In between

Dear Reader,

How is it like in your corner of the world today?

It’s Day #3 of the Restricted Movement Order here in Malaysia.

I am up early ahead of the rest of the family. Expressing breastmilk in a silicone collector as my youngest is not awake to nurse. Next in line for list of activities would be to put the cloth diapers into the washing machine and to gather the trash for my husband to take out when he goes out to get groceries.

Unlike many other families within the Klang Valley, we did not stock up food in anticipation of the Order. We only bought enough to last us for about a week during our last grocery run, and the week is almost up. Hence, I will need to plan meals very soon (within the next hour or so), and wake my husband to get to the stores as early as possible since we don’t know what stock levels are like in our neighbourhood stores yet.

From what I heard from a friend staying in another part of our city, it was crowded at the shops within their community. I certainly hope there won’t be too much of that where we are at.

I’ve generally always thought of where we live as being one of the quieter, less noticed part of Petaling Jaya. And yet, we kept hearing of Covid-19 cases in several nearby areas, giving us the notion that the virus is literally all around us. The most disturbing was the case of a preschool teacher who got it. This preschool had been opened recently at the mall where we normally go for our grocery shopping.

My husband only started taking this Covid-19 pandemic more seriously after he visited that mall on one of the days where they were still disinfecting the preschool and screening all shoppers seeking to enter the ground floor (where the preschool was located) for any signs for fever.

Now he finally wears a mask or brings a long a small bottle of hand sanitiser while he is out. He promptly cleans his hands upon his return from a trip out, and changes his clothes. There was an occasion where he even decided to bathe right away.

For our household, things aren’t too different during this Order than they are at regular times. This is because my husband and I are both self employed at the moment. A situation at work worsened around the time our youngest was about to be born, and so he left his full time job and has been in limbo since.

At the time the Order was issued by our Prime Minister, he had already begun taking on projects for this new consultancy gig he has embarked on. There had been relatively positive signs lately, and several possible work projects have been popping up.

On my end, my freelance writing work was finally beginning to settle into a routine after the abnormal activity I had over the past few months where I was serving a new client in a temporary role that ended in February.

Now everything is more or less slowing down due to the Order. We are wondering if we will get paid on time. Or whether there will be multiple delays and even a lack of work opportunities in the near future.

I know there are families out there with an even bleaker outlook to their household income sources than we have. Some cannot even work at all right now because their jobs require them to be out, or to be meeting people. There is no Work-At-Home option for them. I wonder how they will cope.

It’s only supposed to be a 2 week exercise, but my husband and I anticipate that this Order will be extended beyond just a fortnight. As it is, with the way many Malaysians are behaving, we might even see a far greater spike in Covid-19 cases. The thought is chilling.

I think of my two very young kids and I worry. They are happy with us at home at the moment. But will we be able to keep them happy and well once our funds run too low? Can we continue to afford preschool for our eldest one?

And what sort of world will they be growing up in, given the terrible turn of events that we keep seeing both on a local as well as global scale? I sometimes wonder if it would have been kinder to have not introduced them to this cruel, cold world.

But as I tried telling my husband last night, perhaps the best thing to do at times like this is to just keep looking ahead. To just keep focussing on the very next step. Because I think that’s all we have the capacity to do right now.

It’s daybreak now and I must go. I hope things are brighter where you are, my dear Reader. Till I return, I wish you a good day.

Every | body

Just last week, my son asked me, “Mummy, which part of your body do you like?”

It ought to be a simple question to answer, I suppose, but I found that I honestly couldn’t think of what to reply him.

What would you have said?

Now, here’s the thing: I don’t think I have a negative body image in general. I mean, I like my body enough to take care of it as much as I can. And I am fully aware of all my physical shortcomings, and though I am not fond of them, I have grown to accept them and do my best to work with what I have been given.

So I’m pretty okay living in my own skin. But I don’t particularly have a specific thing about my body that I’m especially proud about. Does that sound about right? Is that healthy? I wonder.

Here’s a quick summary of what it feels like living in my body:

  1. I have eczema so I often battle dry skin and random allergies and outbreaks. Not really sure what triggers it. I think certain foods do, but I don’t bother to investigate anymore. I also tend to scratch vigorously out of habit whenever I am stressed (for no particular reason).
  2. Because my body is a little on the sensitive side, I also often have colds/flus, which are mostly rhinitis (or so I think). What this means is that I frequently have a stuffy nose, am sneeezing or am battling some post-flu symptoms (sore throat, cough, phlegm, etc).
  3. I have no major health issues, but am often plagued with minor problems that are irksome. For example, I have been suffering from toenail fungus for 1-2 years now. I recently had issues involving mouth sores and an unexplained swelling of my upper lip every time I eat.
  4. I am petite in size, therefore not much of a bust and not very shapely in terms of my feminine figure. Which means that I look pretty much like a pre-adolescent.
  5. I am shortsighted and use fairly high powered lens, so this means whenever my specs get somehow knocked out of shape, I will get headaches because of the imbalance in vision. (Specs getting out of shape is even more common with a young child always in your face).
  6. I have thick, bushy, wavy hair. It looks ugly in almost any hairdo. Seriously.
  7. I am most definitely NOT tall. Haha.
  8. I had an emergency C section to give birth to Jamie so… there’s scars and also there are random pains at certain times of the month.

Well, I’m sure there are many other people out there facing bigger woes with their bodies so my issues probably pale in comparison. And I shouldn’t complain (which I generally don’t).

It just somewhat amused me that I couldn’t think of an answer with regards to what I like about my body. I guess I’m just glad everything is functioning and that I’m alive? I’m thankful for whatever God has given me, as imperfect as it is. I just don’t have a favourite part. I don’t know.

Anyway, in case you were wondering, Jamie’s answer to his own question was this: “My whole body.”

Well, at least we managed to instill in him a positive perspective about his body so far. Hehe.

Lurking evil 

Last updated on: 18 March 2016 
The second toe on my right foot has been looking suspicious lately. The nail looks a little out of the ordinary in the sense that one of its edges curls in a little more than I expect it should. And the skin around the nail is peeling like crazy.

After some research on the Web, I roughly concluded that this might be a case of fungus growing underneath my nail. Of course, this is a self diagnosis so I could be wrong, but I figured if I can keep the condition of my toe from getting worse and somehow help it to heal, perhaps I can avoid going to see a doctor.

It’s hard to go to the doctor’s nowadays thanks to my tagalong buddy, Jamie. Wherever I go, he has to go too since he still needs ’em boobs for his daily fill and also, he’s quite attached to me since I’m his primary caregiver.

So I started looking up what sort of home remedies I might be able to conjure to contain this potential fungal outbreak.

In the process, I stumbled upon this link.

Out of the many home remedies suggested, I decided to go for the one using apple cidar vinegar since I think I can tolerate that one. What’s required is to make a solution consisting of equal parts of water and apple cidar vinegar and to soak the affected toe for 30 minutes in it and then to dry it thoroughly.

Only trouble is I doubt I can spare 30 minutes to just sit and soak my toe since Jamie keeps me busy throughout the day. So instead of soaking my toe for that duration, I opted to squeeze a cotton ball soaked in the solution every few minutes (or once what’s already on my toe dries). I tried to keep this up for approximately 30 minutes.

I only managed to keep the routine up for 2 days, then resorted to cutting the affected toenail as short as I possibly could, since I realised the fungal looking part didn’t extend to the entire nail, so hopefully it will grow out and I can cut it away and be rid of the problem.

Besides that, I realised that doing this apple cidar thing might make the skin on my toe even more dry than it currently is. So I thought I could slather some baby oil on it once I complete the cidar soaking exercise.

I also read online that this fungal thingy can spread fairly easily to other parts of the body, so I made sure to wipe down my nail clipper with an alcohol swab once I had cut that toenail. Deric has plenty of alcohol swabs available since he uses it when he has to prick his finger to check his sugar level.

Once I’ve applied alcohol to the nail clipper, I leave it out in the open to air dry and don’t use it on other nails till later. So far so good. No new fungal-like areas have appeared anywhere.

I’ve recently resumed the apple cidar vinegar routine because after trimming the toenail again there seemed to be some irritation afterwards. I just need to be sure there isn’t any lurking fungal that decides to spread further. Last thing I need is to have to strip away my entire toenail.

So here’s to hoping it turns out okay and that this home remedy thing works. I’ll report back once the issue is cleared to say whether or not it’s a useful remedy for future reference (and for you readers to benefit from too, if you ever have a similar problem to mine).

Update #1: 

So I gave up and went to see a GP at a nearby clinic about the toe. The apple cider vinegar remedy I tried might have worked, perhaps, had I been more vigilant in applying it to my toe everyday. But I didn’t. So perhaps no surprise that it didn’t solve the problem.

It actually looked like the toe was improving for awhile, but I stopped doing the apple cider vinegar soak routine after 2 days. Only to resume it after more than a week when I noticed things hadn’t changed much. But by then, I also kicked my toe against a table leg and it bled and came up with some pus. So it was both a fungal AND a bacterial infection by the time I saw the doc yesterday.

I was prescribed anti fungal cream to apply to the toe as well as oral antibiotic medication. Let’s hope this clears after the course of antibiotics ends.

Update #2: 

Yup, so I finished the course of antibiotics and continue used the anti-fungal for a few extra days afterwards. Toe is about back to normal now, though I would only be 100% sure after I’ve trimmed off the remaining suspicious parts of my toenail.