Monday, September 29, 2008

Extraordinary moments from the ordinary

After over 3 months, our Merlins at Hotel Starship seem to have sorted out the cholingitis (inflammation/infection of the bile ducts) that Princess of the House has been battling with. In June, we checked into Hotel Starship for what we thought would be a short stay. We ended up with a 6-week hospital vacation, and a series of Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiogram (PTC).

A PTC is a surgical procedure where a sort of “x-ray” is done on the liver and the bile ducts. Imagine a plumber, going underneath your house to have a look at the pipes. Well, a PTC allows the Merlins at Starship to have a look at where the blockages are in Princess’ bile ducts.

During a PTC, our magician at Starship inserts a little needle into Princess’ liver and watches the needle on a special x-ray machine. A contrast is injected into the bile ducts, to see how the contrasting agent flows. The x-rays will tell whether the plumbing of the bile ducts is ok. Princess of the House has had a sort of odyssey with PTCs in the last few months.

The PTC she first had 3 months ago found a 5 cm narrowing in her bile ducts. So the plumbing exercises began. We had a magic maker Dave Duncan who dressed in surgical clothes looks almost as formidable as Dr House (except Dr Duncan is more dashing).

Dr Duncan was Princess of the House’s “plumber”. The first two “pipes” (rubber stent put in to stretch the bile ducts so bile can flow freely) didn’t do their job. A third stent did the job. Still, the stent had to stay inside, to stretch the stricture.

On Monday, our magician did his usual magic. Princess of the House was put to sleep after a 12-hour fast. He squirted some contrast to see how the ducts did, and was happy the stent did its job. Out came the stent.

This morning, just after 8am, a very on-time and exuberant Dr Ben Hope came with the happy news for us – we can go home - only after one night at Hotel Starship – unbelievable!

Seeking the extraordinary
Princess of the House is happy the stent is out. (She has had an “appendage” or a tube which has bee capped hanging out of her abdomen for ages). It means she can get back to the love of her life – her gymnastics; and perhaps swimming and her ballroom dancing. Maybe a season of touch rugby, depending on how her legs go (the pain in her leg is another saga of epic proportions).

We humans seek extraordinary events to reaffirm our existence. But it is in the ordinary things in everyday life that me and my house have come to appreciate these days. A simple meal cooked in our own kitchen; our own bed at home; our own bathroom; our own telly; and a transient stay of the beautiful maple leaves coming out in spring to grace our tree.

For those of you who have sent us prayers and wishes, came with food, books, toys and games for Princess of the House, our most humble thanks. And to the nurses at ward 25a, 26B, our liver nurses, the other magicians from the Gastro team - you all are very special! We are looking forward to more ordinary days!


  1. try qigong, it may help, go to and go through it systematically. some cancer patient recovered after practicing qigong.

  2. Thanks anonymous - as it turns out, Princess has been lucky she has a qigong friend looking after her regularly. We know a certain Chen Loatze who does "magic" too...

  3. Hey, thanks for sending this out. I've been negligent in catching up on your blog. I'm so glad J's doing OK and that it was just a quick visit. Thinking of you.

  4. Hi JenL...yes, good news for us for now...Hope it lasts! Take care!

  5. Good to hear all is well. The lots of love from mum and dad and all yours and her friends that must have given the healing power to Princess. Good news! :D

  6. Hi Jenny - I think we live by faith and also by the expertise of our Magicians at Starship...Thanks for all the food your brought while we were at our longest stay at Hotel Starship!!! You're an angel!

  7. I am sorry for this late response...I wish Princess is getting better makes me ponder how I can be so ignorant and presume Princess is well after the operation. If she is not well, do let me know, give me a chance to cheer her up!


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