DNA – Hospitalized

Heard this Kendrick Lamar track when my health went whack,
Had to rush me to the hospital, shit had hit the fan,
The longest day of my life, here comes another long one,
Got the transfusion done, the comeback had begun.


28 July 2018

 “Your blood test results show that you are severely anaemic.”

I nearly dropped the phone in shock when Dr. G uttered those words on the other end of the line. I wasn’t just anaemic – no – I was severely anaemic. It was very difficult to accept but I guess it explained the near-blackouts, lethargy and swollen feet. After quickly pulling myself together I cleared my throat and put on my bravest voice.
“Ok,” I choked out, “so what do I need to do next?”
“I want you to quickly come to my office and we will have a brief discussion about your results and where to go from here,” she replied, “please take your time, do not rush.”

Well geez, Doc, my entire being may as well be a crumpled heap on the floor. You better believe that I was going to take my time!

“Yep, ok,” I said, “we’ll be there shortly.”
“Alright. See you soon.”
Conversation over. Man, did I mess up real bad or what!?
My father can always be found in the backyard every Saturday morning tending to the various flowers, fruits and vegetables that he had cultivated over the past two years. It was his means of escape from the daily grind and sometimes he would spend half the day in that backyard, having completely neglected the time. He had a tendency to go all-in whenever he picked up a new hobby and my mother wondered about him sometimes but at least this particular hobby got his body moving and allowed him to breathe in some fresh air. I approached him as he was watering the lemon tree and told him the bad news.
“Dr. G called,” I murmured rather glumly, “she wants to see us.”
“What!? Why?”
“She said that my blood test results were concerning.”
My father wiped some sweat from his brow. “Ok,” he said, “go tell your mother.”
Not bothering to water the rest of his plants my father quickly removed his gardening gloves and boots before going inside the house to get dressed.

Meanwhile, my mother was in the kitchen washing dishes. She stared out of the window as she washed, probably making a mental list of what needed to be done throughout the day. Oh boy, little did she know that her plans were about to be scrapped.
“Mom,” I oozed, “Dr. G called.”
No need to ask why. She understood immediately.
“We have to go see her now?”
“Yeah, as soon as possible.”
“Ok, let’s go.”
The remaining unwashed dishes could wait. We all quickly got dressed, packed some food and drinks for the road and drove off to see Dr. G.

As my parents and I sat in the medical center’s waiting room I quietly reflected on the past few weeks. That moment of victory in June turned out to be a false dawn and the civil war between me and my body gradually escalated to one-sided levels, forcing yours truly to summon his inner General Robert E. Lee and finally surrender.
Dr. G eventually called us into her office and immediately got down to business. My results indicated that my white blood cell count had decreased since June but even more worrisome were my haemoglobin levels. For men, the average range was about 130 – 180 g/L. Back in June, during my initial blood test, I measured at a still-healthy 147g/L.
“Your blood test results on Thursday came in at 69g/L,” stated Dr. G, “that is extremely low.”

Holy shit, I dropped 72g/L in two months!?

Meanwhile, both of my parents’ respective jaws practically hit the floor. I don’t think either of them blinked for the next three minutes.
“If you hadn’t taken action when you did you could have passed out at anytime, anywhere,” Dr. G continued, “in fact, do you feel faint now?”
I shook my head forcefully. “No way,” I responded defiantly, “not even close.”
My parents were understandably worried. “So what do we do now, Doctor?” my mother asked.
A melancholy expression formed on Dr. G’s face. “He needs to be taken to hospital for a blood transfusion,” she said, “his blood count is too low.”
Talk about being kicked while I was down. “Fucking hell!” I hissed silently to myself.
She then turned back towards me. “Have you booked your session with Dr. B?”
“Yes,” I replied, “I’m due to see him next week.”
She then picked up her phone. “I’ll give him a call just to make sure he is aware of your appointment.”

As Dr. G carried on a conversation over the phone with Dr. B, the gastroenterologist whom we will meet in a future blog, I looked towards my parents and shrugged my shoulders.
“I guess we’ll be going to hospital, then?”
They both nodded and I countered their forlorn faces with a smirk and shook my head, my ever-growing rage firing up within my weakened body.

I can’t believe this shit!

You know, throughout my entire adult life I tried to live a lifestyle conducive to never having to check into a hospital as a patient, or at the very least delaying it until the sands of time had finally caught up to me. And now here I was, brought to my knees in my physical prime by an unknown health condition that I DID NOT FUCKING ASK FOR!!!! I am serious, Dear Reader, I was as mad as a motherfucker in addition to feeling nervous about what lay ahead of me.
Meanwhile, Dr. G was informing Dr. B of his upcoming patient, who was scheduled to go to hospital for a blood transfusion within the next half hour or so and could potentially be afflicted by ulcerative colitis. She also jokingly apologized to him for interrupting his weekend and throughout their conversation I could faintly hear the sounds of children laughing on the other end of the line. She hung up the phone after briefing him and resumed our conversation.
“So you’re booked to see him next Wednesday?” she asked.
Dr. G then printed out my blood test results and also gave me some additional paperwork to take with me to the hospital.
“You need to report to the emergency unit and book yourself in,” she said, “if it all goes well you might be able to go home tonight.”

Translation: “Expect to go home tomorrow afternoon at the earliest if you are lucky.”

Dr. G continued. “They are going to want to know how you got to this point so you will be asked questions regarding your symptoms. Please be honest, don’t downplay anything.”
“Yeah,” I replied, “I’ll tell them exactly how it is.”
I packed up the sheets that Dr. G printed for me and gave them to my parents. Shortly before we departed, Dr. G reiterated her suspicion that it might be ulcerative colitis. I still held out hope that she was wrong but given what I had been through over the past few weeks it was becoming a very real possibility.
My parents’ response to this little remark was telling. My mother, who had a co-worker whose daughter suffered from the same condition, told Dr. G that this co-worker would often tell her stories of her daughter’s treatment and maintenance so she more or less already knew what to expect. In stark contrast my father wasn’t having any of it. He is normally relaxed and relatively care-free but after hearing all of this he became uncharacteristically irate. He berated my mother and Dr. G for what he believed was an act of putting fear into me.
“Why would you even say that when there’s no diagnosis yet!?” he snapped, “it doesn’t relate to him so don’t talk about it!”
I shook my head while my mother and Dr. G looked at him, speechless and bemused. After a brief silence, my mother apologised to Dr. G on his behalf, explaining that he hadn’t fully wrapped his head around the situation and was just voicing out his frustration. Dr. G, a veteran doctor who had probably been an unwilling recipient to far worse reactions and tantrums, completely understood and order was quickly restored.
“Go straight to the hospital,” said Dr. G, “get your transfusion done and then go see Dr. B. And then once you’ve done the colonoscopy come back and see me.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
And with that, Dr. G wished us all the best before we drove off to the hospital. I ate a quick lunch during the drive, a meat pie and an apple. Not exactly spectacular but at least I wouldn’t be going in with an empty stomach. Thank goodness my mother had the foresight to pack some food before we rushed out of the house.

The hospital was about fifteen to twenty minutes away from Dr. G’s clinic. At the time of my admittance it was undergoing some construction but was still accessible and rather easy to navigate and parking wasn’t an issue, save for perhaps the frustration of trying to find a decent spot during peak times. Much to our chagrin, we quickly learned that looking for parking space in a hospital during mid-day on a weekend was a fool’s errand. The entire suburb might as well have parked their cars there and so my mother and I got out of the car while my father drove around to score a vacant spot or perhaps find one on a street not too far away.
I was rather nervous as I entered the front doors despite the warm air-conditioned air inside providing relief from the relative chill of the outdoors. For a man who has had an almost lifelong phobia of visiting the doctor this was some next level shit. Plus I had no idea when my next meal would come and when I would be able to go home.

This is gonna suck.

As per Dr. G’s instructions, my mother and I reported to the hospital’s emergency unit and as she took a seat among waiting patients I approached the ladies behind the reception. They gave me some paperwork to fill out and once I had taken my seat next to my mother I looked around at the others seated around me. Almost all of them wore that same gloomy, uncertain expression on their faces, signs of wounded warriors contemplating whatever procedure was coming their way and wondering how long it would take before life as they knew it would be restored – if at all. Some of them were probably waiting to undergo operations much more severe than mine – I was there just to get some blood pumped into me – so that kind of put things in perspective.

It could have been worse for you, Dude. Quit bitching and count your blessings.

But at the same time, a part of me did work up a slight envy for them, in the sense that they probably knew what their problems were. Me? It would be at least another week before I would undergo that dreaded colonoscopy. For now, I was simply treating one of the horrible symptoms from that unknown beast wreaking havoc within my body.

I was called into a small room by one of the nurses after a short wait, just as my father had finally made his way into the waiting room to join my mother. She asked me questions about my current health before taking my blood pressure. Thankfully, I was still within the healthy range for that one.
Not long after that, the real fun began.
I had just rejoined my parents in the waiting room when I was summoned by another nurse to follow them into another waiting room deeper within the clinic. It was a relatively open space, well-lit with light-aqua walls and blue recliner chairs. In other words, it was designed to provide a calming environment for patients that were recovering from minor procedures awaiting the next step. People came and went by the minute but little did I know that I would be spending the rest of the damn day here.


My parents decided to take turns keeping me company from this point on in order to ward off fatigue and also to avoid accumulating a massive parking debt. My father volunteered to go first and so Mom went home while the two of us sat down and relaxed. Those seats were reasonably comfortable, but not after long periods of time.
There were already three other people seated around me when I arrived, an African man playing with his phone that didn’t look all that ill but hey, who was I to judge? There was also an older gentleman with an IV drip attached to his arm accompanied by his wife and children and an elderly man, probably in his 80s or 90s, whose increasingly limited mobility belied his still rather feisty personality.
After a short period of sitting around nervously twiddling my thumbs a relatively young doctor called me for a brief interview. He was in his mid to late thirties, somewhat thickly-built, had short, dark hair and wore glasses. He certainly looked the part, I’ll give him that.
I followed him into a small room and he asked me the usual questions about my symptoms. At this point I had already formulated a scripted response to doctors’ questions, so once again I rattled off the bloody stools, the waves, the recent bout of the flu, the swollen feet and all that jazz. I also let him know that I was scheduled for an appointment with the gastroenterologist the following Wednesday and would soon be undergoing a colonoscopy.
“I see,” the doctor responded after my little horror story, “in that case, I’ll quickly check your heartbeat and your pulse and then you can return to the waiting room.”
“Ok, cool.”
And so the doctor quickly monitored my heartbeat but before I returned to my seat he had a last-minute request up his sleeve – one that almost caused me to bolt out of his door faster than you can say Flash Gordon.
“Ok, sir,” he said, “because of the nature of your symptoms I’d like to check up there to make sure there is currently no bleeding. Please climb onto the bed”

You’ve gotta be kidding, right?

I reluctantly climbed onto a bed positioned near the door, pulled down my trousers and lay on my side, taking deep breaths to keep myself calm.
Calm down, Boy. You’ve been through this before, it aint nothing!
The doctor slipped on some rubber gloves and lubricated one of the index fingers.
“You might feel some discomfort. But it won’t be long.”
Yeah, yeah, I heard that fucking lie once before. Just get it over with.
And then boom! He went up and once again, I did my best not to shout out the stream of expletives that were swirling through my mind as he poked and prodded.
“Please stay relaxed, sir,” he said, trying to soothe me.
That pissed me off. Easy for him to say that when he’s not on the wrong end of this shit. I cursed at him in my mind.
Wanna trade places with me and see if YOU can relax? Fuck you!
I had nothing against this guy, he was a good man doing his job, but the thought of wanting to knock him out did cross my mind when he said those words. After a few agonising seconds he mercifully put an end to the torture and I was able to relax once again and pull my trousers back up.
“Ok, not much blood up there,” said the doctor with a smile, “good to know you’re not bleeding right now. You may now return to the waiting room.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
I slowly walked back to the waiting room where my father was waiting and slumped back down on the recliner chair.
“How did you go?” he asked.
“Good. He checked up there too, though.”
My father laughed. “Just think of it as another life experience,” he said.
I shook my head in disbelief. My father the optimist, ladies and gentlemen!

I then noticed that the African man seated next to me had gone and was replaced by a lady of Tongan descent awaiting minor surgery. The man with the IV drip was visibly growing impatient and at times would get up and move around until he was finally summoned by a doctor while the elderly man remained seated on his chair and began conversations with everyone around him, including with my father.
After a while, another nurse, a young male with dark hair and a beard, came to insert a catheter into a vein in my right arm that would later be used to pump one pint’s worth of blood into my system and he informed my father and I that the bag of blood was being transported from another hospital not too far away as we were speaking. He estimated that it would arrive within an hour and a half and that the transfusion would take about four hours for one pint.

Four hours for one damn pint!? Thank God it’s only a one and done!

About half an hour later, an Indian lady took a seat next to the Tongan lady and once she got comfortable, she took out a novel and began reading. Good on her for coming in prepared, I had no books, no music and playing with my phone became boring after a while. When I wasn’t making small talk with my father I sat on that chair and closed my eyes, feeling the rhythmic in and out breath from my diaphragm.

This hospital air is making me sick.

Yeah, even trying to achieve a decent level of zen was damn near impossible in this place! I was becoming impatient but I tried to keep it together. Not long afterwards, the male nurse with the beard returned with a piece of paper in hand.
“How are you feeling, mate?” he asked.
“All good. Like a million dollars,” I joked.
He gave me the piece of paper and gestured to a small room down a corridor beyond the waiting room.
“I want you to take this piece of paper to that room over there and we will get your chest X-Ray.”
I jumped to my feet and strutted over towards the direction he pointed to. I just felt relieved to have something to do, sitting around not doing anything stopped being fun a long time ago.

A lovely surprise was waiting for me as I returned from the chest X-Ray. One of the nurses had brought me a couple of sandwiches to eat and having not eaten anything since the meat pie and apple before mid-day I wolfed them down like a hungry lion on a gazelle, not that they were anything special to write home about taste-wise but man, it just felt good to eat again.
That moment of bliss was then shattered by the nurse.
“Mate,” he said regretfully, “sorry to say this but that will be your final meal for the day and we will be keeping you here overnight.”
You know those moments in a film or TV show where a character receives bad news and so the camera slowly zooms into his shocked facial expression as the background blurs and suspenseful music plays? Yeah, that could have easily applied to me at that moment.
We have to keep your bowels rather empty so as not to put too much pressure on them.
God dammit!
“The blood is on its way,” he added, “but after the transfusion is complete we will have to keep you in here for observation.”
Great. No more food for the rest of the day and I would be spending the night here. However, the nurse also had some good news.
“We will inform you once a bed is available so you won’t have to spend all night sitting on that chair,” he said, “hang in there.”
“Thank you.”
And with that I closed my eyes. My father immediately tried to cheer me up.
“Don’t worry, man,” he said reassuringly, “you’ll be alright in no time.
I smiled back at him rather weakly. “Thanks, Pops.”

Not long afterwards, my mother texted my father and asked how ‘the patient’ was doing. My father briefed her over what happened over the past few hours, including the fact that I would be spending the night here. My mother then suggested that they switch places so that he could rest and have dinner. He readily agreed.
“Your mother will look after you now,” he said, “I’ll be back later.”
“Ok, cool.”
My mother arrived half an hour later, carrying with her an overnight bag with some toiletries and my pyjamas. Pops wished us both good bye as he made his way out of the waiting room.

As Mom sat beside me reading the latest news reports on the news app on her phone she suggested that I let my sister know that I was in the hospital. My sister had already moved out of the family home but came to visit every weekend and since I was set to spend my entire weekend in this God damn place she had to know. Up to this point, only my parents were aware of my health issues.
I reluctantly picked up my phone and sent her a text message about my current situation. She responded a few minutes later, expressing shock. But hey, at least she finally knew what was up with her older brother.
It was also around this time that a new patient was wheeled into the waiting room on a gurney and took the seat vacated by the man with the IV. She was a young girl, probably in her late teens to early twenties and accompanied by her parents and boyfriend. She sat hunched over on that gurney and seemed to have extreme difficulty moving; she had to be lifted off the gurney by her father and boyfriend and gently propped up on the chair. She would also intermittently moan and groan while clutching her stomach and her parents’ attempts to soothe her with back rubs proving futile.


Not long afterwards, my pint of blood finally arrived. Another male nurse checked my blood pressure before hooking me up onto an IV machine. It was ready to roll.
“You may get up and move around as you please,” he noted as he hooked the tube into my catheter, “but please be careful not to disconnect the drip.”
“Yes, sir.”
He then activated the drip and away it went. Having never experienced this before I sat back and, for lack of a better word, ‘savored’ the experience. The blood felt rather cold as it ran from the pack through to the catheter in my arm and then into my system. It didn’t feel too uncomfortable but sudden movements with my right arm hurt a little as the catheter let me know of its presence.
“How do you feel?” my mother asked.
“All good,” I answered, “just feels a bit weird, that’s all.”
“You rest,” she said.
It was going to be four hours until the entire pack was pumped into me so I might as well try to get comfortable, even if that recliner chair had ceased to be comfortable a long time ago and my back was beginning to complain. About an hour and a half later my father texted my mother and asked if she was ready to switch. He had taken an afternoon nap upon arriving home and eaten dinner and was willing to spend the night in the hospital with me if he was allowed to do so. My mother agreed, and so half an hour later Pops returned and Mom wished me good night with a hug and a kiss before leaving.
“Stay strong, Son,” she whispered.
“I will, Mom. Good night.”
And then she was off.

Pops then made himself comfortable on that seat beside mine again, armed with a laptop computer so he could pass the time. It was already going on seven o’clock at night and I hadn’t eaten since the afternoon. The possibility of being able to secure a hospital bed for the night was the only thing keeping me sane at this point.
Meanwhile, that girl who was wheeled in an hour or so ago was becoming increasingly agitated on her seat. She tried to stay quiet and relaxed but her moaning and groaning were steadily growing worse.
“Not long now, Babe,” her boyfriend would reassure her.
“It hurts!” she shot back, “it fucking hurts!”
I would later hear that she was suffering from appendicitis and was scheduled for surgery the next morning. Until then, she was on painkillers to dull the pain on the lower right side of her abdomen but it was only a temporary solution and once it wore off the burning sensations would resume, sending her into fits of agony. She certainly kept the nurses on their toes, calling out for them frequently but they eventually warned her that too much painkillers would be detrimental to her health.
“I don’t care!” she cried, “just do something about this pain, please!”
“Try to sleep, Sweetheart,” her mother said.
Yeah, that wasn’t going to go down well with her.
“I can’t!” she argued tearfully, “it hurts so much!”
And then it got worse. Overwhelmed by the pain, she vomited all over herself, almost causing her boyfriend to jump back. Thankfully she didn’t make a mess on the floor or the seat and one of the nurses immediately drew a curtain near her seat to isolate her from the general population while they cleaned her up.
“Poor girl,” my father muttered.
“Yeah,” I replied as I continued to watch the pint of blood continue to drain. It was halfway done at this point, two more hours to go.


Walking around with that damn IV drip sure was humbling. I was prohibited from moving too fast and so I had to shuffle while dragging that thing around, moving gingerly like an old man trying his cane for the first time.
Going to the toilet to take a piss sure was a doozy. Thank goodness there were no orders from the other end throughout the duration of that transfusion.
A nurse would come by to check on me once in a while and so far, everything was going according to plan, except for one small but rather important thing.
“Is there a bed ready?” I asked.
“We will let you know as soon as there is one,” they would respond. It was a line that I might as well had heard a million times in the last couple of hours and there were no signs of progress. I could very well end up spending the entire night in that room on that recliner chair and I was starting to get pissed off, this was not how I had planned to spend my weekend.
“Looks like we’ll be here all night,” I told my father with a disappointed sigh.
“Better than being in the reception,” he retorted.
Well played, Dad. Well played! That shut me right up.

Count your blessings, Dude.

At around ten o’clock that night my blood transfusion was complete. A nurse arrived to unhook my catheter from the IV machine but he kept the catheter in my arm.
“We’ll be keeping this in your arm for the duration of your stay,” he said, “ for blood tests and in case you need another transfusion.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
And then he repeated that line; “Get some rest, we will let you know as soon as a bed becomes available.”
It was already late night. At this point I had given up hope of securing a hospital bed. I just wanted to sleep.
“I guess we’ll be here for the night,” said Dad, “you might as well sleep.”
I took that as a sign that he was about to go home. “Are you sure you’re not too tired to drive?” I asked.
“I’m staying,” he replied, “don’t worry about it.”
And we gave each other another fist bump before settling into our respective seats to get some extremely uncomfortable shut-eye.


I was two hours into a deep sleep when, at around midnight, my father and I were both woken up by a nurse who informed us that a hospital bed had become vacant.


It was the best news I’ve heard all day!

I was on my feet in a flash. Heck, I got up so fast that I temporarily felt light-headed and the soreness in my back and glutes served to remind me the hazards of prolonged sitting. My father and I were then escorted by the nurse to an elevator just around the corner from where we had been sitting and taken one level up. She then guided us through a rather wide corridor with help desks set up after every few metres with drowsy night shift staff sitting behind them trying hard to stay awake. Health charts and staff schedules were plastered all over the walls and hospital paraphernalia were kept on the sidelines. She lead us to one of the rooms where the bed lay vacant, right next to the window. I was sharing the room with three other patients, all of whom were already fast asleep and giving life to a deafening orchestra of labored snoring.

Finally! Now I can get a decent night’s sleep!

My father was allowed to sleep on a chair beside my bed. But before I could settle, the nurse first took my blood pressure and then asked me about my symptoms. Once again, I told her about the blood, the swelling, the cramps, the whole nine yards.
“So it’s mainly an issue with your bowels?” she inquired.
She then asked me to stand on a scale to measure my height and weight. I was expecting my weight to be rather low given my symptoms but I damn near had a heart attack when the nurse read my result.
“52 kilograms.”
Oh shit. It was much worse than I thought. I wondered if those scales were broken.
“You are quite underweight,” she said, “I was also informed that, given your symptoms, you will be placed on a liquid diet until further notice.”
That was a kick to the groin right there. Man, this was turning out to be the best day EVER!!!! But I was too damn sleepy to gripe about it for too long. I just wanted to lay down and put this fucking day behind me.

“Get some rest,” the nurse instructed, “we will attend to you later during the day.”

That catheter, coupled with the darkness of the room, made changing out of my street clothes and into my pyjamas rather difficult but I got through it. My father settled into his seat as I finally lay on the bed.
“Are you ok, mate?” he asked.
“I’m good. How are YOU doing, Pops?” I replied, concerned over his fatigue.
“I’m fine.”
He then added a few words that gave me hope, clichéd as they were.
“We will get through this, Kid. Consider this a test that you will pass with flying colors.”
“Thanks, Pop,” I slurred, such was my drowsiness. But I did add some final words that, I’m sure, made him smile in the dark;

“I won’t let this thing beat me.”

And I believed it with all my heart and soul. If I was going to go to war I was going to go all-in, guns blazing. Whatever motherfucker was lurking within had better get ready for their own destruction as far as my mindset was concerned.
And with that I settled into my bed and stared at the ceiling for a while before I finally drifted off, separating myself from the reality of my situation for the time-being. The warrior rested for now, the battle can wait.

The Great Beyond – No Man’s Land

A 2000 hit from R.E.M, man, how did this happen?
This took me back to 1991, talk about time travellin’,
It’s funny how innocuous events can come back to haunt you,
Here’s one of them, a random moment from my childhood.


For the first six years of my life, before we migrated to Australia, my family and I lived in the Philippines where I was born. We lived in an apartment building in a complex located very close to my parents’ alma mater, the University of Philippines’ (UP for short) Diliman campus. The city wasn’t a long drive away and if I recall, school was only about ten to fifteen minutes away depending on the traffic so it was conveniently located.
The apartment complex and its garage were at the end of a rather long driveway on the side of a narrow, peaceful street, lined with banana trees, tropical flowers and other homes. The air was hot and thick with humidity, as it was typically in the Philippines, but the trees provided some welcome relief from the sun and despite not being too far from the city, the air wasn’t clouded by smoke and Lord knows what else.

That or I was just oblivious to it since my six-year old self had yet to grasp the idea of air pollution.

I remember scraping my left knee by the side of that road one morning when I was running around with my sister in the front yard and tripped over my shoelaces. I still have a faint scar on my knee as a reminder of that day.


Beyond the driveway where residents’ vehicles were kept there was a pathway that led to a couple of apartment buildings. The pathway separated the buildings from one another and cut through what seemed like a mini botanical garden as residents’ various plants and flowers were kept in front of their buildings. At the end of the pathway was a giant, concrete wall with an iron gate that allowed access to the world in the back.
It wasn’t quite as rosy as the front. It could have doubled for the setting to a ‘hood film’. An old dirt road ran through the middle, lined with telephone poles, some of which had frayed wires, and old steel drums, tires, boxes and other random garbage. Stray cats and dogs also roamed freely around the road and sometimes played with the children.

On one side of the road was some type of small, gated home that seemed to be made of cement, fenced away from the outside by a heavy, red steel gate and partially shielded by a sprawling guava tree. I can recall one afternoon when the house maid, on a break from her daily duties, effortlessly climbed that tree and picked off a ripe guava before slumping onto one of the thick branches and having a snack.
I remember another time when my friend and I were playing with our toy cars close to that gate and my friend accidentally rolled his little blue sports car, his pride and joy, on the other side of the gate. In a panic, he scrambled to try and retrieve it, but he had rolled it beyond arm’s reach and to his horror, the house’s family dog, seeing a new toy to play with, picked that car up in his teeth before running off. My friend bawled his eyes out as only a child that had been robbed of his favorite toy could while I sat next to him, trying to comfort him but also trying hard not to laugh. Looking back, it wasn’t cool to be amused at my friend’s misfortune but you had to laugh at that damn dog and his perfect timing!

Across the street from that gated home was a small shanty town where families sold candy, chips, dried fruit and other snacks from their front windows as a means to make a living while their kids played in the street. Some folks in our apartment complex were rather wary of those kids as they were rough around the edges and unkempt, but they were very friendly and we had some great times, although almost all the games we played involved pretending to be superheroes and some type of play-fighting that would be interrupted at times due to someone crying over skinned knees and/or being hit too hard – but then they would shake it off like troopers and the mock-brawl resumed. Those kids lived rough but none of that seemed to dampen their cheerful personalities.


Beyond the apartment complex, the gated home and shanty town, the dirt road continued into a rather steep, downward slope. Us kids never ventured beyond that point because our parents forbade us and so it became some sort of no man’s land for us. We would joke among ourselves that at the end of that downward slope was a portal to another dimension but in reality it led to a busy road that would gradually lead to the city.

It was one of my childhood ambitions to see what was on the end of that road and one day, my wish was granted when my parents took me down there to get a haircut at a barbershop on the side of the road. My mother normally cut mine and my sister’s hair but on that particular day, they decided that I should have a feel of what it would be like to have a professional cut my hair. It should have been some type of monumental occasion but such sentiments didn’t register in my mind. I was just excited to explore the forbidden road but I ended up getting more than I bargained for. While that downward slope was only a ten minute walk one way and, in hindsight, wasn’t all that steep, it seemed to go on forever in my six-year old mind and might as well had been as high as a mountain. I was fatigued even before reaching the halfway point of that road and the dramatic score for some sort of environmental disaster drama film might as well had began playing in my head. It was funny how I was an indefatigable machine when it came to roughhousing with those shanty town kids while walking down a road left me completely deflated.


“Don’t stray to the middle of the road!” my mother called out from behind as she walked with my sister.


Geez, how the hell can I walk to the middle of the road when Pops has a vice-like grip on my hand?


But despite struggling with the walk I took in the experience of walking down this road while the rest of my buddies stayed behind. It made me feel quite special, like I was one of the privileged few given the green light to explore this mysterious place. Such silly, egotistical thinking seemed to mask the discomfort of walking downhill and before I knew it, we had reached the bottom. Boy did my legs let me know it loud and clear!

Talk about anti-climactic. Here I was, expecting to see something extraordinary like something from the superhero cartoons I adored, and all I got was a busy road filled with cars slowed to an aggravating crawl due to peak-hour traffic. Some drivers were not having it and blared their horns, their only means of communicating with the driver in front to move, but it was a fool’s errand that only led to unnecessary noise given that the highway was choked to the point of resembling a parking lot and one would have been fortunate to be able to move a few meters at a time.
The barbershop was one of the stores on the sidewalk, surrounded by other stores and abandoned lots. I took a long look at the traffic in disbelief before entering.

Is this it? Geez, those guys aren’t missing out on anything!

Oh well, at least I finally had my answer. I wonder if the climb back up will be fun……?

Psycho – Caught In The Storm

The month of July, the most testing of times,
The twenty-eighth day, forever etched in my mind,
Stark contrast to the song featured in this post,
A gem by Amy Shark featuring Mark Hoppus,
Here it comes, my descent into Hell,
I was Dante on his lonesome, Virgil couldn’t help.


June and July, 2018

During the Saturday after my follow-up appointment with Dr. G (which happened to be part of a three-day weekend due to the Queen’s Birthday Holiday) I took part in a first aid course held at the Blacktown Worker’s Club to renew my certificate. I was one of ten students cramped in a rather stuffy room with tables laid out in the shape of a horseshoe in the center of the room and a single instructor at the helm teaching us how to deal with various injuries, emergency situations and also had us practicing CPR on dummies. He used an overhead projector while teaching, taking me right back to my school days.

Wow. Those things still exist!?

Throughout that six-hour course one particular lesson grabbed my attention, the one that looked at how to treat victims of blood loss and anemia. Apparently, a quick way to gauge whether or not a victim was anemic was to grab their hand and rub one of their fingernails. If it changed from yellow to pink immediately it was a sign of a healthy blood count. If their skin is rather pale and the fingertips either reverted back to pink very slowly or not at all, then you had a problem.
Naturally, us students all tested ourselves. Much to my relief my fingernail turned pink rather quickly.

 Whew! Looks like I’m still in in the clear.

On the following evening my parents and I checked out the annual Vivid Festival that they put on in the Sydney CBD every year, a four-week long event in which different parts of the city would be decorated with an assortment of flashy lights at night with the Opera House and its sails as the main showpiece. Despite putting up with symptoms during the day I had a great night. It felt great to forget about life for a while and just let my hair down.
My sister, who had to work during the day, joined us sometime during the night and we all had dinner together when we got home and then spent all of Monday resting and taking it easy. All in all, it was a great long weekend.

Welcome to Vivid!

Trouble, however, was brewing below the surface and for the remainder of June and well into July it would manifest itself in a variety of frightening and painful ways. The opening salvo was fired when I began to have some trouble defecating – sessions in the can would yield nothing but blood.
Nice, huh?
I finished my time on the porcelain throne feeling as though I hadn’t emptied my bowels completely, try as I might. Consequently, I found myself having to ‘go’ more times than usual, resulting in further blood loss.
Still, I carried on. I would go to the International Wing Chun Academy near Chinatown in the City to train and teach, all the while keeping my ordeal a secret from my peers. My fellow students and instructors would greet me with ‘Hey, how are you?’ and I would respond with something like, ‘Yeah, I’m good’ when I was anything but.

Things, however, took a sharp turn for the worse the night before my mother’s birthday in late June of all dates.

I was roused from my sleep sometime during the middle of the night due to a sudden urge to use the toilet. My stomach was bubbling, as though it was carrying so much cargo that it would explode.

Oh boy, time to drop some bombs!

Completely bypassing that cranky, drowsy feeling that one usually experiences upon being forcibly woken up, I shot out of bed and, like Usain Bolt in the final lap, sprinted straight to the toilet and did my business on the throne.
However, this would not be like number two’s of years, even days, past. My stools came out in painful waves, accompanied by spasms in my lower abdomen area. It would be a couple of seconds of pain, followed by a few precious seconds of respite and then boom! Another painful discharge. And that sick cycle happened at least seven times with blood pouring freely as I went. It was as though someone was squeezing my bowels hard, resting for a while before squeezing again. The pain was excruciating.

What the hell is this!!!???

Being the middle of winter, it was cold that night but I was sweating profusely by the time it was over. I couldn’t bring myself to switch on the bathroom lights and look at the result and so I cleaned myself up, flushed the toilet and then trudged back to my bedroom, totally shell shocked at the hell I’d just gone through.

I spent the whole day with my mother on her special day. She took the day off from work and we went to Macquarie Centre in North Ryde where she shopped up a storm. I went two more times during the day, once in the mall and again shortly before dinner time at home. Again those waves attacked, though not as intensely as the night before.
And that’s how it went for the rest of June and for most of July. I’d sit on the can squirming and cringing through gritted teeth as a continuous onslaught of pain beat me down and the sucky part was that they occurred just about every night, cutting my sleep in half. During day time attacks I would take a look at the result after the carnage and they weren’t pretty. It looked as though someone had spilled red wine into the damn toilet with a few specks of chocolate thrown into the mix. Note that I said specks. More blood was pouring out of me than shit. That’s NOT a good thing.

And if any sommeliers are reading right now, apologies for putting that image in your minds!

The month of July, clearly, had started off horribly for me. Yet, my nearest and dearest remained oblivious to all of it while yours truly remained in denial of the situation. My father, unaware that my symptoms had escalated, suggested that I try an old remedy for hemorrhoids that might ease these symptoms. He had me sitting in a tub of hot water for about half an hour every night to see if it would appease the blood and shrink any hemorrhoids if there were any. He also offered to massage my feet every night before I slept, hoping that it would reduce any stress and anxiety I was feeling and hopefully reducing severity of my symptoms. Plus it was a great way to get in some father-son bonding time and we’d talk about everything, although it mostly involved me ranting to him about the state of my health while he listened with a look of wonder and horror on his face.

No use. Those waves persisted. In fact, their frequency increased a week after they began. Now, I would be woken up every two hours at night for sessions at ‘the torture chamber’. That’s right, every two fucking hours, resulting in fragmented sleep. Shit, I still cringe at the thought of it. By now my face was sore from twisting my face in agony whenever I emptied my wrecked bowels.

Feeling queasy from reading all that? Here’s another cool shot from Vivid

Somehow, I still functioned like a regular human being. The broken sleep didn’t seem to affect my day to day life, though my anxiety and frustration were growing. But as it was with everything else, I kept all this shit hidden. My father would ask me if I was ok and I would dismiss him with a casual ‘yeah, all good.’
Man, I wanted to choke myself with barbed wire whenever I heard myself say that shit. I was lying through my teeth for the sake of self-preservation.

You fucking liar! You’re getting lit up inside and spilling blood every damn day. You are NOT all good.

And before I knew it, a new villain joined the party. At around mid-July, Australia experienced a severe ‘cold snap’ and we certainly felt it in my area. Various news outlets on TV and the internet accompanied their reports with images of frozen lakes, people dressed in snow gear and even some poor farm animals with icicles hanging off their noses and mouths, standing in the middle of fields rendered white from all the frost. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the Ice Age had suddenly landed smack bang in the middle of Australia and as a result of this brutally cold weather I came down with a nasty flu.

Great. Just great.

I was still leaking blood and putting up with those crazy waves and now I also had to contend with a nose that cruelly switched between blocked and runny, a head cold and a scratchy throat. Talk about trying to fend off several assailants at once, I felt like Julius Caesar trying to break away from the conspirators that were stabbing him simultaneously from all angles, only to succumb to their cruel blades.

I took it easy for a while, hoping to at least recover from the flu as quickly as possible. However, even when my runny nose and head cold subsided I began to suffer from chills. It might have had something to do with the weather but man, I just felt cold, especially at night. My parents, who had taken to sleeping with hot water bottles during cold evenings in addition to electric heaters timed to switch on and off between dusk and dawn, suggested that I give it a try and I did.
The good news is that the hot water bottle and electric heater combo seemed to ease the waves that had plagued me over the last few weeks. It did not eradicate them completely but it reduced their severity and the night time attacks, mercifully, faded away. The bad news was that it also left me overheated at night and I would wake up feeling hot, sweaty and irritable, like I had just run a marathon. I might as well had just traded one set of pesky symptoms for another.
And so I reduced the temperature of the heater and kept that hot water bottle further away from me, so I wouldn’t have to feel the full force of the heat.

Remember how, in the previous blog, I called myself a big liar when I swore to Dr. G that I’d see her should my health deteriorate? Well, let’s just say that she received zero phone calls from me during these last few fucked-up weeks. But in my defense my initial session with the gastroenterologist was fast approaching and based on his reviews, he was the only guy that I would trust to examine me in such an invasive manner. If I had to undergo a colonoscopy then I only wanted the very best to take me through it and he was it.

The last few weeks of July, however, would ultimately lead to my Waterloo moment.

It began when, after weeks of hiding my secret from everyone at the International Wing Chun Academy, a few of my peers began to notice that I looked pale and told me as such. Some also bluntly stated that I looked sick and thin, like I hadn’t eaten in weeks.
Not going to lie, I looked at myself in the mirrors on the Academy’s walls and their concerns were totally justified.
It wasn’t just my physical appearance that was affected. I also noticed that my performances during drills and fitness sessions began to wane and I even felt lackadaisical while teaching students.

What’s going on here?

Having once been a small, chubby, non-athletic child I prided myself on my strength and fitness, having started working out in my late teens to transform my once-weak physique into a muscular, ripped and athletic one. Now here I was, feeling winded after warm-ups, lacking power and focus while practicing techniques and being too drained to say good-bye to my fellow students and instructors at the end of every class I took part in, something that I always made sure to do.

Hell, I even missed a few days of teaching and training due to feeling lightheaded. I put it all of this down to the bad flu that I caught weeks earlier during that severe cold snap. But there were more alarming signs that suggested it was more than just the flu. I almost blacked out several times during my own workouts at home on days that I somehow managed to summon the energy to train. Any movement that involved jumping or getting the heart rate up like burpees and sprint intervals would leave me dazed to the point where the room would fade to black as my head pounded and my ears rang, as though I had been transformed into another dimension of pitch-black nothingness, with no one around to hear me screaming as I struggled to stay on my feet.

 Oh shit, am I dying!?

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Those weeks of blood loss, cramps, broken sleep and illness had caught up to me. Those painful waves had thankfully gone away at this point but they evolved into something even nastier, if you can believe it. You see, I had deteriorated to the point where I had some ‘close calls’ that sent me scrambling for the nearest toilet, like I had suddenly lost control of my bowel movements. Needless to say I developed a phobia of wandering too far away from a public restroom when I was out and about. That urge could happen anytime, anywhere.
In fact, it nearly occurred during what would be my last wing chun class for the next few months – during which I was assigned to teach. We were warming up before class, running laps around the room mixed with some light calisthenic work when suddenly, I felt my stomach rumble.


Then I felt that dull pain creep down towards my lower abdomen.

Oh boy!

Then I felt it near my butt.

OH CRAP!!!!!

Normally I would have made a beeline for the restroom but by this time I had become fed up and pissed off and so rather than give in to the urge I gritted my teeth and kept on running, determined to show this sadistic motherfucker who was boss.

Don’t blow it, Son. Don’t you fucking blow it!

I would have been damned if I messed myself in a place that I considered to be my second home in front of people that I considered to be close friends. Fuck that, not on my watch!
Luckily, the urge soon passed and the class went ahead as normal. That damn beast had the last laugh, though. I paid the price for my defiance upon arriving home, shortly before bed time. That beast sure was vindictive.
It’s safe to say that by this time I had spilled enough blood to feed an entire community of vampires. But wait, there’s more!

My bowels and respiratory system aside I also noticed that my shoes had begun to feel tight lately, like my feet had suddenly grown by two shoe sizes. At first I thought that it was due to my lack of movement whilst recovering from that flu, having spent most of it in bed or sitting on the couch watching TV or reading, but the evening after that near miss at wing chun, as I took a shower, I looked down at my feet and my eyes nearly shot out of their sockets.

Oh my God!!!!

 My feet had swollen up to double their usual size. They looked like sumo wrestlers’ feet! Incredibly, my father didn’t seem to notice while he massaged them, I had to point them out to him that night.
“Hey Pop, notice something weird about my feet?”

“No. Why?”

“Look closer. They’re swollen.”

He took a closer look and gasped. He looked up at me with disbelief written all over his face.

“How long have they been like this?”

“A few days.”

My father had yet to fully comprehend what he’d just seen when my mother walked into the living room for a drink of water. Talk about impeccable timing, she sensed the air in the room immediately.

“What’s going on?” she wondered.

“My feet, Ma,” I said sombrely, “they’re swollen and I don’t know why.”

My mother practically shoved my father out of the way as she took a look at my feet. Her eyes widened.

“Son, I think it’s time to see the doctor.”

I let out a deep sigh, finally surrendering to my symptoms.

“Yeah,” I conceded, “let’s do it.”

And so shortly before going to bed I walked over to my study table, fired up the computer and, once online, made an appointment to see Dr. G.

Yes, this is a long and disturbing post. Here you go, another cool shot from Vivid.

My last-minute appointment with Dr. G was set for the following evening, a Thursday. Thursday night is grocery night for most people and since her clinic was located at a shopping center parking spaces were rather difficult to come by. Luckily, we spotted a car attempting to exit just in time.
The medical center was not very full when we entered and so we did not have to endure another rather lengthy wait. Dr. G called within less than ten minutes.
When my parents and I walked into Dr. G’s office she took one look at me and her face said it all. She had that look of disbelief and pity, like she’d seen what my friends at the Wing Chun Academy had seen, a pale and thin shell of a man. And if she was livid at me for now calling her when shit went from bad to worse she did an excellent job of keeping it hidden.

I cut to the chase right away, admitting to her that I had recently suffered a bad case of the flu, that I was beginning to feel lethargic when exercising, that my feet had swollen up and that the bloody stools had persisted since our last meeting. Having listened to my confession, during which she remained stoic while my parents seemed to squirm on their seats, Dr. G ordered me to do a urine test and take another blood test, which I did. She must have surmised that perhaps my blood count would be different this time and while my urine sample didn’t reveal anything serious, the blood test would look at the bigger picture and should be ready within two days. We booked a follow-up appointment for the next Monday.

But there was a caveat; “If your blood test results are of grave concern,” said Dr. G, “I will phone you over the weekend for the next course of action.”

Oh boy…….nowhere to hide this time.

“Around what time?” I asked rather nervously.

“Any time between nine and mid-day,” she replied, “keep your phone by your side.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

And with that, we drove home for a family dinner and I prayed for a miracle before dozing off to sleep. At least my sleeping patterns weren’t interrupted anymore, that had to be a positive sign.


July 28, 2018


Two days later, I woke up rather early, ate breakfast and changed my bed sheets. I liked my bed. I’ve had the same mattress for more than ten years and it was still in good working order mainly because flipped it over whenever I changed sheets to maintain its shape. I flipped that rather heavy mattress easily and managed to put my sheets together in less than five minutes without incident. Lately I’d began to feel nervous about over-exerting myself  out of fear for that blacking out feeling returning to haunt me, but this time, I felt ok.

OK, this is a good sign.

The sun was shining outside, allowing some warmth to pierce through the morning winter air and I felt good. My hair had become unruly as of late and so I went to get my haircut accompanied by my father as he felt that he too was due.
I took a shower upon arriving home to wash the specks of clipped hair from my head and neck. It was eleven, almost mid-day and so far, no phone call from Dr. G. Perhaps my blood test results weren’t so bad after all.


I had just finished dressing up when my phone suddenly rang. I slowly picked it up and checked out the screen. The incoming call was from an unsaved number and so I had to answer it.


“Hello, good morning.”

A chill suddenly ran down my spine and my entire world collapsed around me.

It was Dr. G.


Oh shit……..

We Didn’t Start The Fire – All’s Well….For Now

Another tune by Billy Joel, aint no fire started,
An unwanted mission lay ahead, took another step towards it
Relief for now, as you shall see,
Trouble was brewin’, but for now I felt relieved.


June 13, 2018

From my initial consultation with Dr. G up to our follow-up appointment a week later I picked up no new symptoms, much to my relief. I continued to put up with my existing symptoms but other than that, life went on. I also took the time to submit a stool sample to a pathology clinic located in nearby Mt Druitt as Dr. G had requested.

Never thought I’d ever have to do one of those but I went with the flow.

I continued to work and train as normal but made sure to note down any strange feelings, if any, that I experienced. Thankfully, there were none. If anything I felt like I was getting fit and strong again and regaining whatever muscle mass and fitness I may have lost during those two and a half weeks gallivanting around Canada and Alaska with barely a workout session in. During that trip I threw myself into full holiday mode, including eating like a pig, and yet I still somehow lost weight. Must have been from all the walking.


My mother accompanied me to the trip to Dr. G’s clinic for our next meeting. Another fifteen minute drive from home was followed by waiting in the lounge for Dr. G to call my name. Not as many patients in the waiting lounge this time around compared to the previous week, mostly elderly patients undergoing routine check-ups and one pregnant lady, staring pensively at the TV screen in front of the room while her young son, all three or four years of him, sat beside her and played with his toys. I wondered how he would handle the idea of sharing his toys with his new younger sibling?

I felt rather confident and upbeat as I sat waiting, relieved that we were taking another step towards healing my body. Plus the much sought-after softer seats near the stairs leading down to the exit had some seating space available due to the relative lack of patients so I got to experience that rather than sitting on the harder chairs in the center of the room, closer to the front desk and the TV that, after a prolonged period, made you feel quite stiff and agitated.
After about twenty minutes Dr. G called my mother and I into her office. My mother and I walked behind her and I took a seat by her desk while my mother sat on one of the other chairs near the window. My mother complimented Dr. G on her outfit and I’m sure that after dealing with patients day in and day out it must have been music to her ears.
It was a bright, sunny day outside, albeit slightly chilly as it was already early winter. Still, I took that sunshine outside as a good omen.


My mother and Dr. G caught up very briefly before we got down to business. Dr. G began our discussion with a typical opening line; “So we took a look at your blood test and stool results…..”

Oh shit, here we go……drum roll, please.

A smile suddenly formed on Dr. G’s countenance, “And I’m glad to say that there is nothing drastic for now.”


I was doing cartwheels in my mind, at least until the ‘for now’ part of her statement belatedly sunk into my thick skull, sending my euphoria into a screeching halt.

‘For now!?’ The fuck does that mean!?

I guess I wasn’t completely out of the woods just yet. Dr. G continued, “You will still need to undergo a colonoscopy to find out what is truly causing your symptoms.”
And there it was again, that dreaded ‘C’ word. In my mind it would be a cold day in hell before I would agree to such a procedure but it was becoming clear that I had no other option left. I was an outlaw on the run, finally cornered at a dead-end by the police and forced to surrender against my will.

Still, my mother breathed a sigh of relief and probably nearly cried, much to Dr. G’s amusement. Looks like her big baby boy would live to fight another day. I was by no means given a clean bill of health but for now, a decent result was a positive distraction and a small victory of sorts. According to Dr. G my hemoglobin levels were still at healthy levels despite me shitting blood for a while now and my stool and urine samples did not reveal anything shocking. My white blood cell count, however, was affected, a sure sign that my body was at war with something within. I guess a colonoscopy would unmask the culprit.

Dr. G’s tone then became serious once more. “While we still don’t know what is causing all that blood in your stools it is most likely colitis,” she said.
My heart sunk in an instant. Ulcerative Colitis was one of the two nasty motherfuckers under the inflammatory bowel disease umbrella, of which the cause is unknown and for which there is still no cure other than to remove the sufferer’s bowel should the disease worsen. It’s meaner, nastier comrade went by the name of Crohn’s Disease.
“Could it be anything else?” my mother inquired.
Dr. G nodded thoughtfully. “Of course,” she responded, “but we won’t know for sure unless he undergoes a colonoscopy,” turning back towards me she noticed that I suddenly had a rather glum look on my face and so she quickly added, “other than that, you’re still in good health so no need to worry too much.”

Good ol’ Dr. G. Always an optimist.

She then printed out a paper copy of my medical results and wrote a referral for a gastroenterologist that she was personal friends with and requested that I book a session with him.
“He’s one of the best in his field and his clinic is not too far from here,” she said, “Try to book the earliest appointment with him possible.”
“Yes, Doc.”
“And come and visit me in two months’ time so we can take another blood test and see if there are any changes,” Dr. G added, “but if anything happens before then, if you feel that you are getting worse, let me know immediately.”
“Yes, of course.”
It was then that I heard a voice in my mind call me the world’s biggest liar. You’ll find out why soon enough.


And that was that. My mother and I thanked Dr. G for her time before we drove home. I then went straight to the internet and looked up the gastroenterologist that Dr. G had recommended in order to learn more about him. I needed to make sure that this guy was legit and not some phoney masquerading as a professional.
The website for his clinic included the obligatory location and contact details and a photo of his best head shot, but it also included a brief bio on the man and his team and he even had some reviews and testimonials from previous patients on google! These testimonials described a man who was very committed and knowledgeable of his field and had a way of making patients staring down the barrel of some pretty invasive and nerve-wracking procedures feel calm and at ease. He also avoided medical mumbo-jumbo when discussing matters of the health with patients, using language and imagery that they can understand without coming off as condescending.


I was impressed. Damn, this dude is the real deal!


For those who have been following my blog for a while now, I think it’s been somewhat established that I have a phobia of anything related to clinics and medical procedures, which is one of the reasons why, like a damn fool, I didn’t take action until shit hit the fan. Since I was a child the prospect of going to ‘see the doctor’ made me squirm. The thought of people tinkering around with my anatomy in any way shape or form made me uncomfortable and I cringed at the idea of being confined to a hospital, and at the time of these events that hadn’t happened yet and I wished to keep it that way although it was all but becoming an inevitability. These good reviews convinced me that this guy, whom we will meet at a later entry, was for real.

And so the following morning at around 10am I gave his clinic a call and after a brief discussion with his secretary about how much my health insurance would cover I made a booking for an initial consultation. I was told that he was overseas at the moment but that I would get a spot on the earliest possible time, which turned out to be in early August, about a month and a half away. Fine by me, Dr. G wanted me to submit another blood test within two months anyway so at least by that time I could see them both roughly around the same time frame. Besides, the earlier the better. And so I accepted the date immediately.


Mission accomplished.


In the meantime, all I had to do was monitor my symptoms. The bleeding persisted, but I drew comfort from Dr. G’s report that there was nothing seriously wrong with me – for now. I carried on with the hope that it wouldn’t get any worse than this. These symptoms had disappeared before and I didn’t close my mind to the possibility that they’d disappear again, this time for good, even though at this point that was wishful thinking. The symptoms now were worse than they were in April.

Unfortunately, I would soon learn that this was merely the calm before the storm – a storm that was brewing and waiting to unleash all manner of hell upon me.