I have Tuberculosis (Part 1)

I wrote a super detailed account for myself to remember the fateful week. Lest I forget. It is also for family and friends who care to know what happened to me and prayed over me. Also, for empathetic souls who want to put themselves in the shoes of the sick in public hospital. A world of difference compared to private hospital.

It’s like library peace in private, and wet market chaos in public. Hotel stay in private, workers’ dorm in public. Much longer waiting time, aka time wasted in public. You get my point. I can make this comparison because at the time of writing, my hubby was hospitalised in a private hospital, while I went to a public hospital. Talk about spiritual attacks on our family in just a short few months. Praying baby EX will not be admitted next.

The medical concierge who helped hubby in the hospital admission told us, “Many people with insurance don’t know if they qualify for private hospital at no costs. So they just go to public hospital.” Hands up. So he steps in to advise these patients on whether private route is for them and connect them to private hospital doctors. No charge to patients, but his commission comes from the doctors. He assured us that he has done his due diligence (e.g. interviews with doctors) to recommend the better specialists to his clients. Vincent Sim, from Select Medicare Services (+65 9847 2178, vs.selectmedicare@gmail.com).

After he got in this line four years ago, he saw the stark difference in the level of care, comfort, service and waiting time between public and private. He encouraged us to tell our friends the importance of having insurance for private healthcare. So call/WhatApp my friendly financial advisor who doesn’t hard-sell, Ian (+65 9061 7082). I spoke about him and insurance audit in my post about insurance.

Anyway, back to my woeful story. I felt shortchanged not going to a private, yet, I believed God brought me to TTSH for the right specialists. I heard they are supposedly good in the area of lungs. Also, going through the tough route builds my empathy for the sick, and “pushes” me to seek the Lord with fervour again

I poured out a lot of myself as I wrote. Emotionally drained as I recounted my story. Now I understand why some victims rather drop the lawsuit and not “go through” the whole ordeal again in court proceedings. Moreover, those victims would have to endure the additional pain of being grilled/accused by the defending lawyers.

Summary of What Happened

For those who want to get past my long-windiness, here’s a quick summary:

I had serious breathlessness in July 2019, a month before this episode. Nothing serious was diagnosed at A&E then. The it happened again, my sharp chest pain, breathlessness, and this time, with a week-long low grade fever. After chest x-rays, doctors discover fluid in my lung’s pleural and soon poked a hole through me to drain the fluid out for a few days.

The doctors suspected I have tuberculosis (“TB”) and ordered many painful and uncomfortable tests to confirm their preliminary judgment. Even so, the results are inconclusive. TB was still highly suspected. With so many decisions to make, it was important to pray for wisdom in the doctors and ourselves. In the end, we skipped two possible intrusive tests and went ahead with TB treatment. Quite a few X-rays were performed too. All these happened during the tail end of my first trimester.

The agony of being away from my daughter and husband. The frustration with the noise and ruckus all day and night long — from fellow patients and the ward’s sirens and alarms. Moreover, the nurses frequently woke me up without warning in the middle of the night, or grave morning hours, for the many tests and needles. Food had more misses than hits, and predictably on the bland side. It was a horrible one week that made me empathised with those who are sick and in hospital.

Read my subsequent post, “Dreadful Hospital Tests and Stay (Part 2)” for the low-down, the nitty gritty details. And want to know how I am now? Onward to, “Days after I was Discharged (Part 3)“.

p.s. my tuberculosis is the non-infectious type.