Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An incident for thanksgiving!

April 17th at about 1pm... there I was in my son's bathroom replacing the shower hose which was leaking when I noticed that the shower head's jet dial was stuck. I was really not in the best of moods that day and was quite flustered and getting impatient trying to get it to turn. As the seconds passed, I was using more and more force when suddenly... SNAP!

I don't remember feeling any immense pain, but just knew that something felt not quite right with my right thumb. When I looked at it, I was shocked! There in front of me was a huge long deep gaping cut right from the base of my thumb to the top. It looked over 2 inches long and blood was gushing out. This is when I started panicking, held my thumb with blood pouring out everywhere and rushed downstairs calling for my wife.

We wrapped the thumb with a baby's napkin and I kept the pressure on rushing to the hospital's emergency ward. The hospital staff were quite quick in attending to it and controlled the bleeding until the doctor arrived very shortly. Here I was told that the injury was bad and that it looked like a tendon injury as well. I opted for surgery in the OT instead of outpatient treatment.

The 3.5 hours I waited for the insurance procedure to clear and to be admitted before finally being taken to the OT was one of the longest in my life. All kinds of thoughts kept rushing through my head... "what if the thumb never fully recovered?"... "how is this going to affect my day to day life?". The procedure in the OT used local anesthesia. I was prepared for the worst and the doctor confirmed that not only had the tendon being cut but a nerve had been severed. Both were sewn back before the wound closed with 16 stitches.

I stayed in the hospital for one night before being discharged the following day. It was such a restless night for me. Too much going through my mind. I was reminded of how uncertain life is and how we so often take things for granted. While the doctor said I should recover fully in 2 to 3 months, he did say that there was a possibility that the feeling and sensation to the thumb might not be restored fully due to the severity of the nerve injury.

I recalled how the bible reminds us of the uncertainties of life. In James 4:14 we are told... "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes". I was humbled and reminded that just as much as God has blessed and given us, He who has given can take it all away in a moment. Everything we have and everything we are comes from the Lord. We ought to then not boast in ourselves but rather submit everything to God with thanksgiving, being reminded of His love for us, seeking to do His will in our lives.

It's been over 10 days now since the surgery and the thumb is recovering well. I am able to use it for most things now without too much trouble, and the pain is tolerable. The numbness is still there and will take another couple of months for the nerve to fully regenerate and recover. I thank God for what has happened and for his grace and goodness in helping me recover and still have use of the thumb. The few days that I could not use the thumb was when I realised how important this small part of the body was and how I had taken it for granted. The large scar that will remain long after I'm fully recovered will serve to remind me of what  faithful and loving God I have. Praise be to God forevermore for He is faithful and His love is everlasting!

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving thanks.
 1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
 2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
       come before him with joyful songs.
 3 Know that the LORD is God.
       It is he who made us, and we are his  ;
       we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
       and his courts with praise;
       give thanks to him and praise his name.
 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
       his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trying out low light zoom portraits

Tried out some low light zoom portrait shots with the S2500HD. Mainly to practice varying compositions. Here are some shots of Isabelle mostly taken without a flash using ISO800.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bidor Half Marathon 2010 - Race Report

Wow finally another race report after a long time! I'm not even sure how or where to begin?? Let's see... well this race was definitely not a race I had planned or trained specifically for. A month before the race I started contemplating on the possibility of signing up but wanted to wait until I came back from my Mt. Kinabalu trip in one piece. As it turned out, my concerns were misplaced so I signed up a couple of days before early bird registration closed the first week of April.

Now what about training you might ask? What training I ask back...haha. My longest run in over 8 months was probably an occasional 8km on Wednesdays and my average weekly mileage over that period ranged between 5 to 15 kilometers... and I'm not kidding, there were consecutive weeks where I might not run at all. One thing I had going for me was that I racked up the mileage a little with some hill workouts a month before my KK climb so that must have helped.

With 3 weeks to go I knew that I must try to run at least 2 medium long runs. The first run I managed was a 15km morning run which I found myself almost staggering towards the last 2 kilometers. The last run was 12 days before the race at the KLCC park. I planned it in advanced and geared myself to complete 19km within 2 hours using the Garmin as my pacer. I was thrilled to find myself completing the 19km without much trouble inside 1h58m, this gave me the confidence I needed going into the actual race. Mentally I set a goal of completing the race inside 2h15m.

The day before the race was spent with Boon up in Cameron Highlands just chilling and taking pictures. Boon happens to be an avid photographer and having an interest myself, I wanted to learn a few things. We had a great time up there and made our way down to Kampar where we would stay the night at the Regal Hotel. I didn't realise what a bustling and big town Kampar was. The hotel was quite nice too and decently priced at RM80 per night.

The next morning, we were up by 5am as Kampar is 30km away from Bidor. Once we arrived at Bidor, we waited for Peter at the starting point to collect our numbers. Nervousness started to set in as it had been sometime since I had run a race! Didn't take too long to get the number pinned on. Soon after some light conversation with some runners and a quick briefing by the race officials, we were allowed to start the race.

The first 2km my muscles felt cold but I soon warmed up. Bumped into Cheang who mentioned he was going for the Sundown Ultra in May... go Cheang! By the 3rd kilometer I was sufficiently warmed up. The 405 indicated that I was slightly behind my target pace, so I picked up the pace for the next few kilometers till I was back on track. By the 8th kilometer I was cruising along at a steady pace knowing that the tougher segment of the race had yet to be reached... the hills!

I kept looking for some strong pacers to follow throughout while concentrating on my breathing and running form. One thing that hit me was the fact that my long rest over the last 2 years seemed to have helped me recover from some nagging problems like my neck and back aches which I carried for a few years. I still felt strong over the next 5 kilometers, and despite the hills maintained a steady pace. I started tiring a little at kilometer 16 and was wondering why there were no isotonic drinks being offered to runners. Little did I realise I had just missed the only isotonic drinks that were available at the 15km water station next to the waterfall!

By the 17th kilometer there was a dreaded twitch on my lower right calf. I knew that I had better slow down or risk throwing the whole race. The strategy helped for the next 2km but mild cramps hit soon after. I kept telling myself just 2k to go! Just keep going! When the cramps got worse I took short 20s walk breaks but kept going. Over the last 1km, anyone seeing me would have been wondering what a crippled man was doing running a half marathon! I was doing whatever I could managed to do to keep running, and at that point hobbling was my best bet! Knowing the finish line was just round the corner I picked up the pace a little and crossed clocking a finish time of 2h15m20s. The 405 indicated a total distance of 21.4km.

Once again my gratitude and congratulations to the organisers for an excellent event! This was the second time I ran the Bidor half and enjoyed myself immensely! I'll be back again for Bidor! Oh yes and the medal definitely met and exceeded my expectations... it's a beautiful piece of art and of superior quality! Other organisers there is much to be learnt from this event. So what's next on the running plate for me?? I'll be participating in the Setia Alam Half Marathon on Saturday, June 5th and the KL International Marathon, also the 21km category on Sunday, June 27th. See you there!

Flower Photography @ CH Rose Garden

Boon and I decided to leave early on Saturday morning and head up to Cameron Highlands for the day before camping at Kampar that night. We were both participating in the Bidor Half Marathon on Sunday morning. I was really looking forward to this trip especially for the opportunity to put my non-existant photography skills and instincts to the test with my new camera the Fujifilm Finepix S2500HD.

I am quite aware that a basic prosumer camera like mine will never produce the kind of shots that an SLR can, nonetheless to me at this point in time it's more about learning to compose nice pictures and learning to be a little creative, something which I'm usually not. Here are some shots taken up at CH. More photos can be viewed by clicking here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010