Friday, July 23, 2004

In Case of Emergency

---Edited to add in commas. Previous post's verbage was symptomatic of my inability to  breathe and much harder to read---

This morning, I woke up with the great inability to breathe. I've had swollen lymph nodes under my chin bugging me the whole week and I suspect it was done rebelling and sending me a clear warning that my work schedule's insane and my body was going on strike.

So, after much hesitation, I changed out of my work wear, into scruffy t shirt and berms and headed over to the nearby Emergency room seeing that no clinic was open at 6.40 in the morning and I didn't want Dan to get into trouble being too late for school.

Got to the ER at 7 am and was registered at 7.10am. Waited till 7.45 am before seeing a doctor who reminded me of Doogie Houser and apparently knew my brother-in-law. Anyway, he figured I had one of those vague upper respiratory tract infections but to be on the safe side, I was shuffled off to get an x ray of my lungs done. By then, I'd sent Dan off to school with the assurance that I wasn't going to turn blue and drop dead. Then I settled down to wait. And wait. And wait and wait and wait. The doctor saw me again at 9 am and told me he couldn't figure what was wrong since my lungs were clear and prescribed me lozenges and painkillers! And then sent me out to wait some more.

By 9.20, I was getting extremely impatient because I'd been there for 2 hours with Doogie not really knowing what was wrong with me and I was still waiting on meds that I could get at the pharmacy and with a brother who had a brain tumour last year and another one with the ability to prescribe, I could open up a little cottage pharmacy with the number of painkillers in my medicine cabitnet.  (Extremely long sentence, but I'm full of annoyance and it's too much trouble to take a breath). Anyhow, I march up to the counter and ask why it was taking so long for my prescription to be written out. The lady there tells me that I should expect to wait at least 3 hours since this was an emergency ward and when I indicated that it was coming up close to 3 hours she shut up and went to find out what was taking them so long only to come back out and whisper to a nurse to explain to me hospital policy because I didn't understand it. So then, I'm talked to like I was stupid and an idiot and about ten. I am told that the doctor must print out the MC and the prescription in a tone that is only fit to tell young children that taking their meds was good for them and a lollipop would follow. Only that I didn't get any lollipop. And while this was happening, Doogie walks out of the consultation room with another nurse laughing away obviously heading out to breakfast.

And then I'm left there, seething in my own breathlessness and the ineptness of our wonderful health system. At 9.45 am, the same nurse who didn't give me the lolli shoves a whole pile of papers at me. One of them my prescription for Difflam lozenges and Anarex painkillers (which I have bullet packs of in my fridge), a letter to see a specialist in August if I'm still breathless then (If I'm still short of breath in August, I think I would either have to be on oxygen support or blue and dead already!) and a list of things to do since I have the common cold (which I don't!)

  1. Do not blow your nose too hard because it may cause a nose bleed (no shit)
  2. Use a cool mist humidifier not hot steam to clear your nasal passages
  3. Rest as much as possible and get plenty of sleep (well, I would if the hospital didn't waste 3 hours of my rest time!)
  4. Wash your hands after you blow your nose and cover your mouth when you cough
  5. Drink plenty of fluids like water, juice, tea (!), soups and carbonated drinks ( I can drink as much 7 up and Coke when I'm ill? That's new)

So there, they don't know what's wrong with me but give me more non descript medication that even outdoes my Panadol -cures everything- prescribing brother. Tell me to rest but hold me hostage for 3 hours when the waiting room resembled a ghost town when I walked in and in the true spirit of the kiasu Singapore doctor who fears anyone dying on their watch, thrusts the responsibility of figuring out why I'm breathless to another person.

A wonderfully true testament of our efficient and to be admired by all medical system. *growl* So, in case of emergency, never go to A&E unless you can arrive under the blaring sirens of the ambulance and even then, only if ambulance coverage is included in the insurance policy you have. I'm quite sure I don't, so I'm staying away from hospitals from now on. I can die at home, thank you very much. More less annoying.


Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:22

6 thoughts...

6 thoughts...

At 12:49 pm Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess for going to an emergency department without the 'blaring sirens of the ambulance', that much is understandable.

At 4:12 pm Blogger Terz said...

Truly a case of "In case of emergency, whatever the hell you do, do not break glass."

At 9:04 pm Blogger J. said...

best way to get treated quickly for any RTI:

go outside, get run over by a bus, then when carried into ER by ambulance with sirens and flashy lights, weakly prod the doctor and say : by the way, doctor, i've been having this nagging cough...could you do something about it while i'm here?

seriously: hope you get/feel better soon -hugs- see a real doctor? (like your GP maybe?)

At 9:52 pm Blogger Ondine said...

But my GP tells me I need to lose weight!!!

At 8:34 pm Blogger WJ said...

I've experienced it too!

At 12:46 am Blogger J. said...

smack your GP in the head, and then ask if your lymph nodes are just acting funny.

hope they stop acting funny soon. -hug-


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