back in Singapore…

We barely started our trip before bad luck brought it to an abrupt halt. On the eve of Chinese New Year, we were dashing off to watch the fireworks show on the bay. Separated from each other by 10-15 feet at the most, Tom suddenly disappeared as I was entering the subway station. Much anxious back and forth to the last place I saw him, he was hidden from me by the throngs of people here for New Year’s. Our rule is if we lose each other for more than 15 minutes, it’s back to the hotel.

Meanwhile, he had taken a bad tumble on a step and was sitting on the ground trying to gather his wits. A kind Indian family (really, the only people who stopped to help) got him to his feet and he hobbled over to a taxi stand. We finally saw each other back at the hotel about an hour later. The swelling got so bad that, armed with an umbrella as a crutch, we went to the emergency room at Singapore General Hospital after midnight.


For a major emergency room in a major city, it was pretty calm. Triage was simple: intake listened to his story and admitted him. They gave him this flow chart.


If I was to see something like this here at home, I’d probably laugh, then cry, knowing that it would get screwed up somewhere, somehow. But this was Singapore and within the hour a doctor saw Tom, ordered xrays, had a tech come into put him in a cast, sent him to therapy to get crutches and to the pharmacy for pain killers. (Up top is Tom’s x-ray showing the break.)


At this point the doctor thought he would need surgery, but a consultation with a surgeon downgraded  the situation to “probably” needs surgery. We approached the last step in our hospital adventure with some trepidation, but the bill came to … US$61 for the whole shebang! Even foreigners receive the same medical care as Singaporeans. Astonishing.

We were supposed to fly later that morning to Bangkok but it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. For a while Tom was sure we could change plans and go chill in Northern Thailand while he made a speedy recovery. We were disabused of that idea pretty quickly and made arrangements to come home.


So two days later and a whole month earlier than we planned on, we were back home. A trip to Kaiser and a new cast, we’re wondering where to go next…



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