On 31st Jan…
My darling monster boy gave us another heart attack.
“Boys will be boys.”
“They are accident prone.”
“Every mummy of boys will have a visit to A&E at least once.”
Above are commonly heard advise from mummies of boys.
I 100% agree. This is his 2nd accident requiring a visit to the hospital! So no panic for us, we knew the drill. We are prepared.
*** WARNING: GROSS PHOTOS AHEAD ***
So I was out the whole afternoon with something important…
And the boys were spending their Sunday at their usual place – My mum’s place.
After lunch, Monster was playing alone in my mum’s room and we didn’t know exactly what happened.
But my mum walked in to check on him after clearing the dining table and got a huge shock!
THERE WAS BLOOD EVERYWHERE.
She screamed for my sister and my dad, all rushed in.
Checked the boy and saw this:
What they saw was a lot more messy. The photo is too gruesome to share.
My sister picked him up and ran to the nearest clinic (just next block). The poor young locum doctor was probably shocked beyond words too. The clinic nurse was shocked, when I spoke to her about it a few weeks after, she said she was so frightened.
So the doctor advised them to send him straight to the hospital, he can’t do much for Monster except to tell my sister to press on the wound to stop the bleeding. He gave them some sterile gauze and my brave sister pressed on the wound.
Because they remembered my instructions: NO KKH.
So they called me to ask what I want them to do.
As mentioned before, this is not our first such emergency with the boys, so I was calm.
I asked for a photo to assess the situation first. My sister sent me a photo via WhatsApp. I concluded it needed stitches and so I told them to wait a while, let me call the doctor directly to confirm arrangements.
With Monster and such a wound, I knew LA would probably be out. He is not the type who will hold still for the doctor to stitch him up. And the wound is pretty deep, proper cleaning and patching up will definitely be required.
So I called Dr Loo who stitched up the boys previously. You can just call his clinic number and it will be diverted to his mobile if his clinic is closed.
And our convo went something like this…
Me: Dr Loo, the boy hit his head, quite deep. Need stitching. Shall we head to TMC?
Dr Loo: How old is he?
Dr Loo: When was the last time he ate?
Me: 1.30pm (I called him at around 1.45pm)
Dr Loo: Oh dear… Need to fast around 6h.
Me: I know. But my parents are freaking out. Shall I ask them to bring him in and he can fast in the ward? Anyway we need to clock 6h in ward to claim hospitalisation insurance.
Dr Loo: OK. Bring him in and go straight to the clinic. The nurse will know what to do. I’ll inform them now. What is his birthcert no?
Me: *gave full name & birthcert no*
Dr Loo: OK. See him at 2.30pm? I just ordered my lunch…
Me: No prob. By the time they reach should be around then.
Dr Loo: See you later. I’ll book the OT for 7pm or 7.30pm.
So I called my sister and told her to bring him to Thomson Medical Centre where Dr Loo usually does the stitching in the Operation Theatre. My poor mum was so shocked, she didn’t bring her handphone along. She wore her PJs and rushed to the hospital.
So I had to confirm if any of them had money with them to pay the deposit first. My dad brought his wallet along, so I told him please pay the deposit first, I will return you later.
Where was Ahjussi when all this happened? He was busy working. So I called him, forwarded the photo and told him to please head down to Thomson Medical Centre to help my parents who were shocked and scared.
When my parents arrived at Thomson Medical, everything was smooth. They headed straight to the 24h clinic’s counter and told the nurse his name. The nurse brought him straight into the treatment room, washed his wound, applied antibacterial meds and wrapped his head up. Dr Loo was already there (attending to another case, the girl cut her eyebrow), so he inspected the wound and told us not to worry. He will fix it well.
Then Ahjussi arrived and went to the admissions counter to settle paperwork and make payment for the deposit.
Well, he didn’t have Monster’s birthcert with him and being the ‘clueless man’ as usual… He didn’t know Monster’s birthcert no.
But… He is smart enough to have saved a copy of it in his phone/email, so he managed to retrieve it and sent it to the admissions staff via email.
So the 2 of them hung out at the ward while my parents and sister went home to rest. I joined them once I could and Monster was a trooper. No crying, no whining. Happily playing iPad!
So the afternoon went by and 6.30pm came. The nurse came in to get him ready for the stitching. He looks so cute.
He was carried down to the OT by Ahjussi. Everything went smoothly and the nurse came to ask us to accompany him back to the ward. I went this time as I recalled the last time he woke up from GA, the poor boy screamed and had a meltdown. I had to hug him tight and it was tough.
This time, he was great. No tantrums or anything. He woke up and Dr Loo said that as long as he can drink, eat and pass urine, he can go home. And the first thing Monster asked for when he woke up was… RIBENA.
Ahjussi being the loving daddy, walked across the road to buy Ribena for him.
He was famished too. So we asked the nurse for some food and they gave him cheese sandwich. I’ve never seen him eat sandwich with such gusto before. Appetite is back, Ribena downed. We waited for him to pee (shortly after). And we were ready to head home.
The bill wasn’t ready so we left first. They sent the bill to us a few days later by email (at my request) & post.
Dr Loo said everything as usual. Nothing special. Can shower, play, sleep, etc as usual.
Just to note to wash the wound carefully to prevent infection. He deliberately left the stitches long and in a different colour from the hair so that we can find the wound easily to wash it clean. We had to apply antibacterial meds on it every 1-2h to keep it infection-free and also it works as a barrier/moisturiser to allow the wound to heal nicely.
When we got home, he went to bed and was a little afraid to sleep on the wound, so he set up his sleep area with a towel to prevent the meds from dirtying my bed. What a sweetheart.
I knew Dr Loo said everything as usual, but I was afraid that the other kids might pull on the stitches so we kept him home. Poor boy was bored, so we brought him out to Waterway Point for some shopping.
So we survived CNY with stitches in his head… And after 10 days, we went back to remove the stitches.
Monster was really great. He allowed Dr Loo to remove the stitches quickly and didn’t complain. He was hopping around and curious about everything.
The wound healed nicely and it was really assuring to know we can always count on Dr Loo.
Now… Many of you will be curious to know about the bill…
Let me share a little on this.
Big Boy cut his chin (20++ stitches) in 2012: Bill before Medisave deduction was $10k++
Monster cut his chin (20++ stitches) in 2013: Bill before Medisave deduction was $9k++
Monster’s bill this time: Bill before Medisave deduction is $3800++
I think stitching the head (8? stitches) is cheaper than stitching the chin. :p
And what did we pay? Only the deposit which we got back. & the Medisave portion was deducted from our Medisave account. The rest of the bill was settled by insurance.
Even follow up visits to wash the wound (for the chins only, none needed for the head) and remove stitches, insurance paid for the follow up consultations and medications required.
There was even extra money (cheque from the insurance company) for ‘hospitalisation income benefit’.
Our main advise to friends with kids:
(a) PLEASE INSURE YOUR KIDS. You can buy for them 14 days after their birth. I strongly suggest you talk to your agent when you are preggy, know what you want. Then just pass the birthcert to the agent once it is ready and let your agent settle for you as soon as possible. Why? Because any medical issues discovered before you buy the policy can become a headache for you. The earlier you buy, the better.
(b) HAVE EMERGENCY SOP & COMMUNICATE TO CAREGIVERS & FAMILY. See how my parents and sister in their scared state still managed to know what to do? We communicated to them many times on this and they know our preference.
What to do in emergencies…
(1) If you or the caregiver are unsure of how serious it is, call for an ambulance or if your child is awake & mobile, go to nearest clinic.
(2) If you are able to assess the situation, then make a quick decision on which hospital or clinic.
Ahjussi and I always have such discussions and we have agreed we will go private as long as insurance covers.
For us, any cuts requiring stitches, we call Dr Loo (contact at the end of this post) and go to Thomson Medical Centre.
Fractures we will go Mount A.
Others we will go NUH under private (A ward).
Our reasoning for avoiding KKH is due to bad experience and stories of bad experience. And also, since we are covered by insurance, we thought that leaving subsidised care for those who really can’t afford insurance or private hospitals will be better (less crowd, better care for all).
(3) Always have their birthcert and health booklet on standby. We use a hard plastic file to keep those ready at hand when needed. All at home know where the file is for easy retrieval when needed. It is also more convenient this way when we need to bring them for vaccinations.
(4) Save a copy of their birthcerts in your email or phone in case you are rushing from office or outside direct to the hospital and don’t have the file with you. (This is also useful for free birthday treats at Swensons – Just saying.)
(5) Always have your insurance agent’s contact ready on hand. Call to clarify on the policies you have and the coverage. Also double check with agent on documents needed for smooth claim.
If your agent can’t assist on the above, time to change agent. We’ve called our agent 4 times over such emergencies and her response is super fast and assuring. I’ll leave her contact at the end of this post.
(6) Make sure you have your credit card or NETS card with you for deposit.
We had to pay $1200 deposit first (Thomson Medical Centre) and insurance will pay the hospital. Then the hospital will send us a refund cheque. From our previous experiences, they will send us the cheque within 2 weeks.
(7) Always brief and communicate to caregivers and school teachers in your SOP. We’ve told the teachers we prefer private hospitals and our insurance does cover the children up to single bedder. We have also written down all doctor’s contact in their communication book for quick reference during emergencies.
I know many mummies feedback that they can’t find a reliable insurance agent who is genuinely concerned for them instead of seeming like vultures.
I’ve known my agent for 9 years and she is great. Patient, attentive and not pushy. I’m upfront with her on what I can afford and she is always helping me to understand what I’m buying and weighing out pros & cons for me.
You can contact my agent: Serene Teo from AIA
Her email is email@example.com & you can reach her via mobile at 98388008.
Please contact her during SANE HOURS please. She is also a mummy and she is super woman attending to her hubby’s medical needs too.
Alternatively, you can also contact my primary school friend, Jemima Wei. She is also from AIA.
Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org & her mobile is 97258335.
Do save Dr Loo’s contact too. In case you need him (for stitching or skin problems or laser facial)…
I hope our experience will help you understand what to do in medical emergencies and most importantly: DON’T PANIC!
Stay calm and get appropriate help.
Mother of 3 and Owner of TLO.com.sg