Things I Have Lost

The ability to come up with better blog titles is definitely one of them, as you can see.

It’s taken me longer than the average person, but after slightly more than 3 years, I’m done with being a house officer.

In the past three years, I feel like I’ve pretty much lost everything that makes me who I am, but there are a few things I’ve lost that make me go, ” why did I have to go and like medicine so much?”

Here’s the few:

1.Proper sleep

Since I began working, I can count the number of times I’ve slept without dreaming about work, or without waking up in the middle of the night, thinking that I’ve forgotten to do something at work or that I’m late for work.

The only times I have proper (i.e. dreamless) sleep is when I’m exhausted or have recruited the assistance of alcohol or Tramadol.

2. The ability to wear high heels

I love shoes, because no matter how many tubs of ice cream I gobble up or slices of pizza I inhale, feet don’t get fat. And legs look pretty damn nice in heels.

Along comes housemanship, where your tasks include being every single staff member of the ward and my 3 inch yellow espadrille heels with the cute bow on top will NOT cut it as sensible footwear. As a result, most of my days are spent in flats or even worse, black Bata school shoes. This bad habit of wearing shitty looking shoes has encroached into my life and now I’m never fully dressed. Fuck you, Sia, the smile doesn’t help when you’re wearing a gorgeous floral dress and brown flats.

3. A sense of style

It starts with shoes. Then it moves up. I start my morning by thinking about all the work that I potentially have to do in a day. That by itself usually eliminates skirts (no one wants to commence CPR in a skirt, trust me.) So, trousers it is. Everything else doesn’t matter because we have our white coats on anyway. By the end of my final rotation, my wardrobe consisted of stretchable trousers (no need to iron) and anything that fit.

I’m not saying that I used to be some super stylish chick who was at the helm of the fashion train, but at least I didn’t feel embarrassed about my clothes when taking pictures. These days, I look so bad that friends choose not to tag me in pictures out of the kindness of their hearts.

4. Hair

So. Much. Hair. Gone.

I’m sorry. This one’s too painful to talk about.

5. Life outside work.

My phone is flooded with pictures of x-rays, wounds and patient details. All my conversations are about cases, jobs to carry out and the like. My messages to my mum only consist of, “I reached work already” and ” leaving work now.”

The occasional invitations to go out just to chill and relax are met with, “Nah la, it’s ok. I work double shift tomorrow.” or ” No, I don’t have a full off day this weekend.”


I don’t expect these things to all return to me once I start life as a medical officer, but I hope whatever force that’s keeping them away from me allows visits.


Missing Out?

I blame Ed Sheeran for this. I blame age. I blame being alone for so long. But mostly, I blame Ed Sheeran.

I’ve never been in a relationship. Not many people believe this, I don’t know why. Some think it’s because I don’t want to be in one. Yeah, sure. I can’t even eat lunch alone in public. Not being in a relationship is TOTALLY my choice.

It’s never bothered me much. Until recently. Lately, I’ve noticed that I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

I’ve been thinking about how nice it would be to have someone to turn to when I feel extreme emotions, instead of telling myself, “God, I need to find time to write in my diary.”

Ugh. I sound so sappy.

In short, I sorta kinda maybe want something like this:

Damn Ed Sheeran.

There’s No La Senza In Kota Kinabalu

It’s a new chapter. Sort of, anyway. I’ll keep it simple: I’ve moved back to Kuala Lumpur to complete my housemanship. We need not go into the details of how I did it, but I did.

So, here I am. Trying not to look at the rest of my friends on the verge of completing when I’m not even halfway there. Telling myself that all my decisions and everything that has happened is for a reason. Praying that everything will fall into place.

It has to. Otherwise, I’m fucked.


No Time For Sophomore Slumps

I learned 2 things this year.

1) God reads my blog

2) He doesn’t understand English so well.

When I said, “three-month extension, here I come!” in my blog post, I was KIDDING. Not only did I get extended, it was for FIVE MONTHS.

Most of my friends are in their third posting, and I’m just beginning my second.

I’ll admit, a bulk of my extension was my fault. A big part of me decided that I wasn’t cut out for Sabah and I attempted to get my ass back to Kuala Lumpur. I won’t bore you with the details, especially since it didn’t work, but all this trying to get out of KK was definitely a contributor to my long stay in the surgical department.

I’ve finally been released from the shackles of Surgery and I’m now in the Paediatrics department. It’s too soon to say if I like it or not, but I’ll tell you this much: I’m going to do whatever I can to be done in the 16 weeks I’ve been given.

“Sixteen Candles” Moment

I was informed by a good friend that pictures with him in them were not included in my last post. I know I said there’d be a Part Two, but I can’t believe I bollocked the post up like that.

( I also didn’t know I had friends who still read the blog.)

So, to the guy who would abandon a movie with friends for a massage, this one’s all special for you.

The Only Guy I Knew In Moscow With Dental Floss.

The Only Guy I Knew In Moscow With Dental Floss.


Balancing Between The Clutch And Sanity

Sabah has made me do what every person I’ve known since college has wanted me to do: get a driving license.

I know it got on nerves whenever I said, “I can go anywhere the LRT goes. I have no transport.” The truth was, the transport existed. I just didn’t know how to use it.

Some of you may know this, but for those of you who don’t, here’s the thing: I went for driving lessons back in 2003, right after my 18th birthday. I was down to my final lesson and I decided to stop. It was a stupid, bratty thing to do but I couldn’t take my instructor. The man was always getting on my case and yelling. I wasn’t a bad driver, that much I knew, so why was he yelling so much? I was entertaining thoughts of suddenly hitting the brakes whilst going downhill just because I knew he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Imagine that.

As I said, stupid and bratty. And really childish.

I wasn’t really interested in driving either. It was something I was asked to do so that I wouldn’t have to waste time doing it later (heh.)

So, for the past ten years I relied on my mum, my kind friends (one of which ALWAYS bitched about paying for the Penchala Link toll) and public transport. I didn’t find it troublesome. I’m sure everyone else did but that’s a different story.

Then came the appointment letter that sent me to Sabah. Anyone who had ever lived or been to Sabah told me to get my license before starting work, that I would definitely need it. Did I? Of course not. I’m nothing if not in denial about something or the other.

Jump to Kota Kinabalu. Car-less, license-less and completely stuck. No mum to drive me around, insane taxi fares (if you can get a taxi) and 2 hospitals to work in. I knew I was fucked.

It was clear that I had to get my license and quick. Thankfully, the number of hours one needs to spend on less are a bit of a joke so if you’re determined, a couple of weeks are enough to legally raise hell on the streets.

I was determined but arranging for lessons on days off, pre- and post-night shifts were tricky. I ended up taking 6 weeks to complete everything. Do you know what the biggest joke was? My lady instructor this time was even more of a pain in the ass than my first instructor! I was actually missing him!

At least he didn’t keep comparing me to other students, didn’t keep telling me I was weak and didn’t say that he doubted I was ready for the exam. More importantly, he taught me how do drive a car in places like Cheras at 5pm.

This sow disguised as a woman kept making fun of other students who were learning, probably (very likely) complained about how awful a driver I was, gave me confusing instructions and encouraged me to daydream about doing serious damage to her face. The only thing that stopped me from actual physical harm was my empathy for those working in A&E. No one likes a new admission.

I had a pre-exam evaluation and the actual exam. Both times I felt more relaxed with the examiners than I ever did with my instructor. I wanted to laugh when I realised that I’d much rather sit for 5 pre-exam evaluations than spend 2 hours in a car with that woman.

(okay, this is getting draggy.)

Long story short, she taught me how pass the exam. And pass the exam I did.


My Ticket To A Life In Sabah

My Ticket To A Life In Sabah


Like Scrubs, But It’s Not.

It’s not glamorous and exciting. There’s no baby plopping out at the main entrance of the hospital or quick romps in the linen room. Then again, if those were my examples of glamorous and exciting, I shouldn’t be left in charge of the adjectives department.

My typical day at work consists of me asking people about their bodily functions and writing about it. If said functions involve producing fluids, that’s a fair amount of time spent on the details. Colour, odour, volume, consistency, frequency and all those other things you need to know to put you off having breakfast. From time to time, I’m brave enough to prescribe drugs. Brave like Courage The Cowardly Dog, that is.

But I’m not complaining. I like going to work. I still loathe waking up early, but I’m comforted by the fact that some of my friends are dog-tired, taking blood samples from grumpy patients while I’m still contemplating hitting the ‘snooze’ button.

I enjoy seeing patients every day, I love seeing them get better and I’m thrilled when they get discharged. That last bit is partly for a selfish reason, though; I’m happy that they’re fit enough to leave and lessen my workload.

One downside of working in a hospital is the wave of germs that hit you when you first start working. Some of them really do a royal flush on your immune system. I fell victim to an upper respiratory tract infection, which was beautifully diagnosed as acute tonsillitis. We’ll ignore the fact that I’ve not had tonsils for the past 21 years. My silver lining comes in the form of the fear of developing pneumonia. I was so afraid that I decided to fuck everything and take amoxicillin. Some of you may not know this, but I have an impressive list of drug allergies. I nearly died taking aspirin and penicillin was a pretty cruel bastard to me too. You can imagine how reluctant I was to take the meds.

Now that I’m almost done with my course of antibiotics, I’m pleased to announce that there IS a drug I’m not allergic to! There’s hope for me yet.

Next post: My attempt at juggling work and driving lessons. I predict a big crash.


Malaysia Airlines Flight MH2606 To Kota Kinabalu

This was written before I started my actual work. Wouldn’t want you to think I have time for myself. Snort.

So it’s finally happened; I’m employed and working in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kota Kinabalu. There’s no turning back now.

Not that I want to chicken out just when things are about to get interesting and meaningful, but I’d be lying if I said that my first thought when I got my placement letter was not, “Fucktits! Appeal for KUALA LUMPUR!” It’s only natural, seeing that I’d been home for 5 months. Comfy bed, transport, meals, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and of course, my insane family… what’s not to love, right?

Of course, appealing to work in another hospital when I just got a place in the hospital of my choice seemed counter-productive. And while I’m not the biggest fan of religion, I strongly believe that the things that happen in life are in our best interest (cue for everyone to start their arguments on how *insert tragedy/terminal illness* is proof that my opinion is rabid bat balls.) I prayed that I’d get something that would benefit me the most in the long run, and this is what I got.

So, how’s Kota Kinabalu, you ask? I can’t tell yet, but so far I’m pretty okay with it. The people are friendly and nice, which is something I was (somwehat) deprived of for seven years in Moscow.

One major obstacle for me at the moment is the lack of a driving licence. An aborted attempt to get one in 2004 has now returned to kick me in the shin repeatedly. I feel the pain every time I have to fork out RM20 just to get to work.

This inability to drive brings me to the challenge I’m about to face: my first rotation in a hospital famous for being tough and taking driving lessons at the same time. It’s probably going to turn out the way you predict: the shit of an elephant with dysentery will hit the fan and I will be screwed.

Three-month extension, here I come!

Jump Off The Misery Cruise!

It’s been a while, innit? In a bid to write proper, quality stuff, I’ve essentially proven to the masses that I’m not very good at it. So, it’s back to me typing random stuff that pops into mind.

1. I’m officially 27 and unemployed. I’m also pretty sure that since I’ve come home, I’ve not mentioned that I didn’t drop out of med school and have been avoiding talking about it. I simply graduated and never got around to writing the epic blog post that I had been wanting to write since I got into med school in 2005.

See how I managed to squeeze in the bit that I’m now Dr.Sasha Zuleika? That’s mad skillz for ya.

Back to the unemployment thing. I won’t be for long, if the Ministry of Health and the postal service don’t bail on me. I think my Christmas gift will be a 15-hour work day (if I’m lucky.)

2. I have not been doing anything remotely related to my chosen career, other than tell my uncle that he wasn’t dying from a cold. What I have been doing with most of my time is watch a colossal number of YouTube videos. Not just ANY YouTube videos, but videos of comedians. It’s been absolutely brilliant! Thanks to a @ShaneMcGonigle1 on Twitter, I now know the existence of amazing people like Dara O’Briain and Dylan Moran. I’m nice, so I’ll show what I mean by “amazing” with these two video clips.

Dara O’Briain

Dylan Moran

3. My latest addiction is a TV show called Mock The Week. Imagine a smarter version of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and add British accents. Now go grab a cup of tea and a plate of crumpets. You back? Cool. Watch this video, which I think best shows the atmosphere of this program. It’s an old clip, but whatever, right?

4. Stemming from my love for the Mock The Week is my new love for Russell Howard. He’s young, cute (that ALWAYS helps) and is a very upbeat sort of funny. And my absolute favourite thing about him is he always looks like he’s high on sugar, which I find so refreshing. Here’s my new pick-me-up:

Isn’t it awful how I can’t rely on my own humour to entertain you, so I embed a whole bunch of videos by other people? You know what’s worse? I’m expecting a thank you.

Covet Thy Neighbour’s Sleep

Some people have it all; good looks, a great job, wonderful family, money to buy super cool gadgets that they vaguely know how to use… the works. I don’t envy those people. Unless they get to sleep in more than I do.

Out of all the wonderful things life has to offer, sleeping in is pretty high up there in my Orgasmic Things That Make Me Fear Death list. It’s so high up there that I envy people who are asleep when I have to be awake. In fact, it’s so high up there that animals are not spared when it comes to my envy.

Everyone knows I’m not a morning person, and if they don’t, they should know for their own safety. I think it’s mostly because I sleep late, but there’s definitely a part of me that looks pissed because I’m thinking about all the people who don’t have to be awake when I am. It’s a long, horrible thought, only stopped by my acknowledgement of time zones.

Two incidents made me realise that I need help and/or more sleep. One involved my dog as a puppy and the other had something to do with half the population of Malaysia.

In 2003, when I had just started college, I got myself a puppy. An adorable little bugger I decided to call Wishbone. He was the cutest thing ever, with his floppy ears and huge eyes. There was just one issue though, I had to wake up at 5.20 in the morning for his poo walk. Wishbone had a very small time frame when it came to his morning defecation. At 5.20, he’d be asleep, but come downstairs at 5.30 and he’d be asleep, 3 feet away from fresh poo. Snoozing was not an option.

Anyway, I’d put his leash on and drag him out at 5.20 and all that lazy cunt would do was take a few steps out the door and sleep on the street! If you lived nearby and were awake, you probably would’ve heard things like, ” I could be SLEEPING NOW, YOU INGRATE!” and ” fuck you, I’m buying doggy diapers.” The worst part was, I didn’t even feel bad that I was yelling at a 10-week old puppy. I would sort of loathe him when I had to leave for classes at 6.45 am and he would be curled up in a tight ball, fast asleep.

That was ten years ago, when I was young and selfish. Turns out, not much has changed. If anything at all, I’ve become more ridiculous with this sleeping business.

Last week, my family couldn’t attend Mass on Saturday evening because of a potent combination of rain, a Nike 10km run and a 3-hour traffic jam. This meant that we had to (i.e. THEY had to) attend Sunday morning Mass, which was at 6.45am. Insane, right? So, there I was, waking up at 5.30 in the miserable morning, trying my best not to snap at anyone because my mum HATES it when I bring others down with my bad mood and fantasising about throwing the motherfucker of all tantrums in the car. All the way to church, while staring out into the dark sky, all I could think  was, “28 million people, half might have woken up for dawn prayers, maybe a few thousand more are working right now and the rest are sound asleep. FUUUUUUCK!”

Envy is a crazy master.