Friday, June 30, 2006

A glimmer of hope?

"LEARNING FROM MISTAKES THE BEST WAY TO BETTER PATIENT CARE - by Salma Khalik, Health Correspondent, The Straits Times Friday June 30, 2006"

I was pleasantly surprised to read this editorial in today's newspaper, as it gives a viewpoint which does not damn the doctor, quite unlike previous writings which tend to do the opposite.

This was written in response to a recent case in which an elderly lady died after having been prescribed with the wrong dose of digoxin. This error had not been picked up & at the time, no checks had been in place to prevent this error from happening. This has since been corrected & new systems are now in place to, hopefully, minimise such errors in the future.

She says:
"Who among us has never made a mistake? Doctors to are human, and it is unrealistic to expect them never to make errors.
That is why it is important that system checks are in place as a safety net to catch mistakes."

Big revelation. About time for the public to realise this.

She ends off with this paragraph:
" Singapore has a great public health system. Far from perfect but constantly improving. And it is this willingness to admit mistakes and to learn from them that has led to better patient care.
As patients, that is all we can ask for."

It is indeed optimistic of her to say so, although I wonder whether this is true in practice or not. I have a feeling that the fear of blame is still preponderant enough in our hospitals & clinics to prevent the admission & reporting of medical errors & near misses.

Who knows, maybe this little nudge from the media may prove to be the first teensy weensy step towards a change in the mindset of the medical community where medical errors are concerned.

There is hope yet.

Not that Super

Despite the good reviews, I honestly was not terribly impressed by "Superman Returns"; I preferred "X-men : The Last Stand".

First of all, Brendan Routh, despite good looks & buff physique, is not that good of an actor. Very wooden...maybe he was overwhelmed by the shoes he has to fill... The special effects & action sequences were great but it seemed like Bryan Singer was letting all the action do the talking, leaving not much dialogue for the man himself. And the kid who plays Lois's son? No chemistry there either (I especially did not see the mother-child thing happening).

Overall, a bit disappointing. Perhaps part of it was due to the fact that:

a) the audience was full of kids with indulgent parents who do not know how to tell them to shut the h*ll up during the movie so that the paying patrons around them can actually hear & appreciate the conversation between the characters of said movie. It was Corporate Night for a couple of large organisations, & for reasons beyond my comprehension, the cinema operator sold tickets to regular patrons as well for the SAME theater; so probably a lot of people who were there went because it was free & didn't quite appreciate the fact that THERE ARE OTHERS THERE WHO ARE PAYING $9.50 A TICKET TO WATCH THE MOVIE.
Hello??? Gracious society...where are you???

b) the temperature was set at 'Arctic' & I had gone wearing shorts, t-shirt & flip flop Crocs (yeah, so smart, I know) so the latter half of the movie was spent trying to reduce heat loss by diminishing exposed body surface area by huddling one's body into as small a lump as possible - not an easy feat in a movie seat. This probably detracted from the enjoyment of the movie as well. (Note to self: movie attire in future should consist of ski pants & parka in order to avoid frostbite)

Anyhoo, I plan to rent Superman 1 & 2 to "complete the picture", so to speak, as I found myself trying to remember how Superman 2 ended (Superman Returns supposedly continues where that let off). Then maybe I'll watch it again (late night session = no brats) & hopefully, enjoy it more.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Smile Singapore?

Good grief.

I saw an ad in today's papers which basically campaigns the virtues of being gracious & being good ambassadors.

Reason? September is a big month as far as international meetings are concerned: the IMF, the World Bank, and a host of other biggie seminar/meetings/forums will be held here.

I find it sad that we have to be reminded to be on our best behaviour.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Holiday Highlights

On the day we left for Orlando from New York, we walk out to the street to take a limo to the airport & this is what we see...

...these white trailers are lined up along the street outside my MIL's apartment building.

Then I see these things stuck on lamp posts along the same street...


My younger son & I had half a mind to stay behind & forego Orlando just so we could watch the film-making process...sigh...but we didn't as plans had been made months ahead of time & we didn't want to spoil it for everyone.

That's the cool thing about being in a city like New York. There's always a movie being made somewhere. During the time we were there, apart from Spiderman 3, 2 other movies were also being shot there (one was called "Enchanted", the other "The Spring in Her Step").

Be that as it may, I don't think I would want to live in NYC. It's too in-your-face for my liking. I prefer a more laid-back existence, preferably somewhere where I can appreciate nature in all its glory.

We did visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art which houses an amazing collection of art & historical pieces from around the world.

The place is huge & you could spend a whole day there & not finish viewing everything. Our poor feet could not tolerate the pressure so we only spent 4 hours there, seeing selective areas.


Honestly speaking, I think most adults can only enjoy the Disney theme parks if they go with a young child. I remember enjoying them more when the kids were younger.

We did Epcot Center & Animal Kingdom. Epcot was good for the most part, except for the fact that Hurricane Alberto brought along torrents of rain while we were there so we spent half the time trying to stay dry in our rain ponchos (unsuccessfully).

I was disappointed with Animal Kingdom as I kept comparing it with our local zoo (which is pretty darned good as far as world-wide zoo standards are concerned). The Living Tree attraction seemed too contrived for me to really enjoy it. The best part of this park was the Dinosaur ride, but that was about it.


My boys (as well as A & I) enjoyed these parks more so than the Disney ones. Probably because it catered more to teenaged & adult patrons. The rides & attractions are developed so that one feels like one is part of the fantasy, with the help of a combination of 3-D technology, animatronics & live action stunts.

My favourites were the MIB: Alien Attack (you get to shoot at "aliens" with a laser gun while your vehicle brings you through a haphazard ride through the "streets"); Terminator 2 (a stunt show/3-D experience which amazingly meshed live action with film starring Arnold himself); and Spiderman (a ride combined with 3-D technology so that you actually feel as if you are being attacked by Doc Ock, the Green Goblin, etc & then rescued by Spidey himself).

The boys & A enjoyed the Revenge of the Mummy ride which I decided to sit out of, as my vestibular system was still reeling from the Alien Attack & the ride Back To The Future!

Now, I just need to recuperate from the vacation!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I Hate Flying

You could probably tell from the title that I'm back from our vacation.

My idea of torture: a 20 hour FULL flight in economy seated in the back cabin of the plane, suffering from a cold & a stomach virus, unable to sleep or eat, feeling queasy the whole time & watching the time go by, EXTREMELY SLOWLY. I seriously was considering asking the flight attendants if they had a drip set on board, so that I could IV myself as I could feel the effects of dehydration setting in.

Will post more when I am less groggy...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Checking in...

A quick post from the Big Apple since I have managed to hijack a wireless signal :)

Two weeks away from ready to go back but still have a few more days before we leave.
New York is, well....New York.
The sights, sounds & smells are unmistakable; you are inundated by them night & day. It is truly a city that never sleeps. I hear sirens from ambulances/police cars/fire trucks even in the wee hours of the night.
The hustle & bustle hits you from all sides as you walk down the streets, be it in Chinatown, or Park Avenue, or Broadway. People of all shapes & sizes, speaking a multitude of languages, of different colors, a true melting pot.
The site of the Two Towers still stands bare when I look towards it from Broadway; I visited the site two years ago. Sad. I don't want to go need to. We see the results of terror everyday in the media. Time to move on.
Food - honestly, I miss the good ol' hawker food of
singapore! Tah mee, wanton noodles (not the kind you get here in Chinatown - too bland for my singaporean palate), curry chicken, nasi lemak. Went to Carnegie Deli, famous for its various kinds of sandwiches. Ridiculously large portions...sandwiches 6 inches high (I'm not kidding you). I thought it was over-rated, but then that's just me. Food here in the States in great abundance, but much of it terribly unhealthy. Eg. on the menu in a Cracker Barrel: Fried steak - steak dipped in batter & deep fried, served with mashed potatoes & gravy. Choice of vegetable sides: Turnip greens (Taylor Hick's fave...I tried it; tasted like pickled cabbage...yeech), mashed potatoes, potato wedges, french fries (see the trend here?), apple sauce(!!!), corn (the only remotely healthy vege I found). No wonder the high proportion of morbid obesity here...

Time for breakfast...bagel with cream mee pok...

More later...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

On Hiatus

Heading for here...

...and here...

...and maybe here if time permits.

Be back soon. Check back in 3 weeks...

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Proud Mom

Warning: the following post contains material that is maternally braggadocious in nature!

My 8th grader graduated from Middle School yesterday. He also received a President’s Educational Award for Academic Excellence. The certificate came with a letter signed by George Dubbya himself (printed, not handwritten; but I reckon it’s still pretty “awesome”, as my son would say!).

Surprisingly, I didn’t get all emotional like I did when he graduated from Kindy, though I did feel a prickling of tears when the school choir sang “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion.

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you

Excerpt from “Because You Loved Me

My little boy is growing up…