On the 14th of September 2014, I attended a health camp organised by KPJ Puteri Hospital, Johor Bharu. Do read this entry for my narration of the event.
The event was held in Ulu Benut, Kluang, which is half an hour from Johor Bharu, if one is to take the PLUS highway. The hospital do health camps every single year, each year in a different location from the last.
I was half expecting the place to be inside a very rural area, turns out the place is only a 10 minute drive from Simpang Renggam's highway toll. The event starts at 8 and were expected to finish before 2.00PM.
We arrived quite early, the villagers only started to come by 9.00AM.
Doing a medical check up means doing a general review of the whole body system. We'll ask questions regarding age, body weight, food consumption as well as their genetic background.
Normally those with persistent diabetes and high blood pressure has someone else in the family with one. This can be their parents, grandparents, cousins or anyone in their immediate family.
Someone is defined as having a high blood pressure or hypertension when their blood pressure is more than 140/90. The higher the number, the higher the risk for stroke and heart problems. Normally, we should strive for a reading of 120/90.
Now this woman right here has a reading of 141/78, so is she normal or is she at risk? See, this is a case of something that we call an isolated systolic hypertension. This is when the first number is high, but the second number is low. The first number is obtained during contraction of the heart which we call systole.
Now in her case, since the number is not that high, we recommend her to change her lifestyle - meaning to eat healthier, eat less salt, reduce fast food consumption and to exercise a bit so that the body is more active.
Another thing, one is only diagnosed having a high blood pressure if their readings are high when checked 3 separate times in 3 separate days. She has to be checked 2 more times on different days to confirm if she has one.
There are cholestrol and glucose checking stations as well. Nowadays, there are more and more people with high sugar and fat levels. Our high consumption of fast food doesn't help.
For sugar, try having less than 8 teaspoons a day. In reality, that is hard to achieve because even a small Drinho fruit juice has 4 teaspoons of sugar. A wide variety of our Malay kuih has high sugar content as well.
There's a Snellen Eye Chart station as well to test our visual acuity.
We blink about 12 times a minute. Ever heard of blindspots? Well there's a place in the back of each of our eyes where a nerve is attached. There's a small, blind hole to connect this - we call it the blind spot. But we don't notice the hole in our vision because both of our eyes work together to get around this.
An eye examination using a device called an ophthalmoscope. With it we check the back of the eye where the eye's blood vessels are present. The blood vessels may be damaged in cases of high blood pressure or high sugar content.
For more complex cases, a consultant is present to further diagnose the villager's condition. There were a few complex cases diagnosed that day. The doctors brought along ECG machines as well, to check for complicated heart complications.
Meanwhile, inside the mosque 10 kids are reciting verses from the Quran. These 10 kids will undergo circumcision later on.
The staffs say there were far more people for circumcision last year. The drop in number might be due to school holiday so many are not present. This program was held in the middle of a one week school holiday.
Outside the mosque, there's a fire truck parked and several fire brigades were present as well. It attracted quite a huge amount of crowds.
The fire brigade were very attentive and attentive to the questions enquired by the villagers.
A firefighter explaining their gear and equipments and what-not.
When I was a kid, I thought that being a firefighter is like the coolest thing ever. I had truckloads of fire trucks and fire-themed LEGO back then. I once dreamed of being one too, but life takes a different turn and I end up choosing a different path instead.
Being a firefighter is not an easy job. There are many types of fire, and they are dangerous and complex. Not to mention the dangerous contents of smokes produced from the fire and the danger it brings for over-inhaling it.
Their protective suits and gears are vey-very heavy. Kudos to them.
This was a fun little stop. I'll go and check on the kids.
Meanwhile, the kids - finished with their Quran recitations - were briefed by Dato' Kadir, a renowned cardiologist, also a doctor at Puteri Hospital. He'll be doing the circumcision today.
Circumcision is an operation where excess skin from the penis is removed. Now there are several procedures to remove it, what we'll be doing today is a method called the guillotine procedure. In Malaysia, kids underwent the operation between 8-12 years old. I did mine when I was 11.
"Boleh makan ikan tak lepas sunat nanti doktor?"
"Doktor nak baca doa apa sebelum sunat sekejap lagi?"
"Kira dah sunat ni dah boleh kahwin la lepas ni eh doktor?"
Those were among the questions asked.
There were members of the press here as well. This event was covered by The New Strait Times and published in their newspaper 2 days later.
The kids look anxious for sure. I remembered being so nervous before and during the whole process that I asked my father (whom was the doctor doing my circumcision) to not just anaesthetize me but sedate me as well. And he did.
What a coward I was and he must be so ashamed of me haha.
A Malay tradition for the boys undergoing circumcision is to parade them all around the village and shower them afterwards.
There are villages that still do this, this one's not an exception.
There were several VIPs present. It had been so long that I had forgotten about their names and position, sorry. What I do know is that the middle one in purple is the current CEO of Puteri Hospital.
Turns out the firetruck parked earlier was called to bathe this kids.
You can see the genuine smile from these kids' faces. A 10 year old me would be elated by this. I'll just let these pictures tell the story.
The kids were soaking wet. In truth, there was an objective to doing, we want the skin of the penis to be soft and loose - this will make the circumcision process easier.
Afterwards the closing ceremony was held inside the hall.
Even though attendance could be better but overall the event was a success.
The kids had now changed their clothing. After the ceremony is over they'll be undergoing circumcision. If you look closely at the picture all of them are now wearing sarong. This is a protective measure actually, the smooth fabric of sarong makes it less likely for them to accidentally injure their vital part when moving after the operation was done.
A food pyramid model. Our actual salt intake should only be 1 teaspoon per day. For sugar, less than 9 teaspoons per day.
Meanwhile at the back of the hall, there were several information boards set up.
This one about Ebola catches my attention. Did you know that Ebola is actually not a new disease, the first outbreak happened way back in 1976 in Africa.
A number of donations were also given including wheelchairs......
Walking aids, amongst others.
There was a drawing and coloring contest held as well for those under 15 years old.
Looks like Dato' Kadir had already started the operation.
I'll be assisting the circumcision, so I've got to put the camera away. Thanks for reading everyone.