26.10.17

Seven Years On

I’ve always assumed “October 20th” to be my “second birthday”, as I’d regained consciousness in the Acute Stroke Ward #18 in Changi General Hospital on October 20th, 2010 … come to think of it, I’m not wholly 100% certain I woke up on the 20th (I need to check my medical records), nor at what time I did so, blaming my own pedantic “need” for such details that remain inconsequential (perhaps) - unless I’d plan to buy the lottery (with the specific numbers) - but otherwise as “important” as I remember mobile phone numbers not at all, as I rely on my handphone’s memory, in the first place.

SEVEN YEARS ON, my memory is not as great as it had been, or rather what I had felt to be “important” to be remembered, not longer feels as “important”. Holding unto the past is something I have become unfortunately being good at, but still, some things are not necessarily worthy of the effort, or at the least, I actively did not choose to remember them… or have I? Can’t really remember, actually, no b.s..

SEVEN YEARS ON, my blood sugar level read “5.3” - checked 3 days ago, while my left leg is slowly developing a sense of numbness/buzz (which I attribute to my Diabetes taking a devastating effect hopefully not leading to an amputation of my leg dammit), my daily dizziness reaching new heights, but as long as I am moving slower and reacting slower than I have been constantly forgetting I had Stroke - than perhaps I can move on.

SEVEN YEARS ON, my daily health is a major concern and restriction still to me “moving on with life”. My energy level is more limiting now that it had been seven years back, and it strains even my energy, physically and mentally having to spend an entire day out now. The recent toycon in September, was a struggle physically, for example. A single day was all I could muster, after which I needed a few days to literally recover. Thank goodness the teaching gig was decently spread out, although not always the case, but somewhat bearable, and enough to collapse on the bus home, embraced by the air-conditioning which sheltered the strain haha

OR, I could just be getting “Old” lah :p

SEVEN YEARS ON, I am trying my level best to go on the day without the eye-patch. As much as my double-vision remains an impairment, I cannot allow it to fully control my life, as much as I truly abhor now the feeling of the tightened grip of the eye-patch’s bands, or of the sweatiness that comes with my chubby body soaking into said-band. Which also means I squint at people more now, which instead garners as much “attention” as much as I had worn my “pirate” eye-patch hahahaha at least I’d be hearing less “AAARRRRR” ever so often hahahaha PUI :p

SEVEN YEARS ON, I have come to grips that I am the result of my small victories and triumphs, as I am of my failed dreams and unsated desires. “Going at it positively”, as somewhat given into a begrudging acceptance of “reality” in the world I am now living in. Whatever unrequited dreams remain still, though somewhat altered accordingly ... of course I still “Dream On”, but more often than less, I tend to smell the roses along the way more :)

SEVEN YEARS ON, I find myself “holding back” as much as I “dish it out”, and I am no longer as clear as what I want to do, than what I hope to accomplish now, given the opportunity(ies). “Come what may” is unfortunately no longer an option, as familial situations now dictate a more concrete plan for the future, for the very least to be able to take care of myself, and my family around me. To that end, I feel as if I’ve lost tons of “friends” in the process, but as well gained “new friends”, recognising that any “expectations” I may have of other folks, might not be as relevant as I’d hoped they would be, than of how I choose to face others, or have other’s perception of me.

SEVEN YEARS ON, I find myself wadding in uncharted waters, “puddles of mystery liquid” would be a more accurate term, I suppose, and I aim to get clear of such puddles, as actively as I can. It is not about “staying dry”, but at the very least, knowing my own level of comfort, as I wade in the “pools of uncertainty”.

If “LIFE” is not perfect, then I begrudge not what has been “denied” me (Nobody owes me a living, of course), but instead remain grateful I could still stand on my own two feet, and have a cuppa (or two) and engaged in conversation, on a Sunday afternoon. I should not say “that’s my lot in life”, but instead say “that’s the life I choose to lead now”, in my own time, my own pace, catching up to no one else but my own expectations of myself, and of course my “dreams”.

SEVEN YEARS ON, I am getting tired of “explaining” myself to folks around me (NOT like I did unsolicited, in the early years LOL), even though I (“instinctively” or otherwise) know folks who actually “care”, or are just curious for curiosity’s sake, unfair as it sounds, no doubt. To the world at large - seeing me walk (without an obvious gait), and not wearing an eye-patch, I am as “normal” like everyone else, until I twitch and squint, and avoid the night :p


SEVEN YEARS ON, it frankly still feels as if everything as just a few “months back”. And while I have come to accept that I may not escape the shadow of Stroke (survival), I also recognise that “life”, “MY LIFE” still needs to go forth, regardless of how I feel about it, be it what I deserve or not, it is still my life to lead, and grateful I am to be leading it still, IMHO.

SEVEN YEARS ON, I still remember as clearly my first thought, and subsequent reaction and action … of my “desire(s)”, and the realisation of how I should treat my desire(s).

Seven Years has since passed, as did the 20th, and not “remembering” the day itself, is perhaps a “good thing”? Time to “move on” … just need to constantly remind myself to keep on “moving forward” ... or so I constantly, daily, tell myself to.

Cheers, and Thank You for reading :)
Andy

11.8.17

A Personal Update Journal & Of Mental Durability


Reuniting with my ex-classmates from over two decades ago (the second time for me, this past National Day on August 9th, 2017), I’d begun to regale folks will my “Stroke-adventures” (even I stopped telling Taxi-uncles after a few years lol), and had a rethink of my circumstances, from before-Stroke, til now, nearly seven years later, after waking up in the Acute Stroke Ward at the end of October, 2010.

Long Story Short: Eye-sight is better now, having developed a severe dislike to wearing the eye-patch (although I still do when it comes to focus and mobility, but otherwise I no longer mind looking at “two plates of food” in front of me LOL).

Mobility is a mixed bag, as I find myself stumbling more these days, of not for my fat-frame, but for my sense of balance, which is really not great as before … As for “constant exercise”, I had recently gone back to lecturing part-time, which provides me with movement, true - but I recognise I really should get off my fatass blogging like a insane mad (Who’s writing this blog-post again? HAH) and move more, I know, I know … :p

"I just visited him at CGH on 22/10/10. He is now able to move his limb and speak roughly (and tell jokes). As his vision is quite unbalanced, he will be required to wear an eye patch which changes side frequently. He is mentally strong and I believe he will recover well. Best wishes to him!"
Featured above is a video recorded by a friend (whom I met thru my blog, actually) who visited my bedside a few days into me being warded at Changi General Hospital (I was first there for a month, before moving to St. Andrews), and is a gentle reminder of how far I had come since then, a slice of which I had attempted to share with folks here reading this blog :)

Met a dear friend from overseas not too long ago (Waves to Lekky!), who had the “benefit” to have met a chubbier me from years back (3 years, maybe?), and noting a “slightly slimmer” me, left such a huge smile on my face and in my heart - I need to make more of an effort to get myself healthier!


I have also come to realize, it isn’t exactly a past I am capable of “forgetting”, as I have not “succeeded” in life, even after (limited) recovery … with all that I can achieve now, I am also reminded constantly of what I cannot achieve physically, which in turn of course reminds me of the past, right? And as much as I muster the memories of the effort I had put thru to regain my independence to life, to push myself forward, there’ll be times when harmless comments chip at my confidence, scraping at my vulnerabilities, and I am back to the insecurities of a secondary school boy again, even before Stroke!

I used to abhor it when folks who say my Stroke was “MILD”, as if the effort I put thru in recovery and rehabilitation did not justify any recognition or worth! But in reality, it’s “worth” only matters to ME, while others do not know or can identify with otherwise.

These days I will be the first to exclaim that I had been “lucky that it had been mild”, as I constantly remember the folks around me in the ward, and in the rehab centers (then), that I can now speak properly (I can talk my students to sleep, maybe :p), and walk without an obvious gait, so HENG, AH! KNN!


“Identification” is a key word folks might take for granted, or for the lack of, versus “empathy” (which is a stronger emotion to attain, IMHO) which at most times “sympathy” is what folks project instead, understandably so as they might not be able to identify with the malady in the first place.

Folks who care, or are interested, will attempt to bridge that, while others are simply curious, and there is nothing wrong with that … as long as survivors like myself understand that, and react accordingly.

In the past, folks/adults will ask about my eye-patch (kids will just “ARRRRR!” at me hahaha), and I’ll do the “I had a Stroke”-story like as if I was selling insurance! Maybe not such a good idea, but for conversation(s) between a passenger (me) and the taxi driver stuck in a car, in a taxi-ride, yeah? LOL

These days, I’d recognise that folks maybe want to ask, but not needing to hear my life-story, and me getting rid of the chip off my shoulder about trying to justify my efforts in recovery (:p) .. and it would be the simple truth: Diabetes f88ked-up my eye sight!


Nearly seven years on, since surviving Stroke, I recognise I had not kept to a regular physical regimen in keeping physically healthy / fit, but also recognise the psychological aspect, where in the beginning I had thought I was “strong” enough to last (at least for myself, while for other survivors, it more likely will be a hurdle, as much as “physicality” is/was, IMHO), but I also needed to consider the durability of said “mental strength” … and as much as I attempt to inject it with “positivity” (as this particular blogpost is suppose to somewhat, I admit), I am most times struggling with it, as I feel I am the only one “self-medicating” :p

But of course I know there is my family, and close friends who keep me in check, and no, the last thing I want is “public sympathy” ~ OMG hahahahaha

What can I/we do now but to eat well, exercise and stay healthy. Stay supportive of folks around us and for folks recovering from Stroke, offer a listening non-judgemental ear if you can. Some might solicit sympathy, although some do not welcome it, but judge not what “they could have / should have done”, but instead focus on how to push on forward with their lives, IMHO.

The “past” is good for a blogpost and such, and might even be legit “fuel” to keep your “future” going, but don’t let yourself/them keep “living” in the past :)

Cheers
Andy
11/8/2017

12.10.16

My Stroke-Stories Inked for #Inktober

My main mode of transportation for the first few months after surviving Stroke, was the wheelchair. For at least 4-6 months (I am not 100% certain of the timeline) I moved around sat being pushed - from the 2 months in Changi General to outside at home ... I even visited the 2010 Singapore toycon in a wheelchair, viewing the world in a different eyeline, a different POV hahahaha! Funny thing tho, for a few good months, twice a week, I'd wait at the side of the road down my flat (along with my late Dad), to flag taxis to bring us to my rehab sessions, but only ever ONCE did someone actually let me have the cab, while everyone else who walked out and stood in front of me (further down the road) just went and grabbed the cabs, Even though they saw a dude in wheelchair (they are not THAT far up the roadside hahahaha). So much for "humanity" on the east side of Singapore, yeah? LOL #inktober Day 11 prompt: "Transport". #inktober2016 #hengdraw #toysrevilart

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on


I’ve been sharing a few personal stories through my Inktober-sketches*, with a select few regaling my post-Stroke tales. I’ve been thinking of drawing out my “Stroke-story” for years now, but have yet to find the right style or voice … this is just an experiment/start, of hopefully something that I’d like to be doing “soon”…

The images here are of the first 11 Days, and here’s quite a few more days to go before the month of October ends! haha

One of the main hurdles I'd faced attempting to regain my mobility post-Stroke, was "balance", where standing on one leg, was ever the challenge that took harder to conquer than "walking". In the beginning I could not even last 2 seconds without falling ... Which was tricky whenever I needed to step over a hump... Learning to not shuffle and lifting my legs to take my steps, is still a constant effort, 5 odd years after :p I have not taken to "run" but more manic fast-walking hahah but I have not ever "jumped" since Stroke. #Inktober Day 10 prompt theme is "JUMP", and I will always be reminded of my lack of physical ability, but it's okay, at least I can stand on one leg for longer time s now :) #inktober2016 #drawlife #hengdraw #toysrevilart

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on



Even before getting Stroke in 2010, I'd thought I was "broken". In the sense that as a grownassadult, I was still not the typical successful male Singaporean, with a stable job, with m own family Wife and kids, dressed in long pants (sometimes with tie, sometimes not) ... When instead I was "living large" working ungodly hours in the local media, ignoring m family and living selfishly like a kidult! The "normality machine" broke down somewhen for my reality hahaha THEN I had Stroke! And now I was "physically" broken too! I mustered enough to get myself in my feet walking again, but has since slide into get fatter than I have ever been, AND end up wearing Crocs (which I used to HATE, but they cover my toes from knocking into stuff, so...), and I realise I am still wearing "film crew"-clothes like years before! Still prefer Bermudas and tees (always black becoz I lie to myself it is "slimming"), and still feeling "not quite right" ... And no, it is not about "being special" - just don't want to become "special needs", ya know? But LIFE still goes on, and I can still doodle a bit here and there .... Also one thing that's NOT broken, is my lack of drawing skills! Still sucks after all these years, dammit! Hahahaha This is my #inktober2016 Day 9 prompt: "Broken" :) #henglife #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on



My #inktober2016 sketch for Day 5, with the prompt theme being "SAD". "Sad" because, the fact was, when I was recovering in the hospital for Stroke back in 2010, I also had at the same time, dental problems! But due to me taking blood-thinner medication, I could not visit the Dentist. And here I laid in hospital, with half my body paralysed AND a massive toothache, which eventually led to my teeth growing out of place, to my current state of mangled teeth that I not longer smile with an open mouth for pictures. The big GAP in the drawing is for when I go take my middle bottom tooth out (This week perhaps)... Not only am I physically altered due to Stroke, now my teeth are failing me! I have made do with my eye-patch and getting fat as a hog, but my teeth? Don't be expecting me to greet the world at large too often when I pull out that damn shaking tooth... "Sad", right? #truestorybro #inktober #hengdraw #toysrevilart

A photo posted by TOYSREVIL (@toysrevil) on


Some folks are "scared" of being in the dark, scared of spiders, scared of being alone, scared of dying ... But the most thing I am scared of, especially after surviving Stroke (in 2010), is having a "headache". And not just any headache - but a headache from the back of my head. Because that is just one of the symptoms leading to possible Stroke, where the blood vessel situated at the back of your noggin' is having problems carrying blood up to your brains, it's either clogged (my type of Stroke) or the vessel bursts and you get pretty f**ked up afters. I experienced a severe headache prior to falling to Stroke, and even 5-6 years later, whenever I have a headache (at the back, everywhere else I'm not worried much), I'd be scared for my life, no b.s. These days I try not to take Panadol for the headaches too, as I'd rather know the pain exists, rather than be oblivious to what my body is trying to tell me otherwise. This is Day 13 of #inktober2016 with the prompt being "SCARED". #inktober #hengdraw #roysrevilart

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The roots I've grown are tied in to my own immediate self and family, and continues to grow as the days go by, moreso than it had pre-Stroke, when "growing roots" meant "achieving in my own career" rather than notions of family or even friends, self centered that I had been... And now I wonder If I've become a tree worthy to shelter my own love ones, with my leaves of abundance, or even grown strong enough branches to strap a swing around myself to let my own offspring play on, and depend on...? I honestly do not think I am, or have, for I am just a sapling trying to grow, and not let myself wither on more than I had, as the days go by... And this is one reality I cannot blame on my Stroke :( My #inktober Day 14 prompt theme "TREE". #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober2016

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I really struggled to come up for something for #inktober Day 15's prompt: "RELAX", and had wanted to depict myself in my fav "relaxed" moment, and realising i do not have many! I Guess I've always been uptight. And being a workaholic also meant I did not know what to do when it is time to "relax", or when I go on a holiday. The closest I remembered was being in Bandung in 2009 actually, and even then my mind was in constant movement. One would imagine being in SLEEP to be relaxing, but that has hardly been the case for some time now, as every night I am filled with frenzied dreams - sometimes good, not as often bad, but always in a "hurry", and near always am doing stuff and getting tired doing them - like mountain trekking, for the entire dream! Anyways, I wouldn't know how to relax in the waking world anyways ... Sometimes I might feel a glimmer of it, but it is always fleeting ... And here I stand, back turned towards everybody else, tryin my hardest to "relax" and then turn around to greet the world with a smile and a semblance of "positivity"! ... but in the end, all everyone else sees is still just my back! Hahaha #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober2016

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It really should not have come a a surprise the ice cappuccino spilt when it did, as the glass slowly toppled on one side, and all I could do was watch it happen, as I stood exhausted waiting just to sit down, have a drink and a cake, and gain back some semblance of energy - since list to a torrid' sleeping problem in the morning, stressed from the sweat and being in a crowd (which I thought had been better by now), and whatever f**kedup reason I have become too tired to bother with... Thinking back, I was less embarrassed by the spillage on my feet and shoes, but more pissed I couldn't drink my beverage! Hahaha too tired to care otherwise ... On the way home, te taxi Uncle asked me; "you just now drink coffee ah?" And said he could smell it strongly, an I told him I spilt the drink ... And it was ten when I felt truly embarrassed and saddened hahahaha ... 6 years on, since leaving the hospital, I really should not be surprised by the lack of my physical abilities ... Now have to throw bag away too :p #inktober2016 Day 29 prompt "Surprise". #hengdraw #toysrevilart #inktober

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*Inktober is a drawing “challenge” where you draw a single drawing for every day in the month of October, and post it online in Instagram.

5.1.16

Blame Game

When we blame, we miss our opportunity to experience empathy. Brené Brown breaks it down in this video from The RSA.

Posted by Upworthy on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Since my Stroke, I had endeavored not to blame anyone, remembering as I laid in the hospital acute stroke ward, looking up at the ceiling fan, a sight I had seen for a few days now, and thinking "WHO" I could blame for this malady I was in? I couldn't blame "God" for my misfortune, as I'd hardly believed or acted I'd believe in one single god - whomever he or she was ...

And one day, a few years after I'd regained a portion of my ability to walk, and had taken a taxi ride back home, when, while regaling my Stroke story to the driver, when he told me who it was who was to blame for my malady; "ME". And that made the most sense, to me anyways :)

What happens to us, is in our hands. "Stroke" is a man-made phenomena, and WE made it happen to OURSELVES, didn't we? At some point, post-Stroke, we stop playing the blame game, and make it good back for ourselves, and move forward with whatever our lives are able to .. but before that happnes, treat yourselves and your bodies well, yeh? :)

Andy

21.10.14

5 Years Post-Stroke: A Memory of Wiggling Toes


I've never mentioned this to anyone - not because of any particular "secrecy" reasons except that the reference might fly over folks' head - ESPECIALLY for people have not specifically seen Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL Vol:1! Having said that, there is a specific sequence which sort of guided / helped me thru the early days of my Stroke!

There is a particular scene, where "The Bride" AKA Beatrix woke up from her coma (while being raped on her hospital bed, while comatose), where after she killed the perp(s), and she managed to crawl her way to a wheelchair, and to the carpark, and finally found the "Pussy Wagon", and climbed into the backseat. The next scene however, is the specific scene I am referring to.


There Beatrix sat, her eyes fixed on her stiffened feet, and she repeatedly said to herself; "Wiggle Your Big Toe". THIS was the exact mantra I repeated to myself in my head, in the early days when I was lying in hospital bed in Changi Hospital Acute Stroke ward, when my right leg (from my entire right side of the body) could not move.

I stared at my right feet days on end, trying to wiggle my feet. Desperate but insistent and sincerely hopeful that, by sheer will alone, I could begin to move my feet, and then eventually the leg, and subsequently regain my mobility, and thusly "independence".

The notion of "Independence" is a strong desire that needed to be addressed, be it in the minds of older folks (who do not want to be a burden to others) and younger-ish folks (who do not want to loose the ability to chart their own futures, or "be able to walk towards it", so to speak), IMHO.

I cannot be sure if that "wishful hope" was sufficient (and from the amount of parodies and spoofs seen on youtube, seems folks think it sufficiently "funny"), but I had also gone thru over a month of intense rehabilitation at the hospital (and subsequently at St. Andrew's Community Hospital), until the day I left to go home sat in a wheelchair, but could still stand and shuffle my legs, for a short period of time.

No regrets at all, and I am in fact thankful for the image in my head, to give me a semblance of - even if it is a pop-culture fueled - "hope", that I would be able to walk again LOL

This image posted above is illustrated by French comicbook artist Nicolas Bannister, and whenever the scene appears, will always remind me of the time when I tried to wiggle my toes :)

Today, October 21st, 2015, marks the fifth year I have survived Stroke.
And yes, I can now wiggle all my "little piggies" :)

Cheers and thank you for reading :)
Andy

22.7.13

Acupuncture & Me


I've had the pleasure of receiving three different types of "acupuncture" experiences since my Stroke back in October 2010. Each of them with "slight" variations and/or differences, except for the universal notion that fine needles are embedded into my body and face.

One particular "myth" to dispel, is that there are multiple needles poked into your skin, ala "Pinhead" in "Hellraiser", and in that television commercial up top. This was my first impression of the deed, and I brought that notion to my first session too freakedout out of my brains hahaha

But then again, maybe tis just that my 'needs' might not require so much needles, so I dare not say this is "legit" or not :p

Since the on-set of receiving acupuncture, the specific intention was to seek treatment to combat the issue of my eye-sight. Post-Stroke has left me with double vision, so much so sometimes I eye-patch one eye, so the other can see literally just ONE vision - but that was not always the case.

My first experience with acupuncture, was in Changi General Hospital itself - where I was warded across the street, in St. Andrew Community Hospital. Within the CGH complex itself, was a "Traditional Chinese Medicine" ("TCM") Clinic, and every week I would have an appointment at the clinic, all on record with SACH.

Tis is an option open to folks, and I appreciated that option, as most medically educated practitioners from both East and West tend to differ on opinions. But in this instance, there was no prescriptive TCM medication to swallow, so acupuncture it was.

The sensation was not at all what I had expected, nor "feared". Different parts of my body was embedded with needles, and electricity (clipped at the ends of the needles) coursed thru my body, in a mild state. (The electrical discharge is another difference to different folks receiving treatment).

I truly do not know if any difference was to be had with this, as I was already busting my ass off in rehabilitation. My eye-sight remained still in anguish, but then again, everyone says TCM takes a longer time to "react"…

Basically a month in, and I discharged from SACH on Christmas Eve, 2010.

Not too long later, I was recommended to another sinseh based in Tanjong Katong Complex. Now this was a whole new other experience!

This particular practice, practiced the notion of "pain".

Essentially, the needles are stuck in, where activation of electricity coursing thru is would be more "effective" in inducing the desired effect, if you feel "pain". So in this instance, if the needles are stuck "right", I would be in a whole lot of pain, and indeed I was constantly grimacing and gritting my teeth from resulting in screaming like a wee kid.

I remember fondly that the old sinseh would poke a needle in in certain parts of the body, and wiggle said needle as it sent inner jolts up and down the needles vicinity. The "pain" meant the needle was stuck in the desired spot.

Now imagine electricity coursing thru it. And at a higher charge than I was used to at CGH previously. Fun times.

Know that the level of electrical discharged can be altered by twisting a knob, or keyed-in button. Some people might need only a small pulse, which others more "enthusiastic" can opt for a higher charge, not unlike the cackling of lightning from Frankenstein movies … okay, maybe that was an exaggeration :p

But to me, the experience had been fruitful. Twice a week I endured this experience, for a few months (I could not remember how long), and my eye-sight got significantly better, to what i jokingly term "HD Vision" - with that particular day with the sun blaring down on my left palm, and me being able to see the grooves in the skin's folds.

I stopped going to this practice at a time when I had impatiently felt my eye-sight could not get any better. and i had since stopped 'wondering' how things would have changed, if i had continued the sessions. Things and incidents move on, as we should as well, rather than dwell in the past ... or so i tell myself constantly :p

Over a year later, my eye-sight condition started diminishing, and my double vision had returned to bother me moreso than it had a year ago. The eye-patch became a fixture in my life, and the days of walking about without it became a challenge and a daily crap-shoot, so much so most times i choose not to leave the comforts and (self-imposed) saftey of the house, simply because I felt I could not adapt to the surrounds. My eye-sight also determines how I deal with "crowds" visually, or rather my inability to absorb and process the visual onslaught. My perception of depth is constantly questioned, and my balance is off, no doubt due to my visual process too, I surmise.

Aside: I managed to control myself with a visit to Jakarta recently, and am thoroughly proud of myself, but it took a bit of time to recover from the process, post-event. But I KNOW I am getting better, so that's a good thing :)

A visit to Western eye-specialist(s) proved to be a fount of information, but the final reality was that there was no medication to be taken, nor treated with, and that I was to learn to adapt my life to what my vision is now at this stage. The "good news" was that my vision need not the help of spectacles! My left eye possessed 25 degrees, while (ironically) my twitchy right eye was "perfect"! hahahahaha

Nevertheless, I simply could not take this silently and go on with life. I felt I had to seek "hope", at the very least. I do not deem this as seeking a "second opinion", but rather seeking out an alternative "hope" to my present situation.

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My latest acupuncture session with was a sinseh in Toa Payoh, recommended by my dad, who is besotted with her practice. This image posted here is my first ever snap of me with needles on my face after all these years of experiencing it! haha

This picture was taken at my second session today (that hand flipping my cheek is actually where the last needle would be embedded hahaha). The experience was a mixture of my first and second acupuncture experiences. There is no electricity discharged, but the points where the needles are embedded, possess a slight level of "pain" - not "OUCH", but "ooooooo".

Right after my session today, the sinseh massaged the pinned points, with a menthol-smelling cream (which I did not see nor ask what it was), but it sure as heck opened up my eyes and senses! And the massages really "hurt" ("Mild-Ouch").

How will this work out? I yearn to find out, and to regain a semblance of independent vision and senses. I will endeavor to update this blog accordingly. And my Western eye-specialist appointment is a year from now.

Here are some summarized points, based on my observations and experiences in Singapore:

- Each acupuncture session lasts about an average of 20 minutes. Any additional sessions would run that long as well.

- Average prices here range between SGD$15 to $35 per session (Here in Singapore). It may or may not come with additional liquid medication.

- Out if the 3 different acupuncturists I had gone to, only two used electrical discharge. More likely than not, the acupuncturist will as if the voltage is acceptable as you feel it, so you (probably) can choose higher or lower settings. I am unsure if your personal tolerance for this might hamper your advancement, but I would be wary if instead a practice just juices you up without asking your tolerance level hahaha - UNLESS it is the average "mild" un-intrusive level anyways :p

- For Stroke, the best period to go thru acupuncture or any TCM treatment, is within the first 6 months of surviving Stroke, where perhaps 60-70% of treatment might be effective. Once the period lapses, the effectiveness takes a dive, averaging about 20% of effectiveness. This was mentioned by my current sinseh, and I have not researched into the legitimacy of the claim.

Personally to me, finding the "right" sinseh makes the difference. The latter two sinsehs were recommended from trustworthy sources (aka folks whom my parents trusted ;p). You would be surprised how much legitimacy of medical learning is needed. Anyone could go learn the basics, get a certificate and frame it up on the clinic wall ... but experience and a clear knowledge of the bodies' essential points, is pretty hard to discern.

My personal recommendation: Anyone who "promises" you the world, is suspect. "Practicality" and a clear sense of said practicality, is appreciated. But then again, I am not an expert at acupuncture, and can only conclude from my own observations and experience.

Read up more about Acupuncture via Wikipedia. I know I should, but I am tired of "self-medication" hahaha

28.5.13

High Blood Pressure Issues

Besides my physicality diminished by Stroke, one of the more excruciatingly anguishing constant is my high blood pressure - "persistent HBP", I might add!

Sure, one of the reasons for my Stroke was HBP, so it was a given for my current condition … BUT in the early stages after my hospital stay for 2 months, my HBP seemed under control and "stable", so much so I could attend my twice-weekly Rehabilitation sessions at St. Andrew's Day Center … for a good while too … until one day, when that all changed.

Every session I attend, before I am put thru the exercise machines, I would have my BP taken. A rudimentary requirement, with folks needing to adhere to the 120-140 Systolic and 90 Diastolic before they are allowed to continue, least your markers are a signpost to your diminished health and subsequently deterialmental to your abilities to cope with the exertion.

My Systolic (above measurement) is always on the higher side, and an obvious hypertension malady, while I have always focused on the Diastolic-readings (below measurement), with "90" being my cut off, because simply, if I could not be below 90, I could not carry on my rehab sessions, or so I remind myself...
"What does the systolic blood pressure number mean?

When your heart beats, it contracts and pushes blood through the arteries to the rest of your body. This force creates pressure on the arteries. This is called systolic blood pressure.

A normal systolic blood pressure is 120 or below. A systolic blood pressure of 120-139 means you have normal blood pressure that is higher than ideal, or borderline high blood pressure. Even people with this level are at a greater risk of developing heart disease.

A systolic blood pressure number of 140 or higher is considered to be hypertension, or high blood pressure.

What does the diastolic blood pressure number mean?

The diastolic blood pressure number or the bottom number indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

A normal diastolic blood pressure number is 80 or less. A diastolic blood pressure between 80 and 89 is normal but higher than ideal.

A diastolic blood pressure number of 90 or higher is considered to be hypertension or high blood pressure."
(Information via)
And this has been the case for a while, before I decided (by myself) to go away and seek some semblance of "help" before I went back to rehab - which subsequently took much longer than I anticipated, months on end, whereby I was even "out-processed" of the program for taking that long a time.

I have since stopped counting how long, but I know I left the rehab program before I was signed off by the therapists on my ability. That will always haunt me, especially now, as my neck region and even arm (where once was paralyzed) has since started to ache again…

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The above was my reading yesterday at the local polyclinic - at about 3:30pm - when I was there seeking treatment for an inane cough, and I was esthetic to see both numbers! Siply the "best" numbers I;d seen since my discharge from hospital in end-2010! A "Minor monday Miracle", I called it :)

But least I "celebrated" too early, I checked myself out at home (with a home kit) at 10am, with the result less than satisfactory:

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Perhaps I'll try again later in the afternoon at 3:30pm as well, as folks mention a person's HBP reading is slightly lower on the afternoons, as a person's body adjusts to waking up and thru the day … my machine's better not be busted tho! LOL

Seems I might still be back to concentrated bitter gourd juice for a bit (a remedy taught to my mum from whom i do not know), or I should also be downing more celery … and of course my regular medicinal intake.

I cannot dispense any advice on what to take, to reduce one's high blood pressure - sure as heck as it hasn't really worked for me, innit?

In many ways, that's one of the main reasons why I avoid conflicts these days, or deliberately shy away from confrontations or quarrels, not to be embroiled in any negativity, which might get my blood'a'boiling. I had a quick temper "in the past", which I now actively quell, so I cannot say if it has actually "gone away" or that I am a more serene person I might attempt to be serene, but it doesn't mean I naturally am … the inner peace which escapes me, and my constant search for it still eludes my patience … "drama", I know, right? LOL

While typing up this post, I realized I did not bring along my BP-reader to Jakarta with me last week, as I did when I visited Bangkok early last year - to keep tabs on my own health. Or perhaps it might have been a good thing, as it would have brought further attention and stress to myself? Be that as it may, it behooves anyone to pay attention to their own conditions, regardless how healthy you might seem on the surface. Don;t wait for the shit to hit the fan, yeah? Or else you might find yourself whining about it on a blog like this of mine LOL


Cheers
Andy

22.10.12

Happy Stroke-Birthday, Me!

Sometime after/around 2pm, 2 years ago on this specific date of October 22nd, I fell victim to Stroke, the result of which affected my life indefinitely.

This time last year, I was knee-deep in sorting out funds and operations for my Silent Auction for Stroke (which saw a sum of SGD$2.3K being presented to the National Stroke Association of Singapore, on World Stroke Day October 29) and could hardly "mark" the date.

This year, a few moments before this entry, I was having a lunch of fried bee hoon, as cooked by my Dad, at home, when the date suddenly dawned on me. Funnily enough, 2 years ago today, my dad had actually cooked Soup Bee Hoon for lunch, and i did not actually even get to taste it, before i literally felt the effects of the onset of Stroke (which we did not know it was "Stroke" then), which very quickly saw me taken by cab to a nearby hospital, and to awaken the next day, to be told that I had actually fell to Stroke.

I've somewhat maintained either 22nd or 23rd to be my "second birthday", seeing that I had received a second lease of "life", and not succumbed to Stroke, in which I could have been permanently paralyzed, lost my ability to speak, or simply brain-damaged. I was even contemplating having a "Stroke-Birthday" celebration with folks and friends, but perhaps tis too morbid a notion for most, I reckon.

Two years on. the pity-wagon might have left the station, but I am still feeling the results of Stroke. My eye-sight is still double and a chore to live with, my right-side of the body is starting to regain it's stiffness (due to the lack of exercise) and I'm seriously gaining weight and girth! I might be able to wobble-on without a walking cane now, but i still carry it with me, because I feel the inability to balance myself moreso these days (no doubt due to the increased weight gain lol). Regardless, I am still breathing air and rambling online, so something must have worked out lol

With such, I would like to mark this "occasion" with this post, and as well treat myself to a movie later on (double-vision will not stop me lol), and be thankful I am good to go, two years on.

Happy Stroke-Birthday, Me! LOL

Cheers
Andy

P/S: Hey, my dad makes awesome fried bee hoon, okay? LOL

1.6.12

Warning Signs of a Stroke

"May is National Stroke Awareness month and a time to raise our understanding of the emotional, physical, and financial impact that stroke has on our friends and family." ~reports Yahoo!News

16.4.12

Regaining Independence

"Funny thing", this thing known as "independence" - a particular attribute I have been striving for, since surviving Stroke in October 2010 (and by that of course I mean "independence", not striving to be "Funny" lol). And when I mention "independence", it just simply means the ability to navigate places by yourself, without the need of help from another person. Note that I had spent over a year going to wherever, always with a chaperone (most times it had been my Father), where there was an intangible fear that I would fall, or be lost to my Stroke-relapse and no one would be the wiser to know what to do.

This is mostly a mental challenge, I admit. But a challenge it had been for a long while that I could not conquer, until only recently.

I have since surmised that whatever "independence" i have been conquering this far, were easier when it is with places and spaces I am familiar with, in the first place. It is the familiarity with retracing the steps I have had taken in the past, that builds up my own confidence and ability to cope with the now, and perhaps even future, or so I surmise.

Besides visiting my dad in SGH earlier on, the other places I have physically gone to by myself, were places I had visited in my "healthier days", like the Sunday flea market in China Square Central, the neighborhood Loyang Point mall, or even the post office at White Sands mall in Pasir Ris, and hell even the bus depot was somewhere I'd gone to numerous times in the past. Now navigating them, is not too much of a mental challenge, as I remember them and where things were, where the turns are to reach somewhere, somewhen.

Now that compared to going to Thailand, was a breeze. Navigating Bangkok, I realized I was able to get by, because I blocked all the fear and inhibitions, and just "walked on" - one of my current mottos in life is; "Move Forward. Always Move Forward". And that was what I did - literally moved forward, and on hindsight, perhaps I was not as I was 100% mentally when I was with folks, because I was spending a decent amount of energy blocking out my fear. And I will be the first one to say, hell yeah I was fearful to be independent and alone in a foreign land! The scenery was different, the geography was daunting, grappling with my own ability (or lack thereof) to catchup and be in the group, it was simpler for me to get along by myself, or with lesser folks in a group.

The meeting of 'old friends' did more good to me mentally, than anyone would ever imagined. Remember "familiarity"? If I am a stranger to the space, then let the faces of familiar friends calm thy temperament, I insist. My sincere thanks to a friend Thanya, for without her, it would have been an extremely harder task to "accept" Bangkok.

I realize these mental obstacles might well be foreign to most healthy, abled folks, but perhaps if you are dealing with Stroke-survivors, having the ability or even opportunity to interact with people and places from the past, may well help integrate them into the state they are currently in, if not help build confidence in their own ability to be "independent". And once that is achieved, then consider going off to places previously not been before, to be able to fully appreciate and enjoy their experiences, and not be fearful of themselves, in the first place. And being integrated into the community was just be as fulfilling, and not just the sense to need to "survive".

Hope I wish I could have enjoyed myself more in Bangkok, than I was masked with fear and trepidation, but the time has come and gone, and all we/i can do now is "Move Forward" :)