No fond farewell to 2011

Old year’s day and the ambulance trundles up the driveway in our housing area, a neighbor is taken to the hospital, condition unknown. On Christmas day an outer island community tragically lost a senior pastor.

Shrue Lee Ling

After Shrue tumbled down the stairs leaving midnight service at the start of 2011, I had a sense the year was not going to go well medically. I told the family that the goal this year was mere survival.


And the year lived up to its opening shot. One member of the family in hospital for a week including surgery after a gall bladder attack, another one rushed to hospital unconscious. Both would recover, but at the time survival seemed in doubt.

One aunt would pass away – the first of the siblings to pass, an uncle is at present on referral in the Philippines.

A river in Dien

I would start the year an upset gut – mucus, blood in stools. Three trips to three different doctors had ruled out all forms of dysentery. The third doctor wanted to refer me to the Philippines for a thorough bottom-end physical.

Dien trio

By February I had begun to puzzle out that lactose was problematic. Elimination of lactose helped – no more blood, but rolling into April I was still having problems. A visit by my father-in-law in April saw me feeling better, after he left my problems returned. By May I stumbled across the information that gluten intolerance can cause lactose intolerance, and in an instant I realized that during the one week in April we ate only local, non-gluten foods.


In June I eliminated gluten and my gut became healthy. I could even consume lactose. Seems my childhood allergies and the hyperactive immune system responsible for them are not so gone nor forgotten.


With 2012 looming, odds of survival through to the new year look better. 2012 will bring its own challenges, triumphs, tragedies, but 2011 started off badly and fulfilled that ominous portend, throwing health challenges at many, and not everyone made it to 2012. As my youngest notes, even numbers are simply better than odd ones. 2012 could go awry, but somehow 2012 holds out the hope of a better year, an even year after all.

Playing Life on the Farm

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