It’s now late August 2011. So I should count myself really lucky that it’s only now that I’m back again at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Accident & Emergency Department — after some 16 months and not any sooner.
I was there in April 2010 and the reason for that visit is detailed here.
I was back again on Tuesday, Aug 23, and mum’s Picky Siti was again the reason.
But rewind back to last Saturday night.
I was out at a Strauss opera called Salome performed at the Esplanade, Theatres on the Bay, courtesy of an invite from JL, my regular provider of cultural fixes.
When I returned home a little after 10pm, i was surprised to find everyone sound asleep as Picky usually waits till 10.30pm.
I went by her room and saw she was flat on her back with a face cloth on her face which i thought was a bit creepy and made a mental note to tell her so in the morning.
That I did when I found she was still sleeping at 8.30am when both mum and I were up and mum waiting for her breakfast.
That was when Picky told me she developed a high fever just as i was going out the nite be4 and decided “not to worry you” by mentioning it. To keep the fever at bay, she kept a wet face towel on her face! The panadol she took didn’t help. She had also been purging, she said.
Rest of family arrived and after a hurried meal, I rushed her to see the Sunday doctor at Holland Village. Thanks to the kindness of Kinara, the Indian restaurant, we were able to park right behind the Silver Cross chain clinic, got three types of medication and was home in no time.
With Picky out of action, I had a taste of what it meant to have to look after mum, including giving her her shower, her be4 sleep leg massage, cook and clean. Add all the little chores of putting out the vases of flowers to catch the dew at nightfall, put out food for the invisible family of lizards we maintain etc that may be no hard work individually but collectively are very time consuming. 🙄
But Picky remained flat out on Monday and in addition to her stomach cramps, a light fever and diarrhea, she also began vomiting, and so wasn’t able to keep down any of the medication she was precsribed by Silver Cross! Not the best way to get better 😦
So it was another flat out day for me, besides worrying whether Picky was seriously ill or play acting, always opting to believe that her sour face and moans meant she was really, really sick. She couldn’t even keep down a tea-spoon of water by evening, though she kept stirring my doubts by pausing in between throwing up loudly to watch TV!
I wavered between rushing her to A&E in the middle of the night or waiting till day break; the first option wasn’t easy as I’ve a cognitive impaired octogenarian to take care of. Calling family members to mother-sit or sending her to them weren’t real options as it meant spreading the problem far and wide, without lightening it a jot for me.
By early on Tuesday morning, I decided to call a private ambulance — and hang the $50! — to send Siti to TTSH’s A&E to begin the tedious queueing process for those without obvious life-threatening injuries, while I clean house and send mum to my sister’s, and then go to A&E to check on her.
As things turned out, the ambulance won’t arrive for another 45 minutes and while waiting for the minutes to pass, a light bulb lit up in my head. I didn;t really want an ambulance to arrive at my condo and set curious neighbours’ speculation. I should call a taxi for Picky, not any taxi but that driven by one taxi auntie I’ve known for years.
That’s what i did. Cancelled the ambulance n located the auntie taxi at Changi airport and made her a $40 offer to do the necessary.
To cut a long story short, with mum safely ensconced at my sister’s home, I rushed to TTSH to find Picky treated like a queen by the A&E staff. She had been given two packs of saline and something else drip and could be discharged, together with 7 kinds of medication. In addition, she had tests for “creatinine, potassium, sodium, urea and full blood count”!
The doctor in attendance was kindly, a Dr Tong whom Picky claimed was a Muslim and, like her, was doing puasa.
Be that as it may but one of the better things to happen that day besides Picky not being diagnosed with dengue or worse was the bill. It cost $90. Not a small bill to be sure but I had paid $59 at Siver Cross for a 5-minute consultation on Sunday. Also, the A&E bill’s actual cost was $240, be4 government subsidy and another $6.30 GST also absorbed by the government.
The not-so-g0od thing was Picky returned home and was averse to taking her medication, much to my chagrin. I coaxed and threatened but eventually she gave in not because of what I said but because her illness got better of stubborness.
The diarrhea, vomiting and fever have gone but the pain in her stomach area persists, she says. Let’s hope what my cousin Peter’s pronouncement on a flying visit to Sg from London doesn’t come true.
“You know, Siti could be having stones in her gall bladder!”
I can do without a further visit to the A&E at TTSH for at least another 16 months. Even when the government subsidises my bill so handsomely!