Doctor in the House

Of my 2.5+ years of fatherhood, I had dealt with regular outbursts from my baby but I had never witness one like that. Albany cried non stop, kicked out at me and was basically non-negotiable. She would not be left anywhere else other my chest, wrapped tightly by my arms. Even so, she would cry less, not stop until she fell asleep temporarily. On several occasions, she woke again and yelled the house down.

It was clear that Albany was unwell. Even as inexperienced as we were, it was obvious. We were prepared for nights like that when we decided to put Albany to childcare once or twice a week to allow her to pick up some social skills and independence. The feedback given to us so far had been raving in terms of her ability to adapt, eat, sleep and play. As expected, soon enough she had occasional light flu or cough which went away without much fuss. Her ailments that night would have little to do with childcare.

When Albany began to point to her ears, my worst fears were confirmed. When I was in my teens I experienced one ear infection that literally brought me to the ground. The pain was excruciating, as if a beetle entered my ears and decided to dig its way to my brain alive. I was at the clinic at Teck Whye as the earliest possible. To my despair, the staff told me the doctor would be arriving only 1.5 hours later. Why the fuck did they open the clinic if there are no doctors willing to turn up within 30 minutes really? Did they expect a red carpet treatment and a hormat senjata from the patients as well? 

I couldn't recall what and why but the next thing I knew, a staff tapped my arm and asked me why I was lying on the floor, under the legs on the chairs in the waiting aisle. Before I knew it, I was ushered to the doctorless doctor's room and invited to lie at the examining bed. I didn't know how long I stayed on the bed. but I suppose I was the first patient to greet the doctor horizontally for a while then. I was told my right ear had an infection.

I measured that if Albany had anything like my stage of infection, she would be crying till her face turned purple. So if there was an infection, it would be a slight one. On top of that, I found a skin split on each of her ears, just at the intersection of the ear and face. Pain could only be the result when her tears and sweat came into contact with the hairline cracks. With my own splitting headache due to fever/flu and a toddler's non stop screeching, Jen and I began to argue before long. Since we tried every trick in the book, we concluded we needed help.

Within 30 minutes or less, a man was towering over me in my house, watching his patient who had just dozed off in my arms. She woke after some probing and checking and began to wail, though a bit reserved as she observed a stranger in the house. The doctor gave his diagnosis and advice and left. We did not have to pay for his service. It was bulk billed under some scheme that I had no idea of, just like all the baby health checks at the child health nurses as well as visiting midwives who came everyday for two weeks after childbirth to check on the baby. Miraculously, Albany fell asleep till dawn after I applied some vaseline on the cracks on her skin. The doctor thought he could see slight infection in the ear that could go away by morning else we could consider giving her light doses of Panadol.

Fortunately Albany recovered quickly and became chirpy the next day. It wasn't over yet as her nose was still drippy but at least she slept without making much fuss that night. The after-hours visiting doctor service was amazing new hapless parents with no elders around to turn. A bright spark to an otherwise depressing month so far.


  1. Good job, ASingaporeanSon, for recognizing that Albany isn't her usual self and needed help. (h)

    It is true that parents involved in parenting knows their children best. Anything that is not usual deserves a further look.

    E.g. Once there was a mom with an infant in the hospital who told us that her son was sleeping too calmly/still. We checked and found that the infant wasn't breathing well enough (although not bad enough to turn blue yet), and thus his drowsy/calm-sleep. We gave oxygen and all was well again.

  2. Actually reading all your posts revealed how good you are as a parent. How many rights you have done as compared to the wrongs I did. My friend asked me whether I want my life to fast forward or to backtrack?