Complex conflicting feelings

Currently in Taiwan alone.

Feeling extremely lonely, yet extremely fearful and anxious about SP joining me tomorrow and disrupting my zen.

Really wanting to talk to someone, yet completely put off by the prospect of having to “chat to someone next to you” at the conference.

I am decidedly an undecided woman.

P.S. The conference has proven to be incredibly boring. Some interesting talks on quality improvement and safety, but I am uninspired. There are many delegates, most of them Taiwanese, quite a few Singaporeans. BUT nobody wants to be friends with me. 😦

Majulah Singapura

15 years away from my home country.

Yet, listening to this rendition of our national anthem  on our 54th national day still has me in tears.

I had sung these lyrics every single day of my schooling life in Singapore. Now, 15 years on and in the UK, I still remember every single word of it.

I am so proud that my Singapore has progressed and prospered in the very ways that our forefathers had wished when this song was first penned. From a humble fishing village that was part of a Malays’ Malaysia, we have transformed into a stunning, developed and independent Singapore. A true rags-to-riches story, an awe-inspiring tale of proving nay-sayers wrong.  A change that I am proud to witness, and a progress that I am glad to be a part of.

I love our Singapore story.

Come, fellow Singaporeans. Let us move forward together.

Come fellow Singaporeans,
(Let’s) renew life as one nation.
With peace and effort,
we move forward together.

We live in peace and cooperation
to achieve happiness
(May) our noble aspiration (make)
Singapore successful!

Come, let us unite
With a new spirit
(Together) we all proclaim:
Onward Singapore!
Onward Singapore!

Come, let us unite
With a new spirit
(Together) we all proclaim:
Onward Singapore!
Onward Singapore!

좋은 day!

I had a really good day today!

  1. Smashed my workout at P.T. (this was the 3rd workout day in a row and I should have been very tired/ underperforming). I really struggled with my usual weights for pull day at the gym yesterday… but today’s legs day was not bad at all so I am mighty proud!
  2. 3rd day on the trot with new mindful eating habits and I have managed to keep my calorie intake within 1400cals without feeling too deprived. I have really struggled with self-control and overeating these last few months (which has resulted in the reappearance of my double chin and rotund belly), so 3 consecutive days of self-control is something I am really proud of! Listening to the hypnotherapy track provided by the “well-being lady” at work has also helped with reprogramming my subconscious mind to believe that I only need 3 small meals a day. Eat till you are full then stop. Eat till you are fuelled then stop. Do not feed your head hunger. Do not clean up the plate. Do not treat your stomach like a rubbish bin.
  3. My iPhone screen was smashed by an 8kg dumbbell that rolled off a step and directly onto the phone on Wednesday. I was devastated, especially since the iPhone 8 cost me a pretty penny and is less than 2 years old! I was convinced that I did not purchase AppleCare for it and had mentally prepared myself to fork out £150 for its repair. Thankfully, the Apple genius who served me at the store today found out that my phone has indeed been insured and so I only needed to pay an excess of £25!! I was made up! The unexpected necessary expense was causing me a load of mental anguish so this little surprise made me feel very blessed! Now, I have a new phone screen without having to break the bank, and have in fact ensured that the initial costs of purchasing AppleCare have been made worthwhile!
  4. As I walked past the O2 shop in town today, I decided to pop in to discuss options for my mobile SIM plan. It has been something that I have been meaning to do but have struggled to find time and motivation to sort out… however, my current data plan only provides me with 500MB of cell data which is wholly insufficient! Every alternate month, I find myself having no data left to use and have to “ride it out” for a week or so until the new month’s data allowance commences. It has been doing my head in! Anyway, I met a really lovely server at the O2 store today called Ava who recommended a plan change such that I now get 4GB of data, unlimited texts and phone calls for essentially the same monthly payments!! It also helps that she was super young, energetic and friendly, and we enjoyed  a really nice chat about stuff unrelated to my mobile contract. She made my day yet again by commenting that I did not look old enough to be my age! Haha!

Superb days like that don’t come by often enough… so I want to make sure I document it and remember the little blessings that I have enjoyed today!

Thank you Lord.

Flow

I was chatting to a friend from church recently about the immense enjoyment that I get out of getting “in the zone” with brush-lettering and creating pieces. At that time, she introduced me to the concept of “flow” which I am now fascinated with.

What is flow?

“It is the mental state when the person performing a task is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. It is characterised by complete absorption in what one does, resulting in the loss of one’s sense of space and time.”

Here is a TEDtalk by Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, the Hugarian-American psychologist who described it.

I don’t necessarily agree with him that Flow is THE secret to happiness as JESUS is the ONLY way to truly satisfying, life-changing happiness. However, I do agree that getting into Flow can contribute to emotional well-being. It puts us in a state of ecstasy where we no longer have any spare energy or attention to give our other problems and troubles.

I experience flow when I am creative (painting and lettering) and when I am exercising (even though the inertia is ALWAYS so great to start myself moving). I know that performing gets me into flow as well- I just don’t get enough chances to stand on stage to sing and act.

What gets you into your FLOW?

I hope to get into a state of FLOW much much more this coming year.

 

Long overdue update

A lot has happened since my last blog post in August.

Too much, so here’s a quick summary in bullet points (as usual)

02/07/18. I set up an instagram account for my brush lettering! It will serve as a  safe space for me to keep track of my progress… with time, hopefully my account flourishes and my work gets acknowledged… some day, when my lettering skills have been honed and are much improved, I hope to sell my work.

19/08/18: Decided to take Holy Communion for the first time. This has been something that I have abstained from for the longest time… mainly because of teaching from the church of my childhood that we should abstain from the sacraments until we have “confirmed” our faith. For years I have let the bread and the wine pass by me… until I was challenged about it again by the pastor of my current church. Now, Christ Church doesn’t insist on people needing to attend catechism classes and publicly declaring their faith before we are encouraged to take communion… they teach that if you believe, you can and should receive. Recently, my pastor found that even after 9 years at CCL I have still not partaken in communion. He challenged me about it. He was clear that he did not want me to do anything that would sin against my conscience, but he also encouraged me to think about it more seriously. He wanted me to share in the joy and the commandment that is communion, even if I didn’t take it every time… he was keen that I partook in it. So after some deliberation, I realised that my hesitancy all boiled down to legalism. “I can’t do it because the other pastors said I shouldn’t.” But the bible doesn’t say no, does it?  Jesus’ disciples did not wait for a catechism class before they took communion. Am I following the bible’s words? Or am I blindly following the “laws” set by men? I decided that there was no TRUE biblical reason why I should not take communion as a believing Christian so I took the plunge. I ate the bread and drank the wine. And it was good.

20/08/18. Received some of the worst news I have had in my lifetime. Bad day. Tears. Sorrow. Desperation. More about this some other time…

Since then I have tried fasting and praying for the first time in my life. I fasted for 20 hours once a week. It has been an interesting experience. The hunger reminded me each time that I had to pray. And the fasting reminded me that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word…” It also kind of helped that fasting helps me to reduce my daily calorie intake… (though my weight didn’t really budge much- it has pretty much plateaued out, which is frustrating!)

12/09/18- 15/09/18. Went to the ESRA conference in Dublin. Killed SO MANY BIRDS with one stone. 1. Sat the EDRA part 1 (And passed!!! Woohoo. Scored 74.6%. Honestly, I didn’t think I would manage that at all as the exam was a lot harder than I had expected or prepared for, so I am very thankful!) 2. Attended the cadaver workshop and “all blocks in one go” US scanning workshop (They were so GOOD and useful. I learnt a lot of anatomy that I was unsure of/ didn’t learn in med school. Also, it felt so good to have experts who actually know what they are doing/ talking about teach me and answer my questions. I actually trust them when they tell me how to do infraclavicular blocks… versus at work, when I sometimes get the sense that some consultants are just “winging it” and don’t really know what they are talking about either… At these workshops, I was getting real experts who have sat the EDRA before and who practice thousands of blocks regularly hold my hand and say “hold the probe this way…” “look for the clavipectoral fascia…” The teaching was so good and well-worth the euros. Highly recommended!) 3. Did my first ORAL PRESENTATION at an INTERNATIONAL conference. Yep, another win for the CV! My free paper wasn’t nominated for competition, so I was pretty relaxed about it. There weren’t many people there (I think I presented to only about 15 people in a small room max), and there was no judging/ strict time-keeping. No difficult questions and the feedback on my work was really positive… so I was very pleased! 4. Visited the Republic of Ireland for the first time. Didn’t do a huge amount of sight-seeing as the conference was pretty much 8.30- 1700 or 1800 daily, but the couple of hours after “work” was pretty good (esp since the days are long in the summertime).

26/09/18. 25 weeker. 32 weeks corrected. Paracetamol OD. 5 times. milligrams confused with millilitres. Acetylcisteine. HDU. Apologies and duty of candour. 3 days terror. No sequelae. Now innovation for change. Let’s see how this goes. May be good for the CV and cons interview eventually as a “critical incident” to discuss. Department  supportive. SRob texted the next day “Hi Just checking you are ok. No one thinks any worse of you. Personally I would appoint you tomorrow!” Made up that my favourite consultant thinks this way.

Positive feedback. Been receiving some really lovely feedback from consultants. Especially SRob. I personally really like him and respect him as he is really good at his job and attentive to minusci. He’s the block guru and as you know I am interested in regional anaesthesia. Also, he is open-minded and not quite as resistant to change and innovation as some other people can be. I didn’t think he liked me very much the first couple of times I was at AH. However, since I have returned as a fellow he has been dead nice to me. He commented that I have become a lot better than when I was last at AH as a registrar. He has also said that he was pleased with my attention to detail. He still nitpicks at my work and sometimes “big-brothers” my anaesthetic charts (i.e. he would go to recovery and check on the quality of my anaesthetic record keeping for patients I have just delivered to recovery)… but he tells me that it is simply because “good is not good enough” and we need to aim for “perfection.” When I was chatting to some people about maybe taking on another fellowship after AH, SRob commented “don’t put ideas in her head… we have a department to run!” (basically saying that he was expecting that I would apply and contribute as a consultant at AH). And then there was that text that I shared above. When I last worked with him in MRI, he basically left me to see and sort the patients while he went to sit in a separate office within the MRI suite (this never happens!)– to me, that said a lot about how much he trusted me. And then there was feedback from the MRI staff that “he really likes you, and he thinks you are good.” All really lovely feedback. Besides SRob, there is also RishDi… who sat me down and told me that “every one of the fellows who wants a substantive job here next year will most likely be able to get a job (if you don’t f*ck up in the meantime).” With one of the fellows going to work in RMCH, and the another being a pre-CCT fellow… my conclusion was that RishDi was basically telling Hobbo and I that we are liked and people want us in the department. Most recently, I also got a message from my Ed supervisor saying that “you have a glowing consultant’s feedback.” All this feedback is so important to me. I want to write them all down so that I will remember them and let them prop me up in times when self-doubt fills my mind yet again… (which it often does).

 

 

Moving forward into a new era

I really resent myself for not writing for ages and then having to catch up on a load of updates… Here we go anyway…

Great set of nights

  • Experienced one of my best sets of nights on 4th-8th June. Lovely CT1 (good looking, competent, teachable, easy to talk to). Friendly and highly competent ODPs. Great scrub nurses.
  • We had food every night! I brought in some blondies on the 1st night shift. The consultant who was in on the 2nd night bought us pizzas. My SHO brought sweeties in the 3rd night. And we had a massive party on the final night– one of the ODPs specially went to get a load of cakes/ cupcakes for me (to say thank you for the blondies), one of the scrub nurses brought in home-cooked Chicken Adobo for the team on my cheeky request, and I brought in some home-made cinnamon rolls!
  • The nights were not too busy… just enough work to keep us busy but not bogged down.

Last shifts

  • My last accompanied list was with A. Houston. A good ol’ elective open AAA to be more precise! Managed to get the thoracic epidural in and it worked a treat for the patient! It was a lovely last list to be on…. I’ve always enjoyed working with A. Houston. He’s really relaxed, very cautious, easy to chat to, and looks pretty too!
  • My last night shift ended on the morning of 6th July 2018. It had been quite a lot busier earlier on in the week (think: 3 consecutive renal transplants on 1 night!), but that last shift was sweet. Slept most of the night and managed to have a normal Friday day time!
  • My very last shift was on 12th July 2018. Not an amazing on call long day to be fair. I can’t really remember too much, except that my very last patient was a severe COPD patient who had fallen and sustained a flail segment of fractured ribs and some bleeding. I waited 2 hours for the “blue light” ambulance to come and take us (anaesthetic escort) to the major trauma centre… only to have the paramedics arrive at 1920h… 10 minutes before the shift changeover… thankfully, they were happy to wait 10 minutes so I could handover and not need to make the trip out way past my finish time!

Resigning

  • So, as I approach the end of my specialist training, I have to send a letter of resignation to my employers… I have to admit that it was one of the strangest and scariest things I have had to do in a while. Resigning from a job and a programme that I have comfortably settled into for the last 7 years! I procrastinated and procrastinated but eventually penned something down. I have no idea how to write a letter of resignation, so this was my short and sweet email to the employer:

Applying to be entered on the specialist register

  • So, I did that today. Applied to the GMC to be entered onto the specialist register. Once on the register I can work as a consultant anaesthetist. Eeks! Paid £420 for this privilege.

I got published!

  • In the college bulletin this month. It felt great! Most of the messages have been congratulatory. Very pleased.

Brush lettering

  • I’ve been going a little over the top with my brush lettering expenses recently. I just want all the colours! My wallet sustained some serious damage when I went back to Singapore recently… especially since discovering a shop called Overjoyed on Short Street (right next to Rochor MRT station).
  • So far, I’ve purchased a couple of sets of Tombow dual brush pens (and other assorted pens from various brands), a range of embossing equipment (heat gun, embossing fluid and embossing powder), a light box, and all manner of smooth paper! I also purchased a bottle of masking fluid to experiment with… can’t wait to break into that and have a go too!
  • I’ve been practicing a lot recently whilst on holiday, and even started an instagram account to document my brush lettering journey. Quite honestly, I’ve accumulated so much paper that I really need to stop being a garang guni and start throwing things out. The social media account should hopefully allow me to keep digital records and also engage with other creators online!
  • I have in fact developed a bit of a curriculum for myself:
    • Basic word form drills (Kaitlin style, Modern style, flowy style…)
    • Lettering connections
    • Blending
    • Bouncy lettering
    • Flourishing
    • Learn to draw watercolour floral wreaths
    • Play: Masking fluid, embossing, foiling
    • More word forms/ font types (e.g. Spencerian, copperplate… traditional types)
  • At present, I am concurrently practicing bouncing and flourishing… It has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to have more time and motivation to progress even more! The aim is hopefully to be able to open an Etsy shop selling my pieces online in the future.

Visiting Singapore

  • Really physically and emotionally burnt out recently, so this recent trip home was a necessity, despite the fact that I could only be home for about 9 days (because I needed to be back for my visa appointment, before the start of the new job with the new employer).
  • Managed to see KX for the first time in years! He needed me to return the army jacket that he gave to me about 14 years ago. It was nice to see him– the guy that had been the centre of my few real-life idol-drama moments (think rushing from the army camp, hopping on the sky train and running across the airport terminal to find me, hug me and say goodbye before I left for the UK. Also think: signing a “contract” that we would get married if we both remained single at age 32). Well, the contract is void now as KX is a happily married man who recently welcomed his third son. He’s knee-deep into being a family doctor and happy working in the polyclinics. It was really lovely to meet up with him again- so many years have past and so much has changed. Yet, he seems to be still exactly the same.
  • The newly renovated house is so nice! Some things didn’t turn out as good as it could have been but I would say it was an overall success and I’m very pleased with it! The house is so much brighter and cleaner, and despite the persistent presence of many boxes the house doesn’t look so cramped with crap. I love the new kitchen and the new rain shower in the bathroom! We went shopping for furniture and curtains when I was at home– it was stressful but necessary.
  • Bought a load of skin care. Totally obsessing over K-beauty recently… especially the brand COSRX. Now, I have a healthy stock of cleansers, toners, scrubs, masks, essences and creams. And I only have one face. Here’s trusting that I’ll be able to use up the products before they go past their expiry dates!
  • Spiculated nodule. Fuck you. Please be gone. Please. Dear Lord, please take it away. Please help me to trust you. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Visa

  • After coming back from Singapore, I have since attended my visa appointment on 27/7/18 at the premium service centre in Solihull (heck, these appointments are so hard to come by. There is a centre in my city but there were NO appointments FOR EVER). For £2999, I managed to get my visa application approved on the same day. Freaking expensive, but I guess it was worth it not having to surrender my passport and freedom to travel for 6 months! Just glad that these visa application sagas are now over and done with…

Neville

  • Sorry Neville, but I managed to scratch your butt (side actually) at the multi-storey car-park again. I hate multi-storey car parks! That was where you sustained your first and only other injury as well! I was trying to make a tight turn around the ramps and didn’t give myself enough space to turn (also, I was going in the opposite direction so I felt hurried to complete the turn before other cars came along). My heart aches for you Neville! Sorry!

Trump-Kim Summit

This is a historic moment. A handshake that the world never thought we would ever see. A meeting that may see the denuclearisation of North Korea and a promise of peace.

A few months ago, these 2 men were trading insults over twitter. One calling the other a “Dotard”, and the other name-calling his Korean counterpart “Rocketman.” North Korea was furiously testing their nuclear missiles, promising to reach North American shores with their nuclear weapons. The threat of a nuclear world war 3 was so real that even I got scared.

Yet somehow, something seems to have changed. Kim Jung Un is suddenly interested in negotiating peace. In a short space of time, he has announced the completion of his country’s nuclear testing. He dismantled one of NK’s major nuclear test sites. He met with South Korea’s president Moon Jae-In and even invited the latter to cross over the threshold into his country. He agreed to meet with his arch enemy Donald Trump.

This cruel dictator who surely has an endless list of humanitarian crimes under his name is suddenly becoming human. I don’t know why. I can only trust that this is my God at work in his heart.

God is surely at work. Perhaps it is for this moment in history– the meeting of the NK chairman and US president, that “the worst thing ever happened” 2 Novembers ago. Perhaps this is the reason God allowed Donald Trump to win the United States presidential race. It takes a mad man to subdue another mad man… perhaps this is God’s purpose in it all. After all, my God is the master at using the most awful of situations to his glory.

May this handshake truly mark the beginning of  the promise of peace… and perhaps even liberation and progress in the hermit state of North Korea.

P.s. This was set in sunny Singapore, at the Capella hotel in Sentosa. I am so pleased that our little country was able to play a part in setting the scene for this meeting. Admittedly, I was worried… “why did they have to choose us?” did cross my mind. I fretted over the security and safety of my family and fellow citizens. These 2 men are volatile, powerful, and surely have no lack of potential assassins. Will their combined presence disturb the peace in our placid little island? I should never have worried… Singapore did a wonderful job hosting. Our military and police men and women stepped up. We spent 20 million SGD as the price for peace, and in the process have gained so much more back in media exposure that will surely blow up our tourism trade. Well done, I am so proud of our sunny island.

2018

Productive first day of the New Year:

  • Sorted out my BMJs/ BJAs to throw/ recycle
  • Threw out my broken and useless electrical goods
  • Sorted out my GD pics for the wall
  • Cooked about 6 meals for the coming week
  • Folded the laundry
  • Gone grocery shopping
  • Watched a lot of YouTube
  • Practiced brush calligraphy

Hopefully this productiveness will carry on through the rest of the year.

In 2018,

SMILE and BE CONTENT.

I hope that this New Year brings:

  • Joy in the workplace. I want to enjoy my work more and feel less stress, fear and frustration
  • Improved brush calligraphy skills
  • Better eating habits and more exercise, hopefully accompanied by noticeable weight loss
  • More travelling
  • More friends and deeper friendship
  • Love and relationship
  • Prayerfulness and complete trusting in the Lord Jesus

Whatever changes 2018 brings, remember that nothing changes how you stand before the Lord your God.

You are saved, sealed and sanctified.

You are a child of God.

You are forever loved.