29 January 2013


I am rapidly losing faith in the Singaporean Health Care System. In the past 24 hours I have been poked, prodded, probed and pricked by an array of dentists, doctors and surgeons. They have battered me. Every which way. For the past couple of years I have been suffering intermittent pain in my jaw. Well that's where it seems to start anyway. Sometimes it works it's way up my nose and quite often it sits behind my left eye. 

It thumps and pounds. 

It throbs and pulses.

My initial feeling was that this was a dental matter. My dentist – who is a very nice man named Derek, he thought so too. Over a 12 month period he and his endodontic colleague undertook root canal work on one of my top rear molars. I had implants and a crown installed and it seemed to get better. When the pain recurred early last year they thought that the tooth next to it might also be a problem. So there was more root canal work and more titanium implants. Then another crown. They seemed to think that the root system of my teeth is more complex than normal. My bank account was getting a thumping.

Who am I to argue?

When the headaches returned in the middle of last year I returned to Derek the Dentist. He now thought that the pain might be sinus related so he referred me to an ENT. An ENT is an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon. This is all they do. Ears. Noses. Throats. I first underwent a barrage of investigations. X-Rays then a CAT scan followed by an MRI. They were painless but uncomfortable. Medical acronyms are often such. 

The dude then wanted to look into my nasal cavity. This involved the insertion of a thin snake-like camera up my snout. Now I have since learned that when a medical practitioner says that a procedure might feel a little uncomfortable they are likely vastly understating the experience. 

It made my toes curl. 

The good doctor kept telling me to relax. Sure. No problem. This is no easy task with a flexible wire being pushed deep up your nostril. Then down - right into your throat. It makes it difficult to scream too but I managed that anyway.

So it seemed that I had some sort of small growth underneath one of my sinuses. I referred to it as ‘the thing’. The doctor didn't seem too concerned. Not as much as me anyway. He assured me that the treatment was simple all that would be required was a weekly blast of radiation. Up the schnoz. I recall asking him whether it would be painful and he told me that it would be a little uncomfortable. 

My alarm bell started ringing and I could feel my toes curling at the prospect. I could envisage my screams of anguish. 

Anyway, I endured this treatment for a couple of months at the Mount Elizabeth hospital. I took a myriad of pills as well. Some were for nausea and others were for pain. I remember that they upset my stomach. They upset my stomach a lot. Regardless, the thing in my nose - well behind it really - diminished in size. Eventually it was blasted away to nothingness.

So all seemed OK for quite a while. I was pain free. It felt good. Alas a couple of weeks ago my headaches returned. It really felt to me that it was originating in my teeth - the ones with the crowns. Despite that I first went back to the ENT. There was another CAT scan – and once again the snake up my nose. From me there was a further muffled scream. All seemed to be clear though. There was no sign of the thing. 

So back to the Derek the Dentist I went - last week. The pain was pretty bad. Derek thought that one of my repaired teeth might have a small crack at the base. He thought that it was a part of the real tooth and not the crown. I asked what could be done. He could re-build it he suggested. I asked him if he removed the tooth would the pain disappear? He seemed confident that it would. Then pull it out I commanded. I am growing weary of constant pain. So out it came. Last Saturday. It was nasty.

Very nasty. 

I have also learned that when a dentist says "this might sting a little bit" and “you might feel a little pressure”, they are also understating the experience. I discovered too that I can also scream quite effectively even with a pair of hands in my mouth. I can scream very loud.

Job done? I wish. My mouth was quite sore all of Sunday but the headaches returned with a vengeance yesterday. They were pounding. They were blinding. So back to the Mount Elizabeth hospital. Yesterday. This time to see a neurologist - who then sent me to an ophthalmologist. Both are Singaporeans and are very nice men. The ophthalmologist thought that I might have a problem with the drainage system in my left eye. I had no idea that the eye even had a drainage system. 

Isn't that just crying? 

He said that he wanted to insert a catheter into my eye to drain off some fluid and check it out. Yes in my fucking eye! None of this can happen for another couple of weeks as his schedule is full.

I am on a course of powerful antibiotics now and I have some spanking pain killers. I think I feel a little better. I however want a second opinion before I let anyone stick anything in my eye. To drain it of my fluids. I am seeking out an Australian Doctor – even a  British one will suffice. 

I also want my Mummy.    

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