Thursday, February 6, 2014

Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta

Assalammualaikum wrt wbt.

This is my third day in Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta (HBUK), Perak.
For those who didn’t know, HBUK is the first and the biggest mental health institution in Malaysia. It reached its 100th birthday in 2012. When it was first built, it was called Federal Lunatic Asylum. Interesting isn’t it?

Syahidah and I will be spending a few weeks here, for the first block of our elective placement. We rented a room in the hostel for only RM6.50 per night, but no beddings, blanket nor electrical appliances i.e. kettle and iron provided.

The Hostel

There are two blocks of girl’s hostel. I think there are 4 floors altogether, including the ground floor. But only the ground floor is occupied. I think there are 10 rooms on this floor but only 4 are occupied (including mine). There are 3 beds in each room; and I share a room with Syahidah. That means, there are maximum only 11 people in this huge building!

On Sunday, there was no one in the building. It was very scary. By 8pm, one by one of the occupants arrived. Perhaps they went for CNY break. They are freshie nurses. And that night, I couldn’t sleep! There were so many mosquitoes!! (I wish I can put that whatsapp emoticon here, u know the one where the yellow head has its yellow hand on its cheek like “aaarrrggghhh” with bluish forehead and big white eyes)

The next day, while talking to one of the staff in the hospital, they were surprised that we are staying in the hostel. They told us to “be careful”, the building has been empty for a very long time. And when I went back to the hostel, I asked one of the nurses and she said they have been here only for the past 2 weeks. Well, enough reason for us to be scared. That night, we recited Yaasin. I imagined a cold hand running its fingers down my sole while I was trying to sleep. Thank God it was just my imagination, but just thinking of it froze me up.

Until now, we have not been “disturbed”. Alhamdulillah.
And re the mosquitoes; we bought the Ridsect Lingkaran Penghalau Nyamuk, and even mosquitoes didn’t come near us. Alhamdulillah too.

My Electives

On my first day here, I didn’t get to see any patient but rather was given an overview of the psychiatric service in Malaysia. I am actually amazed at how well developed our psychiatric service is. We have home visits, by thoughtful Medical Assistants, we have walk-in specialist clinics, and all GHs and some District Hospitals will have a Psychiatric Unit. <br /> <br /> We do not have much deliberate self-harm (DSH) cases here in Malaysia (or at least in HBUK), unlike in the UK, thankfully.

Over the next 3 days, I see more patients but I can’t really disclose much about them; due to the confidentiality principle. But enough said that the patients I’ve seen in these 4 days (I took one day to write this!) are very variable. I didn’t see much female patients. The males are either laughing inappropriately (at the same time lifting up my mood), or scolding doctors inappropriately, or trying to go near a female nurse (disinhibited maybe?) or keep changing stories, making his mental illness suspicious.

My Food

This hostel has no cooking facilities AT ALL.
No fridge, oven, microwave, kitchen hobs. Nothing!
So I can only boil some water in the morning and make my 3-in-1 Old Town White Coffee with some buns that I bought previously. We then had to go for proper breakfast in the main canteen. Lunch in that canteen as well.

We will then drive out to look for dinner.
For the first two days; we don’t really feel the burden. But now, after 4 days having to spend for all the 3 meals, I started to pity my wallet. I spent a lot for food!! It was the same when I was in INTEC, wasn’t it? But somehow it felt worse now. I felt poorer than when I was in INTEC 5 years ago. OMG, 5 years already??!

Yesterday we went to Ipoh Parade for dinner and window-shopping. But the surau was closed! OMG, I was so frustrated and disappointed with the management. They should have opened a temporary surau while renovating the current one. We arrived at 7pm, thinking we can pray Maghrib there. After knowing the nearest mosque is next to the Ipoh GH, far enough that it can only be reached by car (Msian definition of far), we had quick dinner and rushed like crazy monkeys to the mosque. I drove so fast and we managed to pray just before the azan for Isya. I can feel such serenity when praying in the mosque. I’ve not prayed in a Malaysian mosque for over a year! I really missed it.

Anyway, I need to sleep now.
I know I still owe this blog the Part 2 of my Turkey trip.
It’ll come, I promise!
But I really need to sleep now. Goodnight!

-Because Life is a Test-