the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.


The smallest things...

From the Gospel of Luke 12:22-31:

If the smallest things, therefore, are outside your control, why worry about the rest?
Think about the flowers, they never have to spin or weave, yet I assure you, not even Solomon in all his regalia was robed like one of these.

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Broken Rhythm


I had abandoned this blog for two whole weeks. And I've since been attempting to create a moment of zen out of my laziness. But nary a whiff of anything. Nothing percolating...nothing bubbling up, nothing trickling down. I feel strangely empty and emptied.

No sparkle, no fizz. Dim as an expiring bulb. Flat as a pancake. Hook me up to an EKG machine and likely, it'll show my neurons have also flatlined.

This would have nothing to do with the recent bloodletting, now would it??

Well, some of it, 'Yes'
To my everlasting disadvantage and detriment, I almost always function almost entirely on rhythm (or rhyme). That being my first real health scare, it spooked the bejeebers out of me. My heart, it leapt into my throat. Made me like a guppy out of the fishbowl. For a while I was frantically gulping at the air. I completely lost it, my momentum. It made me miss a few steps, lose my place.

And some of it, 'No'.
I have a few things on my mind about my life. Decisions, decisions, decisions. All of them are pressing. Each second that ticks brings me closer to a deadline. Or a point of no return.

Procrastination. Like I keep telling myself, the number one way of dying from some illness is "putting off" going to the doctor. Ditto indecision. The surest way to becoming a boiled frog.

Will-O'-The-Wisp. That whimsical carousel going round and round and round, and the ponies jauntily rising up and down, gently up and down. Footloose and fancy free. Deceptively carefree. But the deeper, shadowy dimensions are truly and seriously daunting. Definitely not for play-play.

... and I am definitely not one of those people who has blogger phases. Can't (nay, won't) claim to be afflicted with that high falutin blogger's block. I just have a life and life phases…nothing is going on that is all that blogworthy, really. Not the santan-free Indian black pepper chix curry recipe that turned out superbly, to finger-lickin' compliments from family and friends. Or the Pilates instructor who tried to kill me.

Or the rat that turned up at one of my dead mailboxes, again.

A perky picker upper from Shakespeare's MacBeth':

"Come what may, time and hour runs through the roughest day."


Oh, My Poor Nose!

REMEMBER HOW I spoke about “becoming invisible”?

Last week was the start of my season of ‘invisibility’ - keeping a low profile, my nose to the grindstone. The one great consolation of this new deal was, or so I thought, the location. Cyberjaya had two good things going: a jam-free daily drive and pollution-free air. All in all, a low population density/traffic that somehow engenders a liberating sense of being away from the “dog-eat-dog world”.

I was thinking: not-bad a trade-off: hard slogging spade-work for a ‘far-from-the-maddening-crowd’ freedom. And then, poof, the combo of nearby peat fires and smoke from Sumatran fires descended and shrouded Cyberjaya in a most foul-smelling cloak of invisibility.

My 'Becoming invisible’ turned out to be the very epitome of the Cyberjaya-irony [an envisioned futuristic city that was supposed to metamorphose into the most technologically advanced metropolis in the region, is in reality a barren desert isolated from civilization]. This most unexpected, undesired and unwelcome form of ‘invisibility’ turned into a harbinger of worse things to come. Perhaps I should have fled this ghost-city the very moment the Cyberjaya irony hit home. Or rather, when haze-induced invisibility hit my poor nose last week.

Remember I mentioned giving yourself massive nasal abrasions to get work done? Well, another irony of my desire for ‘invisibility’ in another self-fulfilling prophesy..

With my nose to the grindstone, I had absolutely no trouble keeping it out of gossip, or the desire to nose around for intrigues/opportunities, even less the inclination to plot to nose anyone out. And I swear I didn’t, not even for one nano-second look down my nose on the el-cheapo who nicked four pieces of my McVities on my very first day of work.

And yet, that Thursday night, and the next, oh my poor nose! My poor bloody nose!

As I undressed for a shower, it bled for a full 5 minutes. Did I have my nose too close or did I pick too rough a grindstone? Was this a sign of the futility of my desires for invisibility, borne on ill winds?

Through that weekend, mild trickles turned to copious free-flows. Nose clamped, blood flowed down my throat and out of my mouth. Flows that took over 30 minutes to stem. Fortunately (or unfortunately, given my strong desire not to be the focus of attention), those episodes occurred in the company of two hundred other people who were attending the same – as luck would have it – healing seminar.

And irony upon ironies...

Amid much drama and unsolicited limelight, I was (thankfully) attended to by two fellow participants who coincidentally, were qualified ENT nurses. What more (though certainly thankful, I was nevertheless mortified at being spotlighted) the whole congregation, mostly from the healing ministries of various parishes led by Rev. Fr. Simon Pereira (CSSR, Singapore) prayed over me.

Another participant (by ‘happy [?] coincidence, an after-duty paramedic from Archbishop Emeritus, Dominic Vendargon’s funeral on Saturday) accompanied me to a nearby clinic where I was administered adrenaline to shrink the bloody bleeding vessel. The young lady GP nailed it down to the hot/dry/hazy weather.

Tuesday, at work, I bled again – this time, (thank God!), in the privacy of a toilet stall. In a flash, a warm trickle turned into a torrent. I flushed again and again as the water in the commode turned from pink to dark red. I knelt before the ‘throne’ for a full hour before the bleeding subsided. I was exhausted and literally drained when I emerged and returned to the grindstone.

Thursday night - a mild episode in the shower. All night, I prayed for respite for my poor nose. Friday, 4am - woke up, touched my nostrils and all hell broke loose. Compared to the Tuesday episode, I rated this one moderate. Things were under control in 35 minutes. At 5.30am, showered and dressed, I was planning for ‘business as usual’. In the car, folding tissues - just in case, and then, just like that, it started again. Despite having tissues on hand, the spurt came too fast and blood spilled all over my blouse and pants. 30 minutes sitting in my car, nose clamped and gurgling blood from my mouth, and staring at a pool of my own blood on the tarmac, I came to this realization:

‘Business as usual’ it wasn’t going be. I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t going to bleed driving someplace or at work. Bleeding five days out of seven, with increasing flow and frequency, I realized I needed, if not to banish the spectre of a tumour, at least to clarify the problem early. I needed specialist attention to investigate and remedy a potentially deadly problem.

I couldn’t risk driving myself to the hospital. But I loathed the visibility of my messy appearance, the alarm and horror it could invoke. Two hours later, in a clean set of clothes, I drove home to mum’s, all the while praying for a safe journey. Mum accompanied me to the hospital emergency doctor who took some blood and scheduled an ENT appointment for the afternoon. I was still ‘spotting’ when I returned to see the surgeon who promptly ordered a CT Scan. Pending the radiologist’s report, he treated me for infection and prescribed antibiotics, a decongestant and antihistamines. Yesterday morning, he advised that it was likely an infection, there were no signs of any tumour. An additional course of antibiotics was prescribed.

Oh, what blessed relief! Not just for my nose, but my heart as well.

This morning, with skies clearing, kind winds blowing and rains washing the haze away (sorry, Notherners!) I gave thanks to God Almighty, my Heavenly Father that visibility has improved tremendously and the air quality is no longer harzardous. And my heartfelt gratitude for sending such a strong ray of light to pierce through the haze in my life. In more ways than one, I can see much clearer and breathe much easier now.

Related: Becoming Invisible

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