Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

In and out of hospital, revived.

On Flickr: Hospital Hallway

On Flickr: Hospital Hallway

Sorry for my long unexplained absence (of which I’m trying to make up for now) – it all started with a big-ass diarrhea case on Tuesday evening, followed by fever that very night and then it developed into a full-blown illness taking care of everything I can think of – vomitting, diarrhea, fever, muscle aches, dizziness, numbness at the extremities, blurred eyesight, extreme nausea, giddyness and etc. That’s a mouthful!

A bad start

After suffering in silence two days worth of paracetamol-insensitive fever and chomping on paracetamols (I was still staying within recommended dosage since I’m well informed of the dire consequences of overdose), I drew the last straw on Thursday and headed for the doctor. Surprisingly that morning I felt a lot better, the doctor just prescribed me some basic medicine (more paracetamol, carbon tablets and one that stops me from throwing up) and said that I’ll be fine. No.

Later in the evening I tried to eat something, but none of the food went down well – I ended up feeding them to the toilet bowl instead. In the night the fever came charging back like thunder, rapid and unsettling. Sweat came rolling down from my face, soaking the pillow and blanket. I spent the rest of the night shivering on my bed, praying that I will make it to the morning.

Friday morning. I struggled to get out of bed to catch the earliest shuttle bus to the university clinic. I remembered that as I walked from my room to the bus stop, my limbs were all trembling and the numbness is overwhelming. The tingling sensations got even worse, and I nearly ended up puking by the roadside. That day I saw a different doctor, and I described all the symptoms to him as accurately as possible. He nodded with great seriousness, and told me to trash all the medicine given to me yesterday. He gave me two injections, one on my butt and another on my arm for the vomitting and fever respectively. I felt instantaneously better.

Hospital woes (in short: NUH sucks)

Later in the afternoon I didn’t feel well again, and mom, simply being herself, tried to coax me to travel 4 hours back home and get admitted in the hospital in Malaysia. She was definitely thinking a little too much but I guess that’s just the natural reaction of a mom to a sickly child. I grabbed the doctor’s note and rushed myself to National University Hospital of Singapore (NUHS), headed for the A&E department and prepared to get admitted. I was wrong.

In the end, I spent 5 hours waiting for nothing but my blood test results (which were out in the first 2 hours) and for the doctor to communicate with his boss about my admission. The nurses doesn’t seem to be bothered with me sitting on a couch, wheezing like a madman, shivering violently and without a proper bed to rest. I had to admit that I was extremely miserable and feeling very horrible because of the neglect. When my mom managed to phone my uncle at arond 11.30pm (I went to A&E at aroud 7pm), he rushed over and managed to get me admitted by 12.45am. My aunt threw a minor hissy fit at the counter nurses for ignoring my repeated pleas to be admitted. Seriously, thinking of it, this incident gave me a huge discount on the ‘Singapore efficiency’ that NUH thinks it has. All I can say is, if you are heading for the A&E department of NUH, get an assertive adult or be prepared to head over to another hospital if possible. The way how NUH handles A&E patients simply sucks big time.

Oh, and I can’t help but be constantly reminded that it was Friday the 13th.

Warded

Finally, I was admitted into the Extended Diagnostic Treatment Unit (aka the observation ward), a ward for patients who the doctor doesn’t have any idea what to do with but just to observe for 24hours before taking any further action. There were 7 beds in the room, I was assigned bed number 4 (a very inauspicious number in my culture, but heck). I don’t know who was sleeping at Bed 1 and 2, but I know for sure that dude sleeping on Bed 2 is a helluva good snorer (what a pig) because he was part of the reason why I kept waking up every 30 minutes throughout the night at the ward. Bed 3 was a wheezing guy with a gall stone growth – he kept burping throughout the night, when he spoke, when he coughs and everything. He would go like, “Nurse, I *burp* need to *buuuuuurp* go to *burp* the toi*buuuuuuuueeaaaararaaaaaup*let.” Poor guy!

Bed 5 is a stocky hairy guy with hair extending down from his hairline to his back (there wasn’t much distinction of a hairline already), whom I heard suffered a minor head injury although I see no bandages. On the next morning he insisted that he should go through some checkup but the doctor brushed him off and said he’s as fit as a fiddle. Perhaps he just sorely needed a break off his job.

Bed 6 is a young guy, probably a year or two younger than me who’ve got swollen eyes and lips. I didn’t see his face properly when I was warded because of the darkness, but the swelling subsided the next day. He suffered an allergic reaction to something which I can’t remember. Last, but not least, on Bed 7 is the one and only female patient in the ward. The next day I learned that she felt really miserable and kept vomitting but she was very quiet the whole night… I sympathise with her and hope that she can make a speedy recovery.

I was constantly kept awake by Bed 2’s snoring and Bed 3’s burping and wheezing, while the nurses kept switching on the lights in the middle of the night to check on each of us. At the same time, all thanks to the experience (or rather, the lack thereof) of the doctor who treated me in the A&E department in the night, he didn’t manage to get my blood vessel for the first 2 pokes into my arm (and I’m already very skinny, the blood vessels should be, well, bloody visible). Because of that, the IV drip needle kept slipping in and out of my arm the whole night and the sheer pain and irritation from the needle kept me awake.

I survived the night and was overjoyed when the nurses finally switched on ALL the lights at 7am in the morning. I was already up since 5.30am waiting nothing but for breakfast to come. I remembered texting to Twitter a couple of times screaming for breakfast because I hadn’t been effectively eating since Thursday due to my constant vomitting. The nurse handed us a cup of pinkish liquid and my heart skipped a beat – is that the yucky liquid paracetamol poor little kids worldwide are forcibly fed when they’re down with fever? It turns out to be a scare instead since it’s just antiseptic mouthwash. We had chicken porridge in the morning and I couldn’t help but stare with great envy that the snorer on Bed 2 was enjoying his serving of tasty fried rice vermicelli. Darn.

I spent the rest of the day slipping in and out of alternate states of consciousness (aka sleeping and waking, nothing serious). Lunch was promptly served at 12pm and when I opened the box I saw… eggplants. I let out a muted scream – I’m not a particularly huge fan of eggplants (some people know it by the name ‘brinjals’), and this is going to be my first and last time in my life I’m voluntarily injesting a vegetable with everything of a vegetable except for the ‘green’ part (eggplants are purple, by the way).

The doctor came for the afternoon round and discharged me – I was too happy to get out of NUH.

Never going home… not

p/s: I robbed Fred (@fredyatesiv and @decowire) of this title because it’s just too nice!

I thought I was fine after being discharged from the hospital. The first night on my dorm bed felt really weird, as if something that was originally part of the spiritual ‘me’ is missing. I couldn’t sleep, tossed and turned in bed until it was 2am in the morning. The next day, which was a Sunday, felt even more rotten. I was sluggish, the fever is back with a small venegance (37.8 celcius at most). I was close to vomitting on my bed on one unfortunate occasion and that tipped me over – I’m going home to get some serious rest.

I initially decided that I should take a coach back, but my uncle and aunt decided otherwise and forcibly sent me to the airport instead. They got my a last minute ticket on MI616 from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, so that I will be home in 30 minutes instead of five hours (if I took the coach instead). I didn’t know whether should I be happy or sad.

Arrived home at 10pm at night, and went for another round of checkup at the local hospital, SJMC, on Monday morning. Our doctor gave me a 75% clear, with a dose of powerful antiseptic (it is the first time in my life I was prescribed an edible antiseptic) with a chemical name of… forget it, it’s 137 characters long and would barely fit in a tweet.1

So far I’m doing fine, resting well at home. Eating well too – although I’m getting bored with porridge, mom says she’ll be switching me over to solid food tomorrow. Then I can start on fruits and bread, then extend my food range to everything else!

And if you’ve managed to read the whole thing, thank you!

  1. (+)-(6R,7R)-7-[(z)-2-(2-amino-4-thiazolyl)-4-carboxy-crotonamido]-8-oxo-5-thia-1-azabicyclo[4.2.0]-oct-2-ene-2-carboxylic acid, dihydrate
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