Eid part II: Ending up in the ER

I blogged a few days ago about how my plan to spend Eid in England didn’t work out.

Well, we did go away after all. To a well-equipped room, with a TV, en-suite bathroom and round-the-clock room service, centrally located, to BB’s delight, less than 20 feet away from a gleaming gold Metro station.

BB’s idea of paradise, except my poor boy was on a drip, and being prodded and poked by doctors, scanned like a barcode and force-fed medicine.

Yes, we spent the rest of Eid at City Hospital in Dubai’s Healthcare City! Nearly three days and two nights – it felt like forever.

When your only option is private healthcare, doctors don't leave a stone unturned

He’d had a bug, nothing too concerning because even here in the warmth of the desert, there’s a lot of it about. But when we got back from the airport, he seemed strangely lethargic, despite having appeared perfectly well enough to travel earlier that day.

That night his temperature spiked (thank goodness we weren’t on a plane) and so in the morning, we took him to the doctor – who told us to go to the ER.

“Really?” we thought, DH and I both looking at each other in surprise. It seemed a bit drastic. Wasn’t it just a sick bug? And besides, BB was complaining about being hungry so surely couldn’t be that ill. We stuck to our plan to have lunch.

At the ER that afternoon, there was another surprise. A blood test threw up a weird result and they said they were admitting him to the paediatric ward. I still thought everyone was over-reacting – if it was the NHS, wouldn’t we have just been sent home in a matronly fashion to have chicken soup?

But that night, as his temperature climbed again and his whole body started shaking, I began to panic. My boy wasn’t well and I’d assumed it was nothing serious. What could it be and why were we in hospital? They’d even put him in an isolation room to begin with.

There are a few exotic diseases you can catch out here, you see. Infected spider bites, scarlet fever, giardia from unclean swimming pools. In fact, LB’s nursery emails out a helpful round-up of all the nursery nasties every time there’s an outbreak so I know what’s lurking.

The doctors asked where we’d travelled to recently as they thought BB might have malaria. They took more blood and did an ultrasound – all routine tests, but for a five-year-old who’s terrified of the sight of blood (even a graze!) and hates having his hair cut let alone his internal organs scanned, invasive tests like this are a battle.

“It’ll just feel like an ant bite,” said a nurse trying to insert a cannula into his hand.

“TH-AAAAT’S-NOT -AN-ANT-BITE,” shrieked BB, the colour draining from his face.

But he was so brave – and was loving being able to ‘drive’ his bed up and down and position it at various angles – his favourite setting being as high as possible so the nurses had trouble reaching him.

I was trying to be brave, too, but was noticing a few cultural differences I didn’t like. I know healthcare here is excellent, but it seemed like the doctors were more distant – less interactive than they are in the West. No one really told us what was going on and that was just freaky.

Eventually we did get a diagnosis, which I won’t go into, other than to say it’s not serious, has a long name, is fixable, and will be thoroughly researched by myself later today when I consult Dr. Google (dangerous, I know!).

It was so good to come home, clutching a bag with three-month’s worth of medicine and the present we’d bought BB on day#2 for being such a big boy. It was a creepy crawly kit, which he’d used to turn his hospital room into a bug-making factory. They’re in for a shock when they clean.

Some memorable lighter moments:

– “I’m NOT sick, let’s go to James’ house.”

– ‘Don’t touch that train – I’m SICK you know,” to his brother

– “She’s a NAUGHTY nurse, she needs to go in time-out….That doctor is BA-AAD…”

– “Have we moved here? Is this our new home?”

– “This room is just like our hotel in the Seychelles’

– On spitting out medicine, “YEEEUUU-UUUUK, I waaa-nt the purple one” (ie, Calpol)

8 thoughts on “Eid part II: Ending up in the ER

  1. Oh, you poor things – both of you! Glad BB is going to be OK, but so sorry you had to go through all of this. We have (touch wood) not yet had to access the local healthcare system, but have heard plenty about the differences between East and West – same problem here, the dr. makes the decisions and you, the humble patient, just accept whatever is being done. An interesting thing in Korea is that nurses do not do anything for you except give you medicine and handle the medical part of your care. You are expected to arrive with family members in tow to take care of all of your other needs (including cooking: food is not provided either and some hospital rooms include kitchens.) Hoping intensely that we will not have to find out about this first hand!
    Sounds like Mum needs a good, long rest after all the Eid excitement….

    • I hope you never have to experience Korean hospitals! Healthcare in Korea sounds really different! I know we’re actually really lucky here, in that healthcare is very good – my friend in Azerbaijan was telling me that healthcare there is one of her biggest concerns and they tend to medi-vac patients either to London or Dubai – Imagining that on top of all the stress of an accident/sick child, brings me out in a cold sweat!!

  2. It all sounded horrendous and I am so glad to hear he’s OK now. I hope you get back to the UK soon – will the school disapprove if you take them away for a few days during term time? At least the flights might be quieter then?

    • Definitely will try to go back soon, when it’s a bit quieter! Going with just Max is really manageable now, Matty’s still a complete handful on the plane! Flying must be getting easier with your boys now, too? Tho that long fllght between London and the US is tough with little ones.

  3. michelle says:

    I bet it was just like the stay in the Seychelles!! I am so glad he is better though. So what was it???

    • it was bladder diverticulosis! a leak leading into a little ear on his bladder, and that was what was causing the mysterious infection. He’s fine now! (think I’m still recovering!) If it keeps happening, might need a little op. Yes, just like the Seychelles!!!!

  4. Kathryn says:

    “This room is just like our hotel in the Seychelles’

    Tell me the name of that place so I remember NOT to stay there LOL!

    • yes, lol, it didn’t remind me of the Seychelles, not even one tiny weeny little bit! just goes to show you can take a child to a luxury island and the thing they’ll remember is watching cartoons in bed!

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