I became very ill last Thursday night. I had been unwell a few days prior to that – the usual under-the-weather-feeling coupled with intermittent diarrhoea. In fact, on Wednesday evening, I had a bout of chills and fever which subsided on its own. My worried spouse asked me to be admitted, which I stubbornly refused (all doctors are stubborn people).
Thursday morning, I was fine and was even able to perform the ward rounds after I had my blood sampled and sent for various tests including culture and sensitivity.
I suddenly turned bad on Thursday evening after dinner. My daughter was fast asleep as I had asked her to go and sleep and that I would wake her at 8 pm to take her for her tuition class. The wife and son had gone visiting the in-laws. At 7 pm, I felt especially unwell, the chills and rigors came in waves and I vomited out everything that I had eaten in the last decade. To add to the drama, my wife came back horrified to find me on the toilet floor, being too weak to get up.
She bundled me up, packed a few necessities and drove me to the nearest private hospital (the government hospital was too far away and I was in a bad state). En route, I managed to call my colleague at the hospital where I worked to determine from my blood tests sent in the morning if they found evidence of malaria (I had recently travelled to Bangkok but stayed in the city throughout the trip – but who knows…).
It was negative.
I won’t go into the details of my hospitalization although I would mention the one thing which struck me as being ludicrous, almost to the point of being darkly comedic was when the attending physician of the private hospital approached me a while after my blood was drawn for various tests and promptly announced: “The good news is, your cholesterol levels are normal!”.
Imagine the scenario – there I was lying on the uncomfortable hospital bed in the ED, breathing laboriously (my oxygen sat was 93%), tachycardic (rate 130/min), highly febrile (39 degrees Celcius), hypotensive (blood pressure was 80/50 mmHg), feeling weak (the potassium level was 3.0 mmol/L) and terribly unwell and then BAM! I’m hit with the ‘good news’ that my cholesterol levels were normal!
I wasn’t elated, not in the least.
Anyway, it’s still a mystery as to what actually caused me to be hospitalized for 4 days (3 nights) and I’m still on the road to full recovery, more than a week after being discharged from the hospital (my darn appetite has altogether disappeared!), so if you meet me in the corridors, don’t ask.
What I CAN tell you is what the illness was NOT caused by:
1. It wasn’t caused by high cholesterol levels. (the good news, remember?)
2. It wasn’t caused by dengue (I had dengue serology done 3 times in 2 days although the blood works did not suggest it)
3. It wasn’t caused by syphilis (I don’t know why VDRL had to be done!)
4. it wasn’t Mycoplasma (the titre was normal)
5. It wasn’t a urinary tract infection.
6. It wasn’t any bug in the blood (cultures eventually came back negative)
7. It wasn’t malaria (the smear was done twice)
8. It probably wasn’t typhoid or typhus (so the street food I ate in Bangkok wasn’t to be blamed).
I honestly don’t know what it was.
It cost a whopping RM 3800 for 3 nights of hospitalization.
I have a feeling I’d been milked nice and proper.