Wednesday, May 22, 2019


It has been exactly one month since I had a lump removed from my leg. Thank God, it's out. The incision wound is healing nicely, and I am doing fine. Also thank you, friends and SeniorsAloud members, for the concern and wishes for a speedy recovery.

How did all this begin? About three years ago I noticed a pea size lump just below the skin on my inner right thigh. I saw the GP about it and was told it was nothing to worry about. I felt no pain or discomfort, and continued with my usual busy schedule. Sometime during my year-long studies in Singapore, I could feel that the lump had increased in size. Not wanting to disrupt my studies with possible bad news, I decided to let it be till after I graduated in early August 2018.

However, my calendar was so packed with festive celebrations, family events and social engagements that I finally had an MRI done almost eight months later on 21 March 2019 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore. The result was not clear-cut. So the advice was to have the lump removed and sent for a biopsy. By then it had grown to 3cm in size. As I still had a couple of events to see to including a hike at Setia Alam Community Trail on 20 April, I opted to have the surgery on 25 April. The date was later brought forward by the doctor to 22 April.

Below is a pictorial account of my hospital stay. It is more for my personal record, but am sharing it here so that my family and friends have an idea what the entire experience was like. Many of them did not know about my surgery till much later.

On Monday 22 April, Moon helped me to check in at 3.30pm. I had to fast from 10am. Surgery was scheduled for 5.30pm same day. (Above) Here I am relaxing with a book and waiting for the nurses to prepare me for the surgery. The room is spacious and comfortable. I like the sofa which offers more seating for visitors and also doubles up as a bed for overnight company.

As I had showered earlier at home, I used only the toilet. The nurses sponged me in bed the next day after the surgery. The published rates for a single room is $688. It is probably the most expensive room I have ever stayed in, including hotel rooms. And I barely used the room facilities due to limited mobility after the surgery.

(Above) Thumbs up and ready to be wheeled to the operating theater. This would be my third operation so I knew what to expect. I had my gall bladder removed in 1989 at Sentosa Hospital, KL, and part of my liver taken out in 2006 at Gleneagles, Singapore. Orthopedic surgeon Dr Henry Chan had popped in earlier to brief me and to assure me all would be fine, and there was nothing to worry about.

It was winter temperature in the operating theater. Freezing cold. I was told I would be given general anesthesia, so I would not feel a thing at all. The last thing I saw before I blanked out was Dr Chan and his colleague Dr Leon Foo chatting away nearby. It was a calming sight. No urgency. No panic. This was going to be a standard procedure without any complications - hopefully.

When I was wheeled back to my room some hours later, I felt no pain, just some discomfort but was alarmed to see a plastic bottle of what looked like blood hanging by my bedside with a tube that ran right up to my right thigh. It was to drain the after-op discharge/fluid. This was certainly not the usual catheter bag of urine. Belle said it looked more like a bottle of strawberry juice or watermelon juice. Cold comfort!

I was able to enjoy a late dinner after which I had to take the first of my many medications. The night passed uneventfully till the next morning when Dr Chan dropped by to see how I was doing. Great, I said. No pain at all, and I had an appetite. I was told that a physiotherapist would come by later.

(Left) My first meal after the surgery - late dinner. (Right): Lunch the next day. A fairly good selection of meals. Just too much use of cling-wrap to cover each plate, bowl and cup. They forgot my onion soup for dinner and I had to remind them as I love onion soup especially if it's not from a can.

(Above) The four meals I had during my two-day-one-night stay. Breakfast was served quite late at 8.30am compared to the hospitals in KL/PJ where the nurses will wake you up as early as 6am to get you washed and ready for breakfast and for the doctors when they make their rounds.

The physiotherapist came in at 9.40am to show me how to take my first steps with the walking frame. She was super patient and encouraging. Unless you are in a similar situation, you would probably wonder why something as simple and basic as walking requires instructions. I learned how to get up from bed without too much pain, with the help of the walker and how to transfer my weight more to my good left leg when I walked.

A hospital aide later came in to do a survey, mainly asking me questions about my stay and the services. As you can see, it was done like flash cards. I gave above average scores for most of the items in the survey.

(Left) A close-up of the tubing and the bandaged wound. (Right) At a follow-up visit two weeks later when the dressing was removed. Hope readers won't find this too disturbing.

My biggest ordeal at the hospital was having to put on these medical compression tights. Aptly named, as it took Glen (the vendor) and one nurse, each working on one leg almost 45 minutes to complete the task without hurting the wound. Glen called it a sweaty workout. Belle said my legs looked really shapely. Certainly not the case two days later. The above photo (left) was taken immediately after wearing the tights. Two days later, my feet and right knee began to swell (right) and remained so in the weeks after.

(Part 2 to follow).

1 comment:

Starmandala said...

Glad Moon & Ansgar were there to see you through this surgery episode xoxoxo Hope to see you soon!