Category Archives: Health

Musophobia anyone????????

 IS HE CUTE???????

It was close to midnight…. I was alone as Fat Dragon was out entertaning. I was happily watching a delayed telecast of the results show for American Idol last Friday …anxiously awaiting the announcement of the results…. deep in concentration as I rooted for David Cook to win…. 

All of a sudden, there was a huge ruckus in the kitchen. As our house in Mentakab had an open concept between the living room, dining & kitchen, it just took a turn of my head for me to witness a dark furry speedy little figure jumping  through the kitchen window from the outside, onto the sink (PLONK PLONK) & dashing madly towards a trolley full of utensils (CLING CLANGING away) & …………………….. What on earth?????? YIKES SHRIEK

……There would be another speedy figure in the house,  dashing in the opposite direction, that night…. i.e. ME!    Up the stairs I ran,  to deposit myself into the bedroom, away from the frontlines of mousy danger.  Despite my shivering constitution, I quickly grabbed whatever newspapers I could find in the room to stuff into the crack underneath the door, just in case. 

My next course of action – Send out SOS MESSAGEs to Fat Dragon! The messages are as follows:

SMS1 : Dar, a RAT just jumped into the kitchen

SMS2 : OMG what shall I do! All the food there, doors r closed. How’s it gonna get out? The fruits OMG OMG

SMS3 : RAT IN THE HOUSE – HELP!

Thank goodness the SOS messages were effective. Fat Dragon came back shortly to launch a noisy midnight search for the mousy intruder.  Broom sticks were hitting the fridge, the kitchen cupboards, the rubbish bins, the trolley, the stove cupboard. Hmmm… He must be gone. After all, no four legged friend of ours could survive such a noisy ‘hunt’ without getting freaked, right? He would try to escape a.s.a.p., right????

“All clear!” Fat Dragon declared with confidence. Well, maybe not so confidently after all … coz he suggested we leave the house for a midnight snack. “Let the little guy have some space….We’ll leave the doors open, so he can escape!” Hmm… hardly comforting words..you mean he could still be in the house?!

Next morning which was a Saturday, Fat Dragon gave the kitchen another lookover before going to work. Nothing. Well, that’s it. he must have escaped somehow when I was upstairs the night before. OK. Phew. I survived! Although my heart did get a little more exercise than it’s used to!

Being an Obsessive Compulsive, this meant that I was in for a busy morning coz I was committed to giving the sink & all the utensils a washover to clean out the path run over by little visitor. Now after I was done, I happened to notice a dark patch underneath the double burner stove seated on a stove cupboard next to the sink & utensil trolley. Hmmph, I must have dropped a vegetable leaf …. let’s lift the stove & get rid of it! So lift up the stove I did …………

& AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHH…….. SHRIEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Two beady eyes stared back at me & I FREAAAAAKED. I SLAMMED THE STOVE BACK DOWN and in replay, dashed back up the stairs & LOCKED MYSELF IN!!!!!! This episode brought on even worse physical effects. Not only did the heart pound, my hands and legs were shivering …………… AGAIN, I sent out an SOS … this time I called – fingers too shaky to SMS! “Aargh … I thought you said the place was CLEAR???????????” HELP! 

Well, the good news was, I found him right?  I exiled myself in the bedroom for a good two hours that morning … lying in wait for Fat Dragon’s return (Thank God it was a Saturday – half day work. If not, I would have been in self exile longer). Fat Dragon arrived home soon enough & was directed immediately into the kitchen by yours truly. “Check under the stove” “If you see a dark patch … that’s him!”. …Well, minutes later Fat Dragon confirmed ‘”Yup, he’s still there. So what do you want me to do? KILL HIM….?!!”

Umm…I might hate these little suckers but gee.. you know what…I felt an overwhelming pity & admiration for this poor little bugger in particular. Something drove him into our house, I suspect it could’ve been a cat or something like that, given his panicky dash. Thinking of my own pumping heart muscles, I really wonder what all that banging and clanging from the night ‘hunt’ must have done to him. And to imagine having a stove slammed down on him the morning after & still have the courage (or is it stupidity) to remain where he was. WHAT AN ORDEAL it all must have been…..& I couldn’t forget the look on the pair of beady eyes…kinda tugs at your heartstrings a bit.  So I said…”NO, let’s just scare him out of the house.”  And that’s exactly what we did. We wheeled the stove cupboard out into the back yard quietly. Then Fat Dragon lifted the stove loudly. Lo and behold the frightened creature scrambled up to wall to safety & we left it at that.  Let’s hope the ordeal is enough to remind him not to come in to this particular house … … FINGERS CROSSED – I could do with a little less cardiac exercise.

Musophobia according to Wikipedia: 

“Fear of mice and rats is one of the most common specific phobias. It is sometimes referred to as musophobia (from Latin mus for “mouse”) or murophobia (a coinage from the taxonomic adjective “murine” for the Muridae family that encompasses mice and rats), or as suriphobia, from the French souris, meaning mouse.”

Yup, I am guilty of Musophobia as charged.  So, despite beady eyes & all …….  NO – HE IS NOT CUTE!!!!!

  

 

P.S. It is indeed disconcerting to have a phobia of rats given that they are common pests which can be found in a lot of places. While it is not pleasant to suffer from this phobia, I am quite lucky to declare this is the worst of worsts for me. I am fearless when dealing with lizards, cockroaches, even the snake which I found in our backyard one day. However, I do understand how paralysing (emotionally and physically), it is to suffer certain others phobias for eg.  baccillophobia (fear of bacteria) as everything we touch would probably have germs anyway, or maybe claustrophobia (fear of crammed spaces) especially for those working in a highrise building. I dread to think that the person will be sentenced to a lifetime of climbing stairs to his workplace for fear of entering the crammed space of a lift. Given the changing lifestyles of modern times, we also have to deal with ‘newer’ listings for phobias such as homophobia i.e. the fear of homosexuals.

P.P.S. For a list of phobias, check this link.  

…… Of obsessive compulsive disorders ……

 
I have been labled an obsessive-compulsive by Fat Dragon…. the reason being…
  • I cannot stand dirt in the house…so you will find me standing over you with a broom or a mop if you drop crumbs on the floor… I own 3 mops, 3 brooms, 3 pails….& numerous cleaning rags
  • When I have a task at hand, I obsess over it until its done. For example, when I’m researching & preparing a lesson plan, I sometimes don’t stop for meals. It’s just me… I just don’t like things hanging in the air…! Last year, I undertook the job of painting the garden walls of our house all by myself …once I got started…I couldn’t stop – & I ended up sunburnt! Sigh…
  • When I anticipate a happy event, I will get over excited & mull over it until I cannot sleep
  • When I worry, I will obsess over the cause of the worry…again…until I cannot sleep

According to Wikipedia:

“The phrase “obsessive-compulsive” has worked its way into the wider English lexicon, and is often used in an offhand manner to describe someone who is meticulous or absorbed in a cause  ……. It is also important to distinguish obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD) from other types of anxiety, including the routine tension and stress that appear throughout life.  Although these signs are often present in OCD, a person who shows signs of infatuation or fixation with a subject/object, or displays traits such as perfectionism, does not necessarily have OCD, a specific and well-defined condition”.

HURRAY – so I’m NOT an obsessive compulsive after all, ummm…. not in clinical terms, that is. The broader English Language term seems to confirm I am one though …. sigh…

Do you remember the character that Jack Nicholson played in the comedy ‘As Good As It Gets”? You probably had a good laugh when he displayed some of the antics below but they really were classic manifestations / symptoms of an obsessive compulsive ……

  • he felt the need to wash his hands repeatedly.
  • he cleared his throat repeatedly even though there wasn’t a need to
  • he had a counting system arranging numbers in specific groups i.e. he went through the ritual of locking his apartment door three times every night before he went to sleep.
  • he had a fear of contamination especially when he confronted bodily secretions like urine, feces (hence his fear of getting close to his neighbour’s dog), saliva, sweat etc
  • he had a need for his body to feel evenly balanced hence he was careful to walk only on the flat tile surfaces of the walkway and not on the cracks….

Glad to declare I have none of the above symptoms displayed. PHEW! In real life, having an obsessive compulsive disorder is no laughing matter indeed. In fact, it is a condition which requires medical intervention be it in the form of drugs or even therapy. However, the good news is, most of us who think we have an OCD are really just ‘meticulous’ or maybe just ‘perfectionists’!! 

Well, come to think about it,  you could even be calling me a TIGHT A**    for all I care ………………….. but then, sure beats being labelled an obsessive compulsive, no? 

 donkey.jpg

 

…….. care for some VIRAL WARTS, anyone?????

 You can find them in your face, your hands & feet, your back and even down south where the sun doesn’t shine. They can spread. They’re unsightly – looking like cauliflowers or blisters or even moles. Well, these dermatological tumours are called……..  VIRAL WARTS  …… you might as well call them  ‘worry warts’ given the type of scare they can give you. 

warts.jpg

I really wouldn’t have paid much attention to it, if not for an infection to the ‘mole’ on my mum’s right cheek, which caused the surrounding area to swell to the size of a tomato!  Panic stricken – The worst came to mind. Is it an abnormal facial mole? Is it a malignant growth? Aaargh….please don’t let it be melanoma or some sort of skin cancer.

After an agonising weekend wait, we managed to secure an appointment with a dermatologist Dr. Allan Yee (Hope Skin & Laser Centre) in Gleneagles on a Tuesday morning. Dr. Yee came highly recommended from a good friend JC who works at the hospital….  

We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at  the Doctor’s Clinic Suite….. no long queues (like in SJMC), the nursing & reception staff at the clinic were friendly & accommodating & the clinic had a happy feel to it. Why do I say that? Well, a large portion of patients were young & good looking…. so I suspect they were mainly there for cosmetic purposes….. beauty & appearance being the priority.

We were lucky, since the other patients had not arrived yet, the nurse was kind enough to slot us in to see the doctor during this vacuum period & we managed to see the doctor 45 mins before our appointment time!

Armed with the usual apprehension when you go in to see a doctor, all three of us, young & old trooped in! My mum immediately launched into a mini speech on ‘My Theory of How My Mole’s been growing over the years!’ & with my DAD in the background grunting his approvals & disaprovals of her theories….. it’d actually make a good comedy if the situation was not so grave!

Dr. Yee, with an amused look on his face proceeded to shine a light on my mom’s face ……… & declared confidently “Oh, they’re not moles. They’re WARTS!”. Nothing to it. We just need to scrape it off.” OK, now that was real anticlimatic to all the scares that were building in our minds over the past 36 hours prior to the appointment …so we pressed on….. “Oh -but the swelling, WHY doctor?!”…..He went on to explain patiently, “It’s normal, a lot of things could trigger a trauma to warts. Given its raised surface, you can hurt it while washing your face, or even when you are wiping it with a towel…….”

***(So now picture a balloon filled with this gas called ‘PARANOIA’ …..pricked with a needle & fizzling up & down the doctor’s room…)***

Phew! A sigh of relief from all quarters. So what happens next? The doctor said…”OH, I can perform the procedure today!”.  Before we had time to absorb the statement, he was already asking the nurse to prep my mum for a “CURRETAGE & CAUTERY procedure!!!!!! Huh???  Greek – All  Greek to me & my DAD ….. Feeling dumb, I asked, “Doctor, what’s that?” to which he replied, “Oh it’s a very simple procedure. We scrape the warts off (hence the word ‘curretage’) & then we burn the remaining surface tissue (cauterise)” …I acknowledged this new found knowledge with an “O.I.C!”  (I read later that the cautery procedure is done to burn away any invasive cells leftover from the warts on the surface of the skin & to curb the bleeding somewhat…) 

So,  the sequence of events went pretty much like this

  • 11.15 am. We went in for the appointment.
  • 11.20 am. Mum was led off for ‘prep’.
  • 11.45 am. Her face was lathered with painkiller cream. (Who would’ve thought things are so simple, no painful jabs, no local anesthetic either….interesting)
  • 12.45 pm. She was led to the treatment room. & the door closed…. (my DAD managed to steal a glimpse inside & he said the Doc’s head was all geared up in an ASTRONAUT helmet…for the procedure. SHUCKS…. I missed that. Should have brought a camera!   
  • 1.00 pm. Procedure done. My mum had 5 warts -big & small,  removed in 15 mins.

“Did it hurt?” I asked. My mum said….”Yeah, a bit!” She’s a tough gal. My dad said…”I’m SURE it hurt, look at how RED the wounds are…..!!!!” Hmmmph….talk about rubbing it in….but that’s how our parents show their love to each other….really!

By 1.30, we were done with the formalities & after a trip to the pharmacy, we were on our way to the carpark. We were poorer by RM620 but boy were we 3 Happy Troopers! …….& one of us with the potential to look really great during the Chinese New Year, wart free & all! The doc assured mum that she would be so satisfied with the results that she would return to him for more skin treatments to look beautiful! Ahahaha…. we shall see, we shall see!    

So, …care for some VIRAL WARTS, anyone?

NONE FOR ME THANK YOU!!!! 

P.S. Thanks Doctor Allan Yee, for a quick consultation & an efficient job done. Ever grateful to you & your ever friendly staff.

P.P.S If any one is interested in seeing him, he holds a clinic in Gleneagles Hospital, Jalan Ampang, KL. He is at Suite 618. Phone no. 03-42552930.

P.P.P.S. Thanks to JC for her recommendation too. Much appreciated.

Prayer for a loved one ….

Weird morning…… Received bad news with regards to a close member of the family’s health….

I will not pretend to understand what sort of feelings a person goes through at times like these. I will not even profess to understand the feeling of helplessness, the anger, the stress & the pain …………of a person who finds out that he/she suffers from the big C.  Different people have different reactions. Some want to be surrounded by loved ones. Some want to be left alone.  Even the strongest people can crumble at times like these. Who knows what kind of emotional storm is brewing in their minds & the inevitable ‘Why me?’ question….. the only thing left for loved ones to do is to offer emotional support & to offer them a positive outlook towards the situation. That’s the best thing I can think of at this point of time.  

Mortality & illness. It’s nature’s way of reminding us how fragile life is. How vulnerable we are as human beings…….

I am reading this book now about problems in life …. it says, life’s filled with walls…either we climb it or we build a door to get past it. The only time when a person has no problems is when he/ she is dead. So the best way to deal with adversities in life is to suck it up & learn to handle the problem. The book teaches you that problems are nature’s way of hauling you out of your comfort zone to help you grow strong as a person. ……..

praying-girl.jpg

Please pray for LYL, my sis in law who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I pray that she will come out this challenge in life a winner…. & this prayer is my little way of offering my energy to help her build a door past life’s wall.  

Tales about Meditation

It all started out as a casual suggestion by me to a friend who is suffering dizzy spells when driving. When she visited her doctor, she was told that she might have vertigo. Funnily, she did not suffer these spells when not driving.  Now she fears driving. Well, I had a personal theory….could it be a panic attack? Since I have read that meditation helps people relax and destress….I mentioned it & this sparked off a an interesting debate.

Apparently,  these friends of mine are not advocates of meditation as they feel as Christians, they do not wish to reach a state where their minds are emptied & hence providing a tempting vessel for evil forces…hmmm…. 

Well I decided to do some research & you make up your minds on the benefits or non benefits of meditation.

Meditation 

Meditation one of the five principles of Yoga. It involves the art of focusing your mind, restraining your thoughts and looking deep into yourself. Practicing it, is supposed to give you a better understanding of your purpose in life and of the divine as well as providing you with certain physical and mental health benefits.

The aim of meditation

To focus the scattered rays of the mind on a single point so as to lead you to a point of self realization.

How it’s done…..

. Practice in a quiet place.

. Make sure you’re comfortable, from your attire to your position

. Warm up and stretch a little by doing some Asanas (Yoga positions). Doing some Pranayama (Yoga Breathing) is also advisable . Empty your mind of all thoughts.

. Prevent other thoughts from coming into your mind. To do this, you can concentrate on a single focal object such as a candle or something in the room. Some people chant the mantra. Some people focus on the Chakras (the 7 main energy centers in the body. As each Chakra relates to specific spiritual, emotional, psychological and emotional issues, the conscious awareness and the balancing of these energy centers lead to well being. ) In meditation the points of focus are mainly the Anahata Chakra (the heart) and the other is the Ajna (in between the eye brows)  

So far so good…..so, we’re not exactly emptying our minds right? We do focus on something……

How it benefits the body ….

Meditation apparently, results in a generalized reduction in multiple physiological and biochemical markers such as –

  • decreased heart rate,
  • decreased respiration,
  • decreased plasma cortisol which is a major stress hormone,
  • decreased pulse rate
  • increased EEG (electroencephalogram) alpha which is a brain wave associated with relaxation
  • a decrease in metabolism. Your heart beat reduces, your oxygen consumption drops (up to 20% in some cases) and as such, this helps lower your blood pressure.

How it benefits the mind…

One goes through a state of deep relaxation during meditation, while the mind’s awareness level is increased. This results in faster reactions, greater creativity and broader comprehension.  And because meditation requires discipline, determination and patience, it helps with the development of your mental health. 

Types of Meditation 

Well, the common layman’s perception of meditation brings about images of people sitting cross legged, ‘omming’ away’ the whole afternoon..but really there are 4 different Types of Meditation.

  1. Concentration Technique… which is the basic emptying of the mind by focusing on a single object
  2. Insight Meditation … this is going one step further the basic, i.e. learning to become more aware of our thoughts, emotions and sensory perception.  Here you learn to observe your surroundings, take it all in without ‘undergoing’ it.
  3. Contemplation & Self Research…to focus on widening our perspective and to learn to understand the nature of our problems and the workings of the mind.
  4. Meditation in Motion. Now….I find this 4th category interesting…did you know that Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Chi Neng and even walking can be forms of meditation…..Generally this type of meditation entails strengthening our attention and our awareness by focussing on our motions.

OK, besides viewing my jogs & walks (or should I say meditations in motion) during the evenings in a different light now  ….. I figure meditation does have physical and mental benefits. Given that its aim is to promote a deep sense of relaxation or a deep concentration by focusing your thoughts on a motion or even an object, I guess it gives your mind a break from the daily stresses of life.  There will of course be some who will see it as a means to achieve spiritual transcendence but hey, they’re entitled to their beliefs. But for those who are dead against meditation for religious purposes, …… it might perhaps be a little misunderstood…? 

Let’s assume we take a walk or a jog in the park. We focus on nothing but our motions. We take our mind off things for an hour or so. We become relaxed and our body is exercising away…. technically we’re meditating, no?

OK then, anyone game for some “meditation in motion” this evening…..(weather permitting of course)…?

Sleep Apnea…..zzzzz

Snoring. It sounds like a whistle, or a grunt, or a roar sometimes & one of the worst cases I heard produced enough decibels to compete with a revved up motorcycle…..I promise I read it somewhere…….and snoring is one of the symptoms of sleep apnea.

We caught up with a old Filipino friend who now resides in Vancouver….and he looked so very fit….he has probably dropped about 40 lbs & he looked youthful in his jeans and tight (obviously he can afford to wear it now) T-shirt. What caused this new look? Sleep apnea. I kid you not.

It started out with a trip to the doctor’s for a high blood pressure problem.  He was then referred to a doctor specialising in sleep disorders to help understand the physiology behind his ailment i.e. how his body came to develop the high blood problem.  True enough he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and this was caused by his weight problem. 

Let me give you a layman’s explanation. You see, the excess fats in the throat  become relaxed when you sleep thereby narrowing and sometimes constricting your breathing passage. So this causes snoring. For severe cases, the breathing function is compromised as the oxygen intake is not enough and what does the body do? The heart pumps faster to compensate for this and this can lead to another ailment, high blood pressure.

So the solution…… lose weight.

Well the problem was, our friend was already laying off pork, laying off red meats ….. eating mostly fish and vegetables….ahhhh….but he had not laid off his simple carbohydrates bread, rice and noodles.  Apparently that did the trick and ouila….he is a ‘hunk’ now. …..with lower blood pressure of course…..(In all fairness, it is rather difficult for Asians to exclude rice, noodles etc from our diet what with wantan mee’s, har mee, pan mee, chicken rice etc….of which carbohydrates form the bigger chunk of the meal….sigh….but if it helps, it proves to be an effective weight loss method in this particular case)

How to know you have sleep apnea? 

1. Do you snore?

2. Do you stop breathing momentarily, choke or gasp when you sleep? (Get someone to monitor your breathing when you sleep?)

3. Do you always feel sleepy and doze off in the afternoons even after a good night’s sleep?

4. Do you suffer from high blood pressure along with all the above?

Well…if you have answered YES to all the above, you probably might have sleep apnea and time to pay the SLEEP DOCTOR a visit….that is if you can find one in Malaysia!!!!!

p.s. Don’t worry, apparently up to 90% of people suffer from sleep apnea without even knowing it.