Princess No. 3 had a seizure at school a week ago. Rushed to the school to find her crying and in a disheveled state.
Her teacher said she had just finished her outdoor session and suddenly shook non-stop. She was foaming from her mouth. Her lips were purplish and her eye balls rolled upwards.
Honestly, it was a good thing that she was in school. If she had been at home with me — alone, I would not have known how to help her. I would have freaked out. I felt scared just by hearing the teacher’s description.
We rushed her to the pediatrician who advised a detailed check up. We were given two choices: get admitted through the A&E at KK Hospital (a public hospital) or see a neurologist at Mt Elizabeth Hospital (a private hospital).
Princess was seemingly unconscious (although the doctor assured me that she was just tired and sleeping), and had episodes of vomiting. I knew that I could not tolerate the hours and hours of waiting at the government hospital with her in that state. Worse, getting non-committal responses from doctors who seem to fear for their life that they would be sued if they said anything definite about the patient’s condition. I could see myself snapping away at every single hospital staff there. At that moment, I just needed a peace of mind — FAST. So we headed towards Mt Elizabeth.
Within an hour of reaching the pediatric neurologist’s clinic, Princess had her EEG done and the results known (nothing abnormal thank goodness). As she had to do an MRI which requires a full sedation, we decided to ward her for a night. In 15 minutes, the admission procedures were done and we were able to give her a quick shower in the room and settle her (and ourselves) down.
Resting in the comfortable
hotel hospital room, I started to think about money.
The cost difference between a public and a private hospital is significant. We can afford it only because we had adequate insurance coverage.
But what if we didn’t?
I can wear a $10 T-shirt bought from the wet market. I can eat simply and not go to fancy restaurants. I can travel in buses and MRTs. I can forgo massages and facials. I can live in a HDB flat for all my life. But not being able to afford the best and most painless medical treatment for my children when the need arises? That’s a tough one.
Since I quitted my corporate job many years ago, I have been contented even though I’m earning so much lesser. Yet this episode had me re-thinking hard about where I am. What have I given up really? What did my family have to give up because of my choice? Where is the balance?
Thinking hard …
(To friends & family who may be hearing about this for the first time: the MRI shows that everything’s ok with Princess 3. She was discharged the following day and back to her normal “can’t stop jumping and talking and singing” mode!)