Friday, October 24, 2008

Health Care in Singapore--Part IV

The ER
(Click here for Parts I, II, and III)
Thankfully, I haven't had any personal experience with Singapore's emergency rooms, however that leaves me shorthanded on giving you any sort of assessment of the ER service here. So, instead of breaking a bone or contracting a sudden illness, I did the next best thing-- I stole the following entry my friend regarding her recent visit to the ER. If you're interested in another take on Singapore, I'd recommend you to Gina's blog. She's always full of entertaining anecdotes.
The Cost of Peace of Mind

When your daughter has had a fever for three days and suddenly starts complaining that her neck hurts a lot, the wise doctors on the web say "Go to the hospital immediately!" So I did.

I suspected it might just have been stiffness from lack of activity, or too much movie watching (she's been a pretty tired little girl) but it was 7 p.m. and I didn't want to wait until midnight, realize I really should have taken her in, and then spent a miserable night in the ER, or worse yet, have a really sick little girl.

Thankfully Lisa the maid could stay with Ethan, so Megan grabbed her pink bear for comfort and we went. The ER at the KK Children's Hospital here is a slick operation. S$80 will cover everything you do during your visit. We got in to see the doctor quickly, and she ordered a blood test to rule out meningitis. We had to wait what they said would be 40-60 minutes but which turned into more like 90 for the results. You know what's cute for about 5 seconds? Those squeaky shoes people put on their toddlers. You know what's not cute after 90 minutes? Yeah.

I did get a chance to be entertained by watching I Survived a Japanese Game Show for the first and hopefully only time. Don't get me wrong - I laughed, but watching that level of shame and pettiness is something I can skip. Where do they get the people for reality shows? One of the great mysteries of life.

Before the blood test, the doctor said she didn't suspect it was meningitis, but wanted to be sure. I called Ethan because I knew he would be worried. Somewhere in his life he developed a deep fear of illness - is it post traumatic syndrome from living through SARS? I don't know. He told me he'd been very worried, and Lisa told him to read his Bible. Man, I love this woman. He said, "So I went to Lego Bible and then played a few games and felt better."
One of these days I need to convince my son that Lego Bible is not the same as the other Bible.

After all was said and done, the doctor said she just has a viral fever and it can run its course. I have to say, a Singaporean accent is sometimes hard for me to understand. But a Singaporean accent in a hospital full of screaming babies, when spoken through a surgical mask, might as well be another language. But she got the job done and we were back home by 9:30 p.m.

Going to an emergency room at 7 p.m. in Singapore: S$80. Finding out that your daughter just has yet another tropical mystery illness and NOT meningitis: Priceless.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Friends (part 2)

The only problem with visits from friends is that they have to end.

After two fun-filled weeks with Yvette, we had to send her back to California on Saturday. If only she could have stayed another week or two (or three or four).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Weekend in Bali

Since Yvette is here for a visit, we decided last Thursday to take a last minute weekend trip to Bali. (I know I've mentioned it before, but one of the most awesome things about living in Singapore is its close proximity to really cool places, like India, Thailand, and Bali. It's super cool to be able to grab a cheap last-minute ticket for a 2-hour plane ride and end up at some exotic tropical destination. Even if that were Singapore's ONLY perk, it would be a very significant one. Anyway, back to Bali. . . )

We stayed in a beautiful private villa in Seminyak, a small town on the south side of the island. I forgot to get pictures of the inside of the villa, but here are a couple pictures of the outside:

Every morning, a butler came in to cook us breakfast and clean up the villa and a driver was available to us for day trips. On Saturday, we drove to a popular beach about 30 minutes from Seminyak and enjoyed a few hours on the beach. The waves were awesome and the water stayed shallow for a long distance, so Caleb enjoyed splashing in the surf.
The Beach Babe

Saturday evening, we went to Ku De Ta, a chic restaurant right on the beach. It was highly recommended by all of the travel sites and so we were really wanting to check it out. We called for reservations, but were told that nothing was available. We decided to just show up and see if we could get a table. And, sure enough, they found us something. The food was awesome (though a bit pricey) and, if you're ever in Bali, you should definitely go.

Sunday, we took a scenic trip to Katamani Volcano. We passed through several small villages and enjoyed the stunning beauty of the mountainous rice paddies.

We were scheduled to return home Sunday evening, but were having so much fun, we decided to extend our stay. Josh had to be back for work on Monday morning, but he insisted that Yvette and I stay an extra day and enjoy our mini-vacation. His suggestion was met with nothing but enthusiasm on our part =) We spent the last day walking around the shopping district of Seminyak and talking with the locals. We dedided that Seminyak is the Santa Cruz (California) of Bali. Everyone is super laid back and surfer-ish in an Indonesian sort of way. It was fun to talk with a few people and learn more about what life is like when you live on Paradise Island. We finished out a trip with one last swim in the pool in our villa and headed to the airport, thankful for a wonderful weekend.