24 June 2007

Burning both ends

Today is perhaps the first time in weeks I've had a real stop & rest. I can't remember the last time I was not under some major pressure or stressful situation.

Not that stress is necessarily bad, I've learnt. Stress makes you grow, learn new skills, recondition the meaning we attach to circumstances. In any case stress is lousy term to use for human beings. Stress is a concept transferred from material physics - a measure of how much pressure a rigid object can withstand before it breaks. We are not rigid objects. We're living beings, and like the tissue we're made of, stretch, grow, remodel, even redifferentiate sometimes to meet the challenge.

I could go back as far as Ethan's birth. The prolonged jaundice. The 3 sleepless months of infantile spasm/colic. (Believe me the distress of an inconsolable child is MAJOR - to child and parents!) Or when the land office and loans departments delayed my home purchase. Or to the time when we started meeting and haggling with contractors for renovations. More recently, wrangling with City Hall officials on what nobody could decide was permissible. But the really draining marathon has been the last 4 weeks.

This has been the season of conferences, trips and public presentations. 25 May - Free Paper at the MSOHNS AGM in Camerons. 30 May - 1 June, National Health Policy meeting. 8 June, another Free Paper at the College of Surgeons scientific meeting in Camerons. 11 June, lecture on NPC to postgrads in UKM. 16-17 June, mission trip to an OA settlement in Chini. And today, another address at the Singapore-Malaysia ENT meeting. In between all that are numreous surgeries and research meetings. But I breathe a long sigh of relief. This is the last of a series of public talks and I can put my powerpoints to rest at last.

I've been burning my candle from both ends, and this week I 'made ends meet'. Two days ago I woke up with vertigo and tinnitus. This was two days after an 8hr surgery (radical neck and pec major flap.) Today was the last burst of flames before I would turn into ashes. I gave it all I got, came home, and collapsed next to Ethan in bed.

Today, at long last,.. I can sit quietly and just do nothing. I haven't done nothing in a while. Have Ethan claw away and gnaw at my chest. Read animal books to him. Browse the Net randomly. Make pasta. Sip coffee. It's wonderful.