The Haze, Influenza A and being ill.

My second son, Shahbir, started feeling ill on Wednesday. He soon began to have a fever with a cough and a running nose. To top it he also complained of breathing difficulty.

Like all mothers I watched him closely, brought him to our family medical practioner and made sure he took his medicines. I called his dad and dutifully told him that Shahbir was ill. My ex-husband then insisted I took him to HKL for a throat swab.

What a night it was on Thursday … I managed to find a place to park my car and brought my son to the Triage counter. A face masked attendant told me to go to the Out Patient Department where we then queued to register.

Despite wearing a face mask myself, I was hailed by a patient (she recognised me in the crowd, face mask and all!) who had brought her nephew who was also ill. We queued up and were streamed into one of 34 rooms where yet another attendant took my son’s temperature and told us to wait.

It was so, so crowded and I was very glad both my son and I were wearing masks. People were coughing and sneezing everywhere while we waited to be seen. Most were not wearing masks too.

At last my son’s name was called… the very harried medical officer asked for his symptoms and began to write out a prescription for paracetamol (panadol)! I asked her to take a swab of my son’s throat but she refused.

She said that there is now a pandemic in Malaysia and they have been instructed to only give symptomatic medicines (medicines to deal with the symptoms like fever, cough and runny nose) and only swab patients who are really. really, really ill and are about to be admitted! “Besides”, she said, “the haze is back.” I had to agree.

She told me to take him home and wait for either that he recovered or got much worse … and then, and only then, bring him back.

I initially felt outraged then I realised she was totally right … though in the papers it was reported that there is an outcry about how doctors are not taking the necessary steps to fully test for Swine Flu, it is such a fine line to tread … everyone is in semi panic when someone gets ill these days, so where does being over zealous in testing start?

My son is getting better, though he still has a fever and is ill. And today I had to take his younger brother to the doctor …. now Shamir has a fever!

This time I am definitely not going to HKL. Sigh. 🙁

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