Sunday, 7 November 2010


Farrah wanted details about Emmet’s experience with hydrocele, and for my reference too.

I first noticed Emmet’s scrotums were beginning to become less symmetrical when he was just over 1 year old. I didn’t take much notice of them since he wasn’t in any pain or having any other alarming symptoms. He was not even bothered by the condition.

Months went by and his right side scrotum were becoming larger until it stopped growing at a point. It was so significant I had to do something about it. You know internet could be a scary place to seek such information. I googled and the word HERNIA keeps popping up and hernia is scary. I almost panicked.

After a few days of research and asking medical student friends over to have a look (Thank you Kojek and Shira), I calmed down, but still took Emmet to the Temple Street Children’s Hospital A&E for further assesment. One look under the pen lights, the Doctor immediately diagnosed it as hydrocele. Which was good news for me since it was not hernia. Hydrocele is just clear fluid that find way into the scrotum through an opening which is supposed to close before a baby reach his first year. But when bits from the bowel find way into the sac as well, infection is most likely to happen which will lead to swelling, fever, redness and other symptoms. That is hernia. Information about hernia you can find here. I guess the Malays call it air pasang. I’m not so sure. But I heard it can be cured without surgery by traditional practitioners. I think it involves massage.

They booked Emmet for an appointment with the surgical team for surgery before sending us home, relieved. The surgical team saw us and set a date for a surgery. On the day of the surgery, I brought Emmet to the day ward. Saw the surgeon who interviewed me more, a nurse did another interview, and the anesthetist came for another interview, all asking more or less the same questions. I found out later that the same thing happens in hospitals in Malaysia. It is so annoying being asked the same question when everything was actually accessible through Emmet’s medical record. I guess annoying patient’s mom is a lot easier than studying a patient’s medical history..

That was why I was so upset when the surgical team sent us home because they are afraid to operate on Emmet due to his long list of food allergies. I was thinking the anesthetist looked unhappy when I asked him will he know what to do if Emmet happens to have a reaction during the surgery. I asked him a lot of question actually. I wanted to know the risk. So they asked me to complete a blood test for allergies at Emmet’s GP, and it can’t be done at that hospital. Which is unbelievable since it was after all, a hospital. To make matters worse, when I went to the GP, she didn’t agree with the hospital despite not being able to read the surgeon’s hand-written letter (Microsoft Word hello??? Or even Notepad!). So the hospital said the GP does blood tests and the GP said the hospital usually does blood test. I even had to ask for a letter from the surgeon before going to the GP. How would I know what to say to the GP. Unbelievable.

The GP was kind enough to sort it out for me. She immediately called the hospital and demanded to speak directly with the surgeon. The surgeon decided…………let’s wait until the kid is 2 years old because hey who knows the hydrocele will be magically gone by then! The hospital will call you back to set the next appointment. Unbelievable!

I never heard from the surgeons again.

Until I got pregnant and came back to Malaysia and made a new appointment at the PPUM for this. I had to go through everything again. But the surgery got called off the second time due to Emmet having flu-like symptoms. One thing I learned about hospitals especially surgeons, was when they say they will call you back, they actually mean you should call back and keep calling back until you can get to them. I waited one year for them to call me back with countless attempts to get them over the phone, only to be greeted by noncholant nurses who make empty promises. I had to call and make a new appointment at the paeds clinic and go through the whole thing again for the 3rd time.

Despite my bebelan about this, I am thankful to all parties who contributed to the success of the surgery, even if it’s a minor. Emmet’s scrotum is back to normal, and he is even circumcised.