November 22, 2014



a flurry of events of passed since my last post, and as one would see from the photo, it wasn’t and hasn’t been good in all sense.

i’ve typed my resignation letter- i will tender the first of December. i was initially hesitant about it, and was still giving it some thought before last Tuesday. but after that fateful day and what transpired after just put the nail on the coffin. i cannot and refuse to work for a company like that. i was hospitalised overnight the day after i committed a mistake, but the hospitalisation was not directly due to work. it was however in plain sight that i was so stressed out by work that my anaesthetist gave me the rest of the week off. my manager came to visit, and it did not bode well. i never seem to learn my lesson. well she came, empty-handed, talked down to me, but also tried very hard to reassure me that they (she and my senior/supervisor) have been doing so much for me, which i obviously could not see nor appreciate. the words that made me wanna scream was when she said they have been putting in so much effort, “but you have not put in any effort!”. i told, while quietly sobbing, to not make me scream or have a breakdown in front of her.i gave her every example of how much effort i’m putting in. she said a flurry of things, trying to me they’ve been doing this and that for me. which oh by the way, is entirely not made known to me. read: claiming credit right now. i only know i have dodging bullets the first day i came in, which she simply brushed off, especially the issue with big boss. after she had her piece, there was an awkward silence, she told me to go home and think about it, and promptly walked off, as if there was entire truth in everything she said. PURE HYPOCRITE. i broke down after that, realising i was yet another “victim” of another vicious person of authority like what i’ve gone through last time. so you know what, no more chances. i’ve tried my darndest and if it’s still not enough, go find someone else who’ll be your slave. i deserve so much better.

i had both my sacroiliac joints injected with triamcinolone and bupivacaine- FINALLY, since i first complained of the pain in 2009. my new anaesthetist, whom my rheumy referred me to within the hospital, is as nice as she is. he was able to schedule the injections within less than 1 week to the scheduled date- atypical for a tertiary institution. i mentioned my shoulders, and so he agreed to do supra scapular nerve blocks. because SI joints injections would require fluoroscopy, it has to be done in the Operating Theatre and under some sedation. in i went, but before we i started, i presented to them with some unforeseen complications. they were so very kind enough to settle them for me, even though it took them longer than an hour? anyway, i was sedated with fentanyl and propofol, but i was fully aware and conscious. during the procedures, my anaesthetist chatted with me and found out that i had come in stressed and frazzled and thus the complications.

i personally felt that the SI joint injections were not at all that painful. i admit it’s abit unnerving when the spinal needle is in your SI joint and they’re looking for the spot to inject the drugs. but wow, the one that will sting is the injection of the white concoction of drugs into a joint one can barely quantify. but of course, people will always say that the local anaesthesia is the one that hurts the most. it can be true, and i won’t deny that! but i’ve been so used to them so they don’t really matter to me.

the pain team, headed by my anaesthetist, were reluctant to discharge me from the recovery area after my stories and complications. they gave me odd choices, like leaving to go see Dr S, leaving to admit myself into the psychiatric hospital etc. my anaesthetist bugged me to call Dr S. i kept saying i will. until some one hour later, he told me he called him personally. O,O the pain team was very kind to get the in-house psychiatrist to evaluate me. by that time however, the decision was pretty unanimous that i should stay overnight.

staying as an inpatient, one loses control of the drugs she takes. for my morning meds, i only took paracetamol as my only analgesia. the pharmacists had flagged out the tramadol due to interactions with escitalopram which may cause serotonin syndrome. so i’m on Targin, but due to red tape issues as it is a controlled drug and rarely used one too, it was delayed for 4 hours till i was begging them to give me something IV or for breakthrough pain.

when the pain team discharged me, they decided to remove tramadol for good??? i found that really odd. they told me to take Targin 3 times a day, or twice, if i want to. then when i chatted with them, we upped my pregabalin to the maximum of 600mg. and NSAIDs? still no news about that.

this is pain control at its best, albeit the drowsiness. the SI joint injections in the meanwhile, are helping with a lot of the axial back pain.

having a break from work is oh so great. i really needed a break from the toxic work environment.

i went for therapy last Tuesday. i hadn’t seen J for more than 5 months, so it’s natural that triggering issues inevitably surfaced. she was concerned that i was triggered, because it wasn’t good news. she had every right to be concerned. because after that i wasn’t ok.

the next day at work, i wasn’t myself. i wasn’t in a good mood, of course. it was exacerbated my boss telling me off, and my colleague’s slighting attitude towards me. i told my manager i wanted half the day off because i wasn’t feeling well. and i was asking her for permission. what did i get?

fucking counselling firstly wasn’t asked for, and secondly, was more hurtful than helpful. to make it short, i was fine until i was on Whataspp with my manager for awhile. she tried to “counsel”  me, used others to compare me against, and being already at the tipping point, i broke down at work. i’ve been with this company for almost 6 months and this is the first time i broke down because of legit work itself. i had to quickly wipe away the tears and serve my patient after that. it was no excuse.

she made it such that everyone, including the other bosses, believed boss scolded me. and those that saw me cry believed i cried because he had scolded me. when in actually fact, boss only told me off, and she was the very culprit who made me cry.

to me, if you have the fucking privilege of knowing that i have depression, i expect that you don’t use it to insinuate that i am weak because of that. and i don’t appreciate unsolicited counselling. it was unempathic and insulting. it’s the stigma of depression. that we can be talked out of it. we can’t and you won’t want to take the risk. and anyway when we are unwell, depression or not, we cannot be talked out of being “unwell”. that’s just stupid.

so in just those 2-3 days or so, i saw my manager rear her bitch horns. and i was clearly very disappointed with her politics and manipulation.

it’s fucking disgusting, it makes me wanna puke.

judgement time

November 10, 2014

It’s almost the time of the year again.

I’m gonna be judged again whether I’m fit to practice. Don’t be mistaken. I am FIT to practice- it’s just the conditions placed on me.

I don’t know what to say. Because my ONE wrong could wipe away a thousand rights. And I’m tired of it. It’s not fair.

When it happened in June, and when I found out what was written and how Dr G came to the conclusion, I cursed and swore at him to drop dead. I am not exaggerating. It was SO UNFAIR.

How could one bring matters of 2012 into 2014 and make a judgement based on my performance 2 years ago? I’m different now ain’t i? I went through tens of hours of therapy in 2013. A hundred even.

So yes I’m scared. Dr S is kind. Much kinder. But he was also the first person to put me through this.

I’ve had my milestones. He said my depression is “in control”. I’ve been totally functional. A far cry from a year ago.

But will he write a damning letter. I’m trying to let him make an informed decision. Whatever it is, so be it then.

I’ll leave it in God’s hands. I’ve done my best.

talking about work…

November 1, 2014

what is dignity, what is pride?

i’ve been working in the cardiology clinic for almost 5 months now. and i ask myself that question more often than i have to ask about things i do not know medically.

i gripe about my boss yes. but in actual fact and in real life, it’s more than just griping. i face him 4 days a week with him slighting me at every chance. it’s as though i am a person, not even a nurse, unworthy of his basic respect that he doesn’t look me in the eye nor calls my name.

a doctor deserves respect, because he is a doctor. it is given to him on a plate. but a doctor is a human too, and a doctor has to earn that respect he demands. that said, i usually and almost always give them due respect.

with my boss, i’ve had always been rather meek- unusual of me- and respectful of him. i don’t talk back to him, i do what he wants, i let him insult me, i let him look at me with those slighting looks, everything. and we all thought, he just wasn’t used to me yet. the only times he called my name were the 2 weeks my colleague wasn’t around. in my near 5 months, only 2 weeks.

i don’t say all these about my boss without reason. i am a healthcare professional, a registered nurse. i am no less a professional when i stand in the room with him and the patient. yet he tells me off in front of the patient, once even ripping off all the ECG leads that i had placed, claiming that i placed them wrongly. or in another case that i placed them “where there’s no hair” , and then placing them himself saying aloud the placements as if i didn’t know them. he wasn’t consistent- once he said V6 was at anterior axiliary line, and then another time he said mid axiliary line. i am taught, i am cardiac-trained, and i was confused. in all honesty, nurses do more ECGs than doctors. it’s a FACT. period.

when i convey information to him, he replies to my colleague. when i do it in person, he looks at the notes/results and looks over my shoulder and talks and replies to my colleague who is at least 5 to 10 metres behind me. what is this really?

there was once when i didn’t know that the lady sitting in the corner was our patient. he stormed out and silently asked me to get to her so that we could register her and then he could see her. i greeted her like how i greet all my patients.

“Hello/Hi/Good morning! Can I have your name please?”

after the mentioned patient’s consult was over, he called me and my other senior colleague into the room. he berated me for my lack of manners when speaking to the patient. he claimed that i had just gone up to the patient and asked her “what’s your name???”. okayyyy. i won’t fight back. but i lost my cool when he went on to say, with his slighting stare as his pupils rolled up to look at me:

“i don’t have a voice a recorder with me, but you know what you said.”

and then i knew, from then on, that this boss, lies and manipulates. i know what i said. i spoke to my manager about it, and she knows how i greet my patients. in fact, she is the one who says my PR skills are excellent and insists on putting me at the counter.

there were times unnecessary mistakes were made because of him- improper documentation, wrong instructions etc. in the end, the onus is on me (if i’m handling it) to rectify it and accept the blame from the patient and boss, who would conveniently write off his mistake, insisting it’s not his fault. there is always the blame game, and even though it is HIS fault, it is always inevitably my fault in the end.

it’s immensely difficulty to work with a boss who cannot even give me basic respect, or even worse, has me working so bloody hard for him behind the scenes, yet denies my identity in the clinic. i find it disgusting.

my colleagues tell me to give it time right from the start. we thought i got his acknowledgement of my existence and trust when he started calling my name at the start of my 3rd month. but again as i said, it was short-lived for 2 weeks, only because my monographer colleague was on leave. he had no choice but to call my name. and after that, it fizzled into nothingness. i became zero again. negative maybe,

i finally told my manager that i can’t and i won’t. not anymore. i did not want my tears to fall, but they did in the end. i told her how i felt- in the room with him and the patient, my morale is so low and i feel so small, like i’m dirt on the ground. i asked her why boss is like that to me, but she told me that do not need to understand why. when my colleague echoed the same thing, i kinda understood.

i deserve better. soon enough.


Lyrica withdrawal

October 30, 2014

I’m a nurse myself, but I admit that I am pretty careless with myself.

I was running out of Lyrica (pregabalin) early this week. I had not filled my prescription when I saw my rheumy because I wanted the help of my best friend to get a 20% discount on my Rx. So to my utter horror I had NONE left on Monday. I am on 300mg a day. I tried to take comfort that I still have tramadol and Myonal. So I tried my best to obtain some Lyrica with what littl.e savings I have at the end of the month.

I have a 10% discount at the pharmacy downstairs where I work with the staff card. But again I was careless. I thought little of withdrawal. But damn it, it started coming just on the 2nd day of no Lyrica.

Anxiety. Fatigue. Lethargy. Fibromyalgia flares in my back. They slowly started to creep in. Then by the Wednesday, the 3rd day, I raised the white flag. My diclofenac gel failed me. I popped Celebrex against warnings. And then I went to work with a fully flaring back, feeling I’ve not slept in a week.

During lunch, I quickly bought some and popped a 150mg capsule. It’s not a magic pill, but in withdrawal, my gosh it fucking helps.

With discount at a private pharmacy, Lyrica 150mg costs S$4.77 per pill. I bought only 10 that will last me 5 days and it was $47.77 and I wanted to cry. I can’t go on like this forever. It’s so fucking expensive.

So yeah, that was my experience with withdrawal. A very short and unexpected one. I have to take better care of myself. As it is, I am pre-empting the end of tramadol. So I’m planning to get more too.

All in all, if you, like me, rely on drugs that need tapering, please please keep count on your meds.

One Year On

October 25, 2014


I haven’t been admitted at all in the hospital for ONE YEAR. My psychiatrist thinks it’s a miracle, since I had periods where I couldn’t even stay out in the wild for 2-3 days. It was like out, then hello here am I again because I’m going to say goodbye.

It’s a smashing record. But along the way, I had already “broken” my record, because the longest I’ve stayed out since I fell into depression, I believe would be 2 or 3 months.

I remember 364 days ago, I was in the e-room getting stitched up. My thigh was gaping. I thought little of it. But the doctor said it was “very serious” as it was 6 cm deep and insisted on incarcerating me. My psychiatrist then saw me 365 days ago and knowing me fully well that I was really just hurting myself, discharged me. And that was the end of it. Just like that.

So yeah, 1 year has passed. I’m still trying my hand at recovery. Today would be 218 days cut-free. I didn’t press the reset button after the recent “incident”, but don’t get me wrong. I’m not delusional.

I didn’t want one moment of grave error to spoil the the 200 over good days I had. I reflected on the incident and eventually faced up to it by telling my psychiatrist. So I kept counting.

It’s a milestone, if you’d ask me. Just last year, I spent 6 months inside. I just could not live in the wild. But now, I’m working and earning my keep, taking less meds, not self-harming, although I admit I’m still at my eating disordered ways. It’s too deeply entrenched.

I bought a bunch of white gerberas, and then also a white Pandora daisy ring. It’s a pat on my back, and a celebration for the milestone. It’s also a reminder to BLOOM.

bloom whereever i am planted, and that would be prudent.

so keep blooming, Steph!!!


October 19, 2014

one of the most important things in my life is to heal. to heal others and to heal myself. and what happened in the last 2 weeks was about healing:

physical healing.

in the debacle (at least in my mind it was one) about my treatment for my RA and fibromyalgia, i lost patience with myself and with everyone. honestly, i didn’t think i’d be triggered just like that. it wasn’t instantaneous though, the realisation. it was this slow sinking feeling through the rest of the day that i was feeling when i jerked. i had hit the bottom. it was that insidious that day as a trigger, surely more insidious when coping by the years. i couldn’t heal. or at least i couldn’t even bluff myself into feeling that i am healed (in other words, pain-free and symptomless).

i understand RA and perhaps fibromyalgia. oh don’t we all. how do we barricade ourselves from attacks from ourselves? perhaps at some point the medications will stop the invasion by our own immune system on us, but all the time? no! i guess my disappointment at its best is when i am NOT treated for RA at all by my rheumy, and my fibromyalgia has been left to my anaesthetist and psychiatrist to handle. i have nothing against my passive-aggressive (which explains my seronegativity) immune system, nor do i have anything to quell inflammation that causes me so much pain.

simply put once and again, i am afraid. i am frightened by the prospect that my state of wellbeing (only talking about physical) is in a precarious and unpredictable position that i cannot control.

i was triggered and frightened back in July regarding this issue yes. but this time’s was too much to handle. i was so broken. and lost.

so i desperately found ways to heal. physically heal. like a wound that has to heal. like a bruise that has to dissipate. and i did. in the wrong way.

to heal is to restore health to an otherwise diseased state.

i have to live with it and understand that i have RA and fibromyalgia, and that it will never go away. i have a dilated left ventricle that might heal. i have a funny stomach that won’t empty. and my depression and bulimia are something i might recover from.

but i guess for now, for whatever reason that might trigger me, be it doctors, flares (symptoms etc), i just have to KEEP CALM.



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