So, what actually happened to my hand on 2013 New Year’s Eve? The following is a statement of what actually happened, based on a true story.
I was pruning a Nibong palm on a ladder. I was about 1.5m above ground. The Nibong palm has a lot of thorns. I feel off the ladder and my hand just grabbed onto the stem of the palm. The thorns just pricked onto my right palm and each and every thorn broke. I had some abrasion on my left palm and left leg. Very slight abrasion, like a fall from bicycle. No injury from the fall.
Wait, let me answer your questions: yes, I am wearing rubber glove but the thorns are like needles. Unless I wear metal glove? Also, from what I know, the thorns contain no poison.
Since it is just thorns, I wanted to see my neighbourhood doctor. I call up Samantha to ask her to get the queue number for me but asked them if the doctor is willing to take out my thorns. They said: yes, can.
So I went to see my neighbourhood doctor. She is shocked that I got so many thorns on my palm. She used a tweezer, trying to pluck the thorns from my palm.
By the way, I had my first aid kit with me and that was what I did. Because the thorns broke once it is inserted onto my flesh, there is no way the tweezer could pluck the thorns out.
I was expecting that the doctor has some other equipments to get the thorns out. She was nervous because in the end, she couldn’t do it and there are a lot of patient waiting for her. She recommended me to go to the nearest one: NUH (National University hospital) or AH (Alibaba hospital). It was 10am and i chose the Alibaba Hospital. I drove straight to A&E of Alibaba hospital with Samantha.
The first check was quick. A nurse will check my blood pressure and body temperature.
Then I waited for about 20 minutes for another person. This person seems to be a doctor but do not look like one, lets call her ‘Doctor 1’. She said that I need to go to an operation theater to do a micro surgery to take out all the thorns. But to know how deep and how many thorns, I have to go for an X-ray. For all these, I have to be warded because I need to wait for the operation theater and the surgeon to be available. I asked if there are any other options since this is just some thorns, she said, no. I must be warded.
She saw my bleeding abrasions and thorns but didn’t do anything.
I went to the x-ray department. The x-ray guy turn my hand here and there to aim… he didn’t know that the x-ray was to see the thorns. He thought it was to see my bones. I reminded him.
In-process for ward: a polite receptionist helped me filled up forms and explained to me the conditions of each ward and she knew that I have my AVIVA insurance for hospitalization. She asked me to sign 3 items.
One of it was:
Mr Goh, are you willing to stay in the hospital?
My reply: of course I am NOT willing to stay in the hospital, the doctor forced me to.
She was shocked by my answer.
You wait there for a while, I get the doctor to talk to you.
Then, a lady come and explain that it was because I have to use the operation theater, have to see the surgeon, have to access my conditions by the experts, so need time, so need to be warded.
Ok, I accept.
Then I go back to the same receptionist and she shouted at me:
HELLO! IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO SIGN THIS, SORRY YOU CANNOT STAY.
It was 12noon and I believe she is hungry...
She left and another receptionist took over. I waited for her for about 20 minutes.
This 2nd receptionist asked me the same 3 questions and one of it was again:
Mr Goh, are you willing to stay in the hospital?
My reply: of course I am NOT willing, the doctor forced me to.
Her face turned black and told me: sorry, my job is only here. You have to sign this in order to complete the process. else you cannot be warded.
Somehow, I agreed to sign the papers after seeing the what was written was not what was spoken, so its ok. I chose C ward even I can claim from my insurance or medisave and i want to give the chance to other people that need it more.
I went up to the ward and bed. A big sized young local nurse came to do pre-ward assessment to check my current status. When talking to her, another nurse use a long cotton bud to prick in my nose to collect bacterial sample.
That irritates me! She didn’t warn me about that before she insert that into me.
The big size young nurse then gave me a set of hospital uniform. I felt like being in jail. I ask her why must I wear it?
This is hospital, you must wear, else doctor come I will get scolding, or do you want me to help you the change?!
Actually I know part of the reason was hygiene but she didn’t explained to me.
I was wearing my work boots. I requested if she has any flip flops for me. Nope, they do not have any.
see the black dots on my palm? they are the thorns.
see the blue plastic tweezer she had, the surgical stainless steel tweezer i borrowed her and the wound she created without cleaning up?
Then, 2 doctors came and see my condition. Dr Tony (Indonesian accent english, young guy) and Dr Tan (Malaysian accent english, young lady).
Tony told Tan: wah lao. Why they (doctor 1) warded him?! No need whatt… just ask your nurse to use the needles to take out the thorns. X-ray cannot see any thorns… the thorns are too fine to be seen from the x-ray.
I waited for another half hour for a staff nurse to arrive. Later I got to know this nurse came from south India and is not a local. What she did was she use the needles for injections to scrape my skin around the black spot where the needles are, until the first layer of skin is exposed and bleed, then she dig and scrape deeper trying anchor onto the head of the thorns. This was done at the chair beside my bed. I was crying because the pain of scraping the new exposed skin that she made was unbearable.
She had a tweezer, a plastic one. She tried using it for 2 times and she put it aside. I offered her my surgical stainless steel one that I had in my first aid box. She used it.
The whole process was pain pain pain. She would look around my palm only to see any possible black spot and start digging.
She did NOT clean my hand prior to the digging operation.
She only used 3 small pieces of alcohol swap to clean the blood that is blocking her view to dig.
After more than 20 wounds she created, I was so glad. Some parts of my palm still hurt when I apply pressure on it. I suspect that there are some thorns inside.
Dr Tan came, she look around my palm. I told her that the Indian nurse have not clean up my wound.
5 minutes later, that Indian nurse came and used 2 small pieces of alcohol swap to wipe my hand briefly, even less brief than wiping off shit from the ass.
these alcohol swap is about 2cm x 2cm, the standard type.
I asked her: what about my abrasion on my left hand and leg.
She said: okok, later.
And she did not do it! And she did not clean up my tweezer.
I kept on asking doctor Tan if I can leave, she said that the other doctor wants to come but still in the operation theater.
I waited and waited. Nothing was done on me. I lost confident in all of them. I closed the curtain, changed and escape from the ‘prison/hell’.
the size of the thorn that i tried to DIY.
No water was served. i bought a can of potato chips for my lunch. once i was warded, they put up 2 signage. 1st was no food and drink. i ask the big sized young nurse why, she says this is SOP. 2nd sign was the falling danger sign. where ever i go, even i go to toilet, i must wait for someone to come to accompany me because i come in due to a fall. they also put this as a police case because the 1st doctor asked me if i was working during the accident. then the police called me, i told the police that i am not going to do any report, any claim or any thing. i guess the police felt relieved to hear that because he had lesser paperwork to do.
About 2 hours later, I was with Samantha and she received a phone call from the Alibaba hospital. She can’t really hear what they were trying to say and I asked her to hang up immediately. The hospital did not call me.
Samantha applied medication onto all my wound that the Indian nurse has scrape and on the abrasion on my left hand and legs. Samantha also managed to take out another long thorn in my left leg and various small thorns on my right palm.
The next day, I went back to the hospital, back to my bed. No one was looking for me. There was no conclusion for my case. They didn’t ask me to go back for re-consultation or anything. The only person that want to see me is the admin girl.
That admin girl was pretty looking and sweet. What I was left was the bill. I wasn’t afraid of the bill because I used my CPF money to buy all the insurance I could buy, that was for any kind of hospitalization matters in Singapore. I am sure the healthcare system in Singapore will take good care of me. Even if the bill does not exceed X amount, I still can use my medisave from CPF.
In the end, I have to use cash. I cannot use medisave from CPF because:
In order to use the money from your medisave, you have to be warded 8 hours and above, and you (Mr Goh) only warded for 7 and half hours. So have to pay cash.
i went back to another nurse, requesting to see the doctor because some of the wound are swelling and I suspect some other new thorns within my skin.
Nurse: sorry ah, doctor not around. Today 1st of January but if u really want to see doctor, you go back to A&E.
me: what? Go A&E must pay again, about $80+, also have to wait leyyy
nurse: I think they should be able to do something.
I went back to A&E, waited for 2 hours until I meet a proper doctor that can explain clearly and do the right thing.
He showed me that there is no thorn in the x-ray not because it is too small to be seen but it is maybe only on my skin.
I showed him the one of the swelling part that is hurting. He and I suspect that there is thorn inside. He explained that he has to do a small cut and observe. I agree.
He arranged me to go to a small room. I lie down with a surgical spot light on my hand. I could feel the heat. He used a ‘thong’ to spread a pink lotion to clean my hands before any cut. Then he lay the dark green cloth to cover the other parts of my hand except the swelling part. He took out a needle and just before he wanted to inject the aenestatic, I was totally freaked out by the whole atmospheres and requested him to stop. Yes, this guy knows what he is doing and is the correct procedure. He also instructed his assistant to clean up the abration on my left hand and leg.
It was only about 29 hours after I came to this Alibaba Hospital (AH) that I got my minor abrasion cleaned.
Is that how AH work?
Anyway, this is not sad. While I was settling the cash bill with the sweet lady, the friend of the patient that was beside my bed was there too. my ‘neighbour’ was 62 years old, male, not married, no children, working as relieve taxi driver, medisave left with $400, had a surgery on the intestine, cash bill come out to be $4000. I went to talk to him after seeing the bill to find out about his condition. We chatted for a while and I told him:
DON’T take up the installment scheme. Go look for the social help and see what they can do for you. In any case, do not pay cash because you are a Singaporean and our government will sure take care of you. Go look for you insurance agent to buy insurance using CPF.
What upset me most was he has to look for social helper to help him solve the $4000 hospital bill. He is a true blue Singaporean and was neglected by the government’s policy.
anyway, i am writing this blog in Thailand now. We left on 6 January 2013, 8am from Tuas. This is the very first time that we had holiday before the Lunar New Year because this is the most busiest period in our industry. We choose to give up and go. why? why this time? why?
hee.. soon you will know. will update on the next blog.
we bought a new tent and try out at our neighbourhood lawn. it is super heavy. we want to try out camping in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Not sure if it works.
7am: Samantha waiting for me as the bike has to leave the carpark, then i could remove the ERP device from the bike, store it with my truck and walk back to the bike. When we come home, will try to sneak into the carpark without going thro the gantry.