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April 17, 2019

Grandma Passed on... An Eulogy

Grandma just passed away moments ago.

She is at last free from this wretched disease call dementia and has moved on to a better place.
As a mother, she raised two successful sons as a widow through the post WWII years, making do with what little resources she has.
As a grandmother, she takes care of us while our parents are out there working hard, making sure that we grow up to be honorable, disciplined and strong of will.
Grandma has been part of my life for my entire life and I am sad that she is no longer around.
Ah Jia, you will be sorely missed but we know that you have gone on to a better place.

The Wake of Thion Mee Kiew will be held:
Date : 18th - 19th April 2019
Cremation will be held on 20th April 2019

May She Rest In Peace.

April 14, 2019

A Tale of Two Hospitalization

24 Mar 2019

It's a Sunday afternoon when Sis and family came to visit, with my nephew looking forward to play "pass the ball" with happy dementia grandma. However, grandma wasn't feeling well that day and came down with a fever in the morning. A dose of paracetamol did not do much to help to lower the temperature and we made the decision to send her straight to the hospital. While the family is going through the routine checklist to prepare grandma for hospitalization, I entertained the kids with Meeple Circus.

As I drove grandma to Changi hospital, I receive one after another call from my best mate, indicating that there is another emergency matter on his side too. After dropping off the family at the hospital accident and emergency department and parking the car, I called my best mate.

"Yo, mate, whazzup?"

"I am currently in the Changi hospital A&E. I have an open wound that is weeping water and I think I am running a fever. Can I check with you on the details of my insurance coverage?"

"Hey mate, I am just around the corner. Hang on and I will swing by to visit you in person."


After making sure that Dad has registered grandma for treatment at the A&E department, I walked round the corner and found my best mate sitting there with a swollen eye, and a scratch wound the size of a 50cents coin, sitting there, shivering.

"What happened to you?" I asked.

"Well, I had a slight skin eczema, scratched it and for some reason, it started to fester and weep water non-stop. This morning, I woke up with a fever and my entire leg swollen. Went to visit a neighbourhood doctor and I was immediately referred to the hospital. I still have a Taiwan trip with my wifey this friday. Think will be fine?"

I took a look at his wound. it has two lines of water flowing down to his ankle and I can imagine the colony of germs happily breeding at the open wound.

"Your wound does look infected. However, if you are running a fever, than the germs must be quite aggressive. Let see what the doctor says."

After checking the type of insurance my best mate has, I had him check into a private room ward.

Meanwhile, over at my grandma side, it seems that the geriatric ward at hospital is full on a Sunday afternoon and grandma will need to be warded at the observation area until Monday when other patients are discharged, freeing up more beds. Good thing that grandma is running a high fever and is semi-conscious, pretty much oblivion to the noise and movement that goes in and out of the observation ward.

This highlights the acute shortage of beds for elderly patients in the face of an onslaught of an aging population. The Singapore government has been aggressively building hospital in the past 10 years, starting with Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (659 beds) in the north, Ng Teng Fong Hospital (700 beds) in the west and Sengkang Hospital (1000 beds) in the north-eastern part of Singapore.

On the following day, best mate undergo a surgical procedure to remove the infected flesh from his leg and the end result is not pretty. Turns out that the infection was worse than expected and a huge portion of the infected flesh has to be gorge out. The wound is so big such that it has to be secured with a vacuum pump in order to keep the wound air tight and water proof to prevent further infection.

Morale of the story - Do not treat any open wound lightly or things may turn out worse than what you expect.

And do not scratch unless you want a big hole on yourself!

Scroll to the end of the article to see the open wound

or if you are sensitive to blood and gore, CLICK HERE TO LEAVE THE PAGE!


April 8, 2019

Dementia Transformed! An Angry Grandma turned Happy!

It has been two and a half years since my grandma had a stroke and the family has been through a lot since than. I stopped writing for a while because Unfit Runners have fallen into a routine running the same old Marina Bay route almost every week and I was occupied with taking care of my love ones who were falling prey to one disease or another. 

Let's continue where I left off...

If you recall from my earlier articles, grandma was an angry dementia patient. Swearing, yelling, biting and kicking family members were routine affairs and the family went through many trials to adapt to an angry dementia grandma who was totally unpredictable. The doctor assure us that this stage of the dementia will eventually come to pass and she will transit into a calm and happy dementia patient.

The time of transition came 22 months later...

It was in the Autumn of 2018 that grandma got admitted into Changi Hospital for a serious bout of lungs infection. She stayed for more than 2 weeks before being discharged and her behavior totally changed after she was discharged.

Firstly, she became too weak to venture upstairs anymore and we bought a new bed to be placed at the first floor. She was so weaken by the infection that she just kept sleeping... and sleeping till my sister was worried that there was something wrong her.

Where did the energetic and angry grandma go? Her behavior seemed to be abnormal as compared to the time before the hospitalization and we decided to send her in for more checks, but she was given a clean bill of health.

Over time, her health started to improve and she was able to perform normally again. However, we noticed a significant deterioration in her memory and she has lapsed into her younger. My dad now became her dad. I became her son and my niece became her grand daughter. It seems like she has also forgotten about how she was like before her stroke and that lost memory also removed her anger and depression of being sick and disabled.

She has became a happy dementia, glad to spend her time, eating, sleeping, watching television and during rare mornings when her sanity was restored, attempted to read the newspaper.

Her relationship with our helper also improved significantly as she now sees her as her close friend who takes the best care of her and stopped being angry at her for usurping her role as the head of kitchen and a waste of money. The only downside is that her bladder has weakened a lot and she always seems to forget about having to visit the toilet 5 minutes ago. My poor helper has to resort to sleep beside her in the living room, to prevent her from getting hurt during the frequent visits to the toilets in the middle of the night.

The family was glad to have grandma transformed into a happy dementia patient, though we were also sad as we understood that her dementia has progressed to the next stage. At least, she is at peace.

June 11, 2018

Trump & Kim Summit - A Sentosa Run

Yup, we are back!

SG Unfit Runners took a long hiatus because I was really too overloaded with life and I have to give up my blogging time to manage a dementia grandma, a start-up company that's constantly on fire and a new found love. With things becoming more stable, I am able to devote more time blogging about our various adventures around Singapore.

We have been continuing our weekly runs even though I have retired my pen for a year.

Thanks to the inspiration from the Trump & Kim Summit, we planned a run at Sentosa with every intention to take a photo at the front porch of the luxurious Capella hotel which the Trump Kim Summit is to be held.

First, we decided to flank in via the beach side, hoping to find a side door into Capella.

Surrounded by a high sloping ground and tall fences, we are unable to find a side entrance into Capella. The only possible entry is a small drainage system into the compound.

No willing to risk our neck getting hurt trying to scale a hill and a fence, we decided to loop around to the main road and see if we can make our way to the main door of the hotel.

 The road leading to the front door is heavily guarded by security officers with an ominous poster of a soldier welding a rifle. Dressed only in our running attire and an EZ link transport pass, I don't think we have the necessary documentations to get pass the securities. Besides, they aren't going to let a couple of sweating runners get close to the VVIPS. We entertained ourselves by spying on the various journalists that are milling around the area, capturing footage for the big meet.

The security around the waters around Sentosa island is equally tight with multiple security officers patrolling the waters to ensure no one tries to sneak past from under water.

Eventually, we get to meet the fake Trump & Kim at an event at Bugis Junction as part of a publicity stunt. Many people are queuing up to get their photos taken! The summit has really taken Singapore by storm!

If you are looking to check out the Trump and Kim summit via a lap around the compound, check out the route we have taken for reference. 

And don't provoke the security officers unnecessarily! 

Stay smart, stay safe!

January 16, 2018

Featured on Today Newspaper! Thyroid Disorder in Highlight

To help spread awareness of the medical problems that a problematic thyroid can give you, I shared my personal experiences with Today newspaper. Read about it!

August 22, 2017

Mizuno Ekiden 2017: Unfit Runners United!

by Big Boned Guy

We were invited to the Mizuno Ekiden 2017 for the second year running. Thanks to Mizuno, SG Unfit Runners run as one again! This time I’m running first, PES E second, Fan Tai third and Lazy Girl as the anchor because the girls wanted to avoid the afternoon sun.

May 14, 2017

An Accidental Biathlon

We are doing our usual Sunday run around Marina Bay and Big Boned Guy decided to head south towards Gardens by the Bay, while i decided to head north towards Clark Quay with 2 dratini in sight (Yes, there are still people playing Pokemon Go!). As soon as I reach the end of Clark Quay, I received a message from BBG, "Fluffy spotted at Gardens at the Bay!"

April 26, 2017

3 Reasons why Unfit Runners will never participate in a Triathlon

Triathlon... An activity that the Unfit Runners will definitely not participate. In fact, the term is quite alien to us that we have to google to look for more information on the effort involved in the run. A triathlon requires a participant to run 16km, cycle 65km and swim for 2km. While reading through the website of Singapore International Triathlon, 3 reasons came to my mind immediately why we will probably never participate in a triathlon in our entire lives.

Reason 1: Cannot Cycle


Two of our members have not picked up cycling. In this age of crowd sharing bike, you may be surprised that there are still many people who have not learned cycling yet. Lazy girl will only get on a bike with a double sharing option, with the poor front cyclist doing most of the work. Meanwhile, Big boned guy has challenges with any sports that require balancing and that includes bicycles, tricycles, unicycles, hoverboard, in-line skates.

Reason 2: Cannot Swim

While Singaporean guys have the privilege of learning how to swim via forced drowning during their national service days, the ladies don't have these privileges. Other than a casual dip in an onsen or spa, asking them to swim 2km is as good as trying to drown them. The best way to make Singapore a swimming literate country, it will be great to introduce a short national service stint for the ladies whereby swimming is taught to them.

Reason 3: Bad Knees

Since all of the unfit runners are in their late 30s going on to 40s, many of them are running into knee problems which are limiting the amount of distance they can run. As much as hard core runners will shout at us saying "It is mental!" or super-positive people start quoting motivation quotes from Tony Robbins, we have seen enough cases of our more hard core sporty friends go for knee surgeries and concluded that we like to keep our knees and forgo that shinny triathlon medal.

Now if you are not scared off by now and is still inspired to go ahead with this triathlon madness, check out the Singapore International Triathlon. Go ahead! I challenge you!

Meanwhile, do check out Durasafe Store, who is the sponsor for Singapore International Triathlon for their sporting equipment. Nope, we are not getting paid or gotten any sponsorship goods from Durasafe Store and we are just doing a friendly shout out. In any case, we like the wide variety of sporting goods available from lesser known international brands. Maybe, It's time to give other products a try other than the usual sporting brands.

April 21, 2017

Mizuno Ekiden 2017: A Cooperative Run with a Festive Mood

Mizuno Ekiden Run is back and this popular event is now in their 3rd year and the event will be held on 19th Aug 2017. For those who are unfamiliar with what Ekiden is, here is a short write-up on what an Ekiden is:

"In Japanese terms, Ekiden refers to a relay-styled long distance running and that is exactly how the Mizuno Ekiden 2017 will work. Runners are set to compete against the clock whilst unlocking milestones as they transmit from one station to the next within a specific time."

The cool thing about the race is that you can actually monitor the progress of your friends through the use of a race app, while slurping down a bowl of ramen at the waiting area.

We also brought along a bunch of board and card game and entertained ourselves, while complaining how slow the current runner is. Great fun.

The race village also have a host of events that you can participate and free food and drinks which you can collect from. There are sports clinics and demos which you can participate in which can improve your knowledge in the area of health and fitness. The medal is also very cool as you can fit the design together to form a "super medal"

The biggest complaint we have about the event is the position of the tables relative to the sun. As the event starts at 4pm, a portion of the event grounds will be baked in the sun, and the waiting runners often have to move the furniture towards the more shady part of the event ground which forces the tables to be squeezed together to a small shady section. Also, if you are looking to reserve a table for your team, you will need to arrive earlier else you will not be able to get a table for all your eating, gaming activities.  

So if you prefer a race that has a community feel, where you can spend time with you friends and getting a work out at the time, Mizuno Ekiden is a race you can consider. The Mizuno Ekiden registration is now open with the early bird offer closing on 30th April. You can also get a 30% off Mizuno products if you sign up as a participating runner. The final registration will close on 27th July.

March 19, 2017

Caring for Elderly Dementia: Understanding the World A Dementia Lives in

Grandma insist on using a chopper to chop mushrooms to prove that she is still useful.
Our domestic foreign worker, Ati, is a widower. Her husband died a few years back and her daughter is relying on her income to working in a foreign land for her education and daily expenses. Ati has a sweet disposition, hard working and is mature enough to understand how dementia has taken hold of Grandma's mind. Even though she has worked with another dementia patient in Taiwan, the initial acclimatization was still a shock to her and often drive her to tears in the first few weeks.

Grandma is able to curse fluently in 4 different languages (Mandarin, Hakka, Hokkien and Cantonese) and can go on for hours once the dementia demon took hold of her.

I have heard of stories from my friends whereby the dementia patient will always have a number one enemy which causes all the ills and confusion in the parallel universe of a dementia patient. In our household, poor Ati bore the brunt of the verbal and physical attacks when Grandma becomes agitated. We often sat down with Ati and work her through Grandma's history and why she behaves this way to help her understand better.

In order to take care of a dementia patient, we often have to step into their dementia world and see from their point of view. In my Grandma's demented world, Ati is seen as:

1) A threat to Grandma's usefulness
Grandma's greatest joy is to cook, clean the house and sew new clothes for the rest of the family. With her incapacitated by both a stroke and dementia, she is no longer able to perform these tasks without putting herself in risk. She already had a couple of hospitalization due to her insistence to perform these tasks as a results of falls. The feel of being useless and Ati replacing her role puts her in the crosshairs

2) Waste of Money
Grandma's brought up two sons after WWII and she is proud of her ability to be frugal. When Ati first came on board, she was angry that we are wasting money and she is well enough to do whatever is Ati can do, Many a times, she will try to convince us that Ati is expensive and a waste of money in order to chase her away. A few months later, she gave up on that idea and turned to more aggressive ways to try to get rid of her

3) Thief
A dementia patient will often forget where she places her valuables. Dementia patientw may also think that they still have old possessions which no longer exist today, and start looking for them. When they are unable to find the missing objects, and believing that their mind and memory is still sound, the only explanation is that someone stole her valuable possessions. Being the only outside in the family, Grandma often accuse Ati of stealing her bra, underwear, dentures, soap box, money, earrings, pillow and many other things which does not make any sense. Showing her the missing objects will not convince her that the items were not stolen. Rather, she will choose to believe that Ati took it out of hiding after she exposed her. The solution to this is to try to distract her, or if she is in an ugly mood, let her rant and hopes that she forgets about this the next day.
4) Husband Stealer
As Grandma desperate attempts to convince us that Ati is a thief did not convince us to chase her away, she came to one conclusion: That she is sleeping with me and my Dad, which made us took her side rather than hers. No amount of convincing and arguing can convince her of otherwise. We also have no idea how to resolve this situation and the doctor advise us to continue to assure her, even if its not working.

5) Torturer
"She is starving me to death!"
"She is trying to boil me alive by turning the heater to the maximum!"
"She is trying to freeze me to death by turning off the heater!"
"She is giving me smelly clothes to wear!"
"She is trying to kill me by locking me up in the bathroom!"

All these allegations are often as an indirect results of Grandma's actions, such as forgetting how the heater works or forgetting how to open the lock after locking herself up in the toilet. In her demented world, her mind thinks that she never had such a problem before and all these occurrences only started when Ati came aboard after her hospital stay. Grandma thinks Ati is trying to kill her and usurp her place as the head of the house hold.

Do we have solutions to many of the misunderstanding and parallel universe thinking of a dementia patient? Frankly speaking, we don't have any perfect solutions and we try to cope with a combination of coaxing, walking off and letting her rant and sometimes, force to prevent her from hurting herself and others. However, the first step is which any caregivers need to do, is to forgive the dementia patient as we have to understand that it is the illness that made her this way, or not herself. The only way to forgive them is to stand from the angle of a dementia patient and try to empathize as much as we can, and laugh about the various curses and insults which are thrown at us. Also, it is important to help each other out as care-givers, whether we are employers or foreign domestic worker.

It is an illness that we not only have to care for the patient, but also for the care-giver.  

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