Mrs Too Patient, Too Independent

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

I’ve had a horrible accident happened to me on Thursday 19/11. I’ve only just found the spirit to talk about it.

Remember my previous post when I talked about getting my hair done? Well, my hair wasn’t done properly but my neck was overdone.

Cooked.

I remember asking up front if there was anyone available for cut and colour.

I remember asking if my hair is okay to bleach.

I remember writhing in pain in the chair, unsure if I was supposed to feel intense pain. I was trying to get her attention but I was in too much pain and too unsure of what the heck was going on and she was too absorbed in serving another patron who made an appointment at 6pm. She was the only one working in the salon.

I remember feeling that my neck was burning up. I even asked her if I can have a wet towel to put on my neck because I felt it was burning. She refused. She ran to the nearby pharmacy to get antiseptic cream and only took a photo with the cream on. And the photo wasn’t even clear. It should have been a red flag to me but it was my first time and I definitely couldn’t see my neck.

So throughout the entire time, I had no idea how bad my neck was.

Even my ear had blistered.

I think the only reason why I sat through the entire time was because I had no freaking idea of the seriousness of my wounds. And the stylist kept telling me to get her attention when something felt wrong.

I don’t know, man, at that point, with the blame-shifting and the covering-up was just…

I basically cried throughout the entire time from when I felt my neck flaring up like crazy. I even mentioned if it was possible that the bleach was still on my neck but she was adamant that it couldn’t be because she separated it.

I don’t know, I mean, if it was someone’s first time bleaching, wouldn’t you have explained what will happen, what the process is like, and what kind of pain you expect to feel and what sort of pain you shouldn’t experience?

I didn’t even have much energy to reply to texts from Nora, whom I contacted about getting my hair done, since she had prior experience in bleaching, even her roots. Even she was alarmed that I was feeling pain and she suspected that I was burnt. Even my siblings who have bleached their hair felt that it was weird that I was still complaining of pain.

I just remember crying and crying from the pain. Like I really wanted to pass out from the pain. Like I really wanted to have water on my neck but I was made to stay in my chair.

I don’t know why it never occurred to me to text my husband about my ordeal. Like just inform him from the start. Like ask him to come down to the salon I was at to fetch me and help me as it was a 15-minute walk away from our home. I think towards the end of the session, I began to feel the need to see a doctor, which happened to be just across the salon in the mall.

The stylist wanted to bring me to the doctor but I refused. In my head, all I wanted to do is to know that I wasn’t overreacting from the pain and to just get medication to ease my pain.

At that point, any sane person would have refused to pay but because I didn’t know the extent of my burn and whether it was something I could remedy at home, I just paid my dues and right after, I walked to the clinic. The doctor had his backpack in his hand, ready to leave, when I entered the clinic but after seeing me in massive tears, he decided to take a look at me. Even the receptionist was kind to assist me in filling up my company-insured medical benefit form.

The doctor cleaned off the antiseptic cream that the stylist applied and remarked that there was chemical burn on my neck. He said even he was unsure of popping a big blister that had formed on my neck. He told me to visit the next day for a review and prescribed me painkillers and cream.

He shook his head when he saw my injury as he left the clinic.

But at that point, I still had no idea of the extent of my injury.

My phone was blowing up with texts from Nora on my way home, visibly upset that I still paid the full amount. It was only when I was about to approach home that I texted my husband to open the door for me due to an emergency.

He was grouchy when he opened it, demanding to know what the emergency was about but I kept crying and crying. You can imagine how much pain I was in.

I just urged him to close the door as I quickly undressed and when he saw my injury, he was truly devastated. He took photos with my phone but I didn’t look at them until after I got him to help me flush my neck with water as per the doctor’s instruction. I felt a whole lot better with the water but as soon as I stopped, my neck flared up again. If at this point, you are unable to imagine my pain, the following photos are going to give you an excellent idea.

Yeah, after I saw the photos, I was truly appalled. Like all that time, nobody showed me what exactly was going on. Not even the doctor showed me what happened. Maybe, if somebody had shown me the wounds, I would have taken a Grab straight to A&E. Or I would have even asked my undercover boss who was a former paramedic to guide me on the first aid I need to perform on myself before I head to A&E.

That brings me to thinking about how unreal my patience is. I’ve been accused of being impatient by someone I fancied before. Even my marriage, in the eyes of that person, felt like it was born out of my impatience. That it happened too quickly and that it was bound to end as quickly as it started.

I mean, I only knew my husband for six months before he asked me to be his girlfriend and three months later we got engaged before we got married about a year later.

But that got me thinking as well if I never fully processed the fact that I’m married. That I don’t have to be independent all the time. That I don’t have to shoulder my burdens alone. That there is someone I am supposed to turn to in my darkest hours of need. That I don’t have to be the strong one always.

My husband was extremely upset that I didn’t share about my pain when I was happily sharing with him my before picture and the transformation of my hair colour after bleaching. I even shared with him the video of the steamer going round my head with the bleach on.

When he asked me why I didn’t tell him, I said that I think I’m too used to being independent, getting things done myself and just trying to solve my problems on my own.

I think, maybe, the circumstances of my life has shaped me into this person who simply learnt to handle everything in silence. I think the biggest problem that comes with my patience and independence is that I don’t know when and how to ask for help.

And it also doesn’t help that the nature of my work entails solving problems for others and having to resolve issues myself.

In fact, while I was lying in bed in pain at close to midnight, my manager texted me asking about the aircon at the workplace. When I woke up the next day in the afternoon, my colleague texted me asking how to make the announcement regarding the purchase limit for the special collection launched today.

I digressed. Anyway, my husband felt too grossed out by the wounds to apply the cream that the doctor gave and I didn’t feel like he should slather any of it either.

He had to cancel plans we made with people, which I’m still feeling extremely bad about. One of those people is my undercover boss. When he got the news, he immediately called my husband to find out more.

In the meantime, I tried to eat dinner but I just couldn’t finish. So I went to bed after taking Ibuprofen and tried my best to sleep while laying on my tummy.

The Ibuprofen was only good for an hour when I woke up at 1am. I tried to make myself comfortable but the pain was still the same as before I went to sleep. At around 2am, my husband entered the bedroom to check on me and he saw me crying in bed so he offered another dose of Ibuprofen.

After that, he asked if I was perspiring and I said no. He became alarmed and took a closer look. He suspected the blisters popped and that pus was just oozing down my neck. He took a tissue to swipe and verified that it is as the stain on the tissue was yellowish.. He took photos and the entire time, he was just like, “Ya Allah, Sayang…”

That actually made me decide to go to A&E and seek medical attention. My undercover boss really wanted me to get to the hospital ASAP when I shared with him the photos my husband took earlier but I held out on that decision because I thought the injury was dry and I didn’t mind putting up with the pain.

Pain, I can tolerate. Infection, I cannot risk.

So off we went to Sengkang General Hospital at 3am in the morning. It’s still my favourite hospital. As a couple, we probably spent more time there together than any normal couple had. How the tables had turned though. Previously, it was me accompanying my husband to A&E but he got an ambulance ride. Now, it was him accompanying me to the hospital but I got a Grab ride. The Grab driver was really nice. He gave us an ETA, which felt like a nice gesture of telling me not to worry about having to endure pain for long as the ride will be a short one.

I was surprised that they still tagged me to my Tampines home. Lol. But we sorted that out when I made payment.

The reason why SKGH is my favourite is because the medical staff members are really top drawer. From Triage to treatment, everyone was kind and attentive. The doctor took photos of my wound to send to the Plastic department before proceeding to arrange wound cleaning and dressing. My husband watched the cleaning and dressing and was grossed out when he saw the medic peeling off my burnt skin to which my hair was stuck onto as well.

More pain for me, yippy.

But the pain wasn’t as bad as the burn, to be honest.

After that, they gave me a tetanus shot because they were worried that I might get infected by the bleaching chemicals and I was prescribed antibiotics as well. They prepared a memo for me to bring to the Polyclinic on Saturday to change my dressing and arranged an appointment with the Plastic department on Tuesday. And so goodbye to my zero MC streak this year. I received MC until 25/11.

Then we picked up my prescriptions from the pharmacy and made payment. It was quite a hefty bill for me. It really was the A&E cost that hurt my wallet and my insurance doesn’t cover the bill.

Everyone we informed was outraged and told us to sue the salon. It isn’t your typical neighbourhood salon either. It’s actually part of a Korean franchise.

To be honest, my A&E bill was cheaper than my salon bill.

I managed to read a bit of Sun Tzu’s Art of War and there was this terrifying account of an emperor questioning Sun Tzu’s military training method. The emperor asked if the method could be used on women as well. So Sun Tzu asked him to gather his concubines, split them into two teams and appoint two of his favourites to become the leaders representing each group. So all these women were asked to bear arms and were taught basic military commands and were showed how to execute them. So after these women were briefed, they were asked to carry out as instructed. However, they kept giggling. I suspect that it was something new and surprising for them that they felt awkward and shy about executing the military actions. It’s human nature, common in women. Even when they were threatened with the prospect of having to face dire consequences for not following the directions closely, the women were still giggling. After which, Sun Tzu told the emperor to behead the two leaders for their inability to control their groups. Everybody, including the emperor was alarmed by this but Sun Tzu got the two beheaded anyway and after which, another two were appointed to be the leaders. Needless to say, nobody giggled and everyone complied perfectly. With no mistakes.

If I were to learn from that account on the surface, I could essentially put the stylist’s neck on the chopping block for damaging my neck. Make a complete example out of her and break her rice bowl.

However, what I actually saw from the account is that firstly, Sun Tzu didn’t say much to make his point but demonstrated his point by taking actions instead and that secondly, he claps back at the emperor’s doubts cast upon him by using what is dear to the emperor, which are the concubines, against him.

So what I really intend is to never allow anyone go through the mishap that had befallen me due to negligence. And I think a good way to do that is to request for a full refund (because I will still need to get my hair fixed at the end of everything) and compensation for all the unnecessary costs incurred on my wallet. I just hope that my request for a financial claim would be enough for the salon to handle this matter seriously and scrutinise the employees and work procedures more carefully. If they refuse, then I will have to take it to the authority. My husband on the other hand, felt that it might be better to take it to CASE straightaway.

We’ll see how it goes. Even my husband admits that after marrying me, he too became far more patient than he usually is. And it surprises himself and his family to this day. They kept feeling like he’s a completely different person.

While it does feel nice to have that effect on people, I hope people don’t become too patient like me!

I haven’t shared this incident on Instagram, particularly because I didn’t feel like retelling my story to each concerned individual.

I’m pretty sure if I did, that place could possibly shut down for unsafe practices. I have very fierce friends and they find it hard to withstand my tolerant trait.

For now I just want to focus on my recovery, finish reading Art Of War, and learn to play chess. I haven’t won a single game of chess in my life and I’m pretty upset by that.

Also, the arm on which I got tetanus shot hurts so bad. Is it normal? I really don’t know. Sighs.

May Allah ease my affairs. – MM

Published by Baeda

Born 1989. Female. Metropolitan Muslimah. Songstress. Teacher in the Early Childhood Care and Education sector in Singapore. Gooner since the signing of Mesut Özil on 2 September 2013. We won two back-to-back FA Cups since. Made my first trip to the Emirates on 10 May 2015 followed by my first home game against Swansea City on 11 May 2015, which we lost 0-1.

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