Thursday, April 10, 2003

My thanks to everyone who's emailed me or posted comforting comments. But as of now, I'm still getting goosebumps every morning when I go to work.The call last night was quiet, but for obvious reasons. With news of the SARS cases in my hospital, the public is actively avoiding us, and admissions were kept to the bare minimum. Which just goes to show how a lot of people abuse the healthcare system. I had no ICU admissions, but had to intubate an unexpected collapse case in the general ward -- and since it wasn't an ICU case, I didn't have the chance to don a space suit. The guy was being treated for the garden variety type of pneumonia, but with the current crisis, I have my worries. However, at 3am in the morning, I didn't give this that much thought, and just wore a mask and gloves during the resuscitation. The patient was 51 years old and in perfect health prior to his hospital stay, but judging from his ECG, he probably had some form of coronary artery disease, resulting in a sudden heart attack. His family was distraught, adding to an already physically and emotionally exhausting 24 hours for me.

No doctors here have been diagnosed with SARS, but a mysterious fever is making its rounds here, with most attributing it to the common flu. 2 housemen and 3 MOs are on MC, and I reluctantly left my team-mates at 2pm today, after being unable to think straight due to my post-call state. We were working at half-strength, 'cos one of the housemen with a fever is working with us. But my fellow MO is truly one of the nicest people I've ever met, and gamely shooed me home. The other HO was also post-call, but willingly stayed back to help out. I owe them both a huge meal at the end of this saga.

At around 5:30pm today, I got a call from Clinical Services, asking about my contact with the "suspected SARS" patient, who has been cleared by the WHO as non-SARS, to our relief. They're still being careful though, so we're being monitored closely. The good news is, the 10-day incubation period is over, and we're so far okay. But yesterday was quite a nightmare for me. Trying to manage medical problems while wondering if I could get a life-threatening disease is a terrible experience, trust me!

Just an update: The SARS issue of the SMA News is now available on the Net. And later this month, the April issue will feature tributes to medical personnel in Singapore, as well as a special mention of Dr. Ong Hok Su, the 27-year-old cardiology MO who sadly perished from SARS a few days ago. I will also be contributing a piece, so hope these will boost morale a little.

Side point here, but I can't help it. :) I've downloaded an MP3 of Clay Aiken's latest performance, and it's absolutely fantastic. In my sadness and anxiety, his voice never fails to bring a smile to my face.

P.S. This blog entry should be backdated to yesterday, 9th April. Was trying to load it but the server was down. Have more news today as well, but no time to write, aargh, so more another time.

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