The State of my Kidneys

Trepidation always precedes my scheduled appointment with the urologist. Will the health of my kidneys get better or deteriorate? Wuan accompanied me to see Mr. Liong at the Lam Wah Ee Hospital for my six-monthly check-up last Thursday. I was to get my blood tested before seeing him. When I saw the hesitation of the lab technician while inserting the needle into my vein, I knew it was going to be painful. After a few failed attempts to draw blood, she gave up and retracted the syringe without first releasing the tourniquet. Naturally, blood spurted out the moment the needle was pulled out. The other lab technician had no problem drawing blood from my other arm and it was all over in a jiffy. The test would take approximately one hour to complete. In the meantime, my blood pressure was tested. At 120/80, it was considered normal.

When it was finally my turn to see the doctor, Wuan went in with me. The creatinine and uric acid levels have gone down. The creatinine has gone down to 181 umol/l from 188 umol/l. That is not a lot of change but still an improvement. The ultrasound of my left kidney showed that it is shrunken, which is consistent with previous ultrasounds. Even then, Mr. Liong assured me that it is still functional. The left kidney showed no signs of swelling which is a good sign. Even the bladder looked better. I was advised to continue with my four-hourly intermittent catheterisation, drink 300ml of water every hour and take 1mg Detrusitol twice daily. Detrusitol relaxes the bladder and must be taken with an empty stomach to optimise its absorption. The result of this check-up is like a silver lining behind the dark clouds of my extended illness that had afflicted me for the past month. I am happy that my prayers had been answered and my diet is working. Hopefully, the next check-up will show even more improvement. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Gurney Drive Escapade – Day 3

View of sunsire from Gurney Hotel

It was about five in the morning. My coughing woke us both up. We could not sleep anymore and lazed in bed for a while. The room window looked out to the east and we hoped to catch the sunrise that we missed the morning before. Unfortunately, the sky was cloudy. The rising sun was hidden from view. We got up to get ready for breakfast. After getting all dressed up, we looked out the window to find the sea was bathed in a shimmering reflection of the sun that had risen about thirty degrees from the horizon, still partially obscured by the clouds.

The Evergreen Laurel Hotel is located just beside the Gurney Hotel. We dropped in to check on the breakfast menu and decided that RM29 per person for a buffet breakfast was a tad too expensive. Our next choice was Khaleel Nasi Kandar which was further up the road. There is only one nasi kandar shop in the entire stretch of Gurney Drive. Half-boiled eggs and toasts are not a Mamak’s speciality. It was a mistake ordering those. We would have had a heartier breakfast had we ordered roti canai or thosai instead.

We did not linger at the seafront although the weather was just right. We wanted to go back and pack up and then rest a while before checking-out. Wuan is always on the lookout for photo opportunities of pretty flowers. At the driveway to the Evergreen Laurel Hotel, some vines hanging down from the wall were blooming. Although it was not the prettiest of flowers, the morning sun gave it an unusual glow that made it an interesting subject.

Checking-out was simple. Wuan just returned the keycards and retrieved the credit card slip from the receptionist. The slip was printed out when she was requested to pay for room for the first night. We had booked a taxi to come fetch us. While waiting, Wuan went out and took more images. We did not enjoy this mini-vacation much due to my relentless coughing, food that was below par and irretrievably spoilt by the messed-up room reservation.

Gurney Drive Escapade – Day 2

We were awoken by Wuan’s phone ringing. It was her colleague calling to find out about our room booking mix-up. Wuan explained that apart from not having the room that was booked, we had to pay for the room that we were staying in now. She advised us not to pay anything and that we could move to the two-room suite immediately. It was a hassle having to pack and lug our belongings to another room but we were elated when we saw how spacious and luxurious the other room was. The master bedroom had an attached bathroom with a Jacuzzi that looked out to the entire Gurney Drive. We could actually be soaking in the tub and watch people walking by below. How sexy! There was a kitchenette with a washing machine and a microwave oven. In the living room was a sofa bed, a sofa and a dining table.

We did not spend much time enjoying our room as our tummies were rumbling in protest. We had a look at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf menu. It is located just beside the Gurney Hotel. That was convenient but we did not like what they were serving for breakfast. So on we went to Gurney Plaza again. We had actually planned to have breakfast there anyway. The heat of the morning sun on my skin was a refreshing change. I seldom get to bask in morning sunlight as I tend to wake up late most of the time.

Wuan and I never had Domino’s Pizza before and she had heard that it is better most of the others. We ordered the Value Meal which came with one regular-sized hand-tossed Chicken Classic pizza, breadstix and two cans of Coca Cola. We agreed that the pizza was “different” from the others but we liked the breadstix better. Having had our fill, we went scampering around the shopping complex. As it was still early, the place was rather deserted.

As classy as it may look, Gurney Plaza’s disabled toilets gets a one star rating out of five. One was too small; one without a wash basin and another was under repair. I have never been to a shopping complex with toilets that I cannot use except here. I had no choice but to put my diaper’s absorbency to the test. This is one of the complexes that I will not be frequenting often.

The battery life of my mobile phone was nearing its end. When we passed by a phone shop, Wuan dragged me in and made me choose one as an early birthday present. I liked the Nokia 3120 for its simple functions and nice shape. The shop accepted a trade-in of my old phone for a miserable RM80. We left the shop with a spanking new phone that will hopefully last longer than the two years I had with the previous one. We did not bring the charger for the old phone along. Wuan had to walk back to the hotel to get it as that was part of the trade-in deal.

After what felt like hours, Wuan came back with the charger for the shop. She had stopped halfway on the walk back to the hotel to snap some shots of a docked cruise ship that was visible from Gurney Drive. On her way back, she was distracted by a monitor lizard scuttling by the rocks. It had probably swam along the coast looking for food.

We had dinner at the basement food court where we shared a bowl of Taiwanese-style rice with salted vegetable, minced chicken and lotus root soup. I did not have a good appetite then as I was still coughing. We had wanted to go back after the dinner but were hampered by heavy rain. Unable to go back and too lazy for another round of window shopping again, we waited for the rain to stop while sharing a glass of hot chocolate. When the rain finally stopped, we quickly made our way back. They sky was still dark and threatened to pour again soon.

When we thought we could get a good rest upon arriving back at the room, one of the lamps blew a bulb and we had to wait for one hour before the technician came replace the bulb. In the darkness, we watched the replay of the Copa America finals between Brazil and Argentina while eating the leftover pizza from breakfast. That was not my idea of a relaxing holiday, eating scrap in the darkness. We had intended to have a nice dinner in a romantic setting but we too pooped out. We did not sleep well again that night with my persistent coughing every few hours.