Archive for May, 2008

Hospital Attachment

The hospital attachment was quite boring. I elected to stay in the treatment room administering ECG (or watching the nurses do ECG), cleaning and dressing wounds. I even had the opportunity to administer the nebulizer to one asthmatic patient. Nonetheless, it was very eye opening. It has proved one thing: that everything that SAF teaches is a farce. The things are taught inside do not correspond with what I see in a public hospital. To a certain degree, at least.

Ah, the only good thing about the hospital is the girls.

I spent only one day out of three in the hospital, because I took MC for the other two days. My staff sergeant was suspicious about my MC. He thought I was just bored. In any case, I was on attend B for the whole of last week. I was afflicted with fever, headache, bodyache, sore throat, cough, green sputum and breathlessness. I must have caught something bad at the hospital. Medication didn’t seem to help much. The antibiotics were completely ineffective.

I went to see a neighbourhood GP on Saturday. Then I actually saw the MO in-camp twice, after that. On the second time he finally gave me some pills, but then he remarked that they weren’t of much use.

MO: Ok, these are lozenges for you to suck on. But since they are from SAF, they won’t really help.
Me: Err, Yes Sir.

I was struggling to breathe for most of the week. Fortunately I didn’t take part in the PT. No route march either, because it was cancelled!

On Saturday I went to see Speed Racer with Kirk and Yeo Kent Lee. What a great show! We had kopi at Joo Seng after that. I came home quite late this morning.

Veni Creator Spiritus

A blessed Pentecost to all. I found this good video with two traditional hymns sung in honour of the Holy Ghost, namely Veni Creator Spirtus (Come Creator Ghost), Veni Sancte Spiritus and Come Holy Ghost. I’m sure we know the third hymn very well, since we hear it at the Saturday Novena quite often. Still, I’d like to share with everyone the original Latin chants.

Veni Creator Spiritus

VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.

Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.

Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.

Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.

Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.

COME, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God’s hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.

Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o’erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.

Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.

Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.

Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.

The lyrics were taken from a site called Thesaurus Precum Latinarum. It is a most excellent site, with many Latin prayers and hymns. It is an excellent resource for those interested in the venerable Tradition of Mother Church. Even if Latin is not your cup of tea, it’s always good to appreciate the meaning behind these songs.

Oh, reciting this hymn on New Year’s Day or Pentecost grants a plenary indulgence. Under the usual conditions of course.

Veni Sancte Spiritus

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum
veni, lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies
in fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium,
Amen, Alleluia.

Come, Holy Ghost,
send down those beams,
which sweetly flow in silent streams
from Thy bright throne above.

O come, Thou Father of the poor;
O come, Thou source of all our store,
come, fill our hearts with love.

O Thou, of comforters the best,
O Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
the pilgrim’s sweet relief.

Rest art Thou in our toil, most sweet
refreshment in the noonday heat;
and solace in our grief.

O blessed Light of life Thou art;
fill with Thy light the inmost heart
of those who hope in Thee.

Without Thy Godhead nothing can,
have any price or worth in man,
nothing can harmless be.

Lord, wash our sinful stains away,
refresh from heaven our barren clay,
our wounds and bruises heal.

To Thy sweet yoke our stiff necks bow,
warm with Thy fire our hearts of snow,
our wandering feet recall.

Grant to Thy faithful, dearest Lord,
whose only hope is Thy sure word,
the sevenfold gifts of grace.

Grant us in life Thy grace that we,
in peace may die and ever be,
in joy before Thy face.
Amen. Alleluia.

This hymn is sung as a Sequence before the Alleluia during the Mass in the day for Pentecost. These days we merely recite these beautiful sequences. Why not sing them, and pray twice while at it?

Come Holy Ghost!

Ambulance Attachment

I was attached to Sengkang Fire Station for an ambulance attachment for Tuesday and Wednesday. Fortunately we get to stay out.

There wasn’t much of a briefing or welcome when I arrived at the station. The moment they changed shifts I jumped into the action. Monday, 0800h, was my first call. It was a case of chest pain. Relatively uncomplicated. Then more and more cases started to flow in as the day passed. On Monday I had two cases of chest pain, one case of routine transport from the old folks’ home, one case of fall from height, and one road traffic accident. The accident case was the closest I have ever seen. Plenty of broken glass and metal everywhere. Apparently this car full of polytechnic kids hit a tree and flipped over a few times. Amazingly the driver and two backseat passengers only had light injuries. The front passenger however had lots of bleeding.

The night shift one was quite exciting. I had two unconscious cases, one case of fractures, one case of chest pain, and last one: one case of 6-months pregnant lady with multiple seizures. My God! We really had difficulty with this case. Luckily I didn’t get kicked in the face! But there was one cock-up for that case: I left the jumpkit at the patient’s house. Oh crap! But never mind, we went back to get it after the case.

The paramedic’s life is tough. Your meals come at odd hours. And the bloody hospital food is so expensive. I didn’t really do much during these two days (or sleep much), but I did see a lot of cases. Some of my friends complained of not having any cases. This experience was really eye-opening. I even managed to put some of my skills into use. But as forewarned, they were quite unorthodox in their methods. I hope I don’t apply any bad habits for next week’s test.

Tomorrow we go to Changi General Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department. I hope it will turn out okay.

Artist in the ambulance

Tomorrow will be the first time I step into a SCDF ambulance. This week we are posted out to various fire stations and hospital Accident and Emergency departments. On Tuesday and Wednesday I will be at Sengkang Fire Station. Thursday will be my off day. I will report to Changi General Hospital on Friday to Sunday.

I’m really not sure of what to expect. There is this feeling of excitement, yet a certain dread. Today our course commander remarked, ‘Gentlemen, in this line, we always say “No business is good business.” I somewhat think he is right. But I’m sure it will be an eye-opening experience.

Damn, I hope that my skills don’t fail me when the time comes.

I’ve had Saturday duty for the past two weeks. It is very draining. I spent most of Sunday asleep at home. On 26 April I attended Solemn Vespers and Benediction at SJI International’s chapel. It is a very nice place. Modern in design, yet faithful to rubric. Vespers was according to the extraordinary rite. The priests presiding were Fr Anthony Ho and Fr Augustine Tay. Wonderful, we should have this more often! Unfortunately, there are many people who rather see all this done away.

I have been missing Legion meetings for a long time, due to circumstances beyond my control. One week I was ill; another I had to attend a wedding; and for two weeks I have weekend duty. I will miss this week’s one because of the attachment. I feel bad for letting Joycelyn do all the work. Hang in there, girl!

I hate how these little things add to my confusion over my future plans. And how do we plan for tomorrow if we are not sure what comes? This is one thing that has always vexed me: uncertainty. It’s all very easy to say, ‘Let us have faith.’, but it’s harder than one can think. I have been vexed over many things in the past weeks. For instance, recently I’ve had friends in distress, yet my consoling and advice didn’t seem to help much. The only thing I could do is pray. I was also frustrated with my attachment to certain ideas, which I am trying to get rid off. Then my old habits all come into play as well. I am increasingly afraid that my aspiration is nothing but fantasy. Maybe I’m thinking too much. I don’t know. I often drift from a state of not thinking to thinking too much.

Angels preserve us!

Salmonella, nella, nella…

Remember this? Once again it has come to bother us.

Teen died after Hari Raya food poisoning that hit 13 guests

The Salmonella genus of bacteria is a common cause of food poisoning. The genus also includes Salmonella typhi, which causes Typhoid Fever. It commonly occurs in places with poor sanitation and water supply. In this incident, the culprit was Salmonella enteritidis. It is commonly found in undercooked poultry and unpasteurized milk, undercooked eggs and by contact with rodents and reptiles.

The disease in this case is most probably Salmonellosis. Symptoms include diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and fever. All the victims affected suffered diarrhea and vomiting. Salmonella works by invading the small intestines. The inflammation resulting from the damaged intestinal cells causes water and electrolytes to be lost from the gut, thus causing diarrhea.

Normally this illness is not lethal, if medical attention is sought quickly. The cause of death in the teenager was blood poisoning from Salmonella enteritidis. How did this happen? As mentioned, this is an invasive pathogen. It has the capability to spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Salmonellae, like other gram negative organisms, have a Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) moiety on the cell membrane. This LPS is called an endotoxin, because it is built into the structure of the bacteria and only released when the membrane is disrupted or lysed. Thus when the body’s immune reaction destroys these pathogens, endotoxins are released. They can cause fever, inflammation and shock, and the poor boy’s death as a consequence.

The treatment for this, and most diarrheal illnesses in general, is to rehydrate. Drink lots of water, because you need to replenish the loss of fluids. There is also a need to replenish loss of salts. Drinking the rice water from porridge is a good agent for this. You can take sports drinks, but don’t give them to young kids because the glucose to sodium ratio is not ideal. Get plenty of rest as possible. Other than that, there is little you can do other that to go to the toilet more often than usual.

If you have prolonged diarrhea, it is never a good idea to delay treatment. Go see a doctor! You don’t want to wait till you end up on a gurney in the A&E department, where you will stuck with needles to replenish your lost fluids. IV, is not very pleasant.

We are quite fortunate to have pasteurized milk in Singapore, so my guess is that the poultry was not well cooked or the eggs were contaminated. Prevention is very simple.

1) Make sure the eggs you buy are not cracked.
2) It is always a good idea to clean the exterior of the eggs.
3) Cook the eggs well.
4) If you have to use raw eggs, make sure they are pasteurized. Or use liquid eggs as a substitute.
5) Cook the meat well. Use a meat thermometer if you have to.
6) Keep your kitchen and equipment clean and sanitized.
7) Handwashing. Enough said.

Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. But please, not from Salmonella!


Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us