Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional

I learnt this proverb for quite sometime, but not really appreciate the meaning behind it until three years ago … In year 2007 today I started the 49 days treatment of a serious heart disease, and every now and then I still ask myself whether it was just a dream or something really happened (for those who are fans of the movie Inception, you understand what I’m talking about).

Guess it will probably take me ages to accept such event really has taken place, even though I can see the 10-inches scar on my chest every day. And it will also take me a long time to complete the self-healing, in other words, to truely believe that I have recovered – such that I shall not treat myself as a patience / victim anymore.

The self-healing process has taken such a long time, I reckon, is probably because the six, seven weeks of treatment in the hospital was so painful, so disturbing and so discouraging that I wondered it would never end. However, with the support from family members, friends, colleagues and of course the doctors, nurses and staff in the hospital; I managed to complete the treatment in seven weeks.

Granted, it was painful, but I also learnt that suffering was optional – you need a positive mindset to go thru all the hurdles in life. So, be thankful to every sunrise, sunset and live your life to its fullest.

Present and perfect moment

Finished the book Chasing Daylight for quite some weeks, but only now manage to write something about it. Not that I was busy, but just not sure whether I shall recommend this book. This is certainly a good book and I learnt a few lessons from it as well, but I felt that the author is a bit too self-focused. Anyway, you will know what I mean when you read this book.

Other than the Passion and Talent lesson, I also share another two “lessons” by the author (not two new lessons though, as I believe all of us already knew those) – those are,

  • seize the present moments, and
  • create your own perfect moments.

Essentially, instead of keep planning, dreaming and guessing – why not just try your best to focus in your present moment ? Make full use of it … don’t waste this very hour, minute and second. In addition, create a perfect moment or great time with your friend / mentor, love one, parents and everyone you meet – every single time.

Simple lessons, but when will we all learn it ?

Clinic visit

So after the open-heart operation, I need to visit the hospital clinic once in a while to check various things. Here is a recap of the conversation today I have with the doctor:

Doctor : (Look blank)
Me : (Smiling)
[ 30 seconds later ]
Doctor :
(Look blank) You look familiar, have we met before ?
[5 seconds later ]
Me : (Still smiling) Yes, I was here two weeks ago, you checked my previous reports … and asked me to do a blood test.
Doctor : (Still looking blank) But there is no record in the system.
[ 30 seconds later, after some punching to the system ]
Doctor :
(Smiling) Ah … I found your record …
Me : (Look blank and murmuring #$^&@#$)

And God says …

In the hospital there were two groups of volunteers, one from a Catholic church and one from a Christian church. All the volunteers are good people no doubt, but they had different approaches to comfort serious ill patients like me …

One of the groups listened carefully and tend to share your concerns & sadness, they would pass some materials to you to read if you are really ready to join them, spiritually. The other group was pretty pushy, they would ask you to join them straight away no matter you’re recovering or dying … because they told me I would need that “ticket” to go to heaven.

Just guess who was who … Anyway, it reminds me a few lines in the movie “Evan Almighty” …

“Let me ask you something.
If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient?
If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous?
If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

After Math

48 days, 47 nights;

4 wards – G5, C7, A7, H7;

Over 140 tasteless meals;

8 and a half books finished … you know, “The World is Flat” is simply too boring (for me);

Numerous needle holes in my palm, hand, thigh and leg …;

Countless doses of medicine, blood tests, X-ray scans, CTS scans;

2 heart operations;

Hospital bill – US$ 600;

Dozens of emails, SMS, blog posts;

No more stranger wake me up in midnight from now on;

And … over 25 lbs of fresh disappeared …

Now you all can call me “Boney M”.

Prison Break

Just imagine how boring it is to stay in hospital for not 48 hours … but 48 days.

But finally, today I was discharged from the hospital …. not because I am fully recovered, but the doctor and specialists just think I can rest at home. For example, my second operation did not solve the problem it intended to solve … so, keep observing and have check-up regularly. And the medicine I took in the past weeks created some problems in my other part of my body (!), so again, keep observing.

Still, I am now free …

Book worm

So I just finished the 8th books in the hospital, and would like to recommend 3 of them. The first one is “Fashion Babylon”, from the same author of “Hotel Babylon” and “Air Babylon”. Thru this book, you will have a peek into the ins and outs of the fashion industry like how to copy ideas from previous designers, how to run a show and how the beautiful models live thru the days with drugs. A very interesting read.

The second one is “A Cook’s Tour” by Anthony Bourdain (who runs the show No Reservations in Discovery channel). Unlike other cooks who only enjoy good food and wine in luxury restaurants, Tony went to some very odd places to find some exotic cuisines and recorded those experience like a journalist. A very different tour book.

Lastly, the “Starbucks Experience” … I recommend the short stories or customers’ comments in the book about how Starbucks run their business – some are really touching. But I really hate that book as it really believes Starbucks is the best company in the world. A shoe-shining book.