Tuesday, March 12, 2019

SUBSIDISED WITH A ‘C’



     Barely a month since Humblet’s discharge from the hospital and Singlet gets warded for stomach tract infection. He never really recovered from the cough he caught from her, and that worsened into a ten-day vomiting episode. On day ten, he threw up eight times, water included, and we knew we had to bring him in before he got dehydrated. As expected, the poor boy was put on a drip and stomach rest ordered. Meaning he had to fast from milk and solids completely so his gut could reboot.

     Unlike his sister, who stayed in an air-conditioned four-bedder B1-ward, Singlet stayed in the eight-bedder non-air-conditioned C-ward because his heart condition does not allow him to have medical insurance of any sort. In the waiting area, we overheard a wife say to a husband, “later the nurse ask you, just choose A-ward. Subsidised ward a lot of bad influence. The parents let the kids watch TV all day long. They give formula milk to their babies and many of them don’t speak English properly.”

This post is really a response to her and all others who feel the same way –



     The first night was sheer torment for both Singlet and I. He was hooked up to both a heart rate monitor as well as the IV drip, so I could take a maximum of five paces whilst carrying him. To make things worse, he was on full stomach rest, so he was in agony from hunger pangs, but even then the nurses came by often to make sure I did not latch him on the sly. All night, I tried rocking him, carrying him, patting him, but still he cried and cried. I felt so bad towards the other seven patients, all beds were occupied that first night.

     But the thing is - none of them ever complained or confronted us, or even glared at me for the matter. For sure, one mummy walked toward us angrily at about two in the morning, but when she saw the drip and me bouncing Singlet up and down, she nodded in sympathy and went back to her baby. The dad across from us, went down and bought me a drink around midnight from the convenience store. He said the baby had to fast, but I did not need to starve myself. Another asked if she could do anything to help, even though it was four in the morning and she must have been exhausted herself. Yet another kind mum bought Singlet a toy the next day, telling him to be brave even though she knew how hard it was for a baby to be hungry.

     It was because of these kind parents and grandparents in this so-called subsidised ward that I could make it through the night. There was absolutely nothing subsidised in their kindness or generosity towards us, I can vouch for that. Over the three days, we got to know some of them. One child had multiple urinal tract infections and had to come back for surgery. Another was suspected to have HFMD but was discharged when the fever cleared. Yet another had to have a spinal cord sample extracted due to a prolonged illness at a merely two-and-a-half months old.

     They may not breastfeed their children, give them a little more screen time and speak an English mixed with other languages. But all around me, I saw mums caring for the sick babies as best as they knew how. Dads tanking the overnight-stay, rocking their crying children to sleep tirelessly. Grandparents bathing the little ones so parents could eat a meal undisturbed. Aunties hovering around the older siblings with toys, games and balloons, while mums tended to their infants. 

     Please do not assume we are second-class Singaporeans, or human beings for that matter simply because we are in a subsidised ward. We may not have much financially, but for one, we love our children enough to ensure they get timely and appropriate treatment in the hospital. Please do not make such thoughtless and mindless comments, whilst hiding behind your LV clutch bag and your limited-edition Tods loafers. Instead, may I ask that you sprinkle your wealth with graciousness and the world will surely become a better place. We do not need your charity, all we demand (and deserve) is your respect. If not for anything, for the fact that we are fellow adults on this difficult enough and challenging journey called parenthood.

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For those reading this to the end, thank you. 

Musing,
Amy

32 comments:

  1. Amy, don't let the negative talks get to you. Hope the 2 children are feeling much better now.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. We are slowly going back to normal.

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  2. Hello Amy i totally empathised with you , those who have , look down on those who have not, but those who dont have are the most generous people on earth as they are in the same boat with those who have nothing. Except LOVE , COMPASSION and EMPATHY.
    this is what we call Human Being

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    1. Love. Compassion. Empathy. I like those reminders. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.

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  3. You have my support on this matter. Regardless of one's background, we are all Singaporeans and should care for one another.

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    1. Kindness first. Thank you for your shoutout! We appreciate it!

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  4. I feel u mummy and i totally agree with u. My child has medical condition that does not allow her to have any medical insurance and we had to be in C class ward. That does not mean we are lower class than anyone else. All we need is support and respect.

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    1. Thank you so much! We are not at all : ) Jia you with your little one!

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  5. Well said Amy ! And speedy recovery to your little one! Brace on and please stay positive !! 加油↖(^ω^)↗ !!!

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    1. Thank you Chris! Always the overly optimistic me : )

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  6. I wholeheartedly agree with you! Glad to know your little one is recovering well. As a mum of 4, choosing the c class ward is a sensible option. Last year my daughter had to have an emergency surgery which was estimated at 30K. We chose the c class ward as we didn't know how high the surgery and aftercare would actually amount to. She was hospitalized for a total of 12 days and we had been in ICU, high dependency class B (due to insufficient beds in class C) and finally class C. My daughter enjoyed being in class C, she made friends and shared her toys. As a mother, I felt the other parents to be friendlier and they offered to watch her while i would go to the toilet or run to get a coffee. We passed around charging cables and offered support and comfort. The nurses very more open too.

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    1. FOUR KIDS! That is already amazing! Your story is SO encouraging for me. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Well done Amy! Is true the ward does not reflect your status in life. Keep on fighting!

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  8. Thank you for what you wrote. You absolutely brought tears to my eyes. While I may not have an LV bag or Tod’s loafers, I know that I, like so many Singaporeans, can sometimes take the easy, lazy way out, holding onto the perceived lines that divide us - race, religion, educational level, class, etc. - and failing to look beyond our differences with kindness and generosity, to remember and prioritise what brings us closer. Thank you for reminding us of what’s really important.

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    1. I appreciate your honesty very much Eleanor. Thank you for bothering to speak out!

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  9. We should all care for one another regardless of background, races or religion. That's what human should be. Hope everything is fine with your little ones. ❤️
    Those selfish people will never get all these help from others.

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    1. Thank you. The children are slowly recovering!

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  10. Humblet and Singlet..... nuff said.

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  11. Hi Amy,
    Hope your babies are getting better now. Don't bother about those snobbish parents Amy, these are the parents that one day their children will put them in old folks home coz they are being brought with materialistic education and not with compassion values.

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    1. Certainly. Thank you for cheering us on!

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  12. Hi Amy,
    Hope your babies are getting better now. Don't bother about those snobbish parents Amy, these are the parents that one day their children will put them in old folks home coz they are being brought with materialistic education and not with compassion values.

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  13. Hugzz to u from a fellow mommy

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  14. We encounter nasty people and they teach us how not to treat others. Keep shining. You never know how you are encouraging others.

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    1. Thanks Ps Luke! Yes! We intend to keep shining as a family no matter what!

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  15. Big hugs! And this was posted on my birthday, wow!

    Anyway my girl was in hospital early this year and we wanted to go for Ward A or B (I'm grateful her insurance covered because I couldn't afford that myself)... unfortunately they were all full.

    During our stay, we get to know some really nice parents too, and heartbreaking to see so many kids being poked and strapped in their beds due to various health issues.

    If we're in ward A, we'll be so sheltered and ignorant too of these other Singaporean families fighting for their children yet still kind and generous.

    There's no "second-class Singaporean", no way. It's always "One People, One Nation, One Singapore"... isn't it?

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    1. Happy Belated Birthday dearie! I am so glad to know and hear your heart on this matter. Blessed to have Singaporeans like you alongside.

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  16. Hi Amy,
    This is the first time I have read your blog and I am so touched. Hope your child is doing great now. Have a blissful day, Amy!

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    1. Hello Vanessa! Welcome to Dear Humblet. He is recovering well. You have a great day too!

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  17. IMO, there is nothing worse in the world than a suffering child and a helpless parent.

    Parenthood is a tough road. Taking a leaf out of ELLEN's book, we should all just "Be kind to one another".

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    1. Be kind to one another indeed. Thank you for that reminder.

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