Monday, 7 November 2011

My hero, Dr Jimmy Beng

I couldn't resist a couple of 'Deacons' as I was wheeled through Changi Airport. Unless you are a man who grew up in the UK in the '70s, you will have no idea what this means. It's best left that way.

I was whisked through customs and straight into a plush, air-conditioned Hyundai taxi. Compared to the ratty Maruti Suzukis of Nepal, this was bliss. The streets were smooth and organised, and we sped under neon lights to the Accident & Emergency entrance of the Gleneagles Medical Centre. En-route, Ilse called the doctor to tell him we were almost there.

Dr Jimmy Beng came to the hospital on his evening off especially to see me. I was impressed from the moment I shook his hand. He invited me into a pristine consultation room, and conducted proper, detailed examination. He confirmed that the problem could be either tuberculosis or cancer, and was extremely relieved that Moniek had saved me from the perils of FNAC in Kathmandu.

Dr Jimmy is a kindly, cheerful man with an air of extreme (but understated) competence, and a manner which immediately puts patients at ease. He didn't need Wikipedia to give calm, measured advice - and not once did he feel the need to read the latest gossip on Facebook. I cannot explain how pleased I was to meet him.

He proposed a treatment schedule there and then. It was 10pm on Tuesday 25th October. Wednesday I would rest; Thursday I would have blood, urine and heart tests; Friday I would rest again; and Saturday morning he would operate. He gave me some tablets to ease the discomfort.

It's hard to believe that anyone would be pleased about having a testicle removed, but after all the recent pain and anguish, I was genuinely relieved. I asked Dr Jimmy if I could have a couple of beers at Ilse's apartment. He replied in a wise, oriental accent 'oh yes, that will be very good, it will help you to relax'. My hero!

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