me myself and i · the twins

I is for Influenza A: Part 1

On 14 May, Sunday, Elliott came down the sniffles. Pretty usual, I’d say, so we did not think much of it. However, that night, he ran a fever of 38+ degrees which led to unsettled sleep for pretty much for the entire family. Poor kid was burning up and only settled when I gave him some Brufen to make him more comfortable.

For the entire week, this fever stubbornly stayed. He’d be ok and chirpy in the day, being his usual self (save for runny nose) but at night, his fever would spike above 38, hitting 39+ degrees at times. It was an entire week of restless sleep for everybody. I put it down to the usual virus and decided to let him ride it out.

Unfortunately, on Wednesday night (17 May), I came down with the same bug. I spent the entire night shivering under the blanket in the room (no aircon). My temperature was also hovering at 38-39 degrees and it was near impossible to sleep. I also noted that the babies were moving a lot unusually and put it down to the fever.

When I awoke on the morning of 18 May, I was near delirious. The boy touched my forehead and said I’m still very hot to the touch. I remember barely hearing him. I reached out for the thermometer and the reading was 39.8 degrees.

Sheesh. That’s pretty darn high.

Decided to call my gynae to ask for her advice. Her first words were: Go to KKH now.

The boy was enroute to work but rushed home to drive me to KKH. We  headed to the O&G (Obstetrics and Gynaecology) 24-hour clinic but the boy noted a sign that stated: For pregnant women who are over 22-weeks, please proceed to the delivery ward on Level 2.

And so we did.

We were attended to very promptly. When the nurse heard that I was running a fever, she quickly ushered me into one of the empty delivery wards and strapped me up to track the babies’ heartbeats.

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As it turns out, I was having regular contractions. WHAT?! I had no idea. I just thought that the babies were moving around quite a lot. Had no idea that they were contractions? A doctor soon came to attend to me and she informed us that the first priority is to stop the contractions. They also gave me some oral medication (paracetamol) and put me on the drip to  regulate my temperature. She also said that I was to be warded for one night for observation.

Later that day, they moved me up to another delivery ward as the usual wards were full. This surprised me because I thought we have a falling birth rate? Who are these people giving birth and taking up ward space?

Soon after, a bunch of junior doctors (who all looked less than 25 years old) came to do their rounds. 3 of them attempted to put the needle into the back of my hand for the drip and let’s just say that at the end of it all, I had 5 puncture wounds on both hands because they could not find my ‘thin vein’. URGH. They also took my blood to test for all sorts of diseases, as well as a nose swab to test for Influenza A.

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I was also given steroid jabs on both thighs to strengthen the babies’ lungs just in case they decided to pop out early. Those jabs were FREAKIN’ PAINFUL CAN?! I now have a bruised left thigh to show for it.

I also remember one of the nurses/administrators coming to me to explain the cost of delivering the babies early. It was all a bit of a blur but I remember flinching physically when I was informed that for a 21-day stay in the NICU ward for premature babies, it will cost a whopping S$30K. Twins? Multiply that by 2.

Jeez. That’s some serious money there.

Thankfully, with the meds and drip, the fever stayed away. I actually felt more human once the fever was gone. I was also given Nifedipine (or commonly known as Adalat which is actually a brand) to take – 2 tablets, 4 times a day. It is supposed to stop pre-term labour. The results of the nose swab also confirmed that I had influenza A.

The boy was saying that I can have a good rest in hospital but the truth is, I was in a 4-bedder because they ran out of single rooms and single rooms are mad expensive! The lady beside me was also experiencing pre-term labour but the other 2 ladies just gave birth so throughout the night, their newborns were crying. And when it all quietened down, the nurses would be coming round to take my blood pressure, give me meds, check babies’ heart rates, etc. I don’t think I rested much that night, to be honest.

The next morning, I was cleared to head home as the contractions have stopped. Hooray! I haven’t had a shower since I was admitted which was like 2 days of grubbiness. GROSS. I couldn’t wait to get home for a good shower. Did you know that if you’re Singaporean, you do not need to queue up to pay, etc? Once the doctor clears you for discharge, you can just leave and the bill will be mailed to you. HOW AWESOME.

I was given a huge bag of meds to bring home which included a 2-week dosage of Nifedipin, as well as Tamiflu to manage the influenza. There were also throat lozenges and cough mixture.

Now, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the twins stay in and bake until we cross into June which is really not too far away. Eeeeks.

And yes, there’s a Part 2 to this story. Watch this space.

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