Tag Archives: Singapore

The Power of Nature

Tropical thunderstorms can be ferocious. In Singapore the worst ones happen in the middle of the night during the inter-monsoon season. Fortunately, apart from the need to get up to close the windows, I sleep very well through them! I love the rumbling thunder and the sound of the pouring rain. Sometimes, the wind gusts and howls, and it is accompanied by the crashing of things falling and breaking.

Here’s the evidence of one such gusty storm in April this year; an uprooted tree and broken bamboo stems, in the nature reserve. Part of the cycle of renewal, I’m sure.

image

image

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Run

In a bid to improve my fitness last year, I signed up for a 10k run through downtown Singapore. Starting at dawn, I ran and walked through some of the best known landmarks – the F1 Pit stop building, the Singapore Flyer, the Helical bridge and Marina Bay Sands. The run ended at the new National Stadium, which had a mechanical canopy that can be opened and shut at will.

The pictures are not of a great quality, taken with a hand-phone literally “on the run”, but it was a good start to the day. For more photo interpretations of this week’s photo challenge, please click here “Today was a Good Day”.

20140928_065611 20140928_070059 20140928_071307 20140928_072254 20140928_072304 20140928_073007 20140928_082631

Shoesmith

For shoe repair jobs, we have a choice – the professional in the air-conditioned shopping mall, or the Uncle on the sidewalk. Uncle doesn’t have very regular working hours, so it isn’t a good idea to leave your shoes with him. But he’s good for short jobs if you could wait a while, which is what I did.

Shoesmith

Uncle charged me too little, he gave me too much change. Is it because he has forgotten inflation? Or perhaps he miscounted, and was embarrassed to admit it. Maybe I was the first customer of the day, though I doubt it. First customers are often given special discounts in the believe it will bring in more custom. Whatever it was, I told all my friends to go to this Uncle please, and remember to bring exact change.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Singapore is really fortunate where the forces of nature are concerned – there are very few natural calamities. No earthquakes, tornadoes nor hurricanes. Rising sea levels will get us, but that is for the young to worry about. Every now and then though, we get extremely heavy rains – have you heard the phrase “raining cats and dogs”? It feels as though buckets of water are raining down. The picture below shows far more dramatic skies than rain.

Heavy Rain

Occasionally there are strong gusts of wind, and trees are uprooted. One is strongly advised to avoid the Nature Reserve during bad weather. I found this poor tree about a day after heavy rains.

Uprooted Tree

Finally, though, I couldn’t resist putting this little fella into this post, he was a Force of Nature as far as I was concerned! I was afraid to walk past him, so intent was his stare.

Monkey Stare

For more pictures of Forces of Nature, look here.

New Companion

We have an addition to the household. A new person, brought in to help look after Mom. It cannot be helped, Mom needs a lot more assistance nowadays, and I could not keep taking time off work and being awake half the night.

So we did what anyone else in Singapore would do in the circumstances, we applied for a FDW – a foreign domestic worker. At last count, there are over 200,000 FDWs in Singapore (population 5.5 million). FDWs are here to do housework, look after young children, and care for the elderly. It’s a viable, affordable, multi-purpose solution to our burgeoning caregiving problem as more and more people get older and sicker and need assistance.

Unfortunately, I think it is but a temporary solution, and maybe in 5 to 10 years, we will have to think of something else. This is when the countries where the FDWs come from progress economically and they no longer have to come to Singapore to work. But that’s a problem for another day. Meanwhile, I am so thankful.

Mom is at peace and laughs. There’s someone to help her with her showers, and accompanies her day and night. She gets hot food and clean clothes and takes her medications on time. And I take this respite and carry on and catch up on stuff that was put on hold.

Mom is not getting much exercise nor additional mental stimulation. We’re all just happy that she came through her major medical issues and is still alive. She watches TV and walks to the toilet and sits at the dinner table. During weekends, I take her out for a meal and care for her on the FDW’s day off. So that’s our routine now.

A New Conductor

The Geriatrician wrapped up my mother’s first consultation with him by asking me, “So, when would you like the next appointment?”

I thought quickly. He was a very busy Consultant and only took on Mom’s case after some urging by his colleague. That day at the clinic, we had waited over an hour to be seen as he had many patients and was running late. So I said, “I think six months should be alright.”

“Six months?!” he laughed and turned to Mom, “Aunty, I will see you again in six months, and I hope I don’t have to see you sooner than that!”. So he thought I was being a bit too optimistic, but he went along with me, and said we could call for an earlier appointment when needed.

For the past few months, Mom had been seeing 4 different specialists for the various medical ailments she had. Although dementia can be overwhelming on its own, people with dementia can and do have other medical problems. The only reason Mom wasn’t seeing 5 specialists instead of 4 is because the appointment for the 5th was overshadowed by emergent events and nobody remembered to put it back.

Each of the 4 specialists were intent on treating their own organ issues, without seeing Mom as a whole. For example, two specialists wanted Mom on anticoagulants, a third wanted it stopped. At times, I went a bit nuts. Particularly at the junior doctors when they call me to let me know what was happening. You want to what? For what? Can you call the other specialist and make sure he is okay with that?

So that is why we added a Geriatrician to the mix – someone who can see Mom as a whole, review what’s best for her overall and help us decide which medical ailments get priority. We need an orchestra conductor instead of multiple soloists each playing their own tune.