Endoscope #3

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633 - Rembrandt

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633 - Rembrandt

I didn't feel like getting out of bed.

It's my third time going to get an endoscope. I hate that I have to do it.

I needed some form of comfort. A coping mechanism. I decided to bring Man's Search for Meaning along with me. Scrolling on my phone wouldn't cut it. I didn't want a distraction. I wanted powerful words. Words that can help me make sense of all these emotions.

I read in the car while my sister drove my mom and I to Pantai Hospital, which translates to beach hospital in English. It's kinda funny. This is my vacation while I'm back. Hospitals.

It's my second time back after an initial consultation. I arrived at 9 a.m., but had to wait till 10:30 a.m. to be called into my patient bed to get changed and prepped for my procedure.

While waiting, I read Dr. Frankl's words on suffering. By no means did I suffer even the slightest amount of pain and turmoil the prisoners went through in concentration camps. However, he wrote before that suffering has no size, great or small, it is still suffering.

I was convinced to think of suffering differently, a new mindset, a new perspective. Suffering is an opportunity, a value that can be attainted if I look hard enough. A chance to meet my great fate, to reach spiritual heights that I would not otherwise. To not seek meaning in life, but to think about what life expects of me. To accept suffering as a life's task. And when I feel like giving up, to remind myself of the love of friends and family, and God, who expects me to keep hanging on. I had to remind myself of the "why", so that I can bear any "how". And that what doesn't kill me will only make me stronger. Because suffering is meaning and meaning is suffering, and life will never cease to have meaning. Reading these words help quiet down the storm in my heart. I kept seeing these issues in my life as a bad hand in the genetic lottery, as a statistics. I saw myself as unlucky, unworthy of my suffering. But reading all these words help me form a clear and precise picture my emotion, which is suffering, and it ceased to be suffering.

I went in and sat on the hospital beds. I was asked to confirm my date of birth and last meal by many nurses on many accounts. I suppose you can't be too safe, you wouldn't want to operate on the wrong person.

My veins weren't showing well, so the intravenous cannula (IV) insertions had some hiccups. They first did it on my right hand, but it resulted in a blood clot, or in medical lingo, a superficial thrombophlebitis.

The three nurses came to look at my IV. Are these nurses even trained?

I observed who my friends were in the open space. The patients were at least in their 40s. One was definitely in his 70s. I couldn't understand it. Why is this happening to me. I found it funny. I couldn't help but laugh. This is the life that I have to accept.

As I was laying in bed staring at the ceiling, I just kept thanking God and my family. And said prayers for the procedure to go well. And that I won't wakeup halfway to a doctor sticking a tube down my throat.

As I got rolled into the endoscopy room, those tv/movie scenes with people being rolled to the ER comes to mind. Luckily for me, I'm not going into ER.

In the room, I see nurses and doctors busy getting ready setting up the equipments and tools. Dr W, the gastroenterologist from my initial consultation was checking her phone.

Everything happened really fast. It's like dancers getting ready for their performance.

I was strapped on a blood pressure monitor on my arm, and a small one for my finger. The doctor in charge of my anesthetic stuck another IV down into my left arm, and it stung, a lot. I could feel my arm burning when he injected propofol. A nurse sprayed some numbing agent into my throat and asked me to swallow it. Before my brain could register the taste of it, I was asked to bite on a device that could keep my mouth open for the tube to enter. Then I was asked to roll my body to my left. Soon after, the lights went out.

Next thing I knew, I was outside in the patient rooms. I slept like a baby. It was the best sleep I've had since I could remember, maybe since I had GERD. I wonder why that is.

Both my hands were hurting a lot. I was given a sandwich with white bread wrapping tomato tuna and a thin spread of egg. I told them I couldn't drink Milo, it is cocoa which has caffeine. Do they even know I have GERD?

I ate my breakfast, and was feeling an unusual high. I was abnormally positive. It had to be a side effect of the drug, which I later found celebrities misuse. I was on Twitter a lot.

After a while, it was time to get the results.

I met up with my mom again, who's been waiting the entire time.

I got to meet Dr W after waiting 30 more minutes. Her conclusion was that the hernia was still there, but the inflammation is less severe than a year ago. I wonder what I did differently. I might've been a lot less stressed out this past semester. I got to live a slower and peaceful life. And a lot of good things (some bad things too) happened.

I can never understand why she gave me more medication. And I just took it without question.

She seemed to be hesitant about me getting surgery, but never explicitly voiced out the concern. I don't think she knows how much I want this surgery. It's taken 3 years of my life away. 3 years is a lot in my 20s. Time seems valuable at my age now. I feel like I have to be at my very best at this time, physically and mentally. Now I have a chance to take it back. I wasn't going to give in. This is why I came back for. Why I gave up my california dream. That doesn't mean I'm not afraid. I'm terrified. What if it's too early for surgery? What if I'm being too greedy? What if I'm pulling the lever too early? Instead of exploring more, I'm exploiting too early? Is this God's timing? There's a lot to think about. But I'm glad I'm not alone in this.