Hospitalised! – The Three Old Men

Probably the best story I have on my hospitalisation experience came from a sort-of fight that occurred in my ward, which I documented in 2 Facebook postings below:

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I felt this incident deserved a post on its own, not just because it was completely unexpected and downright hilarious at the time, but you sort of get the feeling that the people in the ward are under a lot more stress than they let out.

It was later on, when my bed neighbour, Old Man 3 (I’ve mentioned Mr Teo in a previous post) would share his reason for disliking Old Man 1 so much, that I came to empathise the possible social underpinnings that led to Old Man 1 being there in the first place.

Old Man 1 was suffering from gangrene on his right leg brought about by his severe diabetic condition. According to my bed neighbour, up until the fight occurred, he had already been warded – and bedridden – for 2 weeks, and he did not look like he was going to leave any time soon.

He would insist on being served by the nurses for just about everything, from opening his drawers to plugging in his mobile phone charger for him, even though we would witness him being completely capable of doing these menial tasks on his own. And he was stubborn; refusing to take his medication, have his dressing changed, and even sponge baths (from which the resultant smell led to the argument). He also seldom had visitors; I’ve only seen his wife come by once every 2 days or so, and when he received phone calls, it would be late at night (much to Mr Teo’s irritation). He even asks the nurses and patients for money whenever he has the opportunity, though none would oblige.

As I sat in my own bed looking at Old Man 1, trying to figure out the reason behind his attitude and actions, it started to look like Old Man 1 actually didn’t want to leave. Given he is likely a C-class patient as I was (they ran of beds in the C-class wards, so they bumped us up to B2-class beds instead), it could well be that he never gets the kind of attention and treatment at home that he is getting now from the doctors and nurses. It doesn’t matter that his hospital bill is running up by the day; it’s another concern for another day. He lives in the now, and now he’s literally got servants tending to him at the press of a button. Why would he want to leave, ever? Why would he want to go home and reintroduce himself to the misery and suffering of… poverty?

And then I thought, how many more of these patients are there in our society?

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