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Archive for September, 2009

How do we define happiness? Is it a state of our mind? Happiness is being in control of our circumstances no matter how down the situation is rather than letting it control ourselves. Of course, that’s easier said than done. I have had my share of unhappiness. Days when I felt so down that I wished I was not born. Thank goodness, moments let this passed by later. If not, I think I would have to see a shrink, I meant psychiatrist. Depression affected a lot of people and it can hit them unknowingly.

The sun shone brightly today. A glorious day to go to church. Met my mom there. As usual, I could hardly understand what the pastor was preaching because of communication barrier. Wish my mom went to the English session. My sons refused to go to Sunday School for the same reason. They have difficulty understanding the language which is actually Mandarin. Well, we do loved the church gospel songs. We had refreshments after that and mingle around with other members.

After that, we went to a shopping complex. Food, food, food is all we ever bought each time. It’s a wonder all of us are so skinny. I wished we can put on some weight. Sometimes, I think what is wrong with us. It is no fun when I get commented on this each time an acquantaince saw me after a while.

My sons played some games at the Play Station and were really happy. Even my younger boy was very active with no complaints of his joints. Later in the car, he told me he wanted to paint a picture as a surprise for me for taking them to play. And that he did with his hands and shirt full of colourful paints. He drew a picture of him and wrote his name, with some flowers and a sun in the background. What a dear! He can drive me around the bend and yet he can be so thoughtful at times. My elder boy wrote on a paper to thank me for taking them out. I kind of suspected that he did that only because his younger brother painted a picture and he did not want to be left out!

All in all, it was a happy and carefree day. Sometimes children can be so exasperating but you would truly missed them if they were not around. They soothe my wounds when the chips are down. I loved them to bits…

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It began with an unexplained pain in his right knee one day. I scrutinised for sign of bruises and cuts. Having found none, I interrogated my younger boy as to what happened and whether he fell down. All he could gave me was a puzzled look. Well, he’s only six after all.

Thus began our trips to the doctors, specialists, and so forth. A bone specialist said it is growing pains that afflicted some children. Whereas a doctor specialising in eastern medicine said he had child arthritis. We could not believe our ears. Arthritis at his age! After countless medicine and trips back to his paedrician who confirmed after numerous blood tests and X-Rays that he did have arthritis.

Since our state does not have an expert on child rheumatism, we had to go to a hospital in another state. The good doctor explained that he had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) or Juvenile Idiopahtic Arthritis (JIA). The causes are not known but research indicated that it is an autoimmune disease. In short, this means that the white blood cells lose the ability to differentiate the body’s own healthy cells and harmful invaders. Thus instead of protecting the body, it releases harmful chemicals that can damage harmful tissues and cause inflammation.

And now my little boy has inflammation in his right knee and left wrist. He has Oligoarticular JIA which meant four or fewer joints affected. Since oral medication proved futile, he had medication injected directed into his joints by the outstation Consultant Paedrician Rheumatologist. So, far it has been five days since the injections. He had to be sedated before undergoing the treatment. He did not cry even once but just asked in a shaky voice with a huge tear squeezing out from his eye whether it will end soon. My own will nearly gave way upon seeing him lying so fragile on the hospital bed and asking me with such a trusting voice.

I know people always say God works in mysterious ways but I wonder why some children have to go through so much pain. There is a reason probably but so far I have not found it yet…

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My brave little boy

After sleepless nights finally the day came to go to outstation for my young boy’s treatment at the hospital. The short medical term for what he is suffering from is called JIA. This juvenile arthritis only affected children under the age of 16. After getting slightly lost, an uncle came to the rescue and took us to the correct place. Wouldn’t you know the good doctor was on MC that day! But luckily she has briefted her capable replacement and boy, was she thorough! She took several pages of notes and I really had to crack my head trying to remember all that history.

We were pretty worried as my son had to be admitted to the H1N1 ward as the doctor was attached to that ward. Luckily there were only suspected cases not actual ones. When I had to left my young boy in the room because they had to prepare his wrist for the insertion of the drip and also to take a blood sample, he was really worried. Luckily he did not cry as I had assured him that I would be waiting just right outside the door. The doctor and nurses praised him as he did not raise even a peep. For a young child he has been subjected to numerous jabs and so far he did not cry once. I am rather proud of him because he did not made me worried about this.

His steely will showed a slight crack later however when he was lying on the hospital bed. After being examined and prodded, he enquired in a trembling voice whether the next course of action will be the last and a large teardrop squeezed out of his eye..I thought my heart will break. Until now, he did not even cry even though he is terrified in the strange surroundings and new treatment. I comforted him by telling after taking some medicine which will make him sleep, the doctor will put the medicine into his wrist joint and knee. I assured him that he will be sleeping while the treatment being done. So, no pain will be felt.

Finally he was taken to the treatment room and I was by his side until he nodded off. I had to leave the room while the ttreatment was being done. The procedure itself was pretty fast and later he was wheeled back to his ward. I waited for him to wake up and had some anxious moments when the red alert went off. The nurse explained that the pulse rate set was for babies, so even though out of range, no need to worry. Whew! He woke up two and a half hours later very drowsy. I had to coax him to take a sip of water. I was happy when he wanted to take some Milo and some rice. If the food stayed in his stomach, the doctor said he can be discharged. He was scared to eat as he was feeling drowsy which is a new experience for him as this is the first time he had been sedated.

Thank God even though there were some anxious moments like nearly losing the way on the way to the hospital and reaching slightly late, I must say kudos to the doctor and nurses. There were a few very brave moms in the same ward whose child is seriously ill but still showed concern for me and my son. I really admire their courage and my heart goes out to the mom whose elder boy has passed away and now her younger son has the same life-threatening illness.

May God bless all the moms in the world and I am so happy the journey was safe and my boy went through the treatment smoothly. He still has to go for a follow up visit next month and I prayed he will get well soon.

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11th Sep. 2009, Friday was another day for a follow-up visit to the doctor to assess my younger son’s joint inflamation condition. After countless medication and trips, his joints are still swollen. Finally the good doctor recommended a Consultant Paedrician Rheumatoid in another state. It is not a common childhood disease and there is no such specialist in my state. She managed to get an appointment fast and I really appreciated it because that Consultant is attached to a Government Hospital. Normal people like us who used the normal channel will probably be lucky if we can get an appointment few months later. Luckily my son’s appointment is next week.

This is actually a slow and crippling disease whereby his quality of life will be compromised should his condition continued. Due to pain, he is not moving much the affected joints. This will cause the muscle to shrink and to waste away. Furthermore nutrients that he consumed will be absorbed by other parts of the body and not the affected joints. As he is at a tender age now, the effects looked not serious but as he grows, his mobility will be restricted. That is why others who saw my son might not viewed it as a serious condition because he can still play like other boys but only I can see the difference. I just had to take some action so that he will be spared of the pain later on. He will start to wonder why other children will be able to handle physical exercises so effortlessly whereas he is unable too.

My boy has to be sedated and admitted to the hospital because of his young age. The medicine will be injected into both of his affected joints. I am naturally apprehensive and extremely worried. I can barely sleep at night. The days and nights are stretched so long ahead of me. I just feel mentally and emotionally exhausted. I wish everything is over fast and that all goes well.

I pray that my son will be well after this treatment.

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Boys always looked forward to holidays and today was no exception. They are used to my routine. We woke up when it’s time to wake up – no restriction. Today was around 8.20am. I cooked noodles for them and then gave them revision to do. They practically accepted this practise because I have trained them from young this way of life. Once you have finished your work, you can play, watch TV or basically do whatever you want! Studies come first…So, there are no complaints when it comes to school work because they know they can relax and enjoy afterwards.

Later we went to Tesco (can’t believe it. I gave them choices and they still choosed Tesco and we go there quite often with my mom). Naturally they invaded the Toys Section. As usual, younger son choosed the computer and insisted that I buy for him if he does well in his studies. Elder boy scooted off to the Books Section. It was easy to leave without buying anything because from young, I made it a practise not to buy toys simply whenever they wanted. They got to work for it. So, off we went to the Supermarket Section.

Every trip there will end up with grocery shopping. It’s always food, food, food and we are skinny people despite walloping tons of food. Thanks to food genes from my ancestors. Lunch time saw us heading to Stadium. Elder boy had a hankering for fried chicken rice and younger boy wanted laksa. Unfortunately none was sold there. So, we moved on to Rainbow as in our original plan. However due to Puasa time, few stalls were opened. However there is a Kopitiam there. In the end, we had curry chicken rice, sweet and sour chicken with sausage rice and Tom Yam Udon.

Last stop was Parkson. I must add that I think people are not so terrified of H1N1 as I hardly saw anybody wore masks. Actually the masks sold are not very protective. It is actually more for people who had flu symtoms to wear so that they will not infect the public when they go out. Even though it was sale time but people are just window-shopping. The cashiers were pretty idle.

Time to head back home. Bathtime and then it was relax time..Aahh! Bliss until tomorrow when office beckons…

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Well, actually, the title is a wee bit misleading because my son was actually looking forward to me coming back from office to pick him to the doctor. That was because in the next moment, he was hopefully asking me whether we will be going to other outings after the hospital trip. Who would have thought that a simple follow-up visit to the doctor would end up with us spending three hours there!

For the benefit of all, my son has inflammation in his joints. He seemed like any other young boy playing and running about when he is not inflicted by the pain. Praise God that usually he is fine. Occasionally he suffered in the morning when he have difficulty getting out from the pain. I have to carry him to the toilet and then give him his medication and then rub ointment on the affected joints. There were days he had to skipped school. Worst, before it was just one leg and now it is one hand which meant two afflicted joints.

This follow-up visit was actually one of the many visited. Unexpectedly the doctor ordered an X-Ray and it showed demineralization of bones which means there was some indication of thinning. I really do not understand how a young child can have such a medical condition. And he has a long journey to go through life.

Hopefully with the change of medication he will showed some improvement. Anyway, next week again another follow-up visit to the doctor. We have already spent a lot of time waiting from seeing the doctor to getting the lab results and medication. I shudder to think have to go through this again next week. But in my quest for my son to get well, I really do not have any choice. Nobody said being a mom was easy…

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