A Long Holiday

This blog could be longer than usual, after the long holiday that we all had. Indeed, most employees would have needed only to take two or three days leave to be away from office or work for nearly two weeks, so that most offices were not quite staffed for any real work during the fortnight. An ex-colleague – a workaholic who had since passed away – used to call such a period a silly season when nothing serious could be planned, which was why I was surprised to receive a call from my Elderly Clinic last Thursday April 5 – a working day between two public holidays – to advance an appointment scheduled for April 13 by two days to April 11, and which I duly took up. 

Now, this was an appointment the Clinic had given me on March 2 following a regular health check during which the Clinic had taken a blood sample of me after I disclosed to the nurse my drinking habits. To cut the long story short, I was too honest and told them the truth. The appointment was for 9:10 am; and I arrived five minutes early, by public transport. I was made to wait for over an hour before a young doctor could see me. I had not brought any reading materials with me, but I picked up on my phone though, two funeral dates in the next two weeks, one in respect of a very dedicated Rotarian who died about ten days ago – he was still on Rotary related businesses the day before – and the other in respect of a Rotarian’s mother who was close to 100 years old and who died of Covid recently. I made use of the waiting time to text my nephew’s wife to organize the necessary wreaths.  It does seem that as one gets older, one tends to attend more funerals than weddings, which is why I treasure birthday celebrations more and more.

Back to my appointment at the Clinic. The young doctor revealed that all the vital readings on me were mostly OK. Specifically, my liver and kidney functions were OK – which was the primary reason the Clinic had done the blood test – and my cholesterol readings had improved from last time (18 months since the last blood test) as was my blood sugar level. In short, it was almost a clean report and there was nothing to be concerned. Nevertheless, the doctor went on to advise that it would be better if I could bring down the cholesterol level a bit. He presently worked on his computer which projected that statistically I have a 16% chance of having a stroke under my present conditions if I don’t do anything positive. He suggested I considered taking medication to reduce my cholesterol level. Now, Su and I had gone through this recently, specifically after my last visit to the Family Clinic in February when the doctor there prescribed me some pills, which Su flatly asked me not to take. What could I do? The entire consultation lasted about five minutes; and I left the clinic for my gym at the KCC, after texting Su that it was an uneventful consultation.

Meanwhile, I had two birthday celebrations last Monday, at lunch and at dinner, with good food and wine, that would have upset the young doctor if I had told him everything. The lunch was between two ex-mentees and Su in an exclusive club in TST East and we all had a great time catching up and vowing afterwards that we would meet more often. In the process, I learnt more on the latest social behaviour of young people, which I won’t elaborate here. We had dinner at the HKU Senior Common Room because Anthony, my elder brother, had not been there before. We had meant to host a birthday dinner with my siblings, and Su had booked a table for 15 initially, but in the end, there were only seven for dinner, including our nephew and niece who brought wine and cake.  My niece took us back to Mei Foo for more catching up afterwards.

There had been more extraordinary things happened to me this week, beginning with Monday, April 10, before we set off for the lunch with my mentees. Prompted by some text messages from the bank, I decided to call the bank to clarify a credit card transaction in Macau that was incorrectly charged, but which I was assured that the restaurant had reversed it. I needed my credit card before I could call the bank, but to my horror, I couldn’t locate it. Su made me think hard on where I could have misplaced it, and she went as far as calling the restaurant where I last signed the bill with the card for an earlier birthday dinner which took place on April 3. The restaurant said they had not found any unclaimed card. There was nothing left to do except to report loss of the card. To cut the long story short, it was a tedious process, but the bank staff were helpful and effective. I completed the process successfully and was relieved that there were no more transactions since the April 3 dinner.  I was also advised to change the password for my e-banking and not to use the card reported lost even if it re-surfaced later. Two days later, which was Wednesday April 12, I went to the laundry shop in Mei Foo to pick up some cleaned shirts for a Rotary dinner I had signed up for the evening; and lo and behold the shop manageress handed me with the shirts my lost credit card as well, which was left in the pocket of one of the shirts I gave her a week before. It was a pleasant but not-really-needed surprise. It solved a mystery though, but it didn’t make my life less complicated. I changed to some clean clothes and went for my Rotary dinner, which went rather well. I was invited to cut a birthday cake before dinner ended, which was a real pleasant surprise.

The story hasn’t ended. Before I went to the laundry shop, I had collected my electric vehicle from the charger, having left it there for four hours. However, the charge level remained unchanged, to my chagrin, however mild I had tried to take it, for I had previous experience and had learnt how to deal with the next steps. I called Hyundai Workshop for an appointment and reported the unsuccessful charging to HK E Power. They are reasonable and helpful people; and I am grateful. Which brings me to here and now. I took the car to the Workshop as soon as it opened this morning. The staff received it dutifully and courteously, with apologies that they couldn’t promise when I could have it back because they were rather thin on the ground at the moment. In the past, they would try to finish a job in two hours.  Su was kind to come with me to ensure that I won’t get lost; and I was thankful. We took a bus back to Mei Foo afterwards and found out that the one-way system meant that the bus won’t stop at Jao Tsung-I Academy from where we had taken the same bus route to the Workshop about two weeks before. It was a short walk from Butterfly Valley Village to Jao Tsung-I Academy where Su had planned to have light breakfast and coffee, but not before I found out to my horror again that I couldn’t find the second car key I thought I had in my pocket. I was in a panic mode with adrenaline all over the body, for this second key had attached to it the E-power authentication key for charging as well. I called the Workshop and Mr Wong who had received me earlier said he would try to look for it in the car. I was too uptight for coffee and I walked back home, hoping against hope that I could have left it on the dinner table. Su joined me grudgingly, but quite understandably. Back home, there was no sign of the key. I began to pray that Mr Wong would find the key somewhere. I called him again, and to my great relieve, he found it. I didn’t even ask how he did. Su gave me a thorough dressing down that I ought to learn how to keep my things, as she began to make me a light breakfast.

To complete the saga, Mr Wong called around 3:30pm to advise that the car was ready. It was the same problem. They had to replace the actuator, whatever it was. Su had already left for her series of chores in Mei Foo and Conduit Road. I called her. She was about to leave Mei Foo. I offered to take her to Conduit Road if she joined me to collect the car. She agreed, and we cleared out the flat at Conduit Road and ended resting at ABC for an early supper, at around 5:45 pm. The Club was doing special Vietnamese dishes and oysters from USA – I doubted – but we had a dozen between us anyway, which were not bad. It was a perfect finish for a hard day and a somewhat chaotic week, well almost.  

This week marks the beginning of the eight-day post Easter celebrations, with special scripture readings and acclamations. In his Easter sermon on Sunday, Father Robert Ng drew our attention that the Resurrected Christ had chosen to reveal Himself to the selected, as opposed to everyone. For example (my interpretation), Christ did not appear to Pilate or those who persecuted Him, as He did with St Paul some time much later. A friend circulated in the social media an image of a very beautiful flower known as Peristeria Elata, which is an orchid species from Brazil featuring at its centre an image of the dove of peace, which only blossoms at Easter, hence it is also known as the Flower of the Holy Spirit. My response is this: it is so beautiful that it has to be God’s creation. I hope that you all had a blissful and mindful Easter and are ready for more happiness and thanksgiving for the rest of the year.

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