Emergency hospital admission for a non-COVID case
It was Friday (April 9) evening at home when a dangerous health situation happened. I had streaks of blood in my urine and clots totally blocked it. I am a 65-year-old hypertensive-diabetic retiree with prostate removed in 2018 due to cancer. A year later, I had a rigorous 40-day radiation sessions to obliterate the remaining malignant cells.
So, this situation of heavy bleeding was new to me. I had no kidney stone and was speculating if the blood came from my prostates or elsewhere. It was 7 p.m. past curfew when I called my urologist Dr. Josefino Castillo who told me to go to St Luke’s-Quezon City non-COVID ER for immediate treatment. We were hesitant because of rising COVID-19 cases and fear of non-availability of rooms in case of confinement.
We prepared all our IDs and left the house, anticipating checkpoints along the way and luckily within minutes, we were at the hospital. We were told first to enlist outside before two PPE’d nurses in tables beside the COVID-19 emergency room. There were five people on the seats and I could sense all are COVID-19 positives so I evaded and went ahead of line.
I was then led to the non-COVID ER located at the former St. Luke’s chapel area at the second floor. It was not full and we were properly attended to later by the resident urologist. At this point, I was heavily in pain and was relieved partially when a catheter was attached to flush initially almost a liter of red liquids.
It was decided then that I would be admitted. But first, my wife and I took RT-PCR swab test, with the results available within two hours 2 and which cost P12,000 each. We were told that if both of us were negative, my wife would be restricted within the building and would stay until we check out, and no visitors would be allowed. If we were positive, that would be another story.
After the negative results from the swab tests, and nearly eight hours at the ER, we transferred to a room on the non-COVID 5th floor where examinations of chest, heart, blood, ultrasound ensued. Bottles of dextrose irrigated my bloodied bladder. Barely sleeping, my urologist said I would be operated at 3 p.m. that same Saturday afternoon. There was no other way, he said, because they must find the source and stop the bleeding. The ultrasound revealed there are still 40 ml of blood clots blocking my urinary tract.
I was thinking it could be bladder stone or cancer and my prostate, but my PSA was very low and normal. There was this other problem of anesthesia in the procedure. My pulmonologist warned against “general anesthesia” because I might not wake up due to my “weaker respiratory” condition. Instead , “spinal anesthesia” was used where I was sedated bu awake all throughout.
After almost three hours in the OR, my doctor whispered and said he found and had solved the problem, and that I could go home tomorrow (Sunday). An hour later, I woke up in the recovery room but my half body, from waist down was still heavy and immovable. It was nearly 9 p.m. when I returned to my room and had my first food and drink for the past 28 hours.
The next day was a very fast discharge. I appeared to me that the hospital doesn’t want longer stays for its non-COVID patients, perhaps due to the high risk of infection in the hospital.
Thank God for the new gift of life and also to my doctors led by Dr. Josefino Castillo and the other front liners who assisted me.
On the more than six-figure amount for my hospital bills for literally just two-days stay, that is another sad story.
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