Monday, May 11, 2009
Breathe Easy Now
I accompanied Wifey to Changi General Hospital today.
I thought the Swine Flu alert level in Singapore was brought down back to yellow, the lowest of 5 levels, a few days ago so there was no longer a need for flu or fever screening before entering the premise.
Yet, unsurprisingly, we were met with a long queue of people being screened at the makeshift blocked entrance as soon as we alighted from the cab at the drop-off point.
Though seemed like it was a long queue, both patients and visitors were processed rather quickly. It was rather an interesting experience, having to go through the actual process after reading about it numerous times since during the first SARS outbreak some years back.
When it was our turn at the counter, we were made to produce our ID cards to the staff who were all dressed in yellow smocks and full-grade face masks. Followed by the once too often, but nevertheless important “Are you feeling feverish or having flu?” question on our present general health… which was none to both.
Our names and residential address were keyed into the computer for traceability purposes in case of any breach detected in the hospital that day before the IDs were returned back to us.
We had to state our purpose of visit to distinguish between patient seeking medical attention and the visitor that was me. We got our IDs back and given face mask each.
Wifey as given a different type of face mask while I got the elastic ear loop ones. We were also handed two plastic chips - one green and the other blue before proceeding to the entrance that was armed with a thermal imaging scanner to detect for any feverish people. Not so sure what the colored chips meant though… either distinguishing between man and woman or patient and visitor.
Once given admission, a blue oval sticker with the current date was pasted onto our clothes and the two chips surrendered back.
Everyone was to wear the masks at all times as long as we were in the hospital cordoned area.
Wifey’s specialty Clinic C for asthmatic patients is on the second floor. She registered herself and was given a queue number 1503 for consultation Room 3. About 20 minutes later, she was called into the doctor’s room.
The doctor's examination did not take long, but the consultation on the reinforcement of habits and medication administration by the Staff Nurse was. They cannot emphasize enough on the importance of asthmatic patients to avoid allergens and exhaustion that could trigger asthma, and the consistency of taking the correct dosage daily.
We have modified our home to rid of unnecessary allergens such as carpets and dander from pets, but I guess too much housework for a house-proud Wifey, coupled with too much excitement from the previous day’s Mother’s day celebration dinner and the weeks of stress she felt for Sonny preparing for his midyear exams had taken a toll on her otherwise controlled condition.
We collected Wifey’s four months supply of inhalants cost S$87.60 after a 40% subsidy at the Pharmacy on the ground floor. With so many people and so much activities going on there, added with all the flashing of queue numbers on the side boards and at each counter, it was like a stock trading place.
Wifey was very glad we could finally get rid of the masks at the exit point as she felt harder to breathe with it on. All visitors departing the hospital was asked to use the hand sanitizer supplied at the exit as a protection to not inadvertently introduce any to the external public.
Fortunately, her condition is not serious and in fact, she has been given a lighter dosage for her few months supply of inhalants.