24 February 2012

After spending 10 days in the hospital the doctor finally let my baby Hana Alisha go home. For 10 days I've been commuting to and fro the KPJ Kajang specialist hospital dragging my 2 elder kids along with me. Every day without fail. My wife and her mom had been taking turns to look after Hana at the hospital throughout her stay. First she gets 3 days compassionate leave then after working for 2 days, she took another 3 days of leave so that she can be at the hospital again. In between that, my mother in law who came all the way from Tanah Merah volunteered to baby sit Hana there. I can't thank my wife and her mother enough. I would be nearly useless at the hospital. For one thing I can't breastfeed the kid and secondly a few hours is the most I can spend alone with infants. I don't fully understand them. What are they crying for, what do they really want etcetera etcetera. I'm just not very good with kids below 1 year old.

Dr Mahani the paediatrician who looked after Mia before when she had chicken pox did an excellent job again at nursing Hana to recovery. The great thing about private hospitals are that they run a very thorough check on their patients, leaving no stones unturned and make sure they are really-really healthy and well before discharging them. Plus their service are generally faster and better than say government run public hospitals. I'm not saying that government hospitals sucks, it's just that they are quite below par if you compare them to their private counterpart. That said, here it's all about the money too. Naturally these private hospitals would like to keep the patient in for as long as possible. The longer you stay, the more money they make. This is especially true for patients who are covered by medical plans or benefits.

Talking about hospital charges, Hana Alisha's 10 days stay at the KPJ Kajang costs a cool RM10,800.00 which is fortunately will all be borne by my wife's employer. Had she not worked there we'd probably be sending Hana to a public hospital instead. That's one of the main benefit of working at a large or multinational company. Bonuses and health benefits. Me, I am not covered by any insurance or medical plans right now so I shudder to think if I suddenly get sick. My present company doesn't have any group insurance policy yet and there's a limit how much I can claim from hospital bills every year. Perhaps I should seriously consider taking up insurance.

The important thing is Hana is all well and healed now. She is back to her happy and jovial self once again, no more high fever and coughing at nights. Apparently Hana Alisha was also the nurses' favorite while at the hospital. They said she was among the least difficult infant baby patient that they have ever dealt with not to mention her cuteness and charm. As much as I find that flattering, I'd rather not see any of my kids or family members at the hospital again in the future. So long KPJ Kajang. Thanks for the service and care. I'd definitely recommend this hospital to anyone living nearby.

16 February 2012

I went to bed last night feeling like crap. Headache, cold and a hint of fever. Going to work today is like 50-50. This morning however, felt so much better. Maybe I just need more rest. Still, today I had to attend this annual Rockwell seminar in Bandar Utama. Rockwell Automation is like the product my company had been selling and we're like the premier partner or something. So I had to go, which I did. That said I still had to go to traffic to get there and the most straightforward way is by using the LDP. You know that highway that make billions every year and yet they increase toll like every 2 years and had massive jams like every morning? Yeah that stupid highway. I was stuck in traffic for like an hour. Even managed to finish watching 2 episodes of Felicity on my phone. By the way Felicity, one of the first TV series created by J.J Abrams rocks!

Why anyone would hold a seminar in downtown PJ is beyond me. Especially when it's supposed to start at 8:30 PM. Traffic is at its shittiest at that time. If I had it my way, I'd do it in Putrajaya or something far away from the city center. Anyway although I came like 30 minutes late, the organizer is pretty relaxed about our punctuality. Everybody was still having breakfast when I got there. Talk about food, there were aplenty at this event. We had breakfast, 2 tea breaks and one hearty lunch.

The event itself was pretty boring. We had to go to a couple of this lab and tutorial and listen to speaker talk for hours. In one class there was this beautiful speaker from Thailand. Her name was Nopharat something-something and I couldn't concentrate on what was being taught since I was too preoccupied looking at her. I bet I'm not the first guy to gawk at this Thai lady in this seminar. Anyway, the highlight of the seminar was the lucky draw of course. Somebody told me we might go home with an iPad today. The truth is, there were only 3 iPods given a way and a couple of other cheap gadgets like external hard drive and a camera. As always when it comes to lucky draws, I'm like the unluckiest guy in the whole world. Can't remember myself being lucky with one, ever. So as expected some random dude goes home with those lucky draw prizes. Still I got myself a goody bag with some stationery inside and two computer mice which is not bad. But seriously, they should give out like 20 prizes or something next time so that unlucky people like me might just get lucky?

15 February 2012

Living alone without the lady of the house around is difficult. You'll have to do everything yourself - cook, wash the dishes, do laundry, iron clothes and prepare stuff for your kids. I find myself doing all that and more today. I know - I know, you don't know what you got till it's gone. Definitely made me appreciate having a good wife like @shhaslinda.

There hasn't been any good news on Hana. Yesterday after being admitted, they poke this huge needle into her tiny little hand for IV drips. If I could trade places with her, I would rather than see her like that. Today they did an x-ray and took some blood sample from her. Again using that big bad needle. From her x-ray, they deduced that she might be suffering from tuberculosis among others. How the hell that she contract tuberculosis? Still it's a big IF. The result is not conclusive and they had to take some more blood tests to make sure.

I hope it's nothing serious. Let us pray for Hana.

14 February 2012

My 9 years old daughter has been having this on and off fever for almost 2 weeks now. We went to the clinic several times but the doctor just kept giving us fever, flu, cough medication and antibiotics for her. It was not until today that the doctor recommended that we refer her to the hospital. About time. If we had it our way we would have brought Hana to the hospital long time ago. But it doesn't work that way. For us to be able to bring her or any of our kids to the hospital, we must have a referral letter from the GP. We simply cannot crash to hospital and demand that our kid be treated. Unless of course we were planning to pay for it ourselves.

Like always, admitting anybody to the hospital took hours. In fact we spent almost the whole day today from morning to late in the afternoon before being given a bed. Starting from the clinic, to the admission and the screening and then wait for the GL and for a free bed. Not to mention we had to go home and pack our bags and then return to the hospital to be admitted finally. And that for a private hospital. A public hospital should take twice as long if there's any bed for you left that is.

From the doctor's diagnosis, Hana got some kind of infection in her lung. I remember Adam having the same illness many years ago. She did cough a lot this past week and no amount of cough meds seems to make her better. I knew this is something more serious than the common cough.

Lucky for us my wife's employee gives 3 days of compassionate leaves whenever any of our immediate family member got warded. So naturally my wife would be staying with Hana the next 3 days or so. Hopefully she would be okay by the weekend.

5 February 2012

One of the perks being a part time college student is that you enjoy some of the perks given to full time students you know like movie ticket discount and the latest being this student book voucher by the government. While I'd like to thank them for the thought, it is ultimately our money that pays for the book in the end through various taxes. So this is not really a big deal.

Since we've already got our skimpy modules for our studies and we don't really need to buy any of those big heavy text books, I used the vouchers like many other students - to buy fiction books and stationery. Come to think of it, 200 ringgit is not much really in today's book market. Most of them started from RM50 and that will get you an average of 3 to 4 books only. I went to three major book stores in Equine and Mutiara Damansara to find something that I like. Popular allows you to buy books, stationery, computer accessories, food, everything except for prepaid topup. MPH would let you buy books and stationery but no magazines. Borders on the other hand allows for books and 10 bucks worth of stationery which is so not cool. In the end I spent most of my voucher at MPH at The Curve.

My 8 years old son got himself two books for himself. Me I had a tough time trying to find a good book to buy. First I wanted to get any of those Fixi books that was recommended by my Twitter friends. But since the vouchers came out, most of them were sold out and only a limited copy were available left. It's a pity that Amir Muhammad, the big boss didn't have the foresight to stock up on the books in anticipation of the rush to buy them. Total marketing blunder on their part. Other than that, I don't see much rational in buying Malay books. Many of them are either sappy love stories or one of those get rich quick books. In the end, another Twitter friend recommended Haruki Murakami's IQ84 which is a thick, thousand page book worth RM92.00. The other book that I got was Inside Apple which after reading 2 chapters I find a little bit underwhelming. There's little that I don't already know from reading Jobs' biography and other online blogs inside that book. Murakami's book on the other hand was sheer reading pleasure. I was instantly hooked after reading the first seven pages. Can't wait to finish reading them.

Hope that they will give out more of this vouchers thingy next year. That's the only way I'm ever going to buy books.

2 February 2012

Yesterday I went to this power plant in Manjung again for a Kick-off Meeting for an upcoming project. So far this place has been the furthest I've been for my new work and I've gone there like half a dozen times already. If the meeting agenda was to be believed, I'll be going there a lot more in the next few months. Time will tell.

As I said, working in factories and plants are not very glamorous or clean/healthy. Breathing coal dust for a couple of hours a day is not exactly my idea of fun too. Still somebody has to do it and me being the new guy usually volunteers to do it. Maybe I'll learn something valuable from this.

1 February 2012

My new job description requires me to visit a lot of factories, power plants & warehouses to check on PLCs and automations and stuff like that. While not very glamorous, it is quite interesting to be able to see how they made stuff while enjoying the sweltering hot factory environment, walking in dust and dirt and being exposed to all sort of workplace hazards. Things you do to put food on the table.

So far I've been to a few factories and power plants. My regular port would be this food manufacturing plant in nearby PJ. I've been there like half a dozen times already and I've got the chance to see first hand how they make those chili & ketchup sauce, chicken stock, chocolate drink, milk & yogurt just to name a few. Being the largest food products manufacturer in the world, safety & cleanliness are naturally their top priority. Each time before anybody enters the plant, we need to wear this lab coat and silly hair net so that we won't accidentally contaminate the food. Of course you won't want to find a strand of my hair in your next Kit Kat bar would you? That would be scandalous. Apart from that they have all sort of safety and hygienic measures like washing your hands before entering each new sections of the plant and also having metal detectors in each and every tank. Fascinating stuff.

However except from the occasional free drinks from the pantry, don't expect any free 'gifts' or products while visiting the plant. That would never happen. Of course I don't exactly expected them to pass me a bottle of Milo whenever I come. Professionalism is key. Even the staffs there had to buy products from the factory mini mart located inside the plant, at a discounted price of course.

Working in factories is a far cry from my previous working environment where I spent most of my time in arctic cold server rooms and comfy office spaces. For one thing, I have no idea how those stuff works in the first place and secondly, I basically have to learn pretty much everything myself. It's not easy but I'll have to adapt. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Not that I expect to be killed or anything. You could die just trying to cross the street. Hmmm.