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Here’s Why I’ll be Wearing Sunglasses for a While

Would my trip to the hospital ruin our weekend plans for Sri Lanka?

On Friday night we are getting away for Chinese New Year by traveling to Colombo, Sri Lanka. While we’re there we will also head to Galle for a couple nights where some of our other friends, Tom and Leonie, also happen to be staying, prior to spending a last night in Colombo before we head back to Singapore on Wednesday morning. I’ll be writing about that trip when I get back, however, anyone who reads it may realise that I’m wearing sunglasses in some of the photos, something I never do, but why? — Because I have a bunch of stitches and a black eye. Well, here’s how it all happened…

On the night of Tuesday, January 29 I just couldn’t sleep for several reasons; some nights I just can’t sleep due to my medication, but nights in Singapore are usually a minimum of 25°C (77°F) and we had also forgotten until we went to bed, which was about midnight, to turn the air-conditioning on. Anna was hot and kicked the blanket to my side and soon fell asleep, but as our room got cooler she yanked on the blanket like our dog tugs on its leash, almost every time occurring as I was just beginning to drift off, and she also moved right over close to me on my side of the bed. On top of this, she was having crazy dreams and talking constantly in her sleep. This continued until about 6:00am when I finally snapped and gave her as much blanket as I could and told her what the problem was. We were both then satisfied, however, our upstairs neighbour was now awake and making a fair bit of noise, something I never usually hear, but I eventually finally fell asleep.

I woke up later on Wednesday morning feeling quite relaxed, but with a really sticky face for some reason. No, it wasn’t that, but it soon occurred to me that I was laying on the floor in a pool of my own blood so I examined my body and then got up to take a look in the bathroom mirror. As I was getting up I realised there was quite a fair bit of blood coagulating on the floor and saw in my reflection a lot surrounding a decent-sized gash just above my left eye. I figured I had better get to Latrobe Regional Hospital, but I wasn’t sure how to get there since it had moved. The main problems with that plan were that the hospital was in my hometown of Traralgon in Victoria, Australia, a place that I hadn’t lived in 20 years, but also the fact that the Latrobe Regional Hospital moved to its current location back in the middle of 1998, 21 years ago and while I was still residing there! When this occured to me I also realised that I had no idea what day it even was. Best to message Anna:

Not a bad effort considering I was still a bit groggy.

Anna was already planning on coming home for lunch after she had finished her work in the morning so while I was waiting for her I cleaned up my cut as best as I could and also wiped up all the blood off the bedroom floor. Things were beginning to get a bit clearer and I soon realised I must’ve had an epileptic seizure while sleeping close to the edge of the bed, hence why it caused me to fall out.
Before long Anna had arrived home from work looking quite concerned, but it all appeared worse than it really was. Our cleaner was coming that afternoon, which meant we had to take our dog to the people who mind it for us and that is on the way to Singapore General Hospital so I had a Panadol, took a shower to wash all of the blood out of my hair, donned some clothes, and we were on our way.

After I cleaned up. I don’t do things by halves

We began walking in the general direction of the hospital, which is only a short walk from our apartment, but I think Anna forgot how slowly I walk after a seizure. I was still holding a tissue over my head while I walked and Anna was rapidly gaining distance on me with the dog. It was also around lunchtime too, so a lot of the people who were outside, eating, probably thought that a giant white guy must’ve been punched in the head by his wife as she stormed off with his dog, at least that’s how it appeared. You go, girl! Actually, she was just trying to get me to the hospital quickly and I simply couldn’t keep up.
Anna’s work has been rather quiet due to a lot of people not wanting to get procedures done over Chinese New Year, but to be honest, it wasn’t too busy outside when we registered, either. Anna had to go back to her work at the Singapore National Eye Centre, but she wasn’t going to be too long so I was placed in wheelchair and taken around the back to where the emergency procedures are done and placed on a trolley. Any regular readers of this blog would probably be aware that I’m terrified of anything medical so it wasn’t a fun place to be — It was full of frail, elderly people, some that looked as if they were on their last legs, including a nearby old lady who kept moaning in a way that sounded like the “baa” sound a sheep makes. I was still extremely tired, as I always am after a seizure, so instead of panicking about the fact I was surrounded by what appeared to be a bunch of dying people, I decided to catch a nap, occasionally kicking staff who walked past with my feet which were hanging a fair way off the end of the trolley.

I was later awoken by a rather large male nurse to take my blood pressure. “Your heart-rate is really low,” he said. “Are you an athlete or something?” “Quite the opposite, actually,” I replied. “I just woke up.” I managed to drift off back to sleep again before a female doctor who was aware of my situation came over to take my blood pressure again and ask some questions about other possible health problems. I mentioned that I had a VSD, she gave me a stunned look, especially at my size, and then listened to my heart. “Oh yeah, I can hear it.” She then saw the tattoo of the plastic chair on my arm, referred to it as a “funeral chair” before looking further down my arm and saying “You also have a dupuytren,” in reference to my pinky finger. I explained to her that I broke it playing basketball, but didn’t do anything about it because I didn’t realise it was broken. She then gave me a horrified look and left.

Soon it was time to get stitched up so a consultant, a grey-haired British guy, came over with the previous doctor and asked me a few extra questions, checked my vision, as well as my extremities. Anna thought I might need scans to see if I had a concussion, but I was fine, I didn’t even have a headache. All I was wondering was if this would jeopardise our trip to Sri Lanka. “Oh, you’ll be fine as long as you don’t go SCUBA diving or mining for saphires,” the consultant said. “Cool,” I replied. “I can’t go SCUBA diving anyway because I had grommets in my ears as a child.” The consultant smiled and nodded, while the female doctor looked on in shock and added grommets to the list.
I was soon wheeled into a theatre to get my stitches and it became clear to me that Singaporeans in a crowded hospital act no differently to out on the street; they do not get out of the way or make room for anything coming and love chatting in doorways! As I was getting rolled through, people saw me coming, but it didn’t even cross their collective minds to move, some getting kicked by my overhanging legs. Okay, to be fair one or two made a casual half-step to the side, but the consultant still had to ask several times for them to move out of the doorway so we could go to the theatre.
Once in I received my stitches, the consultant training a nurse on the procedure and humming all the while. That actually made me feel a little relaxed. Anyway, here’s the end result:

When I was out Anna said I could borrow her makeup to even up the other side. Thanks. Next we just had to get some antibiotic cream for it and after five hours in the hospital we were on our way home. When I had a shower, however, I thought there must’ve been a stitch done on the bridge of my nose… until I discovered it was just two stray monobrow hairs.

Today I feel fine, but there was a lot more swelling than I expected. When I woke I couldn’t open my left eye so I thought I must’ve had a stroke. Nope, just swollen, I looked like Sarah Huckabee-Sanders putting her face on in the morning:

Nothing to worry about, a bit of ice for a couple of hours sorted that out. Anyway, thanks to all of the doctors, nurses, and consultants at Singapore General Hospital, I really appreciate your help!

Now bring on Sri Lanka!

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