Saturday, August 28, 2004

Hospital Again

2/8/04 was a historic day in my life in a sense that I drove along the Karak/Kuantan Highway for the first time, after it was opened yesterday. I have already described that in, my other blog. What I am writing here is what happened when I arrived in Kuantan.

On arriving in Kuantan just after noon after a 2 1/2 hours drive from KL, I was as fit as a fiddle (so I thought). So I went straight into my work activities, and also went to pay my bills in town. But that night at about 11.00 pm after I felt asleep for about 1 hour I felt nauseated, pain in my chest that moved up to my neck. At first I thought nothing of it but after remembering that many had taken their last breath this way, I dressed up and told my wife to drive me to the nearest hospital. I did not want to tell then about my condition and my fear as she might panic. Of course not knowing what was happening to me she took her time to dress up. I was already in great pain and so I went downstairs and into the car, sat in the passenger’s seat waiting and hoping that she might hurry up. At last she was ready and she drove me to the nearest hospital, the Kuantan Medical Centre (KMC) which is one of the private hospitals in Kuantan. (The nearest hospital is really the Kuantan General Hospital but she had a bad experience at that Hospital earlier recently). I was immediately set to be admitted, but the admittance process was very slow, so I thought - in my condition. There was only a Staff Nurse and a very young female Doctor to attend and to take care of me on admission. And they nearly panicked, so I thought when they saw the condition I was in. I suppose I must have looked like someone who was about to get a heart attack. They took my temperature, blood pressure, ECG and whatever else they could do. They tried to consult their Senior Doctor by phone but could not contact him (he had just come back from leave so I was told). But they admitted me into a Ward.

I said that they were slow, as compared to what had happened at a Hospital I was admitted to last week where the admittance process was very methodical and very fast. Everyone at that KL Hospital seemed to know exactly what each was supposed to do, to examine and to admit a patient. But when I was admitted in the KL Hospital last week was during the day time, so I suppose I cannot really compare apple to apple to what could have happened had I been admitted during the late hour of the night.

Anyway at KMC I was wheeled into a single room with my own private TV and a private toilet (luxury?). I did not care really as I was too ill then. My wife contacted her sister, who lives in Kuantan town, and her husband about my condition and they came. And the Hospital night ward staff came to attend to me, poked needles in my hand where they put a drip. And I was too ill to care. They made me swallow a few pills, I thought they did that but I could not remember that well as I was already delirious, I think. I only ralised where I was by early next morning, I was still dressed up in my jeans and t-shirt, and I was like this for the next day as I did not want to change into proper bed clothes. I thought I was to ill for that. And for a day or two Nurses came like clockwork to give me medicine, change my drip and inject me with God knows what. And the Nurses, they were really medical robots, just say "Hullo", jab you or put medicine on your table, or take your blood or blood samples and just moved on. No real smile, no sympathetic remarks, just did their work and that was it. Except of course the Sisters and sometimes the Matron comes over to enquire about your condition.

But I must admit that the Doctor that took charge of me was good. Old, experienced and very good bed manners. Talked to me, asked me how I was and what else that I could tell him about me and my past illness history. Unlike my experience in the Hospital in KL where the Doctor knew (I thought they knew) exactly what you suffer from and how to treat you. Without wishing to compare, the Doctor at KMC gave me almost different medicine from what was given in KL. With jabs, blood sampling, blood tests, pills and drips, after about 3 days I felt a bit better and I was almost ready to be discharged. But what got me was I could not eat, my mouth was always bitter. But I suppose that helped to reduce my glucose level, without food my glucose level felt drastically, it went down to below 10 most of the time. It never went that low for a long time, since a couple of years if I remember properly (except during the fasting month of Ramadan). And the Doctor at KMC also had managed to almost cure my cough which I have been suffering for over 1 month then. The Doctor in KL thought that I suffered for asthma and he treated me so. The Doctor at KMC stopped my asthma treatment and treated me for cough. And I was cured. I do not wish to be critical on Doctors but I suppose even Doctor makes mistakes.

The condition at KMC, a bit different from that what I experienced in KL. I suppose its not fair for me to compare as I was in a single room in KMC but was in a 4 - 8 bedded room at the KL Hospital. But I must say that the Nurses at the KL Hospital was more caring socially but in KMC they were very mechanical but very efficient in taking samples and giving you medicine. Of course in KL they are also efficient in that area.

But being admitted into a private hospital is not really a place to rest. In the KL Hospital it ‘party time’ all the time and in KMC it was ‘family time’ all the time. I have never thought that whole families would come to visit the sick, but they do come really. So the place was noisy, I felt that it was quieter in my own homes than in hospitals, in KL or in Kuantan for that matter. And I suppose I was more ill due to the noise that what I was really was.

Anyway after about 3 days I was ready to go home. On the morning I was about to be given a discharge by the Doctor, I had many visitors. But after the visitors left, I was suddenly seized with a severe headache. I thought I had migraine, but the Doctor privately told my wife that I nearly had a stroke. So then again I was measured, sampled, dripped and whatever else, jabbed and all that. I was really ill again then (more serious I thought). I could not eat. I was like this for the next 4 days. But by then I have already told everyone (by SMS) that I was about to be discharged, so because of that I was more at peace in the hospital with no more visitors. But the noise from the other people visitors still bothered me and there was nothing I could do about that. And I was only discharged from KMC 4 days later.

I ought to say something about the food served at the hospital that I have been admitted to lately. In KL they tried to please you by giving you the chance to select from a menu. A choice of either Malaysian or Western (so they claim). I chose Western as I find that Malaysian food are either too hot or too smelly (at least to me then when I was ill). I almost puke every time I smell the food (even when served to others near me). It must have been that I was ill that caused me to react that way. As for the Western food, they tasted bland to me, either it was my taste buds not in an agreeable mode (mood?) or that the way it was cooked did not agree with what I think Western food should taste like. I wasted the food. In Kuantan they confessed that they buy food from the nearby restaurant. They gave me the menu to choose the food from. It looked good, so in the first day I ordered some Malaysian food, those not hot and those I imagine not smelly. The food came and it was too plentiful for a sick men like me then. I took some of the food, not too tasty but I was able to eat. But it was too much so I wasted much of the food. After that I had food brought by my wife, either she buys them somewhere else or she had her sister to cook for me. But again I was too ill to eat much. I ate a lot of fruits though, apples and pears, which again I had to be very careful not to eat in excess in case my glucose level shot up. Until I was discharged, I did not eat very much except for some biscuit (and imported fruits) and plain water to wash them down with. But when I was discharged I felt the pang of hunger so I bought a BigMac. That was good. But even then I was still being very careful with my food as my taste buds had still to come back to normal and I was also trying to preserve my glucometer reading as low as possible, at least to a reading of less than 10. My favourite food until today is still tinned Chinese dace in black bean (in vege oil) with some boiled rice (earlier it was rice porridge). But I did go to some nice Western food restaurants in Kuantan to satisfy my crave for good Western food.

I must say that being hospitalised is not a pleasant experience. It was to satisfy your health need and nothing more. I do not know how people can tell me that they go into a hospital (or a Medical Centre) for a rest. I need a proper holiday now.

Before I close I must confess that people do care when you are ill. My wife was with me all the time when I was in the Kuantan Hospital, and most of the time when I was hospitalised in KL. And in KL I had many visitors. And my children (who are in KL) were there many time to see how I fared and when I was in Kuantan Hospital one of my daughters drove from KL to see me. And a friend also drove from KL with his wife to attend to some business and also to see me. But by the time they came I was already discharged from the hospital. But we went for dinner together. And in Kuantan also friends and relative who are in Kuantan came, even some I have not met before or had not met for a long time. And when I told some old Classmate about my conditions, many called to express their concerned (especially when a Classmate had just died in KL during my stay at the Hospital in Kuantan). A husband and wife team from Alor Star ( whom I used to work with when I was working in Alor Star) was about to take a trip to Kuantan to see me at the Hospital. Lucky they called when they were about to come, and I managed to tell them that I was already dischaerged. So they did not come. To all those who are concerned, I wish to express my gratitude.

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