Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Kano and Pinay's First Hospital Experience

This is not my first hospital confinement, but it is certainly the first time I will have such an invasive treatment done to me. It's just a D & C, but its a big deal for me since I have never been under anesthesia, and never had anything "intrusive" inside of me as this operation felt like it would result in.  But just like the average "micro-manager" as I was, I already had all the paperwork ready in a clear folder, for my "bantay" (the trusty Kano Asawa) to hopefully peruse upon.  I vaguely remember telling him all the needed paperwork is in the clear folder, but I guess my mistake was not going over them one by one (I guess I failed there as a micro-manager). :p On hindsight, I think it would have been better if I had a step-by-step instruction written on paper for him.  As telling him my instructions, in the midst of him watching T.V. just didn't register to him quite easily.

For the majority of the pinays out there who have a big extended family who can look after them when they are sick, this would not pose a problem for them.  On the other hand, for me this is a big problem, my relatives are not available on the weekday of the surgery.  The majority of my relatives are in the U.S. and  for those who are here, all of them are working, and I didn't want to impose on anyone to go on leave from work to help me.  For my nearest of kin, my mother is too old to look after me, I would be worrying about her if she were staying with us in the hospital.  My brother on the other hand has to look after my mother.

To make a long story short, it was my Kano husband who was my sole "bantay" for the operation.  Anyway, my attitude was, as long as I was lucid I was willing to do all it took to get me in the hospital and out of it afterwards.

We came in around after 12 noon. I went to the admitting section, with my husband in tow.  I told him just to wait in the pews outside the admitting section room.  On hindsight, I should have brought him in and kind of walked him through the entire procedure.  I had a health card so there were some things that were needed before my admission: 1) the Letter of Authorization (LOA) from FortuneCare clinic (which was made two weeks before the admission); and 2) Admission Order from the doctor (the doctor called the nurse's station at the oby gyn for that).  I didn't need the LOA with me for the admission, but it should be ready before the admission for the Liason Officer to see.

In the Admitting Section, I was informed that my covered room (semi-private) was not available.  She asked if I wanted to be in the Ward, I said no.  I said I wanted a private room if a semi-private was not available.  I knew before going to the hospital that I can get a room upgrade, without cost to myself, if no room for which I was covered was available.  So I signed a certification to the effect that a semi-private room was not available, and I was willing to be transferred to a semi-private room if one was available.

I was given 3 philhealth forms (one to be accomplished by my office, another by the doctor, and I guess the third one by the hospital upon discharge).  I already had the CS Form 1 (Philhealth form accomplished by my office) ready, signed and on hand.  I also had to accomplish a general information form for the hospital.

So we were brought to my private room (room amenities included T.V., refrigerator, aircondition, bunk bed for the "bantay" and a toilet and bathroom).  Unfortunately, the only private room left had no window, but that was fine by me.

In the room I changed into my scrubs.  A few minutes after, someone took my temperature and blood pressure - all normal. Next was my IV; that though was not a very pleasant experience.  I didn't think the nurse who did it was proficient in it.  My veins are too small, and I think she didn't put the thick needle in correctly.  I should have asked someone else to do it, when she began by saying to herself (too loudly) "let's hope we can do this correctly" (in tagalog).  My eyes were closed (I'm afraid of needles) and couldn't really tell anyway even if I saw it, if she did it correctly.  But the fact that it hurt long after she stuck it in, and that blood started oozing out after should be an indication that it was done poorly.

So after that unpleasant experience, we waited for the operation that started at 6 p.m..  I told my husband to go to the nearest Chowking (outside the hospital) to get something to eat before the operation.

Before 6 p.m., a nurse and hospital aide came to get me for the operation.  I changed into a different scrub (my husband calls it the "slice and dice" scrubs).  My husband came with me up to the elevator and then just outside the operating room.  Before I went in, Kano Asawa kissed me and I told him to pray for me. :)

Inside the operating room, I saw my oby.  She asked if I was ready, I said  "can I say no?" :p  I think the question was just meant to be rhetorical. :p  Then came the anesthesiologist, who said just to relax and she will just inject the anesthesia through the I.V. and I would be asleep through the whole procedure.

As soon as she stuck the needle through my I.V., I was gone and fell asleep almost instantly.  I awoke already in the Recovery Room, and felt it was sooo surreal; like I just woke up from a dream.  I didn't even felt like I had surgery (but later I found out that feeling was premature).

I was whisked away to my room, with my sleeping Asawa in his bunk bed.  I was moved to my bed and was just happy it was all over.  I learned from my husband that he was asked the CS Form 2 (Philhealth form for the doctor to accomplish) and he didn't know which was which.  So they, the nurses just got one from their own files.  My husband fed me my hospital food, which was really not as good as what he (my husband) ate from Chowking. :p

A few hours after the operation I did start feeling a twinge of pain.  I was tossing and turning in my bed, and by the time the nurses came in to give me pain killers, I almost jumped for joy when they told me what I was getting.  Before it finally kicked in, I did start feeling a headache and felt nauseous, and did throw up a little.  When the pain killer started to take effect, I finally fell asleep.



  1. Great article. The real-life medical experience here in the Philippines is different to what we foreigners are used to ... and it's different to what a lot of Filipinos expect as well, at times.

    The issue of the foreigner husband and paperwork, admission procedures and other business-oriented things is something I've written about myself. It's really important that _if_ the husband wants to be included, he should step up and get in the picture from the beginning. This isn't always easy ... as the person doing the processing will almost always gravitate to talking to the wife. If you want to be included, you, as the husband, have to be assertive and get involved ... or you'll wind up, adrift at 3 am some morning, baffled as to what to do next.

    It's not always easy, no matter what your nationality or language skills, though, becuase frequently Mita and I have been places, especially hospitals, medical suppliers, etc., and when we asked what steps and procedures to follow, we pretty much found out there weren't any 'real' procedures.

    Patience and flexibility will go a long way.

    Waiting for the next installment, hope all is well now.

  2. Yes, I think foreigner husbands should try to understand the procedure, because it is not always expedient to await a relative to do all these paperwork. For one thing, when an accident occurs, and the foreigner Asawa is the only one in sight to make the first action to take the Asawa or nearest kin to the hospital, he/she should be prepared to know the basics.

    One important thing one must consider when bringing someone to the hospital, almost all Metro Manila hospitals will not take in a patient without a "deposit" (in money). So having virtually zero in your pocket day in and day out will be disastrous for you. I make it a point that my husband always has emergency funds and knows all the important emergency numbers. My office is just 10 mins. from home so I can go home quickly, but calling an ambulance is still the best thing to do in case of a medical emergency.