Saturday, December 21, 2013

Travel Stories: The man with the blue lips

Dec 22, 2103
Hotel Dinler, Room 447, Urgup, Turkey

This morning, I joined a couple from our packaged tour for breakfast at Hotel Dinler. I noticed that the 63-year-old man's lips are blackish as compared to every person's in the dimly lit dining room. I had talked to Mr Ci and another 63-year-old Mr On 2 days ago and discovered we three men were of the same age. Yet I did not notice Mr Ci's cyanotic lips at all.

"How about your conjunctiva?" I asked and he pulled down his lower eyelids. They were normal orange pink ones.

"Whenever I bring my grandchild to see the doctor for flu," he said. "The doctor would want to examine me first. At the hospital, all the doctors wanted to do is to use their stethoscope to listen to my heart. I was born a blue baby and many doctors had shaken their heads saying I would not live long!"

"Did you do National Service?" I asked as Singaporean men born after 1948 would need to enlist. He was born in 1950 and so was I.
"I was a blue baby," he said. "The Army did not want me!"
"Not even as a clerk?" I asked as Mr On worked as a signaller while I was an Infantry Officer.
"Not wanted at all!"
Now I could see clearly why. No one wants to take responsibility for his demise during military training.
"My mother brought me to the temple to pray as the doctor said I would not live long," he elaborated that the temple god adopted him.
"If I live past 16 years of age, I would survive."

So here he is, much alive. He is a very rare person with cyanotic lips due to an enzyme deficiency in his blood but does not know his medical term. For dogs, cyanotic lips are hard to see but a cyanotic gum is a great cause for medical concern. I wonder whether dogs have this medical condition or not.

We had a group photo on the last day and coincidentally I had an image of his blue lips. He is a very nice gentleman and I just can't believe his story of being born blue lips (with no hole in the heart or heart disease). All doctors will also not believe my story too. Just not medically possible to have no serious heart disease with blue lips! 

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