Anyway, Yan Yan had caries in at least 7 – 8 of her teeth. The dentist said it would be traumatic for her if we tried to fix them as we would need multiple visits. Also, Yan Yan has very bad gag reflex and since most of the caries are at her canines and molars, the dentist may not be able to do a good job cleaning the caries out since Yan Yan would likely not be able to cooperate. This would also likely cause her to have a phobia for dentists too. As such, the dentist recommended that we fix them under GA, and referred us to HKL. Several of her young patients had done so and they have only good things to say about the whole process.
We went for the initial check with the pedodontist, and subsequent consultation with the paediatric anaesthesiologist. Besides the general risks of GA, I was worried about the possible long-term side effects, and the anaesthesiologist assured me that it is very safe, and that her exposure to GA is considered to be very short. I also asked both the pedodontist and the anaesthesiologist if it’s worth putting her through GA just for dental procedures, and both gave me the same reply: that the risk for her is very low, and since she has so many caries, it’s better to get it done once and for all to prevent any potential future complications like tooth abscess and root infection.
So we went ahead with the procedure on Oct 8. We were required to go in by 7.15am, and so I was there with her bright and early.
Bright and early waiting for the pedodontist
After checks and explanation of the day’s procedures by the pedodontist and anaesthesiologist, signing the necessary forms, and application of anaesthetic cream to both her hands (for insertion of needles later) we waited for her turn to go into the theatre.
She’s the 3rd and last patient for the day for dental procedures, as the queue is determined by the patient’s age…the younger ones get to go first. And so we waited…and waited. She was on an overnight fast and had her last sip of water at about 8.30am, and luckily, she never complained of thirst of hunger the whole time.
Mummy brought her laptop with downloaded cartoons for her to kill time
Finally at 11.30am, we were called to the theatre. And it was another 60 minutes wait at the theatre before we were called to the operating room. I carried her as the anaesthesiologist set up the IV line on her hand, and to my surprise, she didn’t flinch one bit. I laid her on the operating table and the GA was injected into her via the IV line, which immediately knocked her out. I gave her a kiss and left the room at about 12.50pm.
The procedure was done by 2.30pm, and I was called back to the recovery room of the theatre, so that I would be there when she awoke, which she did shortly after. This was the most difficult part for her as she was still groggy from the GA, and complained that her mouth hurts (it was actually numb and children can’t really described the feeling so it’s just pain to them). She had both lower first molars plus an upper central incisor removed, besides multiple fillings. And the site of both first molars was still bleeding.
At the recovery room of the OT
We spent about 30 minutes in the recovery room before she was transferred back to the day care unit, where she could only muster 1-2 tiny sips of water. She was checked again by both the pedodontist and anaesthesiologist at 3.30pm to ensure everything was ok before they signed the discharge forms. We finally left HKL at 4.00pm, after buying Yan Yan a can of cold drink (as advised by the pedodontist – something cold and sweet) – her first real drink since 8.30am. She finally had something solid to eat at home – and I knew she was none the worse for wear when she chose to have ice-cream first before porridge J
For all the consultations and use of the operating theatre, I paid a grand sum of RM 21.50 (which I've no doubt would have been thousands if done in the private sector). People always gripe about government hospital but after this experience, it is my honest opinion that public healthcare service is not bad at all, except of course for the waiting time. It also made me realise that the impending healthcare reform by the government is inevitable, coz there’s no freaking way the government can continue providing “free” healthcare. If only they can also plug all the leakages in the system, but that’s another story altogether.