I thought I had seen the last of Loh last year (see post ‘The last visit’ dated 25 July 2012), but it was not to be. Two Fridays ago, I was off work as the infant care center was closed for Teacher’s Day. I had earlier wanted to make an appointment with Lady M that day to have a ultrasound scan and pap smear test done. But she wasn’t available. I was asked by the clinic staff if I could see her the following Monday, but I wasn’t going to take another day off for that. So I opted to see Loh instead.
In case you are wondering, I wasn’t keen to see him because I knew there would be a freaking long wait. And true enough, the appointment system doesn’t work. Even though I was supposedly fourth in the queue, when I arrived, I was told there were 8 patients ahead of me!!! The staff explained apologetically that there were a few patients who were urgent cases and so they were slotted ahead of me. Fine! I was told to return 45 minutes later though I suspected it would take longer than that. My husband, whom I had earlier suggested that we should arrive earlier thinking that I could get ahead in the queue, said, “I told you, it would be a long wait.” Anyway I also realized that the clinic staff, Alice, who used to work at the reception counter is no longer there, and instead it was a Filipino staff. The nurse, Sandra, is still around though.
We couldn’t find any seats at Delifrance and so went to the canteen, which is why TMC is a dinky hospital. Between feeding Buddy and changing his diaper, an hour went past and we returned to the clinic. This time I was told I still had to wait because Loh had to stop consultation to deliver a baby earlier. I guess I half expected it and didn’t swear out loud (have to remind myself not to curse in front of Buddy). I tried to get Buddy to walk but he refused and developed the ‘Polio syndrome’. (This is a condition that tends to manifest when we are outside the house and he wants us to hold him instead of walking, and so he would get down on his knees and start whining.)
Finally it was my turn after 1.5 hours wait! I was a little surprised to find another new staff assisting Loh in his office, instead of Sandra. When we were inside the room, my husband pointed out a large wine fridge against the wall, and it was stacked with bottles. I exclaimed to Loh, “wow, a wine cooler in your office?” He smiled and explained quickly, “I’ve too many bottles at home, no place to store, so have to keep them here.” My husband later said to me, “if he’s collecting wines, that’s not the way to do it. There’re so many bottles in there, they are not stored in optimal condition, and may be degrading instead.” We find it strange why he can’t keep the wine cooler at home, unless he’s planing to have a glass at work.
When Loh saw Buddy, he remarked to my husband, “he looks like you!” He said hello to Buddy, and tried to engage him but Buddy wasn’t enthusiastic. Loh proceeded to ask, “how old is he now?” “Has he taken all his vaccinations?” For a moment, I wondered if he switched specialty to pediatric medicine. But I went ahead to tell him, “not yet, all the vaccinations will only be done when he turns 12 years old.”
Loh then rattled on, “I’ve enjoyed the past 23 years of growth. You will cherish every moments. Now, my daughter always calls me to ask me about her study, but I’ve already given back my medicine to school. I have to stand by quickly with google to check, but sometimes not fast enough.” I was like, huh, are we now on different channels? I asked him, “so your daughter is 23 years old and she’s studying medicine?” He replied, “yes, but she’s studying overseas, an NUS reject. I wanted burn down the building but I’m not a politician so I can’t do it.” I kidded back, “it’s precisely because you’re not a politician you can dynamite the building.”
Loh asked me, “Do you still have frozen embryos?” I affirmed, and he carried on if I was going to use them for another baby. I told him honestly, “very unlikely, one is more than what I bargained for.” He turned to his computer and said, “I don’t know what you bargained for, but looking at your record, I see that you been through cycle 1A, B, 2A, B, 3A,… so many times…for the baby.” Oh well…
Loh continued, “your Pap smear result last year was very good, this year should be the same. Have you considered cervical cancer vaccination?” I told him I thought the jab wasn’t effective for women above 40. But he dismissed it and said, “it’s because the government doesn’t provide subsidy for those above 40.” Again, I went huh? What has the subsidy got to do with effectiveness? But I only replied, “well the government said they’re changing the healthcare policies to cover for all, so I’ll wait and see.” Loh then wanted to cuddle Buddy, but he didn’t want him close. Loh lamented he was traumatized by Buddy’s rejection, and needed to see a pychiatrist.
When I was having the Pap smear an ultrasound scan done, I said to Loh, “I see that you’re now able to hire a foreign worker.” (When he started his private practice, he complained to us that the Ministry of Labor refused his application to hire Malaysians.) He said yes, and then changed the subject, “you should have another baby.” I asked him, “are you going to help me care for him?” “yes, the government will also help you care for him. There’s a lot of help from the government now.” Yeah, right! The government’s policies are designed such that the people are made to help each other instead of allocating more governmental budget for the welfare of the people.
Back at his chair, Loh reported, “your womb is like that of a 20 years old and your ovary is like of a 25 years old. You should consider having another baby.” My husband told him I’m already in my early 40’s and asked if there would be any risks. Loh then narrated, “I have this patient who was 44 and been through 7 cycles and couldn’t get pregnant. When she came to see me, I was stupid enough to agree to do the 8th cycle for her. And she got pregnant at 45 and baby is normal.” I turned to my husband and remarked, “there is a Chinese saying for this ＂老王卖瓜 （，自卖自夸). (Literally translated as ‘Mr Wang, the melon-seller, self praises his own produce’, in short, self praise is no praise.)
Loh came over, hoping to hold Buddy again, saying, “you’re so cute! Can I bring you home to add to my collezion?” My husband remarked, “Alex, he wanted to sell you at Tekka market when you were younger.” Loh added quickly, “no lah, not going to sell you.” But Buddy didn’t buy it, and again rejected him.
Before we left, Loh suggested to me to go for mammogram screening. He told me to make appointment at the polyclinic which would be cheaper. My husband asked him, “how cheap?” He replied, “price of a haircut.” I kidded with him, “$3?” (He claimed he had to be frugal and go for $3 haircut in the post ‘The $3 haircut’ dated 17 Mar, 2012.) Loh said, “no lah, not so cheap. I go for $12 haircut.”
So there you have. My next Pap smear test is 18 months later, so won’t be a while before the next bantering session, though the conversation is more irrelevant than a banter. But I may decide to go for the routine testing at a clinic closer to me instead, the wait is a pain in the ass!