Monday, December 15, 2014

A Horse, Tethered

Just the other night I managed to catch a rerun of an old Western movie, The Magnificent 7 Returns.  Having seen the first movie, TM7R may not be much to talk about. Still, it was nice to watch especially it has been years since I last saw Lee Van Cleef  in action. 

Like millions of kids growing up in the '70s, a Western movie was something eagerly waited. Never mind many of the movies then were not Politically Correct, as the phrase itself might not have existed let alone understand its meaning. Perhaps what we wanted to see were the gunfights where the hero always win. Oh, we knew it then that heroes never die (they just fade away) but it was still thrilling to watch them in action. 

There was a posting I made ages ago in this blog about how I love to watch them smoking in the rain where somehow the cigarette was never doused by the rainwater. Another kind of scene that came back to me while my stay in the hospital was of the horses were tethered to a branch and sometimes even a twig and yet, the horses never runs off even though the tie was a simple loop. Amazing, I thought then. Cowboys and horses, how I love them.

Many years later, I had my first ride on a real horse and thought of doing just about everything those cowboys did. Suffice to say, a Show Jumper, I'll never be. But that's alright.

Tomorrow, of this posting's date, I'll have to go back to the hospital where hopefully, the doctors there will remove the Conduit Bag attached to my kidney. Somehow though, I do not think they will as these past 2days I noticed more fluids and blood filling the bag and I fear I may be warded again until wound completely heals.

Staying in the hospital is not as bad many think. The medical and support staff in my ward have been kind, gentle and friendly. The bad part though comes in two. First, a lengthy stay can mean an idle mind where boredom sets in. And anything more than 2days can drive one crazy, and I was in there for a total of 2 weeks! Another, is related to the horses mentioned above.

Having a Conduit Bag attached to one's kidney can be quite a bother especially when one needs to take a shower. In the hospital, the bag had to be carried around instead of strapped to the leg. Whenever I take my shower then, I had to hang the bag on any metal bars or tap and this greatly curtailed my movement. A simple slip of the mind on the matter would find me being 'reeled' back - constantly. My thoughts then, I was just like a horse tethered.

To the medical and support staff of Ward 9TD, PPUM, I thank you for your patience and kindness towards me and would like to dedicate this song to you. Also to my family members and friends: Doc TA, Abang Lan and Eleena, and especially Aiman for helping me. Keep up with your good work and may Allah s.w.t. bless you.

Thursday, December 04, 2014


"Buffalo Legs, that's what I have" said a voice. I glanced to the trio of patients bedded close together and having a conversation. Too far for me to join  but once every few moments their voice do carry across the space, mangled between other voices and the shuffling of the legs of other patients, medical staff and visitors to the ward. 

My glance did not go unnoticed and I shifted my view lower to the legs of the voice owner and noticed them to be too thin for a broad-shoulder and muscular body-built person. Only thing I could think then the man must have had a case of polio when he was small. Before my thoughts could drift further, the nurse attending to my wound-dressing, said "Done! Now, doesn't that look much better!"

Soon as she finished packing she turned towards the aforementioned patient and almost gasp "Huh? Where did he go?". From the corner of my eyes I did not notice the man heaving himself from bed and sliding with ease into his wheelchair. Even though I do realise  that most paraplegic people have strong arms, I was amazed at the man's fluidity in movement and said something that may have gotten lost in interpretation "Were we to find ourselves (the patient included) in a dark, secluded place, a blind man may be able to navigate much easier than any of us who can see".

What I simply meant was that the man/patient has gotten used to his condition and is able to move better than many able-bodied people, yours truly included. 

However, from the face expression of the nurse, I could only concur that she may thought my sentence had some nuance in it as the man/patient's skin was dark in colour. I did not continue further and found no need to justify myself; let it go.

Now, I do not know what a "Buffalo Leg" is and have not been able to search any clear reference to it. I do, however, know what "Buffalo Soldier" is (smile):

There's a game I have been playing on my PC. It is labelled as a strategy game where one build a nation of cities from scratch and continue expanding it to become an empire. Needless to say then, one goes around conquering other nations and civilisations, and hence, the name: Civilization V.

Now, if you're pretty much living a hermit's life as the owner of this blog is, the game can take up a bit of your time. That apart, the game can be 'educational', if I do think so myself. For one, there's some interesting history lessons I did not previously know. Plus, the historical characters - your foes, in the game - imbedded, may give one some insight into the persona of these people and why they do what they did.

Initially when I started playing, I did get irritated particularly with 2 or 3 characters who either like to subjugate other civilisations with force or beliefs. Then as I progress I began to learn why. To put it short: when one is raised within certain conditions (psychologically, peer pressure) which may include geographical terrain and even lack of natural resources, one may be tempted to 'better' oneself. Just take yours truly here for short.

When playing the game, I would need certain resources to progress efficiently. There are 2 kinds of resources: Luxury and Strategic.

Luxury resources are like Cotton, Silk, Furs, Gold and quite a few more. Usually a civilisation can have several but not all, simply by building cities nearby these resources. Those that are not available within one's geography, can be traded for with other civilisations that have and this would placate one's population and make them happy. But the same cannot be said true with Strategic Resources. These would be the likes of Horses, Iron, Coal, Aluminum and Uranium. Within certain condition one may trade for them but the most likely course is to battle it out.

In the games I have been playing, I always find myself with insufficient Coal and Uranium, the 2 important resources which speeds up the production of almost anything that needs to be produced. Uranium, of course can be used to make Atomic or Nuclear weapons which I am not fond of (I am a fan of SALT -Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty); an Otai, for short (smile).

Anyway, when I find myself short of these 2 resources, I would do whatever it takes to procure them. With due respects to the Native American Apache Chief, I screamed "Geronimo!" and began an empire of my own. After  several winning games, I then found myself no different than those tyrants written in history  and that soon began my realisation of why some people do what they do. And perhaps just like them too, I would find some justifications and found a legitimate one: I am playing a Computer Game!'
Ha ha! Better still, I am playing a computer game with the setting at 'Conquest'. And so, I decide to take it easy with the game. And with people. But not all (smile).

 By the way, I am also taking it easy with a certain present annoyance. Stuck into my kidney now is a long rubber tube which leads down to a plastic bag strapped to my lower leg. Courtesy of the last surgery, this tube, or another that may take its place, is meant as an outlet for blood which may be present in my right kidney. That surgery I had, sad to say, was only a partial success. The fact that I did not experience the suffocation or drowning as told in my previous entry is something I am grateful. The fact that there's still another 2cm or so of the stones in my kidney, is, another story. 

Come this Monday morning, I will have to undergo a 2nd surgery. With that, I will be having more tubes forced into me again. It's hard to take it easy on this but that is something I must learn to do.

As in the last posting, I, Shah Rir, again seek your forgiveness for all the wrongs I have done and wishes everyone to 'Take It Easy'. 

I pause here but hope to be able to post soon as possible.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

May You Forever Be Young

 A man walked into a computer store and headed straight for the cashier, ignoring the 2 or 3 customers milling about in the shop without any apparent reasons. Late forties-early fifties, the moment he reached the counter he spoke in Malay asking "Ada Pandu Ibu-Jari?".
Noticing puzzled looks all around, he raised his right arm and flicked his thumb then said "Thumb-drive". That, raised a roar of laughter from those few in the store.

A few minutes later as the man was walking out, a much elderly man approached him, shook the man's hand and said "May you forever be young".

These past 2years have brought some changes to my life. returning from a short journey abroad, I was struck down by a virus attack, one which somehow plague me every 8-10years. This time however, it seem the worse yet as I was knocked out for more than 60hours, waking up in between just long enough for several sips of drink. By the time a week passed, I had lost more than 9kilograms of weight.  Looking and feeling frail, I had to move around with the aid of a walking stick. But time heals everything, so it is said. By the third month I was feeling much better. Still, I was not out of the woods as one ailment after another befell. Perhaps 'return' would be a better word to use.

A frozen leg of lamb is a nice thing to have once it is roasted or grilled. However, a case of frozen shoulders on both shoulders is not one would look forward to, and that was exactly happened. Luckily the left shoulder was not in a bad shape as the right allowing me some comfort in movement. While I would not use the term 'rigor mortise', my sleeping position certainly felt like one as I could not lie on neither right nor left shoulder. Hmm, certainly not the best time of my life, I must say. Then, another 'old friend' returned bringing with him 'someone new'.

Kidney stones. Minute in size as it is, is no minor thing for many people the world over, yours truly included. Mine, come and goes as it please this past 20years but this time it is different - he brought along a 'big brother'!

Seems, lodged in my right kidney was a growing concern that went unnoticed. It was only after being CAT-Scanned that I found out I have a large stone which goes by the name of Staghorn Calculi or Staghorn Kidney Stone. It is named so as on film the stone or stones do look like the horns of a Stag. The Specialist at the hospital I was referred to, took one look at the films and said 'kena tebuk, bang' (loosely translated: got to dig it out). Scarry as it sounds, that 'tebuk' is the only way to get the stone/s out as it is measured at 4cm. Not the largest, mind you, but large enough to warrant a surgery. And that is the whole reason for this entry which otherwise I might have totally forgotten about.

Granted, this is not a good blog to read and nor is my English on par with the standards of many. Whem I first began to blog, it was for meant entirely for me to write as I please. Somewhere between then and now, the blog began receiving readers and comments and soon, ashamedly I admit, I lost my bearing. By the time I realise it, the damage was done and I had, several times in the recent past, thought of deleting it and start a new identity. And perhaps I may well do so after this.

Come this November 28 morning, I am scheduled for a surgery to remove the Staghorn. It may be a minor surgery but not one without complication as the 2 previous surgeries I had (but not related to kidney stones) been. On both occasions, I had breathing problems which made me feel like drowning and gasping for air. I tried ti call out and even tried flailing my arms but nothing happened. All I can remember was fading out into darkness again only to find myself awaken in sadness much later. I cannot explain the emotion I was going through but on the last surgery, I found a hand on my chest and grabbed that hand to my face and began crying.

Emphysema. An ailment which many had in the past been mistakenly diagnosed as asthma. Under anesthetic, a patient may stop breathing. That, is what I have and that is the complication which the surgeon and doctors at the hospital fear. (That, and the Frozen Shoulders where the pain and stiffness still lingers).

As a Muslim and as most Muslims are taught, to seek forgiveness for one's mistakes and wrongdoing at any point of time, most especially when one feels the end is near. Now, before I go on, let me get to the point: to all my friends and blogger friends, as well as to anyone who may hap upon this blog: I, Cakapaje or Shah Rir, seek your forgiveness for anything that I may have wronged you and in turn I forgive you of yours (if any) to me. And if you are kind enough, please pray for me and that the surgery will go though without incident.

In ending, I wish everyone, especially my friends and family members: May You Forever Be Young.