heads out for basketball when she's cooking. she does this when she is stir-frying vegetables at high heat, chopping garlic at an intensely dangerous speed and boiling soup at the same time.
it wasn't till three weeks ago that her fears were answered when the brother came home from late night basketball with an ice-pack on the nose bridge. being the concerned parents who never had children who might require the services of the emergency department or hospitalization before, they certainly played the part badly. there was of course concern involved. at the same time, there was also a lot of irritation and spurts of 'Aiyoh!' as well. you see, this wasn't the first time that my parents have seen my brother getting sports injuries. and each time he does get one, he shrugs it off, as if saying 'Tis but a scratch, a flesh wound, a call for Paracetamol!'
apparently, what happened was that the brother was trying to grab a ball or something (i don't really know how basketball works) from another guy who could be considered pretty much a giant. it was either a case of a difference in size or a lack of skill, but the brother got elbowed in the face and ended up with a broken nose. the mother, an enrolled nurse who was watching The Amazing Race at that point of time was too mortified to look at my brother's nose. this is despite the fact that she works at the urology centre and does TURPs and kidney biopsies and handles erectile dysfunction cases on a daily basis. nurses are weird eh? my father, being the man of the house, looked at the broken nose in question with the same intensity as Nip/Tuck. i was surfing porn at that point of time.
and just when i was about to expect my father to blurt out 'So tell me what you don't like about youself?', he suddenly asked for my opinion on my brother's nose instead. a quick alt-tab from gaypornblog.com to google.com revealed much information. suffice to say, there was a slightly deviated septum (nose bridge) and a little swelling. he wasn't bleeding and it wasn't affecting his breathing. i shrugged it off with the 'flesh wound and paracetamol' sympathies and returned to surfing porn. the rest of the night was spent with the mother bemoaning things like 'why are you so careless?' and 'do you want some paracetamol?'
as luck would have it, the brother was working at the ED (as in Emergency Department, not Erectile Dysfunction) in my hospital at that point of time. he had a consultation with one of the doctors there and came back the next day with an elective admission into the hospital at the end of the week for an operation to correct the deviated septum. YES! A RHINOPLASTY! my brother who already has my mother's perfect nose is going to get his nose even more perfected! and i who have been suffering the fate of the Jackie Chan nose was jealous. not only because he is going to get a nose of the celebrities, but also that he practically arranged the whole admission behind the parents' backs. and after what i think is a staff price and a nose job done by a consultant, the total amount would cost $1100, totally deductible from my parents' medisave (a Singaporean healthcare scheme) account.
yes, we are all saving for our children's nose jobs.
my brother's operation day was a Friday. it was also the same day when i sat for my LSCN (Life Savers Course for Nurses) practical and theory test. i passed my practical bit with flying colours, but i failed the written test three times in a row with the same marks of 67%. they require a 80% passing mark. it was a rather depressing day. as i trudged from the LSCN centre to the hospital (which was just a stone's throw away, which reminds me that i would now like to throw a stone at my brother's $1100 nose), i couldn't but help thinking how horrid the day was.
as a hospital visitation formality, i bought some pastries from the local cake shop in the hospital as a peace offering for the brother. my parents are strict with the formalities, they used to buy Danish Butter Cookies whenever they visited anyone in the hospital. as i made my way through the ward, i met a few familiar faces. a nurse from my nursing student batch, a doctor whom i've worked with before who i suspected was gay, a few other familiar co-workers. all of them obviously wondering what in the world i was doing there.
and there it was just as i entered the room, the $1100 nose job. resting on the bed, exhausted from the anaesthetic, and looking very serene. maybe it was the dim lighting, maybe it was the fact that i was a bit defeated from having failed my LSCN theory, or maybe it was just the fact that there's $1100 sitting on my brother's face, but at that point of time, i looked at my brother fondly. and i thought back about the times when we were young and used to talk and play avidly. these days, we just happen to be the occupants sharing a room in this life. he would borrow my clothes, and i would occasionally borrow his (i do it more than him). we share hair products and cologne. we practice almost the same beauty routine and yet we don't talk at all. in fact, the last time i talked to him seems to be more of a matter of months rather than days, hours or even minutes.
and so i sat on the chair for about a half hour or so. staring at my brother's face. looking at him eye-to-eye. except that his eyes were closed. i've never looked at him for such a long time that it made me realize that he had the same triangular face as me. obviously another Teo family trait obtained from the mother. the following day, my brother came home and spent the rest of the day sleeping. a nose guard was in place, as if in anticipation of revelation at Christie's.
the starting price was of course $1100.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
life is a funny thing
'life is a funny thing' - i've come to realize that that's a line i use most often when i've got nothing conversationally better to add. come to think of it, it's more like a conversational starter, filler and ender. you know those great one-to-one moments when no caption summarizes it better than words like 'BIG OMINOUS PAUSE' or 'GAPING SILENCE' or even 'HOW DO I FAST FORWARD TO THE PORTION WHERE WE HAVE HOT SEX?' of course, some great alternatives are fine wine and smooth-talking. however, 'fine' wine hardly relates to 'fine' pricing and i kill conversations so fast that i've nicknamed myself the 'smother'-talker. so what's a financially-challenged and conversationally-inept person to do?
it's times like these when i pull out my full and rock-hard weapon called, nope... not my cock. you can't go whipping your privates around like a weapon. women and men alike will be screaming and you're not even at the Folsom Street Parade. what i'm referring to is my collection of life stories. what i would like to call my 'Life is a Funny Thing' (LiFT) collection. i mean, i do share a big part of my 'LiFT' collection on this blog with no holds barred and plenty of crude language and context thrown in for good measure. but of course, to maintain an aura of mystery and market value, i still have to hold back that occasional few. some are certainly bizarre life stories. some are just downright embarrassing that i would rather share with a select few (which those select few will pass down to another select few - gossipers! whoremongers!). some are just better told with the actions involved ('and so we topped each other in this really tantric position that resulted in a penile fracture...').
all that said, i'm glad my life so far has been enriched with a lot of weird people and events that make this blog palatable and interesting enough to maintain an average readership of 216 daily (or at least that's what the blog counter says). and it's all thanks to you, the readers that make the numbers. so give yourself a pat on the back for that. you know what's the uber-weird thing though? nobody in this good Earth, and i swear nobody except TWO very brave and courageous souls have approached me on the streets, stating my blog as a point of recognition. maybe it's the fact that we're in Singapore and we're Asian and we're conservative and all that. or maybe it's the crude facts that i post online that make people want to just maintain that fifty metre radius around me.
but really, i won't and i don't and anyways i can't really bite well now given the Bell's Palsy. and if you think i look very scary, it's just part of the attitude that comes along with a goatee. i go to the gym for aesthetic purposes. the pectorals are not there for Fight Club. and really i'm a nice guy through and through. so here's the deal i'm trying to strike with any of you readers who see me on the streets. if you see me, just pop by and say hi. and you could chat up with me, bum a cigarette from me, and i would be more than willing to share with you a LiFT story if you have the time and the inclination to listen. of course, you might be wondering why all of a sudden i'm trying to make contact with the world outside this blog.
it all came into perspective when the two brave souls approached me in public. nearly a few hours after i blogged about my Bell's Palsy, i found myself at the hospital's staff gym trying to ensure that the one-sided paralysis was isolated at the face. so there i was, doing bicep curls while staring at the mirror with lop-sided grunting faces. all of a sudden, one kindly-looking gentleman approached me and asked amidst the clanging of the Smith Machine and the incessant 'clump clump clump' of fat office women on the treadmills. 'HOW'S YOUR BELL'S PALSY AH?' he asked, in a voice that was perhaps a tad too loud. i surveyed the scene to realize that there were only a few regular gymmers around, most of them amongst the administrative staff. okay, so there wasn't any equipped enough with medical knowledge to know what Bell's Palsy was.
i can't remember what i told the nice stranger. and i've never got your name. but i appreciate the fact that you took the guts to come up to someone that you've read online about and ask about a medical condition. so thank you for making the effort, i appreciate it. well, as for the other stranger, let's just say that i was at a local coffee joint having cigarettes when i was approached by a guy that was quite pleasant on the eyes. he requested that i not write about him. and so i shall respect that. he admitted that it took a lot of 'courage and silliness' approach me, the random stranger. suffice to say, we made great conversation over cigarettes and went our ways.
two people have tried it. so why not you? after all, there's good conversation to be had and free cigarettes. and oh yes, that upLiFTing tantric sex story involving a penile fracture awaiting to be told.
Monday, February 04, 2008
there's a hole in my mouth
i gave two solid knocks on the door. a solid wooden door like that definitely deserved an equally solid knock. not just one in fact, but two.
through the opaque glass that was set in the door, i could make out about four people inside the room. all of them, obviously anticipating what i had to present. the fact that i was only twenty-three only made them all the more excited.
'hi, i'm the MG chap!' i introduced myself as i pushed the creaky door open. i thought to myself that two solid knocks were severely undeserved as the door screamed for a burst of lubricant.
'thanks for seeing me on such short notice' i said, trying my best to muster a smile. it must have looked like a lop-sided one, come to think of it. bloody nerves just don't work when i'm nervous.
i took a seat and maintained that lop-sided smile with the other four people in the room. i think they must have noticed and expected it. but the kindly lady directly in front of me told me to relax. she asked a few questions of formality, perhaps to make me feel more relaxed. perhaps to set the mood of things to come.
'come...' she said.
'what?!' my mind exclaimed.
'come,' she continued 'i want to see you smile for me, i want to see the lack of symmetry!'
i couldn't help but think of what a mad plastic surgeon, Dr. J.S. Steiman, once said in an Xbox 360 game. Bioshock, to be exact
none the less, i did that lop-sided smile that was so characteristic of me these days. she proceeded to do the same with my hands. my arms. my legs. i felt a bit like the Vitruvian man. except fully-clothed, less lithe and perhaps with a better hair-stylist.Aphrodite is walking the halls - shimmering, like a scalpel...
suffice to say, she touched me in places where i've never thought of touching before. and believe me when i tell you that i touch myself a lot. one by one, i was examined by the other three people in the room. they all gave weird stares. some of inquisitiveness, some of curiousness. but all of them refrained from passing a comment.
for some reason the novelty of touching a twenty-three year old gay man in bizarre places seemed to pass within twenty minutes. three people left the room, leaving me and the kindly lady who told me to 'come', alone. she grabbed my wrists, and suddenly applied a great exertion against me. i felt pinned down despite the fact that she was no heavy than forty-five kilograms.
failing to push me back, she reached for my feet instead, trying her best to topple me over.
'i seriously need a gym membership' i thought to myself.
it wasn't till a good five minutes later, when we sat back on our respective chairs. pent up, and exhausted from the excessive pushing. no prodding, i thought with relief.
'well, it's not MG, for sure' she smiled to me.
it all started three days ago when i was smoking. i kept making squeaky noises with my lips when i placed my cigarette on the left side of my mouth. when i smoked on the right side of my mouth, the only things i emitted was a puff of smoke.
she told me to close both eyes. with which i did with lop-sidedness. she told me to smile. which i did with the same seemingly half-heartedness. and she gave me this serious-look which seemed to say 'you might have to be put on a ventilator for life if the worse comes to worst because it might be a fatal disease you're having.' of course, she never said that. she said to me: 'it might be MG'. and lo and behold, i just blurted out the words 'Myasthenia Gravis?' it's one of those rare epiphanic moments when something which you've studied during your student years suddenly just pops up once again. and like old acquaintances, you embrace or you just study it again. except this time, it's embracing me so tightly that i can't wink at people or smoke with a cool demeanour.
of course, i tried to play it down and tell her, 'Maybe it's Bell's Palsy lah!' two things crossed my mind at this time, the first being 'Where are these bizarre medical terms popping up from when i got a horrid C5 grading for my anatomy and physiology during my nursing student days?' the other thought was, 'Doesn't Bell's Palsy have some small minute scientific connection to a certain strain of Herpes Simplex? Wait, when was the last time i had sex? Oh, three months. Or was it weeks? Oh i just had sex with the janitor three hours ago. Haha, just playing tricks on my mind!'
none the less, my favourite supervisor made some important-looking calls to several people she worked with at the neurology department previously. and believe me, she had to make a lot of calls because it was a Saturday and stethoscope-wielding health-care professionals were rushing off to have brunch and/or sex. within fifteen minutes, she came back with a piece of rough paper with instructions to look for a Burmese neurologist-on-call at a neurology ward in the hospital.
to which i proceed to of course. of course, i must not neglect to mention that i managed to take up practically a half-hour to settle some discharges, order a carton of Ensure (a nutritious mix of strawberry-flavoured milk and i think, protein) for a home bound patient, serve some medication, chit-chat with some people, clear up some lunch trays, work-related stuff, BEFORE i managed to run off for my impromptu appointment. such is an Asian working environment. you can be stroking, but they don't care. they would rather see you attempt to change that diaper while you are fitting in a patient's shit than send you off to the Emergency Department.
and thus i made my way. the neurologist-on-call was really a kindly young lady. like all Burmese people i have met in my life so far, she was patient and really hospitable (while all this was happening in a hospital, hur hur. okay, not funny). she tried to get me to raise my eyebrows, smile, close my eyes, open my mouth, stick out my tongue. to which there was an obvious deficit in the right side. she proceeded to try some motion exercises with which she was trying to prove there was some right-sided weakness with my right arm and limbs. apparently, it was isolated to my face only.
she was convinced that it was nothing more serious than Bell's Palsy. i had a fever last week which might have caused swelling somewhere along my face and thus causing one isolated facial nerve to function half-heartedly. it's treatable with steroids and anti-viral meds for that nasty herpes virus. i'm a knowledge whore. so i immediately wiki-ed Bell's Palsy. the prognosis is generally good. requiring a usual three weeks to see some progress and three to six months for complete recovery. what? three to six months??????????? what are the Catholic kids living opposite me going to say?????????? UNCLE, why is it you can only smile with one side of your face??????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!
i reported the news back to my supervisor. with which she gave me a very reassuring smile. i returned the smile with my not-so-reassuring version of a smile. for the rest of the afternoon, the rest of my colleagues were suddenly extra kind to me. they offered to help me serve my meds, thinking that i might be put on an artificial respirator within the hour. they constantly watched over me, ready to catch me when i showed signs of epilepsy. i felt reassured, yet at the same time irritated. to which i summarized to Pangkeng and my gay colleague,
'i'm not that afraid to die really. and even if i do, you guys will be there to make sure that when i'm on my death bed, you will make sure i'm a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) case. you see, i'm such a considerate patient! really, i'm tried all four vices of life, i'm not interested in a relationship, i'm twenty-three and this will prolly be the only few years when i'm happy to die now. so even if i die now, i'll die with no regrets. well, except for not going to a Mardi Gras yet.'
i thought it was a bit harsh. Pangkeng obviously didn't know what Mardi Gras was. and my gay colleague knew i was prolly joking about it as well. and so, i dithered about myself for the rest of the shift. of course, i couldn't help stoning out and contemplating the future of one-sided facial weakness. what if it gets worse? what if the MG i really wanted wasn't Mardi Gras but Myasthenia Gravis? what if what if. how come nobody thinks of positive 'what ifs'? as i walked to the train station with Pangkeng and the gay colleague that afternoon after shift, we were quietly smoking our cigarettes and making minor small talk. i tried to lighten the mood by making stupid jokes about one-sided facial weakness. apparently, i think they were irritated with my method of coping with what seemed to them, a crippling facial disease. i felt bad for patronizing them. so i decided to feed them with what they wanted by being serious for once.
i decided to visit the Emergency Department yesterday. in my hospital, no less. the doctor prescribed steroids and acyclovir and gave me three days of medical leave. i'd already taken one day for fever at the beginning of the week, so i felt bad for taking another at the end of the week (horrid, Asian working environment). as i handed over my medical certificate over to a different supervisor who was on shift, she taught me a few idiotic-looking facial exercises (she was neuro-trained). to which i actually decided to do occasionally at home.
i went home that Sunday, feeling unworried about my condition, and more guilty about taking medical leave for a sunday afternoon. sunday afternoons were always busy in our wards. Pangkeng was working that Sunday afternoon and i felt extra bad about leaving a brother in the lurch. the only good reason i could come up with was that i didn't get to sleep the previous night since i could only close my right eye to a maximum of 75%. i even tried putting scotch tape on my eye. which i had a hard time washing off after that. i say, try washing your face with facial wash when you cannot close your eyes properly.
and just in case you're wondering, i still look normal. the only good thing now is that i can drool at hot men in public and blame it on Bell's Palsy.
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