Sunday, 29 November 2015

Another Hospital Stay

My Facebook newsfeed is flooded with friends who have gone on holidays. One went to Taiwan, another is in Europe, and yet another - a teacher, is in Spain.

As for my colleagues and I, we are not to leave State till next Tuesday evening.

Life's unfair like that.

The last week was an eight-to-five work week, the kind that requires your presence even when nothing is going to be done.

And my father was admitted to the hospital. If I had visited him at the hospital, you can be sure that I would collapse onto the bed by the time I reached home. It was good for a dieting woman who got to skip dinner without too much effort though.

I first received an sms from my brother saying that my father had insisted on going to a Malaysian hospital when I was at work a fortnight ago.

The bags were packed and his passport was already in his pocket.

I called back and persuaded my father to remain in Singapore. It does not take a genius to know that I had no faith in a Malaysian hospital, much less in one that would not know what my father had gone through the previous year.

I had once visited a cousin at a Malaysian hospital and was appalled at the state of it. My cousin's arm was slashed by a love rival in the city area, or so I heard, and was transferred to a government hospital soon after he was admitted to a hospital. His rusty bed was among at least ten or twenty other beds in a huge hall. Some nurses were doing their stuff at the other end of the hall. A few fabric windscreens existed to shield the view from others when they needed to examine a patient. It reminded me of the 1950s to 1970s medical scenes I watched on Channel 8 drama serials. I was shocked that Malaysia was still so backward in their medical advancements.

I managed to persuade my father to visit the GP (General Practitioner) we just visited the day before to get a doctor's letter before setting off for the General Hospital.

My father had been complaining about general discomfort and weakness after his last major surgery and no doctor or physician or temple or church could help him. I had suggested that he do a full body check-up to find out the problem, thus the visit to the GP the previous day. The GP had proposed to get my father to have a full assessment at SGH since he also could not help my father but he needed some time to pen a letter of reference. But my father clearly could not wait anymore.

At the A&E Department, the doctor ran some tests on my father and diagnosed that he had 'dangerously low level of sodium' in his blood and suspected that he had lung infection so he was admitted to the hospital. A four-bedder room.

After 4 days, my father was worried that the bill might snowball over time since there was no sign that the doctor was going to discharge him, so he walked out of the ward and insisted on being discharged.

And he went home on a Friday.

On Sunday, he woke up with a swollen mouth and neck. His tongue was so swollen that he could not even eat! So back to the hospital he did.

Infection of the floor of the mouth, the doctor said.

This time, my father requested us to put him in a C class ward so that he did not have to worry about the bill. 

And by then, that a $200k medical bill was a reality had stuck in our mind. We signed him up for the nine-bedder ward.

So my father stayed in the hospital for another week. In the course of the week, the doctor diagnosed that he also had SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus), an autoimmune disease which was very rare for an elderly. But it explains why none of our parents have Hyperthyroidism, another autoimmune condition, but at least three of us do.

The good news is: he was discharged yesterday :)

Another good news is: my biopsy report states that my nodule is benign, meaning not cancerous or malignant. However, that was within expectations. I had read up online and the articles concurred that nodules with thyroid problems are usually non-cancerous.

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