I went to Ng Teng Fong (NTF) General Hospital A&E on 25 July 2021. It was my 4th gastric cramp in 6 weeks. On my first encounter with gastric cramp at night on 13 June 2021, it started at about 8pm and the pain did not go off since then. After 3 hours of constant cramp, I decided to visit the 24 hours clinic for help. It was a wrong decision made. After spending hundreds of dollars, the medicine was useless and a waste of time. I decided to visit the NTF A&E for help. After some medication via injections, it was cured. I was discharged on the same night/ early morning.
The second encounter was a month later. Exactly the same scenario for me and this time I went straight to A&E. And then I was discharged on the same night/early morning.
The third encounter happened on the 14 July but this time in the early morning. The cramp started off around 6am and I visited my neighborhood General Practice (GP) clinic. He went through my medical records via the Electronic Medical Record Exchange system to understand my situation and then he also jabbed me with pain killer. He also wrote a memo in case I have to visit the A&E anytime soon.
Back to 25 July, after understanding my situation, the A&E doctor decided to admit me to the hospital. From here onwards, I will try to remember my experience as much as possible.
Before approving to get admitted to the hospital, I had to undergo a swab test at 7.30 am and waited for 2 hours for the result. After tested negative, I was on the waiting list to be warded. During this period, I was in the A&E waiting for updates. From here, you get to see how busy the A&E is. Probably lacking nurses is one of the issues here but I also notice that miscommunication seems to be a norm “practice” too. The meals served in the A&E were cold.
After staying in A&E for over 18 hours, I have the opportunity to go to a hospital ward room. While I had made a request for at least Class B1 ward, it came out to be a Class C ward. I made feedback to the nurses and they asked me to ask the check with night duty nurses in the ward. Oh well, at least I have a proper bed to sleep in for now.
Unfortunately, I had a stiff neck and the pain causes me unable to sleep. I informed the nurse about it and they activated a night duty doctor to come to me. It was around 3am when the pain had gone.
There were 2 groups of gastroenterology and hepatology senior doctors with trainee doctors who consulted me in the morning. After which, they arranged Computerized Tomography (CT) scan on Day 2 and an endoscope scan on Day 3. Besides that, I had 7 tubes of blood drawn. Because of CT scan, I am not allowed to consume any food and drink, and hence I had an intravenous (IV drip).
The CT scan was conducted in the evening. So what’s for my dinner? The doctor suggested only clear soup. It was quite an experience for me because I literally had a day without any food. Luckily my wife brought me soup to drink.
While I thought my day 1 going to be “miserable”, the night duty nurse asked me if I want to have any fruits and milo? I told her that the doctor advised me not to eat anything and she said actually I am able to eat but I have to fast from 12am onwards. That’s the instruction received. Of course, I asked for the fruits and milo before my sleep.
Another round of consultations and this time the doctors arranged for me for the Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on Day 4.
Another Day without any meal (so far). My appointment for the endoscope scan had managed to push forward from 5.30pm to 1.30pm. That was a good sign but I have actually waited in the waiting room till 4.30pm before my turn. I have no idea how I spent these 3 hours of my life lying on the bed doing nothing.
The endoscope scan was a “quick” one because I was injected with anesthesia. I was told that I should be half-conscious in this scanning but seems like otherwise.
Fortunately, I was allowed to eat my meal.
Finally, I had my breakfast. Again, there seems to be some miscommunication despite my meals are ordered in advance by registering with the system. Eventually, the nurses managed to get the right breakfast for me.
I had my MRI in the early afternoon. The usual long waiting time before entering the scan. During the MRI scan, I am supposed to stay awake and focused on my breathing but I have fallen asleep at the end of the process. I cannot believe I can fell asleep in such a noisy and loud environment.
In the evening, I was informed that I am able to discharge and follow up with a few medical appointments in the coming weeks.
The doctor concluded that I have gallstones in my gallbladder. Fortunately, the gallstones seem to be as small as a grain of fine sands. He recommended me for an operation to avoided many other potential events like an infection to my nearby organs and organ blockage, et Cetra due to the gallstones.
Via the MRI scan, it was observed that I have fatty liver but no suspicious arterially enhancing lesson with washout is seen. And also observed that I had an unusual spleen found near my liver.
I have a total of 7 spots been poked for IV and blood draw. 4 on the right and 3 on the left. As of today, I still can feel the pain on my front hands. Probably it will take a while longer to get a full recovery.
Experience with NTF
During my stay with NTF, I observed there are a few miscommunications and misinterpretations of messages between the staff and between various departments. I also witness a few arrogant patients and I think it’s great that the nurses really try their best to handle those patients and they handle it quite well. They had trained well and cope well with their Emotional Quotient (EQ) to handle such situations.
On my Day 1 stay, I noticed the area surrounding the IV needle which was on my left elbow was red. So I asked various staff (from A&E nurse to Ward Nurse & night duty doctor) and shared my concern. Most of their responses were told me to ask for the doctor’s advice and the night duty doctor told me to wait for the doctor who handled my case for advice. So I waited till morning and asked the senior doctor and she told me it was swollen and immediately instructed the nurse to remove it and helped me to apply for some medicine. She commented that this should not “wait”.