Saturday, August 17, 2013

My dengue story

I recall on Saturday morning, I woke up feeling so terrible that I felt like banging my head against the wall. It felt so terrible that I had no choice but to SMS Hazel whose in the next door for help.

I literally text her "help". 

But it was too early in wee morning, she couldn't come to my rescue. I managed to drag myself off the bed, off the air-con and rolled back on to the bed. 

Every minute felt like it was forever. Thankfully, Hazel responded at bout 7am plus and I was tad saved. She helped me put on a cooling pad on my forehead and I went back to sleep. Secretly hopping that it'd be a miracle pad that would cure me the next minute I woke up. 

I fell back asleep but not for long, it was too unbearable. I woke up again bout 3 hours later and decided that I should visit the doctor. I tried calling my mother but she left her phone at home. Hazel was out and brother wasn't back from sailing. I picked up myself and slowly made my way to the clinic about a few streets away. 

I reached the clinic, it was at queue 16. I, was 27. With a extremely bad headache and high fever, it felt like I was waiting forever. I waited for almost an hour or two before it was finally 26. And guess what could be worst? 

The doctor decided to step out of her office and disappeared for 15-20 Minutes. 

I swear I felt like slaughtering her on the spot if I had any leftover energy. 

She prescribed me tons of medication, like 2 for the nose, 1 for the throat, 1 for vomiting/nausea and none for my main issue, which is fever. Well it's not her fault but because I'm allergic to fever medications, yes even paracetamol. So the only way was to self sponge, cooling pads and self hydrate. It sucks, I know. 

The irony? I was able to take it since young but everything changed when I was 18, I became allergic to it. 

Went back home and tried to nurse myself but the temperature just kept climbing and climbing. At about 7pm, my highest was 38.8, and that was went it was decided that it's time for me to visit A&E. The nearest to me was unfortunately Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH). 

Why was it "unfortunate"? Here's why. 

Michael drove me down to A&E together with Hazel. Upon arrival, we went directly to the registration counter. There was someone at the door who was I suppose to "detect" whose having fever or too weak needs some help etc. I was struggling to keep myself stable and Hazel was smaller build then I was but no one came up to offer me a wheel chair, no one.

Upon registering myself at the counter to see a doctor they immediately asked me for $98 payment to be made first.

Really? You collect money even before your patient is cured? What kind of hospital is this?

Of course we had no choice but to follow instructions and not kick a fuss as I was terribly sick. I was on 39.1 degree, severe headache and backaches not to mention terribly weak that I could barely support myself to walk properly. 

Kudos to the nurse that attended to me gave instructions to his colleague to let me have a wheelchair. (Thank you. I really needed that.) 

I felt like I've wasted my breath talking to the doctor. 

To be fair to the doctor.. It's true I'm a challenging patient as I've got multiple drug allergies. One of which is for fever. So whenever I'm down with fever the only option most doctor can give is to self sponge, IV drips and drink loads of water. This particular doctor that I met in KTPH is just <insert your own feelings>.  To summarize, he was unkind, impatient and <insert your own word>.

I was wheeled in his room, heads down (my headache was severely awful my vision is pretty bad too) with a mask and I could hardly catch my breath. 

Doctor: So what happened?

Patient: ..... ......

.... .... 

Doctor: Why you don't want to talk? 

Really, doctor if I was well and energetic do you think I need to visit you? No. I don't have to. So why can't you have been a bit more patient? I was trying to gather my leftover energy to explain myself but you just couldn't wait. Rather impatient doctor aren't you? 

His entire conversation with me was.. "We can't give you any medication because you're allergic to it..", "There's nothing much we can do because of your allergies..", "We don't take blood test unless you're having fever for more than 3 days then we'd take.." 

Really? Nothing you can do about it just because I've allergies? You think I don't know about this? Why would I want to go to hospital and listen to you say all this crap? Did I pay you to tell me you can't help me? Does it mean that everyone who has allergies shouldn't go to the hospital since there's nothing you can do? 


A friend's friend of mine was admitted into KTPH for high fever, then later discharged but did not fully recover and was asked to go to the nearest polyclinic himself to get an appointment for blood test

Nonetheless, the doctor eventually offered me to be on IV drips and I took up the offer only hoping that I'd feel better with the drips. The doctor inserted the needle for the drip and I was asked to counter 12 myself to get the drips on my own. At counter 12 the nurse that attended to me even accidentally spill the drips all over my chair. For that, I can close one eye and don't bother. The next ridiculous moment is when they placed me on drips, I'm still on the wheels and they decided to park me at an open parking lot with my family and there, my spot for recuperating.

Really? I just told the doctor I had severe body aches and my fever was still 39.1 and you put me on the wheels and expect me to feel comfortable?

I had to ask for a bed myself to rest before I was given. 

No, it wasn't crowded, it wasn't even passed 9 pm. It's just excuses if you're telling me that you were short handed. That's your shortcoming, not mine.

My entire time in the resting bay not a single nurse attended to me. Not a single one. No one came to me and ask me how I felt. No one came to me to check if I was alright. Not a single fucking soul. Even when they saw me struggling to put my own blanket around myself, the nurse walk passed me like I was already dead. Busy? Bullshit.

After lying down for awhile (I can't even tell how long time has passed) I felt extremely uncomfortable so I text my family to inform them to come and save me. Hazel stood by my bed for at least 15 minutes and no one came to me or her. I asked for the doctor to see me because the drips weren't working and I was still in pain. So you would think that if you're in such a pain and in a hospital the doctor would come by your bed and check on you right?

You want to see the doctor? You get up from your bed yourself and be wheeled over to the doctor's room. 

In the doctor's room, I explained myself feel terrible and he brushed it off by saying "Ya, fever is like that one, you feel lousy all over, but you are allergic to fever medicine, there's nothing we can do about your fever...".

Great. Thanks for reminding me that there's nothing you can do about the fever. Then the doctor decided to discharge me even though my high fever was still running.

I was discharged with nothing because he mentioned I still had some medication from the previous doctor I've seen in the morning. I went back home and that night, was probably one of my longest night.

No wait, I was given an MC for Sunday even though the doctor clearly knows I'm a office worker and even asked me what I work as. Great. 

I rested for the whole of Sunday, taking antibiotics and used over 10 cooling gel pads for the fever, finally my fever dipped down a little to 37.7 degrees. Well at least no more 38 degrees was already a good sign for me.

Come Monday morning my brother decided to bring me to the TCM nearby and get some help for my fever using Chinese medication since Western medication can't help me. Seen the doctor and took the medication. Well, it worked, my fever went down.... but not for long.

Tuesday morning's temperature was good, not really on the high side it was slightly about 37.2 or 37.4 but when noon hit while I was taking a nap my temperature suddenly shot up to 38.6 degrees again and that was when I decided to get myself a blood test.

I quickly went over to another GP (note this is my 4th doctor I've seen) nearby my house and asked for blood test. He suggest that I might have dengue fever and told me that I have to go A&E to get it tested. Of course I immediately rejected the idea of returning to KTPH. I requested to go TTSH and I made a right choice.

Upon arrival at TTSH I walked to the registration counter and got myself registered. As I went at about 5 pm there wasn't much queue so I was attended to shortly. My blood was taken and a nurse brought me to the room where they got me a bed to rest while waiting to see the doctor. Throughout my entire time in A&E thereafter I was on the bed even during consultation and other check ups the nurses and doctors were the ones pushing me around and coming to me, not me going to them.

After consultation with the medical officer they temporary warded me in their observation room to wait for my blood test results. It was a long wait and while waiting they were treating my fever with drips too. When my results were out the same doctor came to my bed side and informed me I was indeed a dengue positive patient and told me I had to be warded because they were worried about my blood and platelets count. Together with her senior consultant (I verified on their website and indeed he was a senior consultant) they came and examine me and explained to me what happened to me and what will be going on for me the next few days. I felt at ease because I was well informed of my condition and the entire situation.

It was another long wait for a bed in TTSH because they were overcrowded. I overheard the nurses calling up different institutes to check on beds on where they can transfer the patients to internally and not asking them to self make appointments.

While waiting, suddenly I had a extremely bad gastric pain accompanied by shortage of breathe where I called for the doctor. The doctor came by my side and asked me how I was doing before heading off to consult her senior doctor on what medication can she give me because of my allergies. She offered me a few solutions after consulting her senior doctor and I was relieved for awhile.

After a long wait... I'm finally warded. It was a long night and because my right arm was on drips almost going 12 hours, my arms hurt and it felt uncomfortable. I couldn't bend my arms nor move them much, it's kind of a unexplainable feeling.

It was close to 2am in the wee hours and everyone's asleep. The nurse came in and settled me down, explained to me the bed facilities and left me to rest. Throughout the whole night I couldn't fall asleep due to my fever and pain but the nurses were patient and caring towards me. One of them even stayed awhile just to talk to me and tell me what I'd be looking at the next few days.. From what time the doctors will come... my meal times.. and etc.  (Well at least the lonely night wasn't too lonely)

My stay started on Tuesday night and finally... Friday afternoon my doctor came and gave me the good news that my blood cells and platelets are increasing and I can go home!

It was a long... long 3 days in the hospital. Every morning was blood test, medication, consultation by the head doctors. All I did was eat, sleep, shit and repeat. Every other hour I'd have to take blood pressure and I had a "body temperature" detector on me to ensure that my fever doesn't come back. Each complain I have to the nurses will always be conveyed to the doctors and new medications would be given and when I've recovered from the previous one the medication would stop. It means they are constantly checking on you to make sure you don't need to take extra, only what you need.

Discharging was smooth and even the business office people came up to the wards to get me to sign documents before leaving the hospital. Pharmacist dropped by my bed to explain to me the medication and my doctor prescribed quite a fair bit of medication some on standby some mandatory. Within an hour I was discharged and someone else who needs the bed more then I do now will be able to use that space.


I always thought that dengue fever wasn't something that serious until I got it myself. I learnt from my cousin that long ago my big uncle almost couldn't make it because of dengue fever too. Even though my counts were low, I was lucky to have been treated soon enough. The rate that the cells drops is just so scary. Over a few hours thousands of them had battled and died in me trying to save me. Well, I'm still glad that everything's over and I'm on the road to recovery now.

As I pen down my thoughts, a nurse in the ward that I stayed in TTSH just dropped me a call to check on how's my appetite, my fever, overall how I feel and reminded me that I need to get my blood test done next week. Thank you nurses and doctors in TTSH, for being like a family when I was all alone.


Thank you all my family, my love, my friends, my colleagues/bosses and everyone that cared about me. Many many love for everyone from me.

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