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05 Sep 2013

minor operation

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Vista from En Chu Gong hospital 14th floor visitor room.

Last time I was given anesthesia I was 14 years old. I had fractured both arms around my wrists. I was playing a game of Lagori Someone threw a ball at me and it was off target. Eyes on the ball and I ran backwards in my attempt to catch it. One of my shoe laces came loose and I stepped on it with my other leg. I used my both arms to break my fall as I fell backwards. Nothing hurt but my wrists started to swell up immediately after that. That day I was given a general anesthesia if I remember correctly.

Today however I got my second anesthesia as I had a minor surgery on my back. I was carrying this little bump on my back for past several years. It didn’t hurt even if I pressed it or poked at it. However recently I got back in to exercising and it suddenly started to swell up and also caused some discomfort. I figured it was time to check it out. Last weekend during the check up doc advised me to remove it by surgery as tumor looked benign but might have caused some inflammation under the skin. The technical term he used to describe it was epidermis tumor but I think he meant Epidermal Cyst . They say you could develop one of these on scalp, face, neck, chest, upper back, genitals, or behind the ears. I’m glad to have it on my upper back instead of on any of those other parts.

So this morning I checked myself in on the 5th floor of En Chu Gong hospital, a major hospital right behind our apartment building. I had been on this 5th floor 3 times before. Once on each of my two kids birth and once for a minor surgery of my wife. A lot of nervous wait, joyful moments and painful memories came back. I was given a wrist tag that had my identification information and asked to change into operation room cloths.

Few minutes later, two nurses came and asked me couple of questions to verify my identity and whether I was aware of what I was going to be operated for. After the questionnaire one of the nurse led me to the operating room. Ambient music was on and few nurses shuffled equipments around. I was told to lie face down. My whole upper back and head was covered with towels and only the area of my upper back was open.

Surgeon, the same doctor who diagnosed me, gave me local anesthesia and explained me the process. Doc made a test incision to check if anesthetics have kicked in. It hurt so he waited for another 15~20 seconds more and made another test incision. This time I didn’t feel anything. Next 10~15 mins I spend listening to doc explaining the process to another much younger fellow which I think was an apprentice. I also noticed a couple things such as my hands started shaking involuntarily, I could actually hear the tearing of my skin and cutting of body tissues, blood squirting and rushing down my back & neck. I hurt a little here and there as I guess the anesthesia might not be uniformly spread across but it was okay. I could handle it.

I could hear a cooler liquid getting sprayed inside the wound which I suppose was to clean and check if any part of the cyst wall is left. As the doc stitched the wound I asked him how much longer the anesthetics would keep in effect and was told I should be okay for another two hours. I was also shown the cyst that was removed. It was approx 2cm in diameter and looked pretty gross. I am trying to forget it ever since.

Before the operation doctor had emphatically told me that I could go to office in the afternoon. I should have known he was joking. Once the anesthesia wore off it felt like someone was constantly poking a knife in my back. It hurt every time my back muscles worked which by the way happened almost every time I did anything like turning my head sideways or just lifting my arms a bit. Nevertheless makes me appreciate more to be alive in these times when anesthetics are available.

Later we went to 14th floor of En Chu Gong to get my ultrasound scan of lever done. Last year I was diagnosed with fatty lever however in today’s checkup it was found that I don’t have fatty lever anymore. So two good things to take away from today’s visit to En Chu Gong.

Tags | life | personal |


20 May 2012

saturday breakfast

On most weekends Susan and I have our breakfast together at a little breakfast restaurant around the corner of our apartment building. Sometimes after finishing up breakfast if Susan feels like I also take her to feed colorful koi fish in the the small water fountain place in front of the next building. This Saturday we did pretty much the same routine except we also had one little guy to accompany us, Ethan, Susan’s one month old little brother.

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Here Susan has pretty much finished her breakfast. Wait but the waffle is still there, right? She had surgically removed and finished all the blueberry jam out of her blueberry jam waffle and declared she was done.

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On the way to feed fish. Susan shows her disapproval on the pause.

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Fish watching.

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This time I gave Susan an exercise to match colors on her dress with the different colored fish. I couldn’t explain her why there isn’t a green fish in there.

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On our way back Susan insisted on pushing Ethan’s stroller all by herself. I must admit she did a pretty good job.

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Steering needs a bit of work though.

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Here she is again disapproving the pause.

Although Ethan pretty much slept through the whole ritual I can not wait to see them walking, playing together.

Tags | life | kids | sanxia |


25 Sep 2011

xiao wulai waterfall

Beginning of this month we took Susan to see Xiao Wulai waterfall in Taoyuan county.

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Drive up there wasn’t pleasant. All the twisting,turning, going up and down on the mountain road made both Susan and myself sick in the stomach.

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That didn’t stop us from enjoying fresh mountain air though.


First we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of waterfall from the observatory. Next we went down to the skywalk built right on top of that waterfall but learned that the next available slot would be two and half hours later. That wasn’t a bad thing as we still had to find a parking space and we also hadn’t eaten our lunch. We bought our tickets (50 NT$ each) and went about finding a parking space. It took us another half an hour to find it.

We came back after a luxurious lunch at a local restaurant nearby the observation deck and went straight to the main entrance of skywalk facility. It’s a 15 mins walk down the slope to the actual skywalk bridge from there. Skywalks are generally arranged in 30 mins time slots. There is space for only 50 people on the skywalk which is a transparent bridge that extends over the 50 meters high Xhio Wulai waterfall.

Fengchueishih (Wind Moving Rock)
This massive rock, knows as Fengchueishih (Wind Moving Rock) sits just around where the water free falls 50~70 meters down. It is almost a miracle that it stays the way it is without falling with all the water activity going around it.


Here is a side view of the skywalk.


Susan sat there on the transparent floor mesmerized by the noisy frothy gushing waterfall and I was actually worried people might stomp on her. But, like us, most of the them were watching the transparent floor to experience the presence on this giant waterfall below.

Later on we came back up near the main entrance and noticed there was a bigger calmer water stream nearby. Lots of people were soaking their feet in the stream and we decided to join them.


Susan getting her feet wet


… and hands


With camera around my neck I followed Susan along as she explored the waterbed.

Susan got bored of throwing small rocks in the water from the bank and I got bored of following her along so I picked her up and took her to the middle of the stream for a bit of an adventure.


It was much more fun now to get ourselves soaked in cold water of the stream.


I had to keep close watch on Susan as she was one stumble away from banging her head on the rocks.


Selina joined us a while later which allowed me to slip away for few minutes to grab photos of the scene around us.


One family gets ready to leave


while another joins


Young guns relaxing on the shore.


I wanted to enjoy my way back in daylight so we moved on an hour before it would start to get dark. As expected Susan was pretty exhausted by the time we made our way back to the car and fell asleep as soon as I had put her down.

I had wonderful time at the Xiao Wulai waterfall but next time I plan to go bit more further to maybe lalashan.

Tags | life | weekend | travel | taoyuan |


18 Sep 2011

Pentax Zoom 90 WR

Few months ago my father-in-law gave me his 2 35mm film cameras that he hadn’t been using for a while. One of them was Pentax Zoom 90 WR and the other Nikon N70. Pentax one is a 35mm compact film camera with a 39-90mm fixed zoom lens. It is bit heavy for a compact camera. I like that the shutter is extremely quite. I might send to get it cleaned inside out as there is some dust inside the view finder and the lens as well. It takes great photos when the light is plenty so good for my lunchtime walk to snap few street photos. Last month I took few photos using it. Here are few select ones.

street corner

street corner, dihua street, datong district, taipei.


xinhai city god temple, dihua street, datong district, taipei


Road work, Yanping north road, Taipei

sidewalk gamer
Sidewalk gamer, Yanping north road, Taipei

noon nap
Noon nap. Minsheng west road, Taipei

signal wait
Signal wait at Dihua street and minsheng west street crossing, Taipei


Poster sky. dihua street, datong district, taipei.

All other photos can be found on my Flickr here

Tags | photography | taipei |


17 Sep 2011

Yongan fish harbor

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Looking backwards from the harbor main building entrance, a family noshing on seafood snacks at the entrance

A typhoon was forecast a fortnight ago. Notwithstanding we made our way to Yongan fish harbor and luckily it turned out to be a brilliant Saturday for us. Although it was bit late in the day when we reached harbor I guessed we still had an hour or two before Sunset. I dragged Selina to the elevated wooden deck on the left of main harbor building. We took a leisurely walk on the long deck admiring the calm sea and beautiful sunset skies while Susan busied herself with the tricycle. Much to her amusement few planes thundered overhead as they made their way towards Taoyuan Int’l airport.

sunset portrait
Sunset portrait


My ladies taking in the breeze
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Ignored by his masters. That little thing was quite ferocious actually as it jumped on me when I moved few feet closer to take his photo.

sunset couple
Sunset couple

before and after
Before and after

As the darkness crept upon us we made our way back to the main building. It has three different halls. One of them houses restaurants where you can have a leisurely seafood dinner. Choosing which one to eat at is basically no-brainer as every single one of them pretty much have the same stuff cooked in pretty much the same way. Each of them offer plenty of variety in seafood crabs,lobsters (really expensive), prawns and all sorts of fishes, fried or boiled you name it. So save yourself from the dilemma and pick anyone of them with least number of people in it so you get served sooner. Or you can move to the next hall that has lots seafood snacks. We grabbed a basket of fried oysters and a mixed fried seafood basket before moving on to the next and last od the three halls. This one housed all fresh picks from the sea. Selina went on shopping few fishes to cook on the following day and in the coming week while I was enjoying Susan’s excitement of seeing so much live marine life. Finally we grabbed some fresh Sashimi and headed back to the wooden deck. It had become pitch dark by the time and wind had also picked up a fair bit so we decided to get back to the car and head home.

yongan fish harbor
Yongan fish harbor main building

Tags | life | weekend | travel | taoyuan |