Saturday, May 30, 2009

SGH Day 2

Dad is running a fever today. His first "spike" as the nurse termed it.

His temperature was at 38.0 Degrees Celsius when I asked the nurse while she was doing routine monitoring on Dad. She already called for the doctor on duty today.

Just this morning, a doctor from the oncology team called to inform about Dad going for his CT Scan around noon. I did not catch her name, but she said that Dad was well and had no complaints during their rounds.

Visiting hours starts only at 2:00PM to 5:00PM and another at 7:00PM to 8:30PM. The hospital is adhering to these times strictly now to prevent introduction of the Swine Flu or H1N1 virus to everyone in the premises.

Both Mom and I waited for Second Eldest Brother to come back from work To visit Dad. He was picked up Eldest Brother from his home and then fetched us from our parents' home. It was about 5:00PM when we reached the hospital.

SGH is limiting only 2 visitors per patient at any one time, so Mom and I went to see Dad first and settled some stuff Dad we brought from home.

A young lady doctor came into the room to check on Dad. Looking concern, she introduced herself to me but I could not recall her name later on as I was quite shaken inside seeing Dad not looking as good as he as yesterday.

She woke Dad up and started asking a series of questions about his condition for the past two weeks. Some questions were specific in relation to the current Swine Flu scare.

Dad suddenly developed a fever after coming back from the CT Scan done before noon. So when we arrived, Dad was already had cold packs on his forehead and neck.

He appeared tired and shivering a little. His dinner was left untouched on the table. It was worrying to see Dad like that.

Mom was quite reluctant to leave Dad so soon as we both had to leave so that both my elder brothers could see Dad. Yet, something unpleasant happened...

Once we went down to the ground floor and out from the flu screening stations, we handed over our stickers to my elder brothers. They queued to register their names to enter next. Mom and I left and headed to Cheers convenient store to buy some stuff she wanted.

That was when Eldest Brother called and sounded furious.

The staff at the registration counter asked for Dad's ID card number as verification to allow entry. My Brothers were turned away after explaining to the man that they were the sons and had only Dad's ward, room and bed numbers as verification.

With the strict rule in place to screen each individual before entering, the hospital has limited the number of visitors per patient to a maximum of 8 immediate family members or caregivers. I had to nominate the 8 people in the family, while had to leave a few out.

I had a tough time deciding while I did it at the Admissions Office yesterday and even tougher time to call each and everyone of my siblings to inform who can and cannot visit Dad, and reasons why I chose the way I did.

Fortunately, everyone was understanding and supportive of my choice, though everyone was anxious to see Dad.

I doubled as quickly as I could push Mom on her wheelchair to the screening station to find both of my elder Brothers already out from the queue and appeared disgusted and pointing to the counter that turned them away.

I was appalled at the type of verification he used.

I was not asked this particular question when I registered numerous times to enter the ward during these two days. The other counters asked me for the ward, room and bed numbers to search for the patient in their computer and then asked for the patient's name as verification.

Elder Brother-in-law did not have trouble going through registration yesterday with the same questions. That was practical.

The counter staff told me that it was easier for him to search and verify using the patient's ID Card number, but I had to prove my point bluntly to him.

I asked him if he remembered his wife's or child's ID card number before he asked for any one else's...

"If you can remember any of them, then my brothers should remember their father's too."

I told him that it might be easy for him, but he was making already anxious family members coming to see their loved ones undue stress by asking such a question just to simplify his work. It most probably came from his own idea since the other counters had not.

He accepted my reasoning and allowed for my brothers' ID cards to register again.

This time, their names were not listed in the 8 nominated names on the computer.

I had to explain to him the possibility of them not updating the nomination list fast enough to their central database as Dad was admitted only last evening. That was why only 3 names appeared... Mom's, Brother-in-law and me had registered yesterday.

He finally let my brothers pass through. It was such an unnecessary ordeal. I had not known there were so many eyes on me then. When I realized the attention I gave myself, I noticed several heads nodded in agreement with me.

I believe everyone knows the hospital is doing their job as best they can among the chaotic situation with that many visitors. Most of whom are already stressed from their daily lives, straight from work to visit and with an anxious mind, to go through such cumbersome process just to visit their loved ones.

Yes, it is for everybody's safety but some individual bright ideas may go weary and ignite a flame with some stressed out people bursting with anger. I could feel that brewing in me at the point.

Both elder Brothers went up quite fumed, but came done subdued after visiting Dad.

Mom and Eldest Brother went back to our parents' place to Woodlands while Second Eldest Brother and I went the opposite way back to the east.

Eldest Brother is keeping Mom company for tonight. Mom is staying with Elder Sis for the duration Dad is in the hospital. Youngest Brother will come by our parents' home to take care of their plants for the time being.

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Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger