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Didi’s Hospital “Staycation” at Mt E Orchard

Two weeks ago, Didi complained of stomachache after dinner and had a bit of loose stools, so I gave him some meds and sent him to bed. He woke up around 5+am, and told me that his stomach hurt a lot. He had a few rounds of diarrhoea after that, even after I gave him more meds, so I brought him to our PD.

Our PD examined him and said that his stomach was “very noisy”, with plenty of gas and poop inside. She suspected that it was food poisoning, and gave him more meds to try and stop the diarrhoea.

I found it quite odd that he would have like 6 rounds of diarrhoea when he woke up in the morning, then be generally okay for almost the rest of the day, before having diarrhoea again in the evening. He was energetic and happy as usual, so I didn’t think he was very sick, and thought the bug had to just run its course.

However, when Didi had multiple rounds of diarrhoea for the third straight morning, we noticed that his diarrhoea had quite a bit of fresh blood in it. I took a photo of it, emailed it to our PD, and made another appointment to see her. Didi’s stomachache had also not gone away by then, so our PD said he had to start taking antibiotics. She suspected that he had Campylobacter Jejuni, and wanted him to do a stool test. The amount of blood in his stools was also quite worrying, so she recommended that he be hospitalised, so that the stool test could be done quickly, and treatment could be administered immediately after he passed enough stools for the test.

If we opted to go home to wait for him to poop, the poop that I collected might get contaminated, and the test would also take 3 to 4 days, compared to within 24 hours, if it were done in the hospital. I also wasn’t confident about collecting his stools properly, without contaminating the sample, so it definitely made more sense to hospitalise him.

Didi was really calm about having to be hospitalised, probably because he knew I would be staying with him the entire time. The hospital staff was also really nice to him, giving him three construction vehicles when we checked in, so he was bouncing around happily as we made our way to the room. He was so excited when he saw the room, you’d think he was at a hotel having a staycation.

Didi was hospitalised for three days, from Friday to Sunday, and the timing worked out pretty well, because C was able to drive the other two kids to visit us at the hospital daily. Meimei missed Didi quite a bit, and drew him a ‘Get Well Soon’ card at home, before visiting him on Friday evening. N was quite worried about him, and missed having someone to “play war” at home with him. On one of the video calls we had, the two boys pretended to shoot at each other, and laughed crazily as they pretended to get injured. Boys…

I had to get my nose swabbed for the COVID-19 test, since I was the designated caregiver staying overnight with Didi. Never thought I would have to get swabbed, but thankfully, although it was a bit uncomfortable and ticklish, the test came back negative.

Our PD gave Didi some meds in her clinic before sending us over to Mt E Orchard, to help ease his stomachache and to help him poop, so Didi managed to poop a little twice for the stool test. His test results came out quite quickly, and confirmed that he had Campylobacter, as well as severely intestinal inflammation. His calprotectin level was more than 1000, and a healthy person’s is supposed to be below 50!

Didi’s appetite in the hospital was pretty good, thanks to the meds that our PD prescribed, and he kept asking for biscuits to snack on. He even finished an entire bowl of fish porridge for dinner on the first night, though he couldn’t finish his porridge the next day. I think it also helped that he got to watch tv while eating, and he was quite thrilled that he could sit on his bed to eat.

Even though Didi seemed perfectly fine most of the time, there were also many moments when he would be in pain. I would massage his stomach while he lay on the bed, and he kept asking for meds to take the pain away.

The first night was the toughest, as he took pain meds at 945pm, but woke up at 1245am, because he was in so much pain. He couldn’t get comfortable at all, and I had to ask the nurses to check if he could take more meds. The poor boy was rolling around the bed in pain, crouching on the bed/chair/floor, and squirming even when I carried him. The nurse called our PD to update her, and she prescribed two more types of meds for him. I brought Didi on a walk around the ward to distract him while waiting for the meds to arrive from the pharmacy, but he was so so miserable, and I felt so helpless. He finally managed to settle down after the meds were administered, and asked me to rub his back while he tried to sleep. Poor baby.

Our PD came to check on him in the morning, and decided to send him for an x-ray, as his stomach was distended, and she was worried about intestinal obstruction. The nurse allowed him to bring his “Peter Puppy” into the x-ray room, to give him courage as he waited, which I thought was quite sweet. The x-rays showed three intestinal fluid levels and plenty of gas, so our PD said he had to be on bedrest, as the stomach pains were more severe after he walked/ran/jumped around.

Because of Didi’s severe pain in the middle of the night, our PD said it would be better for him to stay another night for observation. She also wanted him to poop before she discharged him. Didi had already started on the antibiotics on Friday, immediately after he pooped for the stool test, so his diarrhoea had thankfully stopped, but it was quite worrying that he would complain of pain frequently.

Didi was more than happy to stay another night, as the nurses gave him balloons in the room, and he also got another balloon after his x-ray. He was so pleased with the balloons that he brought N and Meimei to get balloons from the staff at the lobby, when they visited him that day. Our church also sent a lovely hamper with a big balloon, and he was pleasantly surprised when he woke up from his nap and saw it.

I kept Didi occupied in his cot most of the time, since he had to either sit still or lie down. He had his drawing pouch, and drew some thank you notes for his PD and the nurses there. Fun fact: Didi was staying in the same ward as Meimei was, back when she was hospitalised as a baby, and the head nurse there is still the same one! (Yes, Meimei was hospitalised when she was a month old, and I blogged about it HERE.)

Didi’s second night in the hospital was a lot better, and he also managed to poop, so our PD said he could go home, after she examined him on Sunday morning.

Didi didn’t want to go home though! “I like this hospital! The nurses are so nice, got massage (they told him that the blood pressure monitor cuff was a massage), got balloons, can watch tv when I eat, can eat on the bed… I don’t want to go home!” I’m glad he enjoyed his “staycation” so much, but I was pretty tired by then. I woke up a few times on both nights, when the nurses came in to check his temperature and blood pressure, while he slept through it all, and the first night was just terrible because of the pain he was in.

Waiting to be discharged

The other two kids were super excited that Didi could come home, and they had so much fun playing and running around the house together. It was clear that he wasn’t feeling 100%, because he took quite a long nap shortly after coming home, but was happy to play with his siblings after his nap.

My parents came over for a simple Father’s Day dinner, and it was nice to be able to celebrate the occasion together at home. I had grand plans to cook dinner on Saturday for our Father’s Day celebration, but was too tired to do anything on Sunday, so C cooked instead. The kids gave my dad and C t-shirts that they designed on Thursday evening. Good thing I got them to prep the gifts earlier!

Anyway, we still have no idea how Didi got the bacteria, since all of us ate the same things. Our PD examined the other two kids as well, and thinks that they got it too, just that their guts were probably stronger than Didi’s, and they managed to fight it off. She said that Didi’s gut was probably weakened by his two rounds of amebiasis when we were living in Jakarta a few years ago. We have to be more careful about what he eats now, and I’ve been monitoring his poop, taking photos of it and emailing them to our PD. I even had to buy a potty for him, so that I could see his poop properly. So gross, I know. #mumlife

Didi hasn’t fully recovered from the whole episode yet, as he complains of stomachaches a few times daily, but our PD said it will take at least three weeks for him to fully recover. Praying for him to recover completely quickly, so that I don’t have to keep massaging his belly and checking his poop!

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