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Sick again (and hopefully this would be the last)

8 Mar

Baby’s becoming a suki of The Medical City.

That may sound funny but, seriously, a recurrent pneumonia and another round of hospital confinement just after a month is really not funny at all. (Read about the first time here).

Passing time in the hospital. When you’re stuck in such a place, it’s very difficult to keep a toddler entertained.

It all started on Wednesday… or Tuesday, if my theories are correct (kasi pinagmunimunihan ko talaga pano at bakit nagkasakit ulit si Baby while I was alone in the hospital). Eugene’s sister, her husband, and another family friend will be coming over for a vacation. As my OC-ness would have it, I wanted the house to be clean. Well, I’ve been meaning to have our house spring-cleaned for the longest time (since we moved in) but I just couldn’t find the time. So I took this opportunity to do so. I hired a couple of cleaners to do the job last Tuesday and that involved a lot of dust and the smell of (floor) wax which I think caused Baby’s hingal (short breathing) and triggered her pneumonia. Well, at least this is my theory because I’ve reviewed where we’ve been the past month and wala talaga kaming pinuntahan where Carissa could have been exposed. We mostly stayed at home. We go to Church on weekends but I don’t think she could’ve gotten it there. We’ve been to the mall twice but it was a very quick trip, mga less than two hours lang siguro.

So I had our house cleaned. I asked my mother-in-law, Nanay, to look after Baby while I also cleaned and supervised the cleaners. She brought Baby outside the house in the morning. But after lunch, since it was hot outside, she brought her instead to our room which was freshly waxed. They stayed there until we all finished cleaning late in the afternoon. Since I was also busy, I forgot that the room still smelled wax. (I should’ve not allowed them to stay there). Also, the sun, which shines directly in our room in the afternoon, was pretty much out so the heat was really intense that day. Wax fumes + heat = not a good combination for a baby. I did turn on the aircon later on but I think an hour has already passed with Baby and Nanay inside the room when I did so.

That was Tuesday, February 28. Wednesday afternoon Carissa started to have occassional coughs and I could tell by the sound of it that it would eventually be a full-blown one. True enough, the following day, Thursday, her coughs were a little bit worse than the previous day. I nebulized her that morning hoping it would prevent the cough from getting worse. In the afternoon, she started to be hingal.

Again, I was hesitant to bring her to the ER because, first, she was not matamlay at all. She was playful. Also, she did not have a fever. She was normally malikot except for her hingal. Third is because her Tita et. al would be arriving the following day and we have plans of touring them around the city (okay, so I was FOMO). So I prayed hard for Baby to be well. And because I prayed, I believed it was nothing serious and in the morning she will be well as if nothing happened at all. Lastly, I didn’t want to bother Eugene with bringing Baby to the ER because he will be fetching our guests early the following morning and would be driving them around. He was just recently diagnosed with cardiomyopathy so I didn’t want him to get very tired.

Hospitalized the second time for pneumonia after just a month.

But Carissa’s breathing did not improve even after I nebulized her again in the early evening. In fact, it got worse towards the night. Still, because I was praying, I was hopeful that Baby would get well. I wanted to wait the following morning to see if she will improve after sleeping through the night.

Now even if I was hesitant to go to the ER I was struggling and wondering (again) if I’m making the right decision. Carissa was really breathing fast. With her previous pneumonia a month ago she was breathing fast but it was just that. Hingal lang. This time, not only was she breathing fast, she was breathing hard and her chest and tummy was palpitating with every breath. The space in the middle of her collar bone just under the neck (what do you call that?), it was being drawn inward with each breath. I thought it was asthma. Finally, around 11 PM (it took me that long to decide), I finally asked Eugene to drive us to The Medical City (we had a borrowed car that night to tour her family the following day).

Upon checking Baby in the ER, the doctor-on-duty said it sounded like it’s pneumonia again (and not asthma as I thought it was). And after a while, she apologetically asked if it’s okay for Baby to be admitted again.

Again? She was admitted just a month ago for pneumonia!

The doctor wanted her admitted because of her hingal. I know it was of particular concern because that was one of the major indications why she got admitted the first time. Pero dahil nga kaaadmit nya lang isang bwan pa lang ang nakakalipas, ayoko sana ipaadmit sya ulit.

Baby was very masigla and malikot. She doesn’t seem to be sick at all. Whenever she’s awake I had to constantly tell her not to play with the gadgets.

I tried to negotiate with the ER doctor (who was, thank God, very kind) and asked if home treatment would be possible. She said she will have Baby nebulized again and if her breathing will improve, we can go home. She also ordered an x-ray to be done on her (again).

Well, hindi nawala hingal ni Baby after the nebulization in the ER so she got admitted again. I got really, really sad when the doctor said it was pneumonia again (confirmed through the x-ray). I knew then that I had no choice.

What followed were the necessary routine procedures. Dating gawi. Another stressful night. Of course, she was again inserted with an IV line through which her medications will be given. The last time there was only one failed attempt to insert it on her hand. This time the nurses had three failed attempts. They tried inserting it on her left hand, then on her right hand, then on her left foot, before finally successfully inserting it in her right foot. Buti naman naipasok din kasi wala na syang extrang kamay at paa kung san pa pwede next. (That’s why the veins in her hands and feet are clearly visible now due to these failed IV insertions). She cried the whole time. Nakakaawa.

When we got in our room (which was about 5 AM), I told Eugene to sleep at least for an hour before driving to fetch her sister from the airport. I am really concerned he doesn’t tire himself much because of his heart condition.

If before I had Nanay with me during our stay in the hospital, this time I was alone because her daughter and son-in-law were in town so of course she had to be with them. Eugene also had to be with them to drive them around. So I was left alone. Ang lungkot lang. They did visit us twice but they stayed only for a short time. Eugene actually came and slept in the evening but he arrives late and leaves early in the morning. So I’m pretty much alone the whole time (except for the few friends who visited).

If her IV did not get dislodged, we wouldn’t have been discharged a day earlier. She was so likot her IV always gets stretched like this.

I’m also saddened that Carissa was given stronger antibiotics as well as steroids. The doctor explained that because it was only a month since her last pneumonia, a stronger antibiotic was needed. If it was more than six months ago na daw, they could give the same one given to her before. (Sa lahat naman ng iniiwasan ko ehyung magantibiotic si Baby… tapos twice pa sya nabigyan nang wala pang one year old. Nalulungkot talaga ako).

And because Baby wasn’t responding to the nebulizations (hindi mawalawala hingal nya even after the second day and after increasing the frequency of her nebulizations to every four hours), the doctor prescribed to give her steroids. Kaya I really have a feeling her pneumonia was caused by the smell of the floor wax and not by the bug kasi if it was a bug, i think her symptoms would have been the same as before (fever, matamlay) and she would respond well with her initial medications as she did before. Pero hindi. She had fever and she was matamlay before (the first time she had pneumonia a month ago) so it was pretty sure she had an infection. This time, she didn’t have any fever and was very masigla and malikot (as in super likot para ngang wala syang sakit). Hingal lang talaga. So I think she didn’t have any infections, inflamed langyung airways kaya hindi mawalawalayung hingal nya… which is malamang dahil sa amoy ng floor wax. Again, this is just my theory. I did tell the doctor about this and she seemed to agree so I guess my theory’s correct. Hehe.

Thankfully, Baby responded immediately to the steroids. Actually, I negotiated again with the doctor if we could avoid the steroids and just wait for the hingal to subside. But the doctor said she has extended enough time to see if Baby would improve with the nebulizations (true enough the doctor has been very gracious to all my requests) but still she hasn’t by the second day. It was only in the evening of the second day that the doctor gave steroids.

At dahil mahilig talaga ako makipag-negotiate, every time the doctor would visit us, I would always ask how long will we stay in the hospital and jokingly tell her uwi na kami. We were supposed to be discharged Monday noon but Baby’s IV got dislodged (sa kalikutan) Sunday early afternoon so they removed it. Instead of reinserting it again, the doctor just decided to start giving her medicines orally. So again, I negotiated with the doctor if we can go home already (since there were no medications to be given through the IV anymore). Pumayag naman (I thought hindi sya papayag because that morning medyo hindi pa clear lungs ni Baby). Actually, if I have company, I wouldn’t mind staying as long as the doctor would recommend. But I was alone. So I wanted to get out of the hospital ASAP kasi nadedepress nako don. Thank God the doctor was really kind and allowed us to go home.


This is a day after getting out of the hospital. Last dinner with Eugene’s family before they’ve gone back home to the province the following day.

I, at least, still got to spend a day with Eugene’s family before they left early Tuesday morning. Happy for that one.

Lord, sana po last nato. Please restore Carissa’s health and make her immune system strong again. Madami pa po kaming naka-schedule na adventures this year. Amen!


Back-to-back hospital confinement

22 Feb


It’s been more than a week since Baby Carissa and Eugene got discharged from the hospital. Yes, both of them almost at the same time got confined for pneumonia.

As if caring for a sick baby in a hospital is not stressful already, how much more when your husband also needs to be admitted? To be honest, I am very much dependent on Eugene. So to be without him to care for Carissa was really overwhelming. Thank God my mother-in-law was with us (and that she didn’t get sick) so I got help.

This place was home for four days.

Eugene was already sick with cough and asthma the past week before he got admitted. I even told him we can skip the wedding we attended last February 4 (Saturday) so he could rest because his cough sounded really bad. But we still pushed through because he said he feels well enough to drive. It was cold at the venue of the wedding, like Baguio-like or Tagaytay-like cold. And I think it may have been the cause of Baby Carissa getting pneumonia. She had a runny nose then which I thought was a simple allergy since she ‘regularly’ gets a runny nose without getting seriously sick. The following day, Sunday, she was absolutely normal (except for the runny nose) and active. So it was quite surprising when she ran a fever in the evening when we got home from Church. Eugene was also not getting any better. The following day, Monday, February 6, Baby woke up still with a fever, matamlay, cranky, extra clingy, and breathing fast.

I don’t usually bring Carissa to the doctor nor give her any medication when she has a cough/cold (unless it goes beyond 10 – 14 days), as long as she is her normal happy self, playful and active. But that Monday morning, she was different. I couldn’t put her down for a second. She didn’t want to play at all. She just cried and cried. Even if she fell asleep in my arms she didn’t want to be put down. She wanted to sleep on my chest the whole time. She was not her normal self.

Eugene (who was supposed to go to the doctor) asked if I wanted to bring Carissa to the ER in The Medical City (TMC). I was a bit hesitant because I was thinking it was just an ordinary cough and would eventually clear up in a few days. If I need to have her checked, I would like to go to her pediatrician but his clinic was scheduled on the next afternoon at 5 PM (Tuesday). His clinic was also far (St. Luke’s QC). But since Baby was not playful and active, I had second thoughts if I’m making the right decision of not having her checked.

So I then thought of bringing her to Dr. Senseng (in TMC), another pedia who we have been considering of switching to. But her secretary said she was canceling her clinic the following morning. My last choice was Dr. Sua (also in TMC), a pediatric pulmonologist who I was able to come upon based from a previous web research and after reading good reviews about her. She had a clinic that afternoon but I couldn’t reach it to ask if we could still be accommodated since she only accepts patients with appointments.

Honestly, I was really hesitant to go to the hospital because I couldn’t contact a doctor. I wanted to bring her to a doctor of my choice, not in the ER. All the while I was calm thinking it’s just an ordinary cough. I just needed to breastfeed her a lot. But she had a fever (which she never had the past times she had a cough) and was breathing fast (which her doctor said was a warning sign). I put my ear on Carissa’s chest and…that’s when I started to worry! It sounded like horses racing in a racetrack! About lunchtime, she also started to have loose and frequent bowel movements. Eugene wanted to bring her already to the ER. And I knew I needed to agree with that. I tried to call Dr. Sua’s clinic for the last time and, gratefully, I was able to reach her secretary who said we should be in by 5 PM so we could be accommodated.

When we got to TMC at around 4 PM, I told Eugene to go have himself checked by his doctor so we could be efficient and finish quickly (and because he is also very sick, too). But he accompanied us first because he thought Baby might need to be admitted so he would have to go home to get some stuff and he said he wouldn’t be able to do that if he himself needs to be admitted. (So he sort of had a feeling they would be admitted). I thought he was over reacting. Admitted? Com’on, it was just a simple cough. I was very optimistic it was nothing serious and Baby would get well in no time.

I didn’t want to but Baby Carissa needed to be confined for pneumonia.

Well, it turned out it was serious (pneumonia) and both of them needed to be admitted. Upon checking Carissa, the doctor said she had every indication for admission. And so began a long night for us.

Now I’m not really fond of hospitals. I chose not to give birth in a hospital because I don’t like going through the long process of admission, interviews by residents and/or clerks, and routine medical procedures. And there I was, going through all of them for my little one. She was nebulized, given medicine, had an x-ray, pricked for a blood sample, and was inserted an IV, and, the saddest part which I have been trying to avoid, given antibiotic. She cried in all the procedures done to her. It was not a loud cry, though, not like a tantrum, but a weak one like she’s too exhausted to cry. She must be since she also lost her appetite and had decreased her feedings that day.

We were at the ER at about 5 PM (Dr. Sua adviced us to go through the ER instead of getting admitted directly). We were able to check in our room at about midnight Monday evening. Already exhausted and very sleepy, there were interns who still interviewed me about Baby’s case when I arrived in our room.


Now for Eugene’s story. As I have mentioned he was also sick (actually, he was the first to get sick). He got back at the hospital after getting our stuff from home an hour or two after midnight Monday (so it was already Tuesday). He set an appointment with her doctor Tuesday afternoon. He was 15th in line so he hung out in our room first to wait for the secretary who promised to call him when it’s about his turn to be seen by the doctor. The secretary didn’t call and when he got back at the doctor’s clinic, it was already closed. So he went to the ER instead but not before having dinner. So Eugene got checked really late already (and he has been sick for several days by then and his cough was really, really bad). The next I heard from him was Wednesday morning when he told me he also needed to be admitted.

Now it’s a little more complicated with Eugene. He was also admitted for pneumonia (and asthma). To check for pneumonia he had an x-ray and the results not only confirmed the pneumonia but also showed he had an enlarged heart. Her doctor then ordered for him to undergo a 2D-echo and an angiogram during his confinement. These tests revealed he has a weak heart. He was diagnosed to have cardiomyopathy (now I can’t explain why or how).

Video call with Tatay who was also confined four floors higher. Photo by my sister Ruth.

Eugene stayed a day longer than Carissa did not only because he had to undergo tests for his heart but because his pneumonia also took time to heal. We had to leave Eugene at the hospital without a companion when Baby got discharged. I felt really, really sad I couldn’t take care of him. Imagine being sick in a hospital alone? I would die of sadness more than my sickness. I was also not there during his angiogram because Eugene didn’t want to bring Baby back to the hospital and I couldn’t look for a baby sitter that time. Add to that the worry of what the results of the angiogram would be. I was depressed that Saturday, crying and praying the whole day.


But now we are all well and back home together (again). I have learned a lesson I know all too well in my mind but something that takes God’s grace to apply… that no matter how much I take care (and take control) of my family, things will not always turn out the way I had planned and prayed for them to be. But we have God who is in perfect control. We are thankful we are all well now and that God saw us through. Here are some other things we praise God and are grateful for:

  • That I was able to find a doctor for Carissa who I am comfortable with and who I trusted. I’m choosy of doctors and I like how Dr. Sua responded patiently to all my questions and her method of treatment for her patients.
  • That we were able to bring Baby to the hospital before anything worse could have happened to her.
  • For Nanay, who was with us and was able to help us and that she did not get sick (she also had a cough during our stay in the hospital).
  • That I did not get sick (I actually felt like I was the next).
  • For Dra. Bebet Sebastian who extended a lot of help to us. She checked on Nanay daily while in the hospital and gave her medicines. She even had our laundry washed. She also checked on Eugene regularly and she was the one who accompanied Eugene during the angiogram giving me a real-time update of what was happening as well as the results. She also helped us when we were processing Eugene’s discharge.
  • That Eugene’s heart condition was diagnosed. While I am not thankful that he got pneumonia, we are thankful that through it his cardiomyopathy was diagnosed. He was also x-rayed a week (or two) before his confinement but during that time his heart was clear. If not for the pneumonia, who knows how or when would it be diagnosed? Things could be worse but we believe it was God’s perfect timing.
  • That Eugene doesn’t have any clogged arteries.
  • For my sister Ruth who came when I asked for extra help.
  • For all our friends who visited and prayed for us.
  • For Eugene’s fellow pastors who assisted us when he was being discharged, especially to Pastor Sam who drove us home.
  • That we are all well now.
  • I hope I didn’t forget anything.

    Let’s celebrate this month of love with (literal) big hearts! 🙂

    Going home na! Photo by my sister Ruth.  

    Edited as a postscript:

    TMC review

    Now if I could just give a few comments on The Medical City:

    • While we were at the ER, the nurse explained that upon the time of admission in the ER we need to be admitted to a room within four hours. If we don’t check in a room within that time frame (and stay in the ER beyond four hours), we would be charged P250(?)/hour as ‘waiting fee’. Med City, paki-explain.
    • Nurses assigned in the pediatric ward should undergo more training in handling baby patients.
    • The food. How will their patients get well with the food they are serving? (Maybe it’s a conspiracy? Haha!). 
    • Overall, the doctors and nurses and other hospital staff (e.g., housekeeping) are nice and polite. The rooms are small and very cold but the hospital is clean.

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