And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about. 

- Haruki Murakami

One stressor to stress them all

Dr N jokingly said that my mum would curse her after taking the prescribed medicine because it would make her lethargic (instead of the current energising mood). However, except for the first night, it made little difference in that aspect:

1st night: likely slept for 10 hours
2nd night: didn't sleep at all but lied to different member of the household in varying degree. Took at most a 1.5-hr nap
3rd night: at most 4.5 hours. Didn't take nap
4th night: 2 hours
5th night: at most 2.5 hours
6th night: about 4 hours
7th night: about 6 hours

Despite this lack of sleep (her "usual" sleeping hours was 8-10 hours), she was still in the hyper energetic mode, interfered in as many things as possible to "help". She felt stressful when people didn't listen to her but, clearly, she didn't realise that her "help" was stressing everyone else. It was like she was out to complicate things in a bad way. Haiz.

An initial improvement was that she was not talking as loudly as before and less commanding. She still wanted things done her way but when we took the risk by standing our ground, she just shook her head in irritation, mumbled something about not listening to her and then left it as it was. However, it was a risk we rarely took. Oh, and also she at least let me finished my sentences when I asked her to listen (to stop her interrupting me with her "I know, I know, I know").

Later, she wanted to clear some specific household chores with us. It was still the same "my way is correct; just listen to me" but one positive outcome was that she agreed to give back (thank goodness!) the responsibility of cooking dinner to my dad (at my dad's request) and not to "help" my sister with the kids in morning (she was undermining her parenting significantly). Ever since that, suddenly, there's some more improvement: she didn't interfere in the kitchen any more (hence the maid could just go on with her job in the kitchen), she acknowledged a certain mistake on her part, and she was receptive to alternative explanation to a certain incident (rather than what she conceived earlier).

The day after the 7th night, she seems...happier? This despite my dad falsely accused her of making their dog yelped loudly (dad!!). She even asked dad to go with her to have breakfast. She seemed fine after I came back from lunch too.

Not sure whether it was the medication or the fact that she let go of 2 tasks that she used to interfered with, I can say there was a marked improvement compared to a week ago. We'll go with her for her next appointment with Dr N (which is very soon) and let's hope she'll continue to get better.

Hyo Sun @The Curve

After a morning gym session (I managed to go for the morning yoga class haha), I scouted around for possible places to eat at reasonable price while waiting for Ban. Our default plan was to lunch around our area.

So after looking through its menu, we agreed to try Hyo Sun.

Hyo Sun 1

Hyo Sun 2

Hyo Sun 3

The set looked like good value for money. So I decided to try the Honey Chicken set.

Hyo Sun 4

Hyo Sun 5

The wait was longer than expected and so I suspected that the chicken was deep fried from scratch, which turned out to be true.

Although its flour was crispy, the amount of honey was insufficient unfortunately.

Evidently, the salad was paltry. They did give kimchi but I was never a fan and this one was no different.

Soup was ok. The jelly was really nice: softer than normal and not sickly sweet.

Would I go there again? Maybe but only for its value meal.

Crisis with eggshells

(1) Drastic change in behaviour
(2) Claims she's the chosen one of Buddha and yet it's ok to make everyone else miserable
(3) To help someone is to whack him/her and then weep for him/her
(4) Making accusations that are clearly not true
(5) Wants everyone to listen to her but she doesn't want to listen to others
(6) Wants everything done her way, including parenting method
(7) Bang head on floor or use hands to close her ears when others want to talk to her
(8) Talk to herself (but only for a short period of time)
(9) Get snappy ("You don't know one lah" "You never listen") when we suggest possibilities of, say, why there's blood in her phlegm. The all knowing, all seeing.
(10) Demands that she's informed on every single decisions made by everyone
(11) Refuses to engage in discussion, insisting that she's right.

That's my mum. I had to return to Butterworth two weeks earlier than planned to help my sister and dad to try to, ultimately, persuade her to see a psychiatrist. According to a friend who is a psychiatrist in a private hospital, we had to drag her if she didn't agree. Fortunately, two days after I arrived (the first talk on the day I arrived didn't work), she finally agreed after my dad suggested that they pay a visit to the public hospital psychiatrist to "complain" about her stopping Xanax prescription for my mum.

Another piece of good news is that we managed to get an appointment with my friend (was sort of prevented earlier due to "politics" at hospital) just 2 days later. I was trying hard to get appointments from a few hospitals. So in the meantime, we tried to tolerate her behaviour as much as possible lest she changed her mind.

During my few days stay here (so far), I felt uncomfortable because
  • I had to try not to "disagree" with her
  • I tried not to joke around with her because I'll never know whether she'll be angry or not
  • Tried not to stop her from doing things that are unproductive
  • On the lookout for any signs that she was doing something dangerous
It was like walking on eggshells. Imagine how my sis and her husband felt: they have kids and my mum every now and then interfered with their parenting, albeit behind their backs.

My poor, poor dad. He's a cancer patient and yet had to put up with this :(

In short, Dr N diagnosed my mum as bipolar. This is commonly misdiagnosed because patient usually seek help when they are "low" but not when they are "high". Unless the doctor spends time asking questions thoroughly, he may misdiagnose the patient as under depression. So my mum is on a modified set of medication (to slowly wean her off previous medicine and also taking into account her conditions that are coloured by past experience). Fortunately, mum likes Dr N and so she will see her again in a week's time.

Little things matter

...including your vote!

Little matters

Cycle 5

By the end of this cycle, my dad's ALT has dropped to 20+, which is his usual reading. So that's good.

Another good news is that the gap between morphine intake has widen to 7 hours now. Fantastic!

Everything else is under control, except that every now and then he has low appetite but kudos to him (after much persuasion from his family and the hospice nurse) for having small amount of food but more frequently when that happens.

The daycare oncology section in their own building (the "green" building) has finished undergoing renovation. Although we've been to that building before, it was in the clinic side. It was then our first time going to the daycare section. Luckily it wasn't too cold. However there is a change in procedure: they asked all carers to leave the section once chemo started. Don't know why the change.

When we asked the oncologist for the tumour marker result, he didn't find any lab report in my dad's file. I also observed that the nurses didn't attempt to try to find it. Quite strange. The doctor surmised that it wasn't ready. Okkkkk.

The next chemo session, Cycle 6 Day 1, was supposed to be scheduled in 2 weeks time but all staff would be attending a course. So they proposed a 4-day postponement to Tuesday. However, my dad asked for Friday i.e. postponed for 1 week, which would be 3 weeks away. This is because Friday session is reserved for patients that require only 1 type of chemo drug and so we get to leave about 1.5 - 2 hours earlier compared to other days.

Hours later, when chemo was done and we were ready to leave, we asked the nurses for the tumour marker result, saying that perhaps it was now available. They tried searching through 2 folders but to no avail. Then one of them left and went to the clinic side. Meanwhile, I suggested to my dad that if it wasn't ready, we could ask whether it would be fine for us to call the following week for the result. Fortunately that was a moot point because the nurse managed to get the results: 47, down from 49.

Although it's a small drop, it's still good news because it's going in the desired direction.

Well, next cycle is the last one for my dad. I hope it'll be good news all the way.

Looking for love @Uptown

Finding Love @Uptown_1

Finding Love @Uptown_2

I had to double-take as we (Ban, his brother and I) were walking back to the car after dinner. I laughed and laughed.

Do you think it was put up by the owner or his friend? Whoever it was, he was smart to mention "dogs". I believed most people love dogs and this is surely a plus :)