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Record My Mind: Banal Records of a Pedestrian Life

Suffering and evil overwhelm me and I stew in my own juice. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

1/19/2005 06:30:00 pm - R.I.P. Blackie

Blackie is dead. She passed away at 5:10 p.m. today.

The Mahs decided to put her down today. I took urgent leave after they informed me at eleven plus in the morning. She was in too much pain, at times collapsing after standing up. The Mahs wanted to end her suffering as quickly as possible. Their decision this morning surprised everyone. They came back only last night. It was not obvious to A, J and me that Blackie was in that much pain. We are probably not as sensitive towards animals as they are.

There were two injections. After the first one, she started urinating and defecating. We all cried as she was about to be injected. I could no longer be detached and cried despite my best efforts. While she was dying, we said our goodbyes to her.

The nurse performing the euthanasia agreed with me when I said she's gone. I was looking at her in the eye. CC and I tried to close her eyes after she passed away, but without much success. If that happened to a human corpse, the Chinese would say that the person didn't die in peace (I can't get the exact translation here). I wonder whether Blackie wanted to continue living. I wonder whether she expected to die, expected us to put her down.

We grieved in private and continue crying in another room with Blackie laid out before us. Not so long ago, I saw a pet owner grieving over her dead cat as some presumably Taoist priest performed the last rites. Now, it was our turn.

We took turns hugging each other. It was probably the first real hug CC and I had in years. There's finally closure. We left the room to wash our hands. I wanted to smoke but forgot to bring my cigarettes.

While walking back, I was struck by the hustle and bustle on the roads. It was as if nothing and nobody in the world recognised or took account of our grief, despite it being so real and intense for us.

While crying, I said to myself I never want to be involved with animals or pets again. Not even in the role of a custodian. This is too much to bear.

I remember us stroking her while she was dying; moving her head so that can rest her head and die more comfortably; her eyes; and her tongue falling out of her jaw.

Rest in peace, Blackie.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005

1/16/2005 02:41:00 am - How Love Should Be

Life is strange. It takes someone like FF to make me realise how falling and being in love should be.

It should be like this:
I resolve to refuse relationships with a girl that does not make me feel this way, like how FF made me feel tonight.

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

1/13/2005 01:21:00 pm - Quirky Thought

A quirky thought occurred to me today as I entered a shop selling plastic flowers. I would buy a plastic plant and play a little joke on myself and my colleagues everyday. Every morning, I would water the plastic plant at the pantry.

Being idiosyncratic, that quirky thought made me laugh.

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1/13/2005 02:07:00 am - Blackie...

Came home and found that Blackie had shitted in the study. The stench was overwhelming. I wanted to puke as I was cleaning up her shit. It's probably because I'm not used to doing this.

Under any other circumstances, I would have been angry with Blackie. But because she's very ill and would not have normally shitted in the house, I didn't get angry at all; though I was very dismayed that I had to clean up her shit and was retching as I went about it.

I spoke to Dr. Goh earlier in the day, I could not reach Dr. Boon. Dr. Goh said that surgery would be a make or break option. The surgery has at most a 50% chance of success. He cannot currently determine the "at least" chances of success. Only during the surgery, would the vet be able to assess how long she would live after the surgery (if successful) and her quality of life thereafter.

In situations like this, they normally recommend putting down the pet. I asked "When?". Should it be when she cannot walk? Cannot eat? He said that it's about time to put her down and that the tumour/cancer is probably in its advanced stages. He also said the owner would have to decide on this.

I have not been able to get hold of CC. I hope he calls me soon. I'll try to reach him tomorrow.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

1/11/2005 06:15:00 pm - Grim options

I was holding back tears. Just called CC to inform him of what Dr. Boon told me.

The ultrasound scan revealed a mass found between Blackie's right kidney and liver. The mass is likely be a tumour that is causing her weight loss. Her right kidney's structure has changed so greatly that it is no longer recognisable. Her left kidney looks normal. She is likely to be suffering from a terminal condition.

There are three options now: surgery; no treatment; and euthanasia.

The aim of surgery would be to find out more about her condition and hope that it would result in her recovery. But Dr. Boon didn't sound confident that Blackie, in her present state, can withstand the surgery. Neither was she confident that the mass (probably a tumour) can be removed through surgery; that mass may be too connected to other parts of Blackie to be surgically removed. If the mass cannot be removed, she may wake up from the surgery only to suffer and waste away. After pointlessly suffering as a result of the surgery, CC would have to decide what to do next.

The aim of no treatment would be to avoid the risks of surgery. But Blackie's quality of life would only continuously deteriorate until she dies, which would likely happen within two months. She would reach a point where she cannot eat, cannot walk and keeps vomitting.

The aim of euthanasia would be to prevent further suffering and end a probably terminal and hopeless condition before it becomes unbearable for both CC and Blackie. However, there is a need to decide when to draw the line (whether now or when she can't eat, or can't walk etc.) and put her to sleep.

The decision would have to lie with CC. I have done what I can and left aside my personal views in this post.

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1/11/2005 06:50:00 am - Leaving for the vet

Just spoke to CC a short while ago. I'm leaving for the vet now.

It's ridiculous, I went to bed at 1 a.m. and it's 7 a.m. now and I haven't been able to catch a wink.

When we left the vet last evening, Desmond remarked that Blackie still looked quite happy as she managed to wag her tail on some occasions. Her temperament is indeed exceptional for a dog. I hope if and when I am faced with a terminal and painful condition, I can deal with it as well as Blackie (I'm jumping to conclusions now about her condition) and exhibit the same exemplary temperament.

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1/11/2005 04:30:00 am - Sleepless

I can't sleep. Too much mental chatter. Might as well record down what happened today.

I blogged an entry at 1:25 a.m. yesterday after a conversation with Chris. However, due to some cock-up, I must have deleted the post. Will re-post when I have the time.

I met FF at 3 plus in the morning yesterday and slept only at 7 the same morning. I must have been awake for about 48 hours at that point. I'm amazed at how much energy I can have at times. When I met up with Andre and Jane briefly last evening, I found out that they both slept 16 hours. Unfortunately, FF and I did not have a good sleep, our sleep was constantly interrupted by phone calls.

I left FF's place in the afternoon at about 4:15 p.m. yesterday and picked up Naughty Desmond (who accidentally sent me an sms meant for his girlfriend. The sms read "Dear dear I'm going Eric's house to print something. Okie." This is hilarious because it's so incongruous: a guy tattooed like a Yakuza member asking for permission from the girlfriend to come to my place to print stuff.) in a cab and went back to my place. I spoke to the contractor next door about a small of piece of land that has sunk due to construction work next door. I have demanded a written assurance from the construction company doing demolition, piling, excavation, building and renovation works next door to undertake to repair all damages to CC's compound. The contractor, Lam, has agreed to repair the fence, the corrugated shed and rectify the sunken plot of land.

At 6:30 p.m., I brought Blackie to the vet. I was supposed to bring her to the vet this afternoon at 2:40 p.m. but could not due to the rain. She looks miserable and has not gotten any better since I left. She has lost a lot of weight and weighs only 10.5 kg now compared to 15 kg in July and 12.5 kg a month ago. The vet, Dr Goh, shook his head and said that Blackie has not much weight left to lose further. Dr Goh suspects that Blackie may have cancer. It is clear that something is seriously wrong with Blackie but what exactly can't be ascertained yet. I asked whether Blackie looked so down due to a lack of attention. Dr Goh replied that the symptoms shown by Blackie have a physical and not psychological basis, something is physically wrong with Blackie. Dr Goh said Blackie may not survive more than a month.

I'm taking Blackie for a scan at Mt Pleasant at 7:30 a.m., about 3 hours from now. I'm dropping her off in the morning before heading to work. Desmond will help me to pick her up in the afternoon. Dr Boon will let me know the results of the scan in the afternoon.

Depending on the results, a biopsy may also be necessary. This involves surgery and anaesthesia, which both carry risks to Blackie; and Blackie, in her present state, is not in the best condition to deal with such risks. If the vet determines cancer is the problem, chemotherapy may be an option if the cancer is in its early and not advanced stage and is treatable. But he mentioned that we should know why we want to prolong Blackie's life. They usually recommend putting down the pet when it suffers a terminal and painful condition. However, being the custodian of Blackie, this is a decision that only CC can take when it comes to the crunch.

Other random comments:
I didn't eat until 8:30 pm, my last meal was at 7 in the morning: cup noodles at FF's place before going to bed.

And I've been smoking far too much these two days. From no cigarettes to a lot of cigarrettes. I must be feeling damn sian with life.

I'm not looking forward to starting my first day at a new place all tired out.

During beer with Naughty Desmond at Farrer Road last night, he mentioned something damn funny that I've heard only for the first time: I'm protected under the Boh Bian Act.

FF said I lost weight and told me not to lose or gain any more weight.

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

1/09/2005 11:45:00 pm - Home

I got home safely but only after a nett delay of 3 hours and 40 minutes. The plane was scheduled to take off on 8 Jan 05 at 12 p.m. from Amsterdam. But it only took off at 6 p.m. and only after we were made to stay in the plane till 2 p.m. Engine number 3 of our Malaysian Airline (MAS) plane could not start due to a problem in the starter.

We landed in K.L. on 09 Jan 05 at 12 p.m. and missed our connecting flight to Singapore, which was scheduled to be at 12 p.m. We could not get on the 1:30 pm flight and had to take the 3:40 p.m. flight. Everyone was exhausted and complaining about how it was a pain to travel on MAS (Mana Ada System?). Feeling in need of some relief from the pain of the whole delay business, I broke my fast and took a couple of cigarettes from Jane.

We had an expensive lunch at K.L. International Airport's Rimba Cafe (Everyone was cracking up at the name of the cafe), which had a jungle design concept. The food was terrible. I ordered Mee Goreng because I was looking forward to eating Asian style noodles and short of Wanton Mee or Prawn noodles, Mee Goreng was the next best alternative.

We finally got on the plane to K.L. pretty much as scheduled except for a slight delay. What's new? I guess you get what you pay for; MAS offered the cheapest flight from Singapore to Amsterdam. Also, the plane was playing Christmas jingles! How bizzarre!

Nonetheless, Jaclyn and I were damn excited and ready to kiss Singapore ground when we landed. I've never been happier at seeing a Singapore Government official as when I saw the smiling immigration officer at Changi Airport.

After a short scare that all our baggage would not arrive, all of us, except for poor Jaclyn, got our baggage. I shared a cab home with Jaclyn and on the way home, dealt with errands and made some calls.

I unpacked and had dinner with Joey at Newton Hawker Centre. The barbequed chicken wings felt like the best thing I had tasted in weeks and I got some prawn noodles because of a frustrated craving for noodles earlier in the day.

I was so tired there I felt high and dizzy. It's been a long exhausting day, after having been at airports and planes for more than 24 hours.

I still have so many errands to run. The most crucial errands are the most time-consuming and complex ones. I have to meet CC's contractor to ask for his professional advice in dealing with a sunken patch of ground due to construction works next door; bring Blackie to the vet; and find a missing cheque book. But that's work for tomorrow.

When I find the time, I'll also be updating (backdating actually) some "new" posts and editing the Amsterdam posts.

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Sunday, January 02, 2005

1/02/2005 07:15:00 pm - Anne Frank House

I'm doing the hardcore tourist circuit (and feeling slightly ridiculous) with a group of seven other people.

We went to the Anne Frank House today. It's a museum worth visiting. The footage taken by the British Army after the liberation makes compelling viewing.

I keep telling myself for the longest time that I must read the diary of Anne Frank. After this trip, I'll find myself a Chinese translation of her diary and kill two birds with one stone: read the book and brush up on my Mandarin.

Wen and Patrick are leaving tonight. We are going for dinner at Sarang Mas, an Indonesian restaurant along the Dam.

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Saturday, January 01, 2005

1/01/2005 08:30:00 pm - New Year's Eve at Nieurmarkt

I just came back from the second canal boat tour of this trip. The first time was alone. The second time was with the group. I will be posting the pictures when I return to Singapore.

And before I forget (perhaps this should be the description for my blog), I am blogging this down: I spent New Year's eve at Nieurmarkt.

It was awesome! The Dutch really know how to party. This is the first New Year's in recent memory (which is 5 seconds for me on average) that I have spent overseas. And it started with a bang, in fact many big bangs as the fireworks went off all over the place last evening. I know it'll augur well for me for the rest of 2005. Heralding the New Year with lots of fireworks in a city full of canals and water while on the cusp of recovery from my throat infection makes me feel good.

I'll be posting pictures (and videos too if I figure out how to do that) of the following:

Fireworks at Nieurmarkt.

Fleuri (random Dutch person) and me.

A burning car.

Firemen putting out the flames.

Another two random Dutch people (who, for the sake of a good lie, said they set the car on fire).

People dancing on the charred car.

Rubbish on the street from bangers and rockets. See the trash? I told you the Dutch know how to party. It's so sad that most Singaporeans, including me, find it so hard to let go most of the time. This is in contrast to the Dutch, they really let go when they let go. I wish we had parties in Singapore where everybody goes to the streets, make lots of noise and throws lots of rubbish. How full of life! I believe the last party of that sort that took place in Singapore was Swing Singapore.

Me holding two firecrackers used for setting off avanlanches and "quite illegal in the Netherlands" (as what another random Dutch source told me). These are apparently only found in Austria and Switzerland.

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1/01/2005 08:10:00 pm - The Doorway

Poignant moments appear at the strangest places. At the doorway, I heard something that made me want to tear. A sad bubble surfaced from the heart to the mouth of the person before me. One simple sentence was uttered and we could only stare at each other as we both, from our different situations and perspectives, felt the poignancy of that moment well up in our eyes.

I twisted the doorknob and opened the door. The conversation between us must continue another time.

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