Monday, September 6, 2010

A New Dimension

Gosh, it's taken so long to complete four chemo sessions that I have almost lost track of time! Lin made the cut today and had his chemotherapy - minus Oxaliplatin this time. Hopefully this will see us get back on schedule to have a treatment every second week.


Tomorrow, bright and early, we will meet again with a cardiologist, an addition to Lin's team. This came about because the CT scan that was done on August 27th showed some calcification in his coronary arteries. 


Prior to this, a scan in Hong Kong showed up some minor stuff and we were told to inform his dentist so that Lin could get a course of antibiotics before dental work. Of course, all this was forgotten in the light of subsequent events - until the scan.


Anyway, Prof. Wong referred us to a very nice man, Dr Teo Swee Guan, at NUH and we met him on  Thursday, September 2nd. We made the right choice coming here because of the on-site, holistic care.


In our situation, we'd be looking around for recommendations for a cardiologist if we were elsewhere. But here, Lin was booked in for a Vasodilator Stress Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Test for the morning after our appointment with Dr Teo.


The name for the test is a big mouthful, but think of it as a Stress Test using a chemical rather than a treadmill to provide the stress.


Dr Teo was pretty cheerful and remarked on Lin being a picture of health. It was comforting to hear that some calcification is not unusual in a person Lin's age as long as there is no stenosis (narrowing of the arteries). But to play safe, Lin would undergo the test that did not require pounding on a treadmill.


It's a long procedure which requires abstaining from caffeine for the 12 hours preceding the test. On the day itself he had a cannula inserted for the radioactive chemical injection as well as a collection of ECG 'stick ons' (with their shiny metal knobs they looked like body piercings)!


After they had got him prepared, I disappeared since there was no point sitting around in a waiting area. I collected him more than 6 hours later (the procedure included a long break between tests).


The cardiology department is in the main hospital building and so is the functional imaging centre. This gave us a chance to see a bit more of this sprawling complex.


Almost every clinic and centre was busy, but nothing as crowded as hospitals in Hong Kong. 


According to Wikipedia and similar sources Singapore has got most places in the world beaten for density of population. Their list of sovereign states and dependent territories has Macau at 1, Monaco at 2, SINGAPORE at 3 and Hong Kong at number 4.


When you consider the land area that Singapore occupies (a minute 270 square miles, including some 46 square miles we claimed back from the sea), we are fortunate that we do not feel more claustrophobic.


In a recent newspaper report, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew was reported as saying that 5.5 million was enough, 'an optimum size for the land that we have, to preserve the open spaces and the sense of comfort'.


Thank goodness for that because just this weekend we read in the newspapers that we now have 5.08 million people here!


The government is getting what they asked for, but the people of Singapore are somewhat ambivalent. Property prices have taken off and become a major issue here especially among prospective first time homeowners.


Lack of a viable public transport system has not weaned people from their dependence on motor cars yet.


Providing education and then jobs for new graduates should keep the midnight oil burning in some ministries.


Let's hope we can assimilate all these new people and that the country does not suffer from 'indigestion' as a consequence of swallowing these people as if we were in the famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest!

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