Today I made my maiden trip to the Bedok polyclinic. 小小宝贝 still has breastmilk jaundice so we need to bring him for a bilirubin test every few days. Usually the hub brings him there with the confinement lady. But she has gone home and so it has to be me.
I’ve heard stories on how packed the polyclinic was. Practically packed from wall to wall. This morning it was not as packed as I’ve imagined it to be. The hub defended his story with the “it’s raining” excuse.
So yes, instead of 100% packed. It’s 50% packed. Still quite crowded. It’s not the crowd that bothered me. Ok ok, if you’ve been following my blog, you’d know that i hate crowds. But there’s something worse than that!! It’s a room full of sick people who have no civic consciousness to wear face masks to prevent the spread of virus and cough/sneeze without covering their faces. Mega YUCKS!!
It’s like a battlefield in there. You have to be on your toes and keep a look out. You need to watch their body language and dodge that dangerous cough or sneeze. If you are not careful you will end up with a full blast in your face!! Eeks! Especially for me as I was carrying a vulnerable 1 month old!! In the end I kept him covered under my breastfeeding shawl. Hopefully it’d block the bugs.
The only time face masks flew off the shelves of the pharmacies was during the SARS period. Everyone was wearing a mask and giving the “evil eye” to the person who coughed or sneezed without wearing one. As time went by, the forgetful humans quickly forget how SARS was spread. And soon fell back to our laid back and unhygienic ways.
We have yet to develop a civil culture like the Japanese or the Taiwanese who put on face masks when they are ill to prevent the spread of disease to others. Singapore, a very densely populated city, should all the more practise this. It will be unthinkable if there’s an outbreak in Singapore.
This is a habit that should be cultivated from young. Schools should inculcate this behavior in our youngsters so that it becomes a part of our lives. Anyone who is recovering from an illness should wear a mask to school.
For hot spots like clinics and hospitals, MOH (Ministry of Health) should make it mandatory for every sick person to don the mask at the entrance.
While I was at the polyclinic, the scene from the movie “Ebola Syndrome” (a 1996 “horror” movie starring Anthony Wong) kept replaying in my mind. The Ebola carrier coughed/sneezed (I can’t remember) without covering his mouth and the virus was transmitted to everyone around him. As you can imagine, I was cringing every time a person coughed or sneezed freely around him. Eeewww! I had to find the most isolated corner (really a feat in a crowded room) with my back to the wall, in an ever ready battle stance.
The ordeal was finally over in 2 hours. Phew!
Adding an afterthought, since everyone is so uncivilized, the only other way would be to wear a face mask to prevent yourself from being infected.