My last blog was nearly 20 days ago. In between, I have been visiting hospitals and clinics a bit for regular maintenance, and I also took my new electric car to its first and only free maintenance.
First, I had to make two additional trips to the Elderly Health Clinic, one for a blood test and one for the report. I made an attempt to drink less and actually abstained for most of the week before I had my blood taken, hoping for a “better” report, for the young doctor appeared worried at my drinking habit after I told him that I considered myself a social drinker. Meanwhile I have kept my gym schedules and I tried to eat less too. I could have shed one kilogram during the week before my blood was taken, but I resumed my drinking habit afterwards. I saw a different doctor for the report, which he billed as a non-eventful one and spent less than two minutes with me: the tests showed that my liver and kidney functions were both normal if not perfect, my blood sugar level was normal and other key indicators also normal, except that my cholesterol level was bordering on the high side of normal, which he quickly said was normal, compared with the last blood test some 18 months before, meaning it was no worse than before. He did not appear to be interested in the patient or the test report before him, saying that I should know what to do with my body and what not to eat. He volunteered though to make a copy of the report for his colleague at the Family Visiting Clinic which I would visit in about two months. Back home, Su tried to find answers to why my cholesterol levels had not come down and concluded that she had given me too much Wagyu beef the week before I had the blood test, taking advantage of the 50% price reduction, sometimes more, offered by a super market.
Secondly, I made two visits to the Eye Clinic at the Caritas Medical Centre, accompanied by Su on both occasions, for which I was rather grateful. The young doctor who examined me at the Kwai Shing Health Clinic had found that I showed early symptoms of Macular Degeneration in one of the eyes and gave me a referral letter for an appointment at the Caritas Medical Centre. Su and I had been there once in early 2017, on referral from the Family Visiting Clinic. I had cataract problems at the time and was changing eyeglasses all the time. At the reception, a nurse or some staff put eye drops on my eyes to dilate the pupils before asking us to register at the appropriate counter. We paid $100 for first registration, but after finding out later that the fee would be exempt for retired government servants, we asked for a refund, only to be told that it was not possible. In her usual non-accommodative business style, Su asked to see the management, the higher the better. We saw two senior managers, one more senior than the other, but got nowhere. Later, I had a chance meeting with the then Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority Dr. Leung Pak Yin, who was a good friend, and who agreed with us that we were wrongly charged, but that under the then prevailing system, it would create a lot of work to do so. He promised to look into the matter personally before he retired. He probably did, but that would be another story. Back to the 2017 visit, I was triaged to a young and pretty doctor who examined my eyes with the pupils dilated, confirmed that I had cataract in both, but explained as patiently as she could that my conditions would not merit immediate or urgent surgeries. She gave me an appointment in 13 months’ time. I went to see my eye doctor friend the next day and had my surgeries on one eye within the week, then on the other a few weeks later because we had booked a trekking trip to Nepal in between, which you can read about in my first memoir.
Back to the recent visits, we took a taxi to the Centre and arrived around 1:45 pm. Su smartly took a chip No. 4, which saved us valuable time, and waited until the counter opened at 2 pm. We handed the referral letter to a nurse when our number was called, who appeared professional and knowledgeable, and who promptly gave me an appointment the following Monday 9 am. It was Friday. We walked to the MTR Lai Chi Kok station for the return journey, and were back in Mei Foo within an hour from the time we left home for the taxi to the Centre, feeling good. We duly returned to the same room on Monday and was given a priority tag. We were then asked to register at the counter. Interestingly, the clerk at the counter asked whether I was a government servant, serving or retired, before we could tell her, and we were registered without charge. I went to the first consultation room where I met a young doctor and his able assistant who then had my pupils dilated. I was asked to go into another room where they measured the eye pressure, before waiting to be called back to the consultation room. The doctor asked me to roll my eyeballs separately in all directions, before concluding that my retinas were almost perfect, both eyes. His assistant gave me later a chart with lines and small squares and asked us to train both eyes separately on the chart regularly, marking any irregularities if found. She also gave me the next appointment, which was in April 2023, adding that I would need to return earlier if the conditions deteriorated. We stayed in the Centre for about an hour and a half in all, under care and attention of medical staff most of time with which we were fully satisfied.
Coincidentally, that same afternoon, I accompanied Su to take her mother to the clinic where she had a cast on her left hand after a minor accident. I had been having some pain near the lowest vertebra after a bad fall on solid ice at Yellowknife early 2020, and I took advantage of the visit to consult the doctor who did an X-ray on the part and confirmed that I had an old fracture, but for which there was no immediate and easy remedy. That’s life, I spoke to myself. We can’t expect perfection or to have a perfect body all the time. rather, we must learn to be happy with what we have.
It only remains to account for the maintenance visits in respect of my electric car. When I called for an appointment, I was told the earliest date was ten days from the time I called. I had no choice anyway. The Service Centre was in Kwai Chung, on a Wo Yi Hop Road which neither Su nor I had been to before. We looked it up from Google and decided to do a recee a few days before. It wasn’t as straightforward as we had expected, for the GPS system operated from Su’s iPhone somehow did not work the first time. We found the place anyway; and on the day, Su accompanied me to the Service Centre which was inside a multi-storey Parking Complex. The staff and mechanics were all well trained and courteous. They seated us for a short while before going through the routines and asked us to return for the car in two to three hours, which created some logistical issues, for we both had separate programmes in the afternoon. We left on foot to discover where we were and boarded a bus for Kwai Fong MTR. Apparently, it was a circular route which served Kwai Chung and the adjacent housing estates. From Kwai Fong we took the MTR back to home and prepared ourselves for the next moves, beginning with some breakfast. Su left home first, while I waited for the call which came before noon. The car would be ready between 2 to 3pm. I packed myself for the evening, planning to take the car back to my garage before setting out again, but without having to go back home. I took a taxi to the centre with GPS instructions using the route through Castle Peak Road I had used in the morning, only to be advised by the driver that there was traffic build up in that area and that it would be better to get to Wo Yi Hop Road through Kwai Chung Road, the highway. I did not have much choice; and even worse, he dropped me on a slip road from Wo Yi Hop Road, assuring me that I would be in the right area. On foot, I looked around under the warm autumn sun and could not at once identify where I was. I checked the street numbers, only to find that I was about three blocks away. I got to the building alright, but couldn’t find the entrance at first. I tried fast backward memory on how we got off in the morning and recalled the name of a restaurant. I walked into the restaurant and found a lift up the Centre. What a discovery!
I hope to talk to you again soon.