Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hospitalized for feet’s bacterial infection: part 2 of 2

The first night after the acupuncture was terrible. I had to position my feet in a baby bathtub while laying on the bed the whole night. I hardly slept well. I felt my feet to be less swollen in the next two to three days. However, whenever I planned to move about, my feet had to be wrapped in tissue papers and plastic bags by my wife or my mother. It was very inconvenient, but at least I felt less resistance in moving my feet. The redness above my feet started to be more noticeable. Four days after acupuncture, the fluid drip had decreased dramatically but I was experiencing increasing pain whenever I moved. By the evening, I could not move my left feet was it was so red and swollen. I started rallying for prayer support. On the 8 Sep’11, I could hardly walked as my left foot was too painful. My wife called the TCM practitioner. His first question was whether we would like to have another house visit consultation, and we said no. He next said that I was his first patient to suffer from red swollen feet after five days of acupuncture. I had a gut feeling he did not know it was a case of bacterial infection. This would be the last time I would use his service, and I am still undecided whether to write a letter of complain to the TCM board in Singapore.

Thank God, I was visited by my hospice doctor and nurse on 8 Sep’11 who identified my condition as bacterial infection. Dr. Kee prescribed an antibiotic, Augmentin, for me, but I vomited it out two hours after consumption; and it happened twice. As I could no longer tolerate my bacterial infection, I discussed with my wife and mother the idea of hospitalization on the morning of 9 Sep’11 before consulting with Dr. Tay at Gleneagles Hospital whether it was possible to make such arrangement. He expedited the process and by afternoon, there was a bed vacancy for me in a four-bedded ward. As I was not scheduled for operation, I was allowed to wear my home clothing in the ward. Compared to Singapore General Hospital (SGH) where I had my radical nephrectomy, my dress code as a patient made me felt faceless as I was identical with other patients wearing the same hospital gown. What’s more, the nurses at SGH preferred the curtains separating each bed to be opened at all times so that nurses at the door could see what was happening at one glance. There was a loss of privacy. At Gleneagles, the curtains between beds were drawn all the time to maintain privacy.

The first night at Gleneagles, I was injected with liquid Augmentin to ensure the antibiotic traveled to the infected site immediately instead of passing through the digestive system. Every morning and evening, I had an antibiotic injection. I had another liquid diuretics injection to ease the swelling of my legs. Most of the time, my legs were propped up on pillows to facilitate blood circulation in my feet. In this ward, four patients were entitled to two toilets which included the shower room, unlike the ward I was in at SGH last year, five patients were entitled to one shower room and a separate toilet. Comparatively speaking, it was more comfortable recuperating at Gleneagles. The funny thing was when I was introduced by Dr. Tay to his colleague and the nurses on shift, I was known as “a church co-worker who has no money”.  

With each passing day, my swelling eased. I was able to walk slowly though it was still painful to exert pressure on my left foot. By the 3rd day of admission, I was given the option to discharge. However, the doctor in-charge of me preferred to to stay for one more day to monitor my situation and for additional doses of antibiotic. Since I could walk without much assistance, I tried to stand up on my own and walked to the toilet myself. Each successful attempt was a cause for celebration. In the initial two days when I had to rely on the wheelchair and my wife to push me, I had to use urinal to pass urine which felt awkward.

I was officially discharged on the 12th Sep’11 and still had to depend on wheelchair to move about. I was given one week of penicillin to manage the bacterial infection. When I was about to reach home, I did not particularly enjoy the stare of a lady in her fifties on the first floor of house elevator as if I were an alien or someone who looked like a possible source of her gossip. I also did not like the stare of my speechless neighbour that made me wish I were invisible. I still depended on wheelchair for movement during the first few days, and subsequently, I could finally move about more independently. The skin which was originally red and swollen became to come off and I had to apply intensive moisturizer often to ease the discomfort. Now, slightly more than two weeks after my discharge, I could say most of my ordeals with bacterial infection is almost over, and I thank God and God’s community of people for walking together with me. I felt God has been with me throughout this trial, and I was greatly comforted by my friends who have been lifting me up in their prayers. My wife and mother have also been taking very good care of me during this period of trial.

Now, I have to cope mainly with bloating tummy which my oncologist suggests is due to leaky blood vessels which will be alleviated by my chemo drug, Avastin. My sleep has also become irregular. I could at most catch a few hours of sleep before waking up again, and a few hours later on. My appetite has also shrunk, and I could only take frequent, small meal everyday to satisfy my hunger. I have to be careful with my diet because if I overate, I am almost certain to throw up.

How right is the advice of the Teacher when he says “Rejoice, young man, while you are young, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Follow the inclination of your heart and the desire of your eyes, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” (Ec 11:9) Enjoy while we still can, because there will be a day when our body cannot enjoy the pleasure of good food and the comfort of life anymore. Yet, in the process of enjoyment, we are to remember that God will take into account how we live our life.


Anonymous said...

Hi Arthur I've been reading your blog - my thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time. Have you tried consulting Dr Tan Min Han from NCC who specializes in kidney cancer? He was a great doc and very helpful to my family member who also had kidney cancer. God Bless!

ArthKohSL said...

Thanks for the additional reference. I don't get to choose my oncologist at NCC as a subsidized patient. However, outside NCC's system, Dr. Tay Miah Hiang is my default oncologist and I am comfortable working with him. Thanks for your prayer support. May God be with you.