My Time in the Hospital

I realised I haven’t shared the good points about staying in the National University Hospital (NUH).

I’ve always had a bad impression of government hospitals. I’ve been in and out of them in the past (either as a patient or to visit people), and my visits have always been really horrendous.

But not this time. As it turned out, the two times that I’ve been in NUH have been surprisingly awesome I think it’s worth sharing!

Firstly, I got my own QR code!

 

2012-10-09-11-57-34zWell, it’s actually my identification (NRIC) number. I’m quite amazed at how the hospital makes use of technology. The QR code is meant to help nurses keep track of my medication. During the medication rounds, the nurse will carry a hand-held device, scan the medicine’s barcode, and then proceed to scan the QR code on my wrist. They do this to ensure that they are administering the right medicine (and dose) to the right patient, but more importantly, to ensure that the patient does not receive a second dose by mistake. Also, all these are linked to a centralised server that will eventually bill me for all the medication that’s administered. Pretty efficient, if you ask me!

I’ve got two coloured labels around my wrist – “DRUG ALLERGY” and “FALL RISK.” The drug allergy label is because they suspected I was having a drug allergic reaction when I got admitted two weeks ago. The fall risk label is because I was highly giddy and weak, I couldn’t really get up.

Anyway, let me show you what a good insurance policy can do for you if you ever get hospitalised:

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Behold! It’s the Class A ward! Look at that! It looks like a hotel room! This was where I stayed last week. In front of me, there’s a flat screen TV with cable TV channels, there’s a desk, and a huge sofa that doubles off as a bed (so that a guest can sleep over, but at $30+ a night).

Look at the desk on the right, next to the chair, there is a little cupboard. What’s in it?

It’s a mini bar fridge!!! (The furniture is different because it’s a photo of the other ward I was in two weeks ago). Food not included, but nonetheless, you can get your friends and family to buy ice cream and other cold goodies to store in there (provided you’re not under any dietary restrictions).

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Pretty cool, yeah?

I always thought such hospital wards are available only for the filthy rich. Turns out, as long as you got a good insurance policy, it can cover you for such wards! And the premiums aren’t that expensive! At my age now, I pay about $200 per year through CPF, with an additional $20+ a month rider policy (deducted from the bank). That totals up to about $440 a year.

For some people, this might seem a lot, but one serious hospitalisation stay can produce a bill that’s about the equivalent of several years worth of the premiums you’ve paid! I’ve been hospitalised for a total duration of 9 days, and my hospital bill amounts to about $4500-5000! It’ll take me about 7+ years of paying premiums to the insurance company to have spent that much. Sure, insurance premiums will rise with age, but the types of treatments we’ll have to undergo as we grow older will tend to cost more. The way I see it, a good hospitalisation policy is really value for money, and it’ll get you good treatment and a great place to stay and rest well.

(And like I’ve said in my previous post, if you are thinking of buying insurance, please consult a financial planner rather than an insurance agent. Insurance agents tend to sell you useless policies and over-insure you with high premiums so that they can earn high commission from you. And they will rarely tell you the problems with their products. Financial planners are not limited to a single insurance company, and can therefore do product comparisons, explain the pros and cons of each policy, and source out insurance policies that are relevant to your age, circumstance, and needs in life. They don’t earn much from selling insurance, so they won’t try to con you into buying useless and expensive policies.)

Anyway, here’s where my hospital stay gets even better!

Hospital food!

Oh wow… People tend to associate hospital food with tasteless, unappetising meals. But as it turns out, NUH has really delicious and mouth-watering meals to offer! The best part about this is, their awesome menu is available to ALL patients, regardless of what ward you belong to! You’re only allowed to eat all the good food only if you have no dietary restrictions. If you do have a dietary restriction, well… too bad, it’s porridge for you!

Anyway, their menu offers Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Western cuisines, with 3 additional special menu items. Everyday, the guy from catering services will come and present you with their menu of the day. From there, you pick out what you’d like to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Haha… So, as someone who loves Western and Indian food, I picked those meals, and boy was I in for a really good time!

So what did I eat?

Last week, on Day 2, for dinner, I had… Chicken baked with herbs, with carrots, corn and potatoes! (I didn’t take any photos before that because I was too sick and weak to even take photos of what I ate).

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It’s not just one dish. It came with soup, salad, a banana, and… CAKE!!! I think it was banana cake.

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On Day 3, for lunch, I had garlic naan with dhal, yogurt, and curries! Not to mention soup, fruits, and cake (it was carrot cake).

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For dinner, I had beef stroganoff with the most comforting mash potatoes I’ve ever eaten in my life! Oh… And they also served chocolate fudge cake!

 

2012-10-10-18-15-23On Day 4, for lunch, I had a chicken burger with baked vegetables, salad, soup, banana, and a CHOCOLATE MUFFIN!!!

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For dinner, I had baked fish risotto and carrots in cream sauce! (I didn’t take a photo of the salad, soup, fruits, and dessert)

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On Day 5, for lunch, I had fish and chips!!! Well, to be precise, fish and potato wedges! The potato wedges was so well cooked! In fact, they used fresh oil and not recycled oil to deep fry it. Amazing!

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And of course, an awesome western meal like this would not be awesome enough unless it was coupled with a sumptuous chocolate muffin!

Behold the muffin!

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For dinner, I had CHAR KWAY TEOW (it’s a kind of stir-fried noodles)!!! The prawns were so fresh and cooked so well, they were comparable to what you get at Chinese restaurants! WOW!

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I haven’t shown you any pictures of breakfast because they’ve been pretty uninteresting. But, breakfast for Day 6 – the last day of my wonderful hospital stay – is worth showing you. Why? Because it’s PANCAKES with maple syrup drizzled all over! MMMMmmmm…

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And my final meal before getting discharged, lunch, which was garlic naan with tandoori chicken, dhal and vegetable curry!

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And to top it all off, the last dessert – CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS!!!

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It was sooooo delicious! Also, did you notice that the chefs have taken the time to decorate the dessert plate using blueberry jam? So cool!

I can’t believe hospital food from a government hospital can be sooooooo awesome!

My friends asked me if I was staying in a hotel. Well, I’m pretty sure I’m not in a hotel. Everyday, someone would come into my room (at least once a day) to draw blood from my right arm. Six days, and I think my right arm has been poked more than ten times. I’ve got so many needle wounds right now, my arm looks like that of a druggie.

Good rest and good food – the perfect way to rest and recover from a nasty viral infection. To top it all off, the doctors and nurses were really friendly, and they were all full of smiles! The doctor who treated me in the ambulance emergency ward recognised me when I was admitted last week in the observation ward, as he was walking about. He was so nice that he even came up to talk to me.

But the doctor who has been treating me the whole time is the best! He’s also a teacher (professor, I think) with medical students under him. So he’s really patient and he even takes the time to explain a lot of things and how he even arrives at his diagnosis – step by step. Really awesome.

I love NUH. The experience has been amazing. I’m just so thankful that I’ve been so fortunate as to have such good doctors and nurses to care for me, good food, and a good place to rest.