Charlotte’s Web

My daughter recently read the story of Charlotte’s Web – a classic children story written by EB White. It is a story about a pig, named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. They have developed a special friendship in a barn where Charlotte was able to save Wilbur from being slaughtered by creating special messages on her web.  It was a beautiful story filled with many life lessons such as friendship, compassion and self sacrifice.  After reading the story, my daughter wrote the following poem:

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In Memory of Matthew

Five years ago, it was a sad day for my friend. She lost her little boy, Matthew. The pain was unbearable but life goes on. Since then, I make a point to remember this special day and connect with her. It has become an annual ritual that I reach out to her, to remind her that Matthew mattered then and still matters now.

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Those are not my Ads!

Recently, an ad popped up on my blog that caught me by surprise.  If you are a blogger with WordPress,  a free account comes with many great features and storage space to start blogging immediately. The caveat is that sometimes, ads may pop up in my blog that are beyond my control. It hasn’t bother me, until now.

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Allegory of the Cave

I have been trying to reconcile my feelings with the tension between conventional and alternative medicines. Each side argues fiercely why the other side is flawed, lacks evidence or is plain wrong. I wonder if we can just be a little more civil. Yes I do recognize there are unethical individuals taking advantage of the public who may be potential victims,  as there are predators disguised as health professionals. But in all fairness, we don’t know everything. We are continuously searching for solutions and hoping to add new knowledge to understand this world a little better in hope to improve the health and wellbeing of the public.  Why do we need to resort to such hostility?

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Back to Square One

Growing up in Mississauga, a visit to a nearby shopping mall is a must. I am referring to Square one, a major shopping mall at the heart of the city.  It could be shopping for the latest outfit, watching a movie (when the movie theatre was still there, ok I am really dating myself now) or meeting friends to catch up or hang out.

For me, it also meant growing up and learning in my first ever job, at my parents’ fast food restaurant, Made In Japan.

Many often asked me which job has given me the greatest learning throughout my years of career in pharmacy. I could not name one job that made me learn as much as my first job there.  I started helping my parents after I turned barely twelve. I remember helping to get the beverages ready, making sure I understood the orders correctly, efficiently getting the correct beverages ready for the customers. It could be a small size diet cook, a large Spirit or an orange juice bottle and in the odd times, a cup of coffee or tea. Many were quick to leave me with their changes as tips! I must have looked so young that they felt sorry I was working! Just to put the record straight, there was no free child labour going on. I willingly helped my parents as a volunteer. They later paid me wages, which was great to have some pocket money to spend in my teenage years. My parents also made sure our priorities were to focus on our school and academics.

Then I started helping to put rice on plates before the chef would add other food items.  I also helped serving customers their fully prepared meals asking them if they would like Teriyaki sauce or other condiments on their meals.  The famous final phrase “Would you like some Teriyake sauce?” would come to be so ingrained in my head during those few years of my life.  Later on, I would be in charge of the cash register, ensuring there were adequate changes to get through the day, closing the cash register, ensuring the sales generated matched the cash value needed to deposit to the bank.  I also learned to place orders for supplies to keep the operations going, inventory management and sometimes supervising staff who were twice or three times my age. Even throughout my pharmacy education, I would help out at the fast food restaurant on Sundays, giving my parents some time off.

I also learned that some customers could be very nice to serve and others could be difficult no matter what.  I have developed good relationship with some frequent customers, knowing their exact orders and other special requests.  There were some who were just miserably. No matter how politely and apologetically I explained their requests could not be honoured, they would just be upset, complaining to my parents the next day, changing the entire story around to fit their agenda.  Of course, the customer is always always right!  Later when I started working in a pharmacy wearing my lab coat, I would still go back to help my parents’ at their fast food restaurant. That was when I realized people treated me so well when I wore my lab coat, but as soon as the lab coat was off and I was behind the cash register at the restaurant, the respect was gone too.

My parents have sold the place shortly after I graduated from pharmacy but my memories at that place are still very much fresh in my mind and in my heart. Every now and then when I need to eat at a food court in a mall, I would still visit the Made In Japan, just to reminisce the past memories.

Few months ago, I was back at Square one, having an informal highschool gathering. The place has changed so much I could hardly recognize it. I have also learned that the food court has changed drastically after undergoing some major renovation.  Made in Japan is also gone!  It is a different time now.  There is also a different generation of people at the mall. The place looks foreign to me.  But the experience I have gained there has forever shaped the strong ethics I continue to carry in my pharmacy career.  I know it wasn’t glamorous work and my parents certainly did not enjoy running the place. But the sacrifice they made there have helped me learn and develop many life skills that continue to be important in my every day job as a pharmacist.  So back to Square One is what I enjoy both physically and figuratively.

Two Cups of Chaotic Chai Tea

When it comes to drinking tea, both my husband and I are a bit of a snob. We are very particular about our drinking tea habits. We discuss about what tea we like, the aroma we prefer, the temperature of the water we demand and how long we sip our tea bag / leaves to make the perfect cup of tea. We sometimes even argue over which mug we should use. So when we decided to indulge ourselves with two cups of Chai tea at the local Starbucks, what could go wrong?  We couldn’t expect the experience to be seamless or  just plain satisfactory.

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Prophylaxis for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection

Gloria is an 80 years old lady with a history of mild cognitive impairment, osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes who often presents with an urinary tract infection (UTI) monthly. It is very unpleasant with the typical symptoms such as burning sensation, increased urinary frequency as well as slightly increased in irritability. Upon treatment with antibiotic, the symptoms go away quickly.  Who wants to have a urinary tract infection monthly?

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