Saturday, November 17, 2012

Regular visit with unexpected changes

After 5 months, I went for my regular check up again on Thursday. Dr. Lui was surprised to see my short hair. Hahaha.... Looked like he preferred me with a long hair :P Well, the result of the blood and urine test was good. He prescribed me with less dosage of prednisolone. Currently I took it 5 days per week and he reduced it to 4 days per week, 3 days per week and 2 days per week for one month period each.. The other medicine is still maintained at the same dosage. He would like to see if there is any reaction to my body with the reduction of the medicine and want to see me again in 11 weeks time :)

When I walked out from Dr Lui's room, a lady stopped me. She introduced herself and explained to me on why she stopped me. She asked if I can participate in the research study for SLE patients. What I have to do is to go to the hospital once a month, bring samples of urine and stool, do the blood and tear test, and answer general questionnaires. They will analyze the results of the samples for some study. It requires one year to do so.

Good thing is: I can stop whenever I want to; they will accommodate my time; and if the results show something unusual, they will also inform Dr Lui about it. He will then ask me to come for earlier appointment to check my situation; also, they will reimburse my transport of $30 per session.

At first, I was hesitating. It is inconvenient to prepare those samples required. Lucky no need to fast. As for stool, if I can't get one, that's alright because we can't force the nature call to come as we want. I am fine with the blood test, but never done the tear test before. She said, a piece of paper will be put at the corner of my eye and I have to close my eyes for 5 minutes so that enough tears can be collected as tears contains protein that can be useful to measure something. Every month I have to take time-off from office and purposely go there to submit all the samples.

The lady told me that so far she has gained about 60 patients. I was thinking, 60 only? It means it is not easy to get someone who is willing to do so. Not sure on how many patients who have the same illness, but Singapore is so small. I guess those who are in stable condition like me is not much. Talking about convenient? My office is not so faraway from the hospital (it's only 2 MRT station plus shuttle bus to the building or walk around 15 mins). It is not that from north to south or from west to east.

Some more, if the research can benefit the future development, or for next generation patients, why not? At least I can contribute something right? In the end, I agreed to sign the form. I collected the empty bottles and the empty questionnaire form that I can fill up before going for my appointment. I told her that I will go there during my lunch time so that it will not affect my working time so much. Hope everything goes well :)

In 5 months time, there are some changes in the hospital. Now we can use the self-register machine to register ourselves. No more putting the appointment card into the tray and wait until my name to be called (less human contact and less waiting time). The queue number will be printed out from the machine immediately after scanning our appointment card to the machine. We wait outside the room and wait until our number was displayed.

The pharmacy that I used to go at B1 was closed too. Now everyone has to go to the 1st floor. It's a BIG pharmacy. First, you have to submit your prescription to the counter. Since everyone has to go to only 1 place, queue is unavoidable. After submitting your prescription, the person will hand in a small paper containing your queue number.

After seeing the doctor, I handed in my appointment card to the tray and waited for the admin officer to give me the next appointment date and make payment. And usually, right after that, I will go to the pharmacy first to hand in my prescription, then go back to the clinic, get my appointment date, and make payment, to save the waiting time.

When I returned back to pharmacy, there were 30 people before me who also registered their prescription.
There were many people sitting down and waiting. Since I expected it to be slow, I went to other place to buy soya milk and peanut pancake, as a tea break hehe...

When I returned, I was surprised to see the number moved very fast. It was almost my turn. There were about 8-10 counters who distributed the medicines and previously, you could see there were windows at their back where the pharmacist would pass the medicine to front area. Now the back part was all covered with wooden partition and you could find a conveyer belt delivering the medicines that were put inside the white basket. Hahaha...

Conveyer belt behind them flows from right to left direction
Conveyer belt is not only be used to deliver luggage or sushi, but now it can also be used to deliver the medicine.... What an efficient process and increase in productivity with a help of technology!! No wonder they closed the pharmacy at B1. They focused all the manpower at the bigger pharmacy plus the help of the technology!!!

Unclaimed queue area
The photo above was taken at unclaimed queue area. The belt moved from right to left. So this area was on the left side. After passing by pharmacist, there would be baskets flowing with no medicines claimed by the patients yet. So there was a room beside these seats which stored the unclaimed baskets.

And after the baskets were emptied, they will put it into the place as seen at the photo, and will be transferred back to the place behind this partition wall, where the medicines were prepared. Interesting right?? :)

Payment will then be made in other counter beside this area.

I'm sure many elderly are not getting used with the new process. The numbers in the screen move very fast. Even I missed out my number. That's why I went to this unclaimed area and collected my medicines. Hahaha..... And that's why I could take the photos above :D

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