Singapore – “This afternoon, I held my 5-yr-old daughter’s hands as a nurse in full infectious disease gear took a thin cotton bud (qtip) about 12 cm long, and stuck it into both her nostrils. One at a time. My daughter just got the Covid-19 swab.”
A mother took to Facebook on Sunday (March 29) to share her family’s experience in bringing their young child in for Covid-19 testing.
Ms Eeling J Tan, recalled her daughter being diagnosed with bronchitis and asthma before developing a fever. The fever, on top her daughter’s current condition, were critical prerequisites to getting tested for the virus.
“I was stunned,” said Ms Tan. “I thought we were at the clinic for a prescription of antibiotics, not a trip to the emergency room. And certainly not for a Covid-19 test.” The mother added that her daughter was still a “curious and chirpy” child despite her fever.
Ms Tan made everyone in her family take a group photo before heading out to the ER because they weren’t sure when the next opportunity to pose for another would happen. “I took a towel because I knew that tissue papers would not be enough for my tears, which were already falling at this time,” said the worrying mother.
The family knew what a positive test result would mean – that they would be separated. “If we’re lucky, for a few weeks. If not, forever,” wrote Ms Tan. She shared that regardless of their efforts in practising safe distancing and proper hand hygiene, they were still on their way to get the youngest in the family tested with the dreaded Covid-19 swab.
As a mother, Ms Tan had to put on her bravest face, for her husband and two daughters, yet she couldn’t stop quietly sobbing on the way to the hospital. The chest x-rays showed that her daughter had pneumonia, her right lung already “two-thirds whitish with liquids.”
After being given antibiotics, they were advised to stay home and wait for the test results which would arrive in five days.
Pandemic not deemed serious enough
Ms Tan had been debating whether to keep her kids at home all of last week and got a definite answer after the checkup. “The craziest thing is this: the doctor at KKH (KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital) said her sister could continue to go school,” said Ms Tan and added that “this is the kind of odd protocol we have now because the pandemic is not deemed as “serious enough.”
“Can you imagine if I followed the doctor’s advice, and let my older daughter go to school tomorrow, then her sister gets a Covid-19 positive result on Thursday?”
The mother then urged for others to not panic because of the country’s quality healthcare system which she had experienced first-hand. Furthermore, she encouraged parents to keep their kids at home, no matter what, and hoped “no other parent should have to make the drive I did this afternoon.”
This afternoon, I held my 5 yo daughter's hands as a nurse in full infectious disease gear took a thin cotton bud (qtip)…
Strange the child wasn’t admitted
In a follow-up post, Ms Tan described their first day of monitoring at home and pointed out one puzzling situation wherein her youngest daughter was told to go home instead of being admitted at the hospital given her condition. Her doctor from the PHPC (Public Health Preparedness Clinic) called after seeing the x-ray results and wondered why such a decision was made. Both the doctor and Ms Tan agreed to keep a close watch on the child’s breathing and take her in at the first sign of difficulty.
Sister can go back to school
Ms Tan also received an email from her elder sister’s school detailing all the social distancing and sanitisation measures being implemented and said she could go back to school if the family allows.
“No, we are not doing that. We are all staying home,” responded Ms Tan.
Thank you for the overwhelming love, support and kind words during this time. I hope that by sharing my journey, it will…