21 November 2009

What A Smile!

( Note to Redline : This is the answer to your question – what were the two pictures of the previous entry for.)

Four months ago Makcik and Pakcik were given a clean bill of health. I went home with a broad smile.

When one gives a broad smile to Pak Cik I take it that he or she is pleased over something. What if Pak cik am given a half smile or a little smile? I take it a lesser degree of pleasure, not a cynical one. There is also a dry smile. I wonder what a wet smile is.

But there is a kind of smile which Pakcik experienced with discomfort and embarrassment. I went through that about six weeks ago. It all began early one morning when I looked at my handsome face in the mirror. I usually give myself a smile but that morning I failed to form a smile on my face. The right half of my face showed the smiling expression but the left half of my face refused to move, however much I tried. I tried a wink. It was OK with my right eye but the left refused to obey. I opened my mouth and to my horror it was a distorted O. “Have I got a stroke?” ran through my mind.

Over the phone a doctor I know assured me that I had what is known as Bell’s Palsy, a temporary loss of control over one side of the face. It was named after one named Bell.

Awang Goneng’s younger brother, a medical specialist who happened to drop in with his wife three weeks after the event, asked Pakcik whether I experienced bell ringing in my ear. According to him some people had that, or something bothering in one eye. No I did not hear any bell, but it was Bell’s, nevertheless, according to him. Those in London, I can imagine, must have started to hear bells ringing everywhere as 25th December approaches. To them, PakCik, an experienced Bell’s ringer, can assure that it is all OK!


Now that it is over, Pakcik can afford to take it light-heartedly, not during the first couple of days. The array of advice, suggestions, offers of help, prescriptions, comments and so on was impressive. At Almanar, the faces of the pupils displayed expression of horror and concern. I am very grateful indeed for the sympathy shown to Pakcik. No one smiled except for a nasi dagang seller (who is ever so grateful that her daughter was an Almanar pupil and is now a nurse, earning good money and driving her own little car). On seeing Pakcik’s failed smile, she gave a broad smile, exclaiming, “Pakcik dah dapat macam saya dulu. Lapan minggu, baik!” Her smile was a way of assuring me that all would be well because she had gone through it. Sadly I cold not return her smile except for a funny half, crooked smile!

For my own record Pakcik must list down some of those remarks made by the concerned individuals. Here it goes:

Use of morphine ( sounds deadly )

Steroid pills ( sounds less deadly)

Warm baths

Acupuncture ( Awang Goneng had this in his well researched thesis on Bell ’s palsy)

Johnson’s Baby Oil for rubbing with lots of salawat

Olive oil (minyak zaitun) to massage he face with

Jampi-jampi to scuttle away the ‘uninvited’ visitor

Plenty of rest ( teaching Almanar pupils, no exception)

Gentle massage on the affected area ( the doctor who advised this gave a good laugh when Pakcik enquired whether it would be best done by a lady – I meant Makcik of course!)

A complete body massage

And other remarks and comforting words.

When Pacik entered a sundry shop for Johnson’s Baby Oil, I was conscious that the lady owner was curious why this not-so-young man wanted baby oil. So, I had my Johnson’s, my minyak zaitun and went through most of the items listed – including some other pills (in addition to steroid). Alhamdulillah, it was all back to normal three weeks later.


Bell’s Palsy over, Pakcik decided to tackle the next bothering condition, the cataract on my right eye. The problem on the left eye was successfully done two years ago. So on 11/11 (hence the Poppy Day entry), Pakcik went through a half-an-hour operation, by laser. I had the earlier experience, totally painless but scary. Imagine someone working on your eye when that very eye was wide open, seeing the spotlight overhead and vague shadows of moving objects working on your very eye-ball!

That too went well.

So I am as good as new with full control over the degree of a smile I wish to flash around, winking like mad, but, sorry, not driving with eyes closed.


So, now if any of you hear loud sound of bell ringing in any one ear and you are not anywhere near a school or around the period about 25th December, try a half smile in front of a mirror, or stand outside a shopping mall winking left and right at passersby. See the outcome!

Berkhidmat kerana Tuhan untuk kemanusiaan.


NanaDJ said...

Sounds scary but thank you for the information. As one gets older there is no end to the possibilities of being visited by any of the array of sicknesses. So I thank Allah for his blessings, another day without aches, pains etc is a bonus apart from being able to live on extra time.

Kama At-Tarawis said...

Pak Cik - you gave me a scare sekejap. Hope everything is ok now..

Al-Manar said...


Is it not human to occasionally deflate our ego by asking ourselves how insignificant we are in reality?
Is that one reason why some visitors, often seen at several locations, prefer to remain incognito?

Al-Manar said...


And you scared me last Friday. Of all days in a week you chose that day to blow your head off over men who caused jandahood. I am too old to cause one and was never guilty of causing one; so I beat a retreat without as much as leaving a comment!
Thank you Hajjah.

NanaDJ said...

Al Manar,
Terasa pedas...very subtle but menyengat. For the time being I am enjoying my sojourn.
One day, one fine day...
Hope you are ok now.Salam.

azie said...


thanks for replying my comment pakcik.
i never thought the story would be like this.
hope you are doing well.

Anonymous said...

Here are two more comments from my FB :

Sepiah Owen - so pleased to hear both are well. Alhamdulillah... my salam to them.

Aini Hajar - Cant stop smiling...syukur padaNya jua. Alhamdulillah Ya Rabbi. Babah and Mommy - stay healthy and happy for you both bring smiles to so many of us. Thank you


Kama At-Tarawis said...

Hehehe Pak Cik, stay as you are.. you are amazingly sharp and definitely fun to cyberspar with on issues..

Al-Manar said...

I meant no harm. Just wait for the day when you get more than you bargain for.

Al-Manar said...


Did I not say that you are a perceptive girl?
All is well, thank you.

Al-Manar said...


Salam and many thanks to Sepiah from Kak Ning and Abang Hassan;

and to Aini from Mami and Babah.

Al-Manar said...

Hajjah Kama,

Life is too short not to enjoy what is rightfully ours to share.

Zendra-Maria said...

Salam Sheikh, glad to read you making light of your temporary facial lop-sidedness. I would have gone berserk I think. Since the cause is viral (I looked it up after reading this), I guess there's no way to prevent it. But thanks very much for sharing your experience. If anything I see this palsy has left you none the worse for wear, wit-wise.

Al-Manar said...


Indeed, as you say, that palsy has not pushed me to my wits' end. I dread the thought of catching your seven-year itch (I mean the one you wrote about}. The massage and baby oil, prescribed for my palsy, would not do the job, would they? I wonder.

ARZ said...

Pak Chik,

Have not dropped in to your site for a while only to discover a worrying episode. Alhamdulillah that everything is fine. I suppose you are back to your full smile now!

Is the flood affecting Batu Rakit? The rakit (made of batu) will surfely sink in the flood. Hope that will give you a smile :-)

Memorable trails... said...

Salam Pak Cik,
Glad you are on the road of recovery.
This is new to me, I do not know there is such an ailment.

How s the rain and the flood in KT?For the first time in three days,the sun finally made its appearance this afternoon in KB...

Al-Manar said...


I wonder how cyclists handle the sitution in this flooded area. Now I can truly smile imagining you and the gang 'junjung basikal' waist deep in (not snow like in Dublin)! Come over and experience the beauty of our winter.

Al-Manar said...

madam gold,
You are lucky to have had a sunny break not here. It is freezing water from our solar heater, hence a higher electricity bill.
Enjoy our winter before your transfer to the higher grounds.

Umi Kalthum Ngah said...

Dear Pakcik,

Hope your Aidil Adha was a fine day and a happy ones with your children + 'cucus' all around both of you...

Salams to Makcik...

Al-Manar said...

Indeed the hari raya day, just one day, was fine and sunny. But there were only two of us for a change, peaceful in a way, missing the noise nevertheless.
We are sure you were all together as travelling north-south is less hazardous.

Anonymous said...

Salam,pak cik.again I've not visited you.I'm very-very sorry.I hope you are well.For all spm candidates including Mr.Firdaus good luck in your exam

Anonymous said...

Pak cik,I am really glad that you have recovered from Bell's Palsy.
May Allah protects you and your family.Amin~

Al-Manar said...

Call over whenever ou like

Thank you for your concern and for helping out at Almanar. Aliff and his gang did their share of voluntary 'national' service two days ago! The reward has not changed from five cents an hour.

Anonymous said...

Pak Cik
I hope you are well
also mak cik...
when you look into the mirror
the mirror will say, "You are the most handsome man in this world" ^^

I want to see you, pak cik...
but this holiday I have got chicken pox..
I will see you before I go back to my hectic life with a few bundle of books and paper..

Send my regard to mak cik , your sons , daughter and grandchildren


Al-Manar said...

You are always a welcome face here. Do call on us any time you can make it.