Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Phew, the most stressful week so far...

Wow....1st May already... whoa... time really did fly fast.. I could still remember 1st January very well.. and already, we've made past 4 months.. okay, no more on the Mulu Trip, but rather on what happened after that. Well, I made it back safe and sound (but tanned, again...) in Singapore at 4 am 2 Sundays ago.. and..yup... was super dead on that Sunday. Rested a bit, but not too much, as I still had 3 presentations to prepare for. First presentation was on the Code Blue case earlier on, the second on a journal about wrist pain, and the last was an audit of the data I've been laboriously keying into SPSS (some statistical program). Other than that, I was the only Medical Officer around for the week, as my colleague was on leave that week so had to cover if anything and everything unexpected happens.. so.. can imagine the stress I was having... (okay, at least, its over for now)...

Phew, Monday, back to work... time to start seeing patients again. As all the appointments were pushed forward cos of leave, my list was full for the entire week. In between patients, I'll take time to prepare the slides... Mon - audit slides, Tues - Journal club slides, and Wed - Code blue slides. So that was my plan for the earlier part of the week... and finally, the presentations - code blue on thurs after xray rounds, and journal club and audit during lunch hour... whoa... siao... ok..take a deep breath... ..out... .need to learn destressing methods from Ivy one day... in ...out..

Finally Thursday arrived... after a blunder at the rounds (consultant radiologists who runs the rounds forgot about the round and was about to get breakfast... until I bumped into her on the way there..Big Boss was late, as usu), time for Jonie to shine... err... shine???... AAARGGHH!!!!! the bosses were leaving the room, one by one.... they forgot about the presentation... and had no time to hear me present !!!! sigh sigh sigh... took me 2 days to prepare mentally for this talk.. and this was after their constant reminder before I went on leave to do this... presentation... ARGHH!!!!! oh well.... at least one "down"..

Then Friday came, these 2 presentations went ok, I guess... can't prepare properly for it as it was back 2 back and was about 2 entirely different topics. The audit was interesting though, it became more of a discussion about how we can improve the data analysis and probably present it in a descriptive paper in the future. But... haha...I'm not gonna be the one to write that up.. hahha.....

I really hated to do presentations, especially about topics I don't really like. In this case, it was about the above 3 presentations I had to go through above. Though I learned alot about the stuff I was presenting about, but somehow, that didn't really impressed me and I don't think I'll remember it in the long run. Somehow, I wished I had a chance to do presentations on topics that I liked, sigh, not just thrown some random journal that IS useful, but not interesting to me. Maybe in the next posting then...

Alright.. that was the details of last week's events... the one week that stressed me out a lot. This week's stuff will be "presented" , maybe next week.. hehehe..

so till then, trudge on, fellow friends...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mulu Part 2...

Okay last Mulu posts...

14/4/08 1815

The morning at 8am. Was actually awake before that time, around 7.30am and realising that it quite rained the night before, we might head for the pinnacles today. So, I emptied my Rocket Bag and started to pack for the pinnacles. After that, I went to order breakfast with the guys. At 9am, I headed to the Park HQ and met Jason there. In we went and ....can we do the connection today, I asked Bian?... and YES!!!! we can do the connection today!!.. YAYY!!!.. I was super super ecstatic that I was literally jumping for joy. I ran back to the cafe, and dorm, informed the guys and and changed into my caving baju. I was really sooo happy!!!

Less than 30minutes later, we were on the boat heading towards the Wind Cave. We met our Guide Michael who gave us each a helmat and a headlamp (better than the one we used in Racer). At the cave, there was a guy who trekked all the way there and wanted to go into the Wind Cave (show cave style) but was stopped by the Guide.. apparently, he was there the day before and was adamant to visit the cave without a guide... the guide was said no still.. and the guy in the end just gave in and trekked back to the HQ. Anyways, ...the guys and Michael and I started our journey.. into the CAVES!!

Our guide had an assistant, Raymond who was a security guard at the park. Apparently, he wanted to join the group as he was still under training to be in the park's cave rescue group, so he was there to familiarise himself with the cave system as well. First, we walked through the showcave area which was on plank and cemented walkways. At the starting area, Micheal gave us a short briefing about caving etiquettes... useful, but we were more raring to go by then that we weren't really concentrating. 15 mins later, we walked down the ladder and started our journey.

The initial part was filled with boulders and sharp rocks. This part required lots of rock climbing and descending, but the best of it all, was the adrenaline rush. Pushing myself up the boulders and pulling myself up using ropes was torture, but exciting. There were not as many ropework here as compared to Racer, but most parts will require basic rock climbing skills. Almost each step was a full hip and knee flexion for me... too short ma... We were really enjoying being inside the caves, the quietness of it all, and the tranquility that was in there was really relaxing.. Imagine being in a huge huge empty room..with no one around, except the darkness surrounding you. Less than 20 mins later, we came to a clearing where we rested a while before proceeding on to the squeeze... yes squeeze!!.. its literally where you squeeze through small areas of the cave eg between opposing walls, or btw big boulders. The first squeeze was easy, sort of like a prelude to the looooong and tight 2nd one. Easy enough, requiring a bit of ropework (in lowering) at the end of it… while still squeezing ourselves through… then another 20 or so minutes trek up and down again… then another resting point before the 2nd squeeze. This time the rest was about 30mins.. and all of us shut our headlamps for a good 10minutes in between… amazing..really really amazing…it was like darkness…real darkness.. Imagine if you’re in the dark, your eyes adjusts after a while…this was like no adjustment even.. not a single ray/photon/wave of light at all. Can’t see a bloody thing… Scary at first, cos the thought of the creatures from the movie “the descent” started to play in my head, but after a few minutes…calmed down..and just peaceful.. really peaceful. I loved it there… okies, time up, time to continue on

The second squeeze was the killer one..took us about altogether ?20-30mins to get through..its just one tight squeeze after another. Even Ian, the tall one, about 180-185cm had difficulty locating footsteps during the descent. This was the connection between the Wind cave and Clearwater cave. Hehehe..that over.. another squeeze at about 20minutes later…and finally…time to get…

WET!!!! We reached the river at last… the clearWATER cave had a river that runs through it. The current was strong from all the rain we’ve been having the past few days.. and it was brrr…cold.. we had to wade through the river a few times.. while going along the banks which was actually made of slippery and sharp rocks.. but finally, about 1hr later, we reached the end or more like the opening of the cave.. finally, the caving is over…
Phew…it was really really tiring.. but fun.. had a short dip at in the river at the end, and took the boat back to camp…we were really thankful for the boat… hehe

The caving trip was magnificent, but really taxed me to the max.. had superb muscles aches… din know I was using that many muscles.. .but it was all well worth it. Oh well, tomorrow is gonna be a rest day before the pinnacles so, better rest tonight.
Time out…. Sleep…

Mulu Final Part

I'll finish up on the cave connections later... but here's the lowdown on the pinnacles:

Up and down the pinnacles – DONE!!

The trek to the pinnacles started the day before with a 8km trek from Kuala Litut to Camp 5. We started at 10am from the Mulu HQ and had a aboat ride from there. It took about 45 minutes from there. The ride was cooling (from the cool breeze) but super hot under the bright sun. About 2 thirds through, we had to get out and help to push the boat abit as the water level was too low. We didn’t stop at Clearwater Cave though, as we just went through the cave connection 2 days ago. So head on the Kuala Litut aka KL straight.

The trek to Kuala Litut was a simple 8km trek, without much dangers, but slippery nonetheless, especially on the planks. We crossed a small suspension bridge about halfway through, and the guys being as naughty as ever, shook the bridge when I was halfway through…eeeks…scarrie… I alw had this though of falling off the bridge…dunno why tho.

About 2 hrs later, we reached Camp 5, and just in the nick of time, cos right then and there, the rain started pouring. The Camp site was actually a simple dorm area, with superbly clean bathroom and toilets (even cleaner than the one in the dorm) and kitchen. However, the sleeping area was just a simple rubber mat, and that’s it, but to me, it felt nicer than the dorm. There was a river, right next to the camp, and the guys just went and jump in once we arrived. The water was cold and refreshing and the current was strong from the rain. Ok…important thing to di next - Leech check… the suspense built in me…eeks.. I hate leeches… chk chk chk… YES!!! No leeches.. bwahaha
At around 6.30pm, time for dinner. Had biscuits the whole afternoon, so was quite full already. Decided not to have dinner in the end. Helped Jason and Tom cook dinner and Tom gave me a bit of his. It was steamed rice with Beef Rendang (from the can).. tasted good with more salt though. Yummy. We had a short briefing at 7pm from the guide. We’re to start at 7am the next morning, so better grab a light breakfast and early sleep for the trek tomorrow. Packed my army bag, with a bottle of water and camera and 2 powerbars. A little more of Frankenstein (borrowed from Jason) and off to slumberland.

I must’ve woken up 3-4 times before finally forcing myself up at about 6am. Still not used to sleeping for more than 6 hrs a day. Had 2x kaya sandwich – yummy and a cup of water. Simple, but I think I’m getting fatter in this trip, eating more than what I’m using up nowadays. Hm.. might slow me down in the upcoming Ultramarathon though. Oh well, will burn soon enough though, going for the pinnacles trek in a few more minutes, and the 2-3hrs of triathlon training per day back in Singapore. Everyone slowly slumped in, and the guys had noodles for breakfast (they seemed more Chinese than me now). And around 715 am, we started the trek.
There was another group that went we us that they, 2 Scot guys who arrived at Camp 5 the same day as us. Another guide was taking another group of ?Swiss ppl up as well and started about 30mins before us, but that group had a few older people that might slow down the trek. Anyways, the trek up was a 2.4km (distance up) up sharp and rocky and partially muddy areas. We tooka break at 900m (about 15 mins) where I munch on my first powerbar. Up to here, we took about an hr. We moved on to the next 900m and had another 15 mins break before disembarking for the final 600m. We were moving at good fast speed, overtaking the ??Swiss group at the first 900m. I had more water here. The last 600m would be quite treacherous, it seemed. At about the 2km mark, the ladders started. The final push to the top was done in a very simple via ferrata way, using ladders and iron grating to fill up the gaps between the rocks and holes. This can get quite tricky, especially the parts without the ladders, and still have holes. Slippery too as the whole area was just rocks. Ooo…a lot of balancing was required as well… hmm need to do ankle rehab now.. haha

Finally, we reached the top of Gunung Api, and the pinnacles loomed before us. We arrived about 10am (the guide said we were really fast) and the weather was good. No rain so far eventhough it looked cloudy. Hmm… the Pinnacles, what can I say. It looked better from the Twin Otter plane we took 10 years ago. Sigh..mebbe cos I was smaller then. I think it wasn’t as “Wow” as I wanted it to be.. haha..was actually more mesmerized by the tiny little mountain squirrel up there. Really.. hahha…maybe cos I’m too used to all this trekking that it doesn’t impressed me as much already…hehe.. oh well… anyways, took some amazing shots, and had some biscuits from the guys. Had a relaxing 45mins break up there (supposedly usually 20mins, but we arrived there early). Had a lively chat about their travels so far (they’ve been traveling for months) and learned quite a bit about backpacking around south east asia. Was impressed by their stories of Laos and Phillipines…must make a trip down there myself one day then.

Soon, we started on our trip down the mountain. I hate going down!!! Seriously… I hate going down!!.. It was super slippery and the steps were huge for me that I was on all 4 on most of the occasion. It was the same route… but…sigh.. fell down 6 times this time, but no serious injuries as of yet. Okay, now I have a hole in my Salomon pants…and another hole which I discovered later on my Mammut pants. Darn, there goes 2 of my most faveourite pants. It took about 2 and a half hours to get down, and I made another big hole in my North Face shoes. So there goes my shoe as well.. note to self.. heck care, just buy the kasut paya next time.

At last, when I reached down…immediately took of my shirt and shoes, and into the water I went… ahhh…soooo refreshing and cooling…. Nice , just nice…. Soaking in the water really relaxed my muscles… ahh…nice nice nice.. the current was still strong but managed to sit on a rock and rested there for about 30mins before finally getting up to do a bit of washing up. Ackss..a minor abrasion over my shin … darn… so after washing up, the guide gave me some iodine to apply over the abrasion.. tqtqtq.. anyways, I gave him my small military bag/caving bag after that, since I wont be needing it anymore. Nice..this is the life. Spent the rest of the afternoon lazing about Camp 5 and writing this up. ☺. Anyways, the other group got back about 5.40pm, and their guide looked tired. Must have zapped the life outta her. One of the scots guy did a juggling show to pass the time, and he was really really good. Dinner was the same… nice, and simple. Haha… Ian had Indomie goring (which I recommended) and he liked it. Went to sleep after that as I was already so so tired from the trek today. Checked the photos I took…impressive… the camera still works. Hehe..
Anyways, that’s all for now, signing off from Camp 5 in Mulu for now.. wanna sleep already.. ☺

PS, just realized that I’ve been seeing Pink everywhere – pink tinted glasses. Hehe..silly me..

Final accouts….
Resting on my bed now in the dorm. Waiting for dinner time. Arrived from Camp 5 this morning after a 2hr trek/race to Kuala Litut. Leech chk – no leech bite this time. Had 3 in my shoe (funnily in my non-hole left shoe) but managed to catch them in time.
Hmm..all in all, the Mulu trip was really exciting and I relearned a bit of myself in this trip… Most importantly, I relearned that I loved caving and am raring to go for more. Climbing up, wading through the rivers, climbing down, squeezing up and down, ahh… I loved it all. Sometimes I wonder if I should just quit my day job and be a mountain/cave guide..that all will be in the future, I guess. Well, flying off tomorrow. It’s been an exciting journey, but it hasn’t ended yet.. hehe.. gonna come back one day to finish up the chambers and finally trek up Gunug Mulu itself… ☺. Gonna miss my new friends here as well, the guides, and the 3 amazingly good guys I became close to. But each beginning has an end, anyways, got their emails, so can keep in contact later on.

So till the next I come back, here’s to Mulu and the exciting trip so far, may more adventures light up my life in the future as well. Cheers’ all

Jonie from Mulu

One more part to link the 3 posts together

Mulu First Part

Okies, so the Mulu trip came and went... and it was spectacular... skip the next few entries cos its all gonna be about the trip..unless of course, you wanna know more about it. ..


In KLIA now, phew, after the messy ticketing changing fiasco that happened the last week, finally settled with a a flight from KL to KK (yes, KK!!) at 4 am in the morning. Took a bus from Grassland (GoldenMile Complex) yesterday at around 7pm and arrived at Berjaya Times Square at 12.30am. Then took a cab to KLIA. Now awaiting my plane to KK (Sabah!!)

KLIA… first time I’m flying from here though. Always been flying from Changi (SG) or Senai (JB), so kinda impressed with this airport so far. At least the toilets are clean!!. Resting on the benches with other flyers right now, so get to stretch my legs…arhh…. Nice…. Okies, going to check in now… feeling really sleepy…

Touchdown in KK.. this brings back much memories, after all, it’s not more than 6 months ago that I was here for the Climbathon. Well the most important piece of memory hit me when I saw the Hyatt Hotel logo at arrival area… but that’s all in the past now… and all for another time…

The airport is a fairly small international airport that mainly caters for flights into other parts of Sabah and Sarawak. I’d imagine I’d be down here again in August to fly to Tawau, to dive in Sipadan then back again for the Climbathon. It seems that I keep coming to KK over and over again.

OK, famous brand names I’ve seen so far… Bodyshop, KFC, Famous Amos. Sitting quietly in a café outside the departure area now, trying to catch a bit of the sun. My next flight is at 10am, taking my time to rest now. I’ll start on the 3 presentations for work the week I return.. so kinda like a working holiday. Called mum again to chk in.. done. Alrightey.. time to get some work done..

In Mulu now, at the Park’s dorm. Arrived yesterday at 12 pm and took a RM 5 ride from the airport to the Park HQ. Arrived yesterday around 12pm at Mulu and took a RM5 van ride to the park (which I realized is within walking distance after that). There were only 3 of us on the plane …. Me and 2 other Jap ppl. The couple were staying at the super duper expensive Royal Mulu Resort (arn RM300 per night).

The Park looked much much more better than from what I can remember 10 years ago. The office is now air-conned, with a thick glass door. It holds computers, and other …err..stuff. went in there to check in and double chk my bookings. Then, off to the dorm to rest. I just lay on my bed and slept away…was dead exhausted. Woke up 1 and a half hours later…. Then off to the Deer and Lang show cave at 2pm.

The trek to the Deer Cave was on a cemented pavement, and took about 30mins. Did the similar trek 10 yrs ago, and so was not superbly impressed … couldn’t remember much, but as the 2 caves were more showcaves, it didn’t involve much real jungle trekking. We arrived at the newly renovated bat platform. Sometimes at around 5-6pm, the bats will come out of their resting place in the Deer Cave, and do som acrobatic swirls near the exit of the cave, before heading out to hunt for food (not humans!! These are fruit bats). Twas around 3pm, so we went to see the showcaves first.. We started with Deer Cave… could remember bits and pieces here and there, and the rock formation was really impressive. Similarly was the Lang cave…. At the end of Lang cave was a small little lake.. aka Eden’s Garden… it was really a beautiful sight from afar. There is a half day activity at the Eden’s Garden hosted by the park as well, but doubt I will have time to go there. Anyways, after the showcaves, we exited and headed to the Bat platform for the bats…There’s this new Batcam, where the cameras were place in the cave to detect the bat activities… oops…starting to drizzle already… darn, less bats the end, it wasn’t that impressive as last time as well.. At least I get to make new friends here, the 3 Londoners – Ian, Jason and Tom, whom I will join for the next few days. Trekked back to the dorm, and had dinner (Reese +++ and A cup noodle) and rested well. Played Vocable at night with the guys… hahah and managed to beat them flat… !! hehehe

So….today’s events…: woke up at 8am this morning and the feeling was great!! Finally managed to shake of the fatigue-ness of the day before. Went to wash up and had breakfast at the Mulu HQ café. Today, we headed to do our ??certification at the dry Racer Cave. Meet up was at 9am at the Park HQ. Put on my shoes, got my caving bag packed, and off I went. Our guide, Jenny, met us at the Park HQ and handed us our helmet and (sucky) headlamps.
The cave was about 1 hr trek on another cemented trek from the HQ. Fairly easy trek, I think we were faster than usual. And in about 30 mins…we arrived. On the way, we passed through a small cave – Moon milk cave- very small but cooling cave.. Ian had to duck a lot of times… too tall..hehe

I was a bit reserved at first, since the last caving trip I did was actually at Mulu 10 yrs before, and we failed to reach the Chambers then. I guessed, this cave would be a goos start after all, to rejuvenate my spelunking spirits. The Racer cave was used by the Park Guides to gauge the fitness and adventuring levels of the caves before allowing them to do tougher caves like the Chambers and the Connection. Well, this cave started out nice, with a few hikes up some muddy areas, and a bit of short rock climbs. There were some slippery rocky/muddy parts as well, but no falls. ?3 rope parts – easy but as I was short, had a hard time getting my foot on the foot holds.. but still managed to survive. In the end, the cave was pretty easy and fun to do, but of course, I returned with much bruises and one superficial abrasion. We took about 2 hours in the cave… all excited when we came out.

So, animal count:
1 Racer snakes (hence the name)
2 Huntsmen spiders
3 Crickets.
4 Green Viper (poisonous)
5 Pigmy squirrels
6 Pill bugs
7 Rajah Brooke butterflies
(the last 4 – outside of the cave)
Trekked back to the dorm, and spent the whole afternoon relaxing… Simple and easy cave to do.. but nice experience, nonetheless.

Next one will be about the cave be up soon....

Move on....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A poem to all who have loved and lost...

My poor little heart aches still,
For the one Love I can never feel,
As the tears roll down my cheeks,
My thoughts goes to my beloved, wherever he may be.

I pray, I beg, I asked for the Lord’s mercy,
To let my little heart be free,
And let all the sorrow float away,
Yet, somehow, all these feelings cannot be swayed,
Apart from what it still wants to stay.

Pray tell, why it still hurts,
Pray, pls let the love go away,
Pray let the hole in my heart disappear,
And let happiness in my life again to reappear.

For one day, if my life I do partake,
I wish only happiness for my beloved one,
And forever he be blessed with whatever he may want
For him, my heart will never forget,
And to him, my soul will always be attached…

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Code Blue at CSMC Gym!! Attention all staff....

Phew, as the title reads, there was a code blue at the Sports centre Gym today. As all of you already know, the hospitals have multicolor codes to tell the health care staff in "secret" what is happening around the hospital. Even in ?Grey's Anatomy, there is a code black for bombs (according to Jerry anyways). So, anyways, there was a code blue in the gym today. It was already a busy enough morning as I was busily screening all the female football players this time, when all of a sudden, Siti - a nurse - came rushing in, "hey, code blue at the gym"... I was stunned for a while... then... sigh,.. kinda like an anti-climatix reaction. Quickly, bro and I walked to the gym in a non-panicky manner (one impt skill to learn, alw don't panic and walk calmly to the need to run).

At the gym..I scanned aroung for the code blue.. then the hospital announcement system came on... attention all medical staff... bla bla bla... wasn't concentrating on that anymore. Less than 2 seconds later... found the patient at the foot of a treadmill.. in recovery position. Boss and Edmunds were there. The patient was kinda in a post seizure state... but responsive and breathing well. Boss was also stunned.. and called for th crash cart.. Quickly I moved the other machines away, as the cart will need place to manouvre. Unker came along...bring the airway....bring the airway.. bro was stunned...hahah... anyways.. me having nothing else to do, was trying to keep the patient awake. Chk hypocount..normal... chk pulse ..present... then the code blue team came..

Crash cart arrived in time too...put on the mask but the patient kept taking it off.. slap on the ecg leads... NSR (aka normal) Unable to read BP though..try try again... finally, the A&E docs managed to put a line in her and zapped her with D50% solution, for hypoglycaemia, although she was normal. Hmm.... then we rolled her off to the A&E for further care.... all this in less than 10 mins...

Well... this is in short what happens in a code blue activation, in other words, the code to activate doctors in the surrounding to a collacpse patient in the vicinity of the hospital. It's not a big drama thing actually, especially if you've seen this alotta times.. sorry to say this, but to me its all a big hassle.. cos there's the extra work to do on top of the work you're handling at the same time. I'm really glad though, the patient is recovering well right now in the wards.. but... ugh...guess what...something bad happened after that.... to me!!!.. Boss arrowed me to do a presentation on this case right after my leave...sigh.... oh well.. let's all be happy that the patient is ok then.... that'll do..

so....trudge on all.... in whatever color u may be feeling now... i'm just feeling blue now..


PS... wont be in next week..will be in a dark place...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Diving photos.... from the P Dayang trip

Underwater photos taken by the one and only, Monica, from Gill Divers..!!

Guess which one am I!!!

Huge HUGE Manta!!!