Friday, July 3, 2015

Having a D&C in Singapore

I spent all morning at the hospital having a D&C (dilation and curettage). This is a very common procedure after miscarriage. They open your cervix to insert an instrument, which they use to scrape off the lining of the uterus (and then suction it out sometimes). Basically it's a kind of abortion, but the kind you don't have to feel guilty about (B's description).

The Internet makes it sound quite simple, so I was surprised that I had to go to the hospital and be under general anesthesia. The day started at 5:30 in the morning, when I had to wake up to take some medication after fasting all evening. I was due at the hospital at 6:45 (easy enough as we live less than 10 minutes away),

After checking in, I had to pay for the procedure's estimated cost, in advance (I will receive a refund if the cost turned out to be less than estimated). The system for maternity care in Singapore is a little strange: typically, all maternity care is NOT covered by insurance (including ours) and there is basically no way to buy maternity insurance once you are pregnant. (You can buy it, but only at least 10 months in advance, meaning you would need to pay almost a year of high premiums--probably equalling the cost of care--before using it.) Since we have to pay for everything out of pocket, it's a lucky thing that costs are much lower than they would be in the US. I ended up paying about $1500 for everything. I still felt bitter about having to pay it though, because I didn't end up with anything good (like a baby), just an avoidance of something bad (getting an infection). I can certainly think of better things to do with that money, like go on a trip somewhere!

Then I waited around for a while, first in the waiting room and then in my hospital cubicle. I slept most of the time as I was tired from getting up at such an ungodly hour (by my standards, anyway: R usually wakes up around 7). The anesthesiologist visited, the nurse prepped me and in general it was just like having surgery in the US or any other Westernized country (I had my appendix out in Taiwan. A change from Taiwan was that in Singapore there are real nurses: in Taiwan, the hospital only had nurses' aides with minimal qualifications and did not provide food. Family members were expected to provide nursing care and meals. I was very lucky B was with me!)

Eventually they took me to the operating room and had me breathe oxygen in and out through a face mask while the drugs took effect. I woke up later in the recovery room feeling tired but otherwise not too bad. The recovery is definitely nothing compared to other surgeries I have had. I was very tired from the effects of the anesthetic though, and spent most of the rest of my time at the hospital sleeping. B greeted me when I awoke, and then went off to do some work while I slept. He came to pick me up at 2 pm, at which point I was feeling well enough to go out to Burger King for some lunch.

Since then I have just been resting (for the first day the doctor told me to not do anything). I feel tired and a bit achy, but overall pretty good and even antsy to stop resting and clean the house (which is a total disaster zone; I am trying not to look at it). I think by tomorrow I should be well enough to go back to my normal routine, with some caveats (I am not supposed to have sex, go swimming or exercise for one week).

The entire procedure went very smoothly and I received excellent, if rather impersonal, care. The whole experience gives me increased confidence in the Singapore medical system, making it a good choice to have a baby here (if I am so lucky). I will see what the future holds!

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