Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Last day of May...

and last day of my birthday month...

nothing substantial happened except i fucked up my birthday dinner by having bad mood...

and also...

i would be able to donate my 26th pkt of blood last saturday if not for the fact i disclose that i went for a gastro & colonscopy last month.  according to the doctor, those procedures are considered minor surgery and had to wait for 3months.

major sigh~

previous time i was there, i was barred from donating because i went to batam which was a malaria zone.  now this... when am i ever going to donate my blood....? its ok la, i fully understand the rationale behind it... i don't want to jeopardize the life of the recipient of my blood...

currently in office waiting for exchange rates to be mailed to me before i could proceed with accounts closing...

every night and weekends I am engross in cross-stitching.  Mona Lisa & The Scream is coming along fine...
as of 30/04/16
as of 31.05.16
heard about 'Heaven and Earth Designs' from the fellow stitchers i have been following on instagram and was browsing through their website.  all their designs or rather most of their designs are done on say 25ct fabric and are very huge pojects.

my mona lisa is on a 18ct and i thought i am going blind from it, can't imagine the 25ct fabric... however i am very interested in one of the designs which when completed on 25ct would be 21" by 16 3/4" which is quite huge.  if i do it on a larger holed fabric which is 16ct (smaller than scream, larger than lisa by a count) it would be even larger.
i think it would be even better if the bird is either smaller or totally removed but because the lady was in korean hanbok, i am so getting this design. hahaha....

there were many other designs i love but i am resisting to get all of them.... not cheap leh, if i buy the kit and not the chart.... the above picture has 89 colors already... weird huh? doesn't even look like it... but because the sizing are large, there are more details to the picture making it more vibrant.... i guess that's what 'Heaven and Earth Designs' is specialized for...

if i'm not wrong, these designs seemed to be converted from a software because i was once told that if converted from software, you will have many colors required and how you know? you would have some colors required only less than 10 stitches for the whole design.  saw the floss chart for the above and indeed of the 89 colors, a lot require only a short amount of floss... i will have a lot of balance floss after this project....

then again, since i am a stitcher, maybe i can use the balance for other projects... oh my.. this makes me feel so excited... 

OK! RATES ARE IN... i'm going back to work... till next time...

Friday, 6 May 2016

Etsy Purchases (shop links included)

Recently, I have been buying stuff from Etsy.com which mainly is a marketplace for handmade, vintage and art & craft stuff.  So far, transactions have been quite a breeze just that shipping itself took quite a bit of time as I would say majority of the shops are located overseas.  Also, handmade items are made to order for some so that itself took some time as well.

If you don't mind the wait, you can actually check Etsy out.

My very first Etsy purchase was back in July 2013 when I wanted to surprise my bff who didn't expect anyone to actually buy this when she posted a link on facebook.
Lego brick clutch from Poland. Photo from agabag
Previously I did a post on the above clutch. Can read it here Although I ordered this in July, it came only in October due to delay in brick shipment + shipping etc.  It was still awesome cause the quality is really good.  They have other brick design bags so you can go check it out!

Shop Name: Agabag
Shop Location: Krakow, Poland
Cost: US$260 (back then in 2013)

Then my 2nd purchase from Etsy is just recently in Mar 2016.

Got to know the existence of needle minder when I happened to check out a fellow cross-stitch lover on Instagram.  So I looked it up on Etsy and came cross this particular shop located in Australia which from what I see is a shop specialized in handmade needle minders.

Ordered this on 20th March 2016 and it came only on 18th April 2016.  Came in bubble wrap and is in good condition.  I love it so much!

Basically using the properties of magnets, it helps to keep your needles in check.  No more lost needles when temporary away from cross-stitching.

Shop Name: Stitchinmad
Shop Location: Darwin, Australia
Cost: AUD12.40 (amount to be reduced (refunded to you) if shipping charges are below actual charges)

Next purchase was a couple of weeks later on 1st April when I was feeling moody at work after being given additional workload in office.  Like I said in a couple of post back, 'The Scream' resonated with me at that point of time and I bought it on impluse. LOL!

Bind it into a book so I don't have to deal with loose sheets
This came about 12days later on 12th April.  Came in good condition as well.  You can actually opt for larger symbols and/or colored symbols to ease looking at the charts (ended up with 25 pages). My kit also came with detailed care instructions, cloth, threads, 2 needles and 1 needle threader.  I have officially started on this project on the 19th April.

I have a couple of other designs I want to order from this shop but that will have to wait till I am either done with Mona Lisa or The Scream.  I will post a detailed WIP when I am done with this as well.

Shop Name: TheArtofCrossStitch
Shop Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cost: USD51.98

Because of all the time I am devoting to this, I wanted it to be perfect.  Cross-stitching take up alot of time and so fabric care is very important.  Had been using the frame for mona lisa for quite sometime.  Problem with frames is that the cloth is left exposed to dust and what not. Cloth is also easily dirtied at both ends of the frame...

So I decided to get a grime guard.   Only know of its existence via Instagram at the same time as the needle minder.  This shop seems to be specialized in handmade grime guards for Q snaps, scroll rod frames and hoop guards.  It is tailored by hand and you can customized the size to suit your frames.

Ordered on 3rd April, and it came on 21st April.  In good condition with a matching needle minder.  The joining seams were pretty neat and there was nothing to pick about.

Shortly after my order, on 13th April, I ordered another grime guard for the new 7" hoop I bought for cross-stitch.  Seller was really nice to open up a slot for 7" because previously, the size available was 8" and up.

She also gave recommendations to the cloth width when I requested for her opinion because my fabric is quite large.  Usually the width is not large to avoid covering up the work surface but for my case, the width is slightly larger for me to tuck in the excess fabric.

The hoop guard came on 4th May.

I love the fabric so damn much! This was actually an alternative fabric I chose. The original one I wanted was out of stock.  Seller was prompt in contacting me about it.  Really friendly!

Obviously my fabric is way too HUGE to fit for the guard thou.  I will save this guard for my smaller projects in future instead.  Look at that matching needle minder that was included.  I suppose the needle minder pattern will follow the guard's fabric to match.  The tailoring was nicely and neatly done also.

Oh did I mention, the cloth has this unique fragrant.  No idea if its seller's home or the airplane that flew this over.  I liked it thou but it was only for a few days and the smell faded off.  So its not a big deal.  If might want to wash it before using, thou I feel its unnecessary.

Shop Name: StormbornBoutique
Shop Location: Nebraska, United States
Cost: USD20.50 (scroll rod) USD17.10 (hoop guard)

All in all, I am quite happy with the purchases from Etsy minus the waiting time for it to arrive.  Looking forward to more purchase in the future.  I actually have thoughts about opening my own shop on Etsy because things like needle minder I could not actually find a shop located in Singapore online on Etsy for this.

I don't know.  Maybe the handicraft market is not as flourishing as our western counterparts and hence, the market is not sustainable.  It is not difficult to find shops selling cross-stitch/knit stuff in Singapore but the variety may not be as abundant like overseas because the demand is not there.

Quite sad you know.  With low demand = low supply = expensive cost. Eg. 1 skein of dmc thread the cheapest I saw was S$0.90, Cosmo threads were S$0.80. No idea how much it cost in the US thou but imagine your project requires many colors, the bill will be quite a bit.

Oh well... will see how it goes...

and for the love of stitching....

taken from Google

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Gastroscopy & Colonoscopy Day (includes explicit description+picture)

Disclaimer: Gross pictures and description included and so read at your own discretion.

So yesterday 26/04/16, I went for my first Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard).  A day prior to the procedure, there were couple of things to follow.

If your scope is early in the morning like mine, these 5 tablets (dulcolax) have to be taken at 3pm the day before (according to the pamphlet). However on the medication packet, it was written 5pm and so I decide to take it at 4pm instead. What these tablets do is to soften your stool in the colon to make it easily passable. (unlike my normal hard pellets during my constipated times)

Come night time, I followed the instructions on the packet of "fortrans' and drank this between 8pm to 10pm.  The powder smells like wall paint but taste like salted carrot juice when mixed with water. Nearly vomited cause it really was *yuck* but I did finish a liter of it by holding my breath while drinking.  Quickly brush my teeth to get rid of the taste and smell when I was done.

This drink is a type of laxative meant for patients undergoing colonoscopy.  Within about 35mins of drinking my first cup, I went to the toilet.  Got a shock and yet amused because it really flushes out your colon cleaned.  I couldn't tell if I was pooping or peeing from my butt hole, that's how the texture was.  Was told that the color of the excretion was meant to go from black to light color but all I saw was a toilet bowl of black mess (could it be also the sesame paste and oreo biscuits i ate for dinner?)

Had all in all about 4 toilet trips before I decided to call it a night because I had to wake up very early since my mum is picking me up by taxi.  Thank goodness I did not have any cramps while at night thou and manage to sleep. 

Anyway, we arrived in the hospital at about 6.30am and visited the washroom first because unlike me, the effects of the laxatives came much later for my mum and she was kept awake since 4am.  By time we got to the clinic, it was almost 7am.  There were already couple of patients in the center awaiting admission.  Even thou we were the 2nd in line for admission, it took quite awhile.  In between waiting, I was in the toilet still clearing my system.
amenities: slipper, comb, toothbrush & paste etc
So after admission was done, I was brought in by nurse to have my height and weight taken and led into the room (3 bedded) for me to change into my gown and have that drip thing inserted into my right hand.

The nurses were really friendly and accommodating to me.  Created a little hooha when I forgotten the pin to my cabinet lock and they had to get security to open it and the guard actually explained to me how to use it.  *embarrassed with my own stupidity*

Then the tag on my wrist had to be reprinted and replaced because nurse spotted the error in my particulars. *face palm! how could I overlook my gender of all things* 

HAHAHA. I wore the gown wrongly also.  Damn embarrassing OK it was like I had so many problems.  The nurse also had to see my poop early in the morning. *i'm soooo sorry, hope you strike 4D*

Anyway, my mum was pushed into the endoscopy room first.  It took less than 30mins for her turn. When she came back, she was already pretty alert and talking to the nurse who was pushing her back to rest.  The nurse came over and proceeded to push me into the endoscopy room next. Along the way I was like waving to my mum and said bye.  Quite funny thinking about it.

Wanted to laugh from the nervousness and uneasy feeling being pushed around in bed but I controlled it cause it did not seem appropriate to.  Just felt really weird inside.

In the room, I was looking around at the machinery around me with beeping sounds all over while the nurses were preparing.  It was about 8.25am plus minus when I was in the room.  Thankfully for the friendly nurses and doctor, it was less nerve wrecking.

After my nose was stuffed with the oxygen tube, my throat was sprayed with some bitter medication to numb the throat.  Was told to lie sideways in foetal position and told to bite a guard (for the Gastroscopy).  I think the doctor or was it the nurse injected the anesthetic into my hand drip and I was knocked out in seconds.

By time I woke up it was already 8.50am-ish and I was pushed back into the resting room by about 9am.  In the rest area I failed to nap because it was rather noisy with nurses talking and pushing stuff in and out etc.  Before nurse left me to rest earlier, she said not to get out of the bed alone because I could still be drowsy from the sedation earlier but I needed to go to the washroom because I have no idea if I would be passing gas or liquid poop like last night.

So as a precaution I called for the nurse.  Ends up, I could walk unassisted to the bathroom but really slowly. Apart from farting a lot of gases, there was also faint traces of blood mucus in the toilet bowl.
coffee was not very nice but i did enjoy the sandwhich
Breakfast (which i ordered with the nurses) was send to me awhile later and after breakfast, I changed out of the gown and was brought to the holding room with my mum where we have to rest and wait till the minimum 6hrs is up to be able to fully claim from insurance.

From the time I was resting on the bed till I leave the hospital I was expelling a lot of gases.  I did that in the washroom far away from the holding area because it was really embarrassing la...

*was told by mum that air was pumped into the colon to inflate it for the camera to be inserted*

My mum and I did not pay a single cent for this check up as everything is claimable from the insurance policy we bought.  Maybe because it was claimable from insurance I was given a lot of medications. HAHAHAHA~ I would advice you to check with your insurance agent to see if your policy covers these procedures before making an appointment.

Along with medications, post procedure advice and medical reports, you will also be given a DVD of the recorded procedure.  Yes, video images of how your internal organs looks like etc as the camera enters.

As for diagnosis, my stomach is clean with no abnormalities.  Just mild gastric.  Which was quite surprising because I expected to have ulcers, bleeding and whatnot to be removed as my meals and appetite is not stable and I was plagued with gastric in my younger days.  Was also having strange loss in appetite like I have been having like 1 or 1.5 meals a day and could go long hours without food at times.  I don't feel like I had gastric but test shown I do have a mild one.
As for colon, it was also normal with no abnormalities but I have large hemorrhoids in my anus. Which confirmed my speculation back in 2014 when I first bled quite a bit from the toilet session. I could feel 2 lumps at my anus whenever I strain poop.  That period of time when it first appear, I actually manage to contort my body and took a picture of it.

But it disappeared after awhile (probably went back into my rectum) and since it did not bother me, I just left it then thou there was talks about going for a scope.  It came back after the bout of diarrhea last night from the laxatives. According to doctor, I have 1 internal and 1 external hemorrhoid (maybe=1 large hemorrhoid).

Apparently the size was too large to ligate (remove) at the time of the scope and had to be removed surgically another time.
Since it did not give me any problems, I was told to just leave it alone.  My mum however had 2 pimple sized stuff removed from the stomach and 1 from the colon.  Everything was send for test to ensure its not cancerous.  Both of us were feeling ok and normal after the procedure and after about 6hrs in the hospital, we head down to Taka for some shopping and lunch before going back home.

The next day, while at work, a nurse called me on my phone to check if I was doing ok and have any problems or discomfort.  Was advice to take the medications as per doctor's instructions.  So, fine. I will take the medications for 2 weeks.

My first experience with Gastroscopy and Colonoscopy was an 'enjoyable' one.  I honestly felt no pain whatsoever from the procedures.  The only pain was probably the IV drip thing and the anesthetic that was injected.  Oh yes, and also the farting of gases which was pretty embarrassing.

I think I am planning to do this again or make it a point to do it every 5 years after all colon cancer is the number 1 cancer in Singapore for men and number 2 cancer for women (*).  Having it check is better because if detected early, it can be treated.

Place done: Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Doctor: Dr. Denis Nyam Ngian Kwong
Clinic: Nyam Colon Rectal & General Surgery
Phone: +65 6836 9909

(*) cancer statistic found in this link