Hail Mary – IT’S SHOW TIME!!!!!

The sands of that hourglass finally ran dry,
Rise and shine, Kid, D-Day has arrived,
You’ve gone to hell and back and emerged intact,
Yeah, Boy, you got this! Time to fight back.


6 August 2018

The day had arrived at last and the very first thing I did upon waking was to spring out of bed like a jungle cat that had sensed its prey and then dash straight into the toilet. I sat there for fifteen minutes before cleaning myself up and then returned to my room to gather my outfit for my date with destiny – a loose pair of sweats, a hoodie and a plain white t-shirt as I was instructed to dress as comfortably as possible.
Upon gathering my clothes I felt the ‘urge’ once more and returned to the toilet to unload some more excess fluids and waste. Man, two times in less than half an hour – that formula was still taunting me, having the last laugh. Considering that I would not have so much as a drop of water trickle down my throat until after the colonoscopy, which was scheduled three hours later, I sure hoped that this was the last time that I would have to deal with that prep’s after-effects.


Fortunately, there were no more emergency visits to the toilet before my parents and I made our voyage to the clinic. I sat pensively in the passenger seat, listening to the music on the radio and doing my best to keep the emotions within from exploding, much like a stubborn child trying to keep his wardrobe from bursting due to the massive amounts of junk he had thrown in there in a lazy attempt to ‘tidy up his room’.
“You’ll be ok, Son,” said Mom, who was seated at the back while Dad drove, “you got through the hard part last night.”
We pulled up to the Hospital for Specialist Surgery, located not far from Dr. B’s practice, after a twenty minute drive. Fortunately, the traffic along the way hadn’t reached peak levels yet, ensuring a quick and stress-free drive. The clinic was a white, modern-looking building with white interiors and glass doors, resembling some sort of high-tech science lab or art museum. Heck, it could have passed off as the headquarters for a team of superheroes!

I brought a bottle of water with me not to drink out of, but to moisten the inside of my mouth whenever it dried up. Yeah yeah, I was well aware that I was forbidden from eating and drinking and behaved myself. Once my parents and I had checked in with the receptionists and taken a seat at the waiting room I made several trips to the toilet to gurgle and spit some water – and at one point I ducked into a cubicle for some last-minute ‘business’. At least now I knew that my bowels were well and truly ready.
That waiting room was already rather crowded and the front desk fully staffed. Getting up this early on a Monday? Yeah, it was a drag and it showed on the faces of patients and staff alike. My parents and I were lucky to find three vacant seats in a row and as we sat down and made ourselves comfortable I took a look at the people around me, other pyjama-clad patients with a friend or relative acting as their support system and post-surgery chauffeur seated beside them. Other than a relatively young-looking woman who was accompanied by her mother a majority of the patients were middle-aged and some aged over sixty. I surmised that they were here, at the very least, as part of a routine bowel cancer screening.
Nurses and surgeons regularly came and went to call patients in and at one point, Dr. B himself emerged from the operating rooms and approached the front desk before returning. He caught my eye as he walked past and winked at me.

A part of me wondered how many cups of coffee he had consumed that morning.

I took one last trip to the toilet, bottle of water in hand, to gurgle and wash my hands when it came down to the last ten minutes before my procedure. My mouth was bone-dry and also, I seized the opportunity to stretch my legs before the procedure.
Oh yeah, and I wasn’t sure whether my mind was deceiving me or not but I noticed that my feet began to feel heavy and swollen.

Oh shit…….

It was probably due to not having had anything to eat or drink since the previous night, a mild form of dehydration if you will. But thankfully, they did not swell nearly as badly as they did prior to that blood transfusion. An elderly gentleman then walked into the toilet and I turned abruptly towards him, in that “I wasn’t doing anything!” manner of one caught in the act of doing silly things on their lonesome. He briefly acknowledged my presence before walking into one of the cubicles.


I returned to the waiting room and sat back down on my chair, playing with my phone. A nurse called my name not long afterwards and I trudged over to a small office where she was waiting and took a seat beside her desk. She proceeded to interrogate me, asking me questions regarding my preparation and making sure that I had consumed all of the bowel prep formula and had remembered to fast before my arrival. I answered ‘yes’ to all her questions and meant it.
“Very good,” she replied before gesturing towards a small scale in the back corner of that small room.
“Please step on so we can record your current weight.”
I removed my shoes and stepped on. I weighed fifty-three kilograms, looks like that cleanse plus the fasting had stripped one kilo from my frame.
“Perfect,” said the nurse, “you may return to the waiting room now before you will be asked to get ready.”
I returned to the waiting room, where my parents were still seated. The time ticked past 9am and I began to feel rather impatient. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to just be, blocking out the noise of chatter and footsteps all around. I could have easily drifted off to sleep as I was still feeling rather groggy from the fasting.

And before I knew it I was summoned again by a different nurse, this time ordered to get ready for the colonoscopy. I was jolted straight into action.

Ok, let’s rock ‘n roll!

I handed my phone and wallet to my mother, who kept them in her purse, and gave both of my parents a hug. I won’t be seeing them again until at least two hours from now.
“You got this, Kid,” said Dad.
“You’ll be fine,” added Mom.
“Cool, thank you.”
I stretched my back and loosened my arms and legs before walking through a narrow hallway that had several doors, all leading into different dressing rooms. There was also a rather long passage way in that hall that led to the operating floor, the arena in which patients would learn their fate. I felt like a boxer or mixed martial artist getting ready for a fight, or perhaps a rock star preparing for a gig. I walked into one of the dressing rooms, which contained a couple of hospital beds, a sofa and a box in which to put my belongings. Sitting on a bed was a hospital gown, cap and scrubs for my feet. I quickly changed into my hospital wear and pile my clothes into the box before quickly ducking into a nearby toilet. There were no mirrors in my room and I was curious to see exactly what I looked like. I took one look at my reflection and laughed.

Lookin’ good, Tough Guy!

Man, talk about adding insult to injury! I looked like a clown.

Shaking my head in disbelief, I wandered back to my room, sat on the bed and awaited further instructions. The song that triggered this blog, written and recorded by Tupac Shakur, suddenly began playing in my mind and so I head-banged and lip-synched the limited amount of lyrics that I knew as I waited – which is to say that I just repeated the chorus to myself over and over again.
A male nurse, a rather tall guy in his 20’s, suddenly walked in. He carried with him a small case containing some medical paraphernalia.
“Good morning, Sir,” he greeted, “how are you today?”
“All good, how are you?”
The nurse chuckled, “a bit sleepy but I’m alright.”
“You and me both, dude.”
We both laughed before he began fiddling with the contents of the case.
“I am now going to place this catheter on the back of your right hand for the anaesthesia,” he said.
I showed him my right hand, still pale and seemingly without a trace of a vein. The nurse immediately began vigorously rubbing the back of my hand, trying to raise a vein. When that didn’t work, he began slapping my hand.
“Sorry, Mate,” he said apologetically, “I’m trying to find a vein. It’s a bit difficult because you’re currently dehydrated from the prep.”
“Fair enough.”
He kept rubbing and slapping for about a minute until finally, a vein popped up. He stuck the catheter in before instructing me to lie down on the hospital bed.
“Just relax now, Sir,” he instructed, “this won’t hurt.”
“Glad to know,” I replied.
“You’ll be asleep throughout the procedure. You won’t feel a thing.”
“Thank God,” I joked.

And with that, I was wheeled into the operating room, where Dr. B and his assistants were waiting. The nerves had evaporated, now replaced by some form of inner calm and also a sense of eagerness. I felt at peace yet was simultaneously chomping at the bit to finally unmask the cause of my symptoms. I still carried the hope that it wasn’t anything too serious but I was ready for the outcome, good or bad.

At least I thought I was.

Feather – The Hard Part

Drifting away like a feather in air,
Here comes the bowel prep, Boy, you’d better beware,
Once again stuck on that damn liquid diet,
Trips to the can the only workout I’ma get,
Proceed with care, Dear Reader, this could get ugly,
You’ll laugh and cringe, just as I did when I reminisced for this entry.

August 5, 2018

One day in July, shortly before I was hospitalized, I did some internet research on colonoscopies and what to expect before, during and after the procedure. Among the articles that I read I found one little piece of information that grabbed my attention; apparently, the preparation was a lot harder than the procedure itself and its aftermath. In fact, the person quoted went on to state that once the patient had overcome the prep everything else would be a breeze.
At the time I found that hard to believe. The idea of having a camera put into me to examine my bowels sure as hell didn’t seem like a breeze. However, my views would be violently challenged once it was time for my own preparation. But we’ll get to that a little later.


The next two days following my initial consultation with Dr. B were spent making the most of the limited amount of time that I had left to enjoy solid food before I was to once again take up another bullshit liquid diet regimen. The Friday was spent enjoying as much fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and all other foods that would soon be temporarily off-limits for me as I could while the Saturday was spent enjoying solid foods period. Now forbidden from eating high-fiber food, I decided to go out in style and turned that Saturday into an epic cheat day. In addition to the white grains, meat, eggs, dairy, strained fruits and vegetables, skinless root vegetables and spreads I also allowed myself chocolate and cake. My mother had also bought some meat pies during the week and I ate not one but TWO of those bad boys as an afternoon snack, much to my parents’ amusement.
Don’t judge me! I was going to be forced into another fucking liquid diet against my will the next day before undergoing an uncomfortable and invasive medical procedure. I earned this! Besides, it’s not a cheat day unless you go all-in.

But all good things have to come to an end, unfortunately.

I had breakfast on Sunday morning at 7am, two croissants with honey plus poached eggs and a hamburger patty, and from mid-day onwards the liquid diet began.

Round two…..FIGHT!!!!

For the rest of the day I subsisted on various soups and broths cooked by my mother, plus orange-flavored jelly for dessert and large amounts of water and electrolytes. In a show of solidarity, my parents volunteered to undergo this liquid diet with me even though I pleaded with them not to, no one should have to do this shit unless they were under medical orders to do so.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg. The worst was yet to come.

Which brings us back to the bowel prep before the colonoscopy. As stated earlier, I still believed that the colonoscopy and its aftermath would be excruciating whereas some guy on the internet stated that the prep is where the real pain was. Come Sunday afternoon, my father started mixing two sachets’ worth of the formula that I had received from Dr. B’s clinic that was designed to give patients liquid diarrhea in order to clean out the bowels before the procedure. He mixed the formula with water in a rather tall jug and according to the instructions, once the formula had completely dissolved into the water I had to drink one glass’ worth every fifteen minutes within two hours until I had consumed the entire jug, followed by a few hours’ break before moving on to the remaining two sachets, also to be consumed in fifteen minute intervals within two hours. The formula was also orange-flavored so I assumed that it wouldn’t taste so bad. Hell, it couldn’t be any worse than having to survive on a liquid diet for a few days the way I did in the hospital a week ago.


Not so fast, tough guy!


Little did I know that I was about to eat – or should I say drink – my words. And boy, what a bad taste it would leave in my mouth!

The bowel cleanser. Armed and dangerous

I would have to wait two hours prior to drinking that formula. I poured some into a tall glass and took three deep breaths.
Here we go…..no turning back.
I held my breath and gulped it all down. Fifteen minutes later I drank another glass. And then another following another fifteen minute interval.
This isn’t so bad.
That being said, the stuff tasted horrible! The aftertaste in particular was disgusting.
After that third round, I sat down in the living room with my parents where they were watching season one of a TV series on DVD. I had just made myself comfortable on one of the chairs when I suddenly felt my bowel awaken. It was time for my first trip to the can.
I swear, I heard Michael Buffer shouting “LET’S GET READY TO RRRUUUMMMBLLLEEEE!!!!” in my mind at that moment!
I went straight to the toilet and fired away. As expected, there was blood but much to my surprise, not as much as what had become the norm. I cleaned myself up and returned to the living room. Fifteen minutes had elapsed since the last drink.
“Time for another round, Kid,” my father deadpanned.
And so I had another drink. Not long afterwards, it was time to return to the can and when I returned…..yes, you guessed it, it was time for another.

I was halfway into that jug when I began to feel stomach pains, similar to the type that one would experience after one too many slices of pizza in a single sitting. Drinking large amounts of liquid in fifteen minute intervals isn’t exactly a walk in the park and no amounts of sessions in the toilet shook off that feeling of being full. My parents sensed my distress.
“Are you ok?” asked Dad.
“I’m good,” I replied, masking my discomfort. These past few months of putting up with various symptoms and ailments had tempered my pain threshold and ability to withstand torture but those were about to be put to the test once more, some next level shit if you will.
My mother, who herself had undergone a colonoscopy a few years earlier, was quick to reassure me.
“You’ll be ok,” she said, “it’s normal to feel uncomfortable during the prep. That drink is designed to give you serious diarrhea.”
Ok, at least any pain I was feeling wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, I’ll take that.

I literally spent the next two hours drinking, shitting and walking around the living room in an attempt to dull any discomfort in my stomach. It worked for a while but once I was down to the last couple of glasses that little piece of information that I had read on the internet had shockingly come to life. This prep shit was fucking torture!
My father poured out the last glass for me, finally emptying that damn jug.
“Come on, drink it,” he ordered, “this is the last one.”

I gulped down the last of the formula and then once again went to the toilet. Much to my surprise, there was less and less blood in the stools with every trip to empty my bowels, which was a positive spin on an otherwise torturous prep. I was entitled to a few hours’ respite after finishing that first jug of formula, just in time for dinner. I was rather hungry despite feeling like an over-stuffed water balloon but I couldn’t say that my dinner was particularly appetizing.

Two types of soup as the main course and orange jelly for dessert. Man, I left this fucking liquid diet shit a week ago!

More soup
Dinner Time!

Nonetheless I lapped up two bowls’ worth of soup and had a small cup of that jelly. My father seemed to enjoy it much more than I did despite not being a big fan of sweets. That stuff was too sweet and tasted artificial.
I spent the next three hours after dinner up until the next round of bowel cleansing resting, mostly parked in front of the computer watching random Youtube videos, reading and pacing up and down the living room, anything I could to distract myself from this heavy feeling in my gut without over-exerting myself. The effects of that formula still persisted and so I still made regular trips to the toilet and those frequent trips eventually began to take their toll because each trip became more painful than the last, as though my rectum was becoming weary from cleaning up my bowels. Talk about experiencing ring of fire without having to overdose on spicy food first.

Soon, it was time to mix up the remaining two sachets of formula into another tall jug of water to continue the treatment, which my father and I did two hours before the next session. I felt queasy just looking at that shit dissolve in the water.
“Still two hours away, Son,” said Dad, “just relax for now.”
My stomach had finally settled and the toilet trips were beginning to wane. I was fine for the time being, but it was merely the calm before the next damn storm.
Before I knew it, 9pm rolled around and it was time to consume what was left of that fucking bowel cleanser. My father and I were watching Warrior, a mixed martial arts themed film, when I reluctantly got up from my seat and poured out the first glass of formula from that second jug.
“Don’t drink it all at once,” advised my Dad, “Take your time.”
I drank that glass in small gulps but was instantly assaulted by that vile taste and that sickening feeling in my stomach. Rather than sit back down I paced around the living room in an attempt to prevent any feelings of fullness in my stomach but it was no use.

Calm down, Boy. You’ll need to drink more of that shit in fifteen minutes’ time.

And not long after that first gulp, it was time to make a beeline for that toilet where I expelled more liquid waste. That burning sensation persisted but I was somewhat heartened by the fact that there didn’t seem to be any more blood. That brief feeling of victory, however, was shattered as soon as I walked out. Sitting on the kitchen table was another glass of that shit that my father had poured out.

Was I in the toilet for that fucking long!?

Yeah, I guess I was.

And so I gulped down that second glass. Then I went back to the toilet. Then I gulped down another glass. On and on that fucking vicious cycle went for the next two fucking hours, where any time spent not drinking was more or less spent shitting.
I missed a large portion of that movie due to those trips to the can. But at least I got to see all the fight scenes.

After about one hour of drinking I was just about ready to pack it in. That bloated, heavy feeling in my gut reached the point where I could do nothing other than sit on the couch groaning as I clutched my stomach like a knife attack victim. By now I felt as though I had swallowed one week’s worth of meals in one sitting and that sticking a pin into my mid-section would cause me to explode into a mess of flesh, blood and that damn formula. This was a new level of hell that my willpower and strength of mind hadn’t anticipated.
Dad took one look at my face and knew right away that I was distressed.
“Hang in there, son,” he said, “you’re halfway through the jug, this will be over soon.”


Just halfway through!? Aaarrgghh!!!!


My mother, who had been preparing for bed, walked into the living room to get a drink of water. She noticed me sitting on the couch, writhing about in pain while Dad rubbed my back trying to soothe me to no avail.
“I know it hurts, Son. I’ve been there too,” she said, “the cleansing is the hard part. After this the colonoscopy will be a breeze.”
There. She echoed the words from that article I read on the internet about how the prep is far worse than the procedure. Given the type of hell that I was going through I sure hoped that they were right.
I then turned to Dad, still grimacing in agony.
“Do you think it’ll be ok if I vomited?” I wondered. Yeah, it was THAT bad.
“No, Son,” he replied rather sternly, “keep it in there and let it exit through the rectum. You’re stronger than that.”

Easy for him to say that when he wasn’t going through this crap. But he was right.

I drank another glass and followed it up with another session on the throne. My once rather agile movements, unaffected by anaemia and possibly rejuvenated by the blood transfusion, were now reduced to heavyset waddling. I dragged myself to the toilet in complete pain, resisting the urge to regurgitate as I sat down on that porcelain throne and did my business.
By now the taste of that formula had escalated from nauseating to pure fucking rancid and the ring of fire burned harder than a bushfire in summer time. The previous weekend at the hospital was looking more and more bucolic in hindsight compared to this. Like a drunken reveler exiting a nightclub and stumbling out into the streets I made my way back to the sofa and plopped down, completely drained but still feeling heavy and sluggish, urging myself internally to keep it together.

This is nothing, Kid! You got this!

Then my father tried another remedy, one that seemed to work for a while during the difficult days of the past July; he massaged my feet. It was a good move as it took my mind off the stomach pain. The timing also was perfect as we had reached the climactic moment of the film that we were watching and I was treated to some rather intense MMA action. It temporarily took my mind off my own pain.
But that massage was of no help when it was time to drink again. During my next round I tried pacing about the room once again as I drank to ensure a smoother flow through my system, but the combination of feeling full and that disgusting taste continued to torment me. I had to sit back down after finishing that glass to ward off the feelings of nausea.

A few more glasses and toilet trips later I was down to the final glass. By now I had lost count of how many times I had to shit and I didn’t even bother counting the amount of glasses I drank. I could only marvel at how I was able to gulp down what seemed like a week’s worth of water mixed with that wretched bowel cleansing formula without popping, let alone throwing up. I didn’t even have a swollen belly to show for my efforts though my stomach sure as hell felt stuffed beyond its limits, I could no longer sit or stand up straight without feeling ill. I poured the last of that liquid into the glass and weakly toasted my father, who had poured himself a glass of milk. I never thought this moment would arrive.

Last one, Kid. Don’t you fucking blow it!

I held my breath and willed myself to gulp down the last of that formula, holding my arms aloft triumphantly after I slammed my glass back down on the table – and then promptly ran back into the toilet.


I can’t say that trying to sleep that night was smooth sailing. With that colonoscopy now less than twenty-four hours away the nerves had kicked in and I was still dealing with the effects of the formula. I went to the toilet at least seven times before I finally drifted off to sleep.

Damn, what a day!

Well, that was that. My bowel was now completely empty, although there might be a couple more sessions on the toilet upon waking up and I would be prohibited from eating or drinking anything until after the procedure. The hard part is done and dusted, now onto the main event……..

Caught In The Rain – Session With Dr. B

Caught in the rain but hardly dancing,
Can’t risk blacking out, still low on haemoglobin,
Here it comes, another key player on the team,
The myth, the legend, the man himself, the great Dr. B!

August 2, 2018

In the following days after my return home from the hospital I felt as though I was well on the mend, a far cry from the previous week where I felt listless and would come close to passing out whenever I over-exerted myself. My feet were no longer swollen and my appetite had returned to normal and when I weighed myself during this period the scales read 54kg, a two kilogram gain.

Not bad, not bad at all.

But I was still shitting out blood and still considered to be anaemic, so despite the positive signs there remained a pall hanging over my head.
My parents both took the day off from work on the day that I had my long-awaited initial consultation with the gastroenterologist, the man who would be instrumental to my eventual recovery. His clinic was located in the heart of a mini central business district not far from home populated by business parks and company buildings. I’d assume that driving through this area during peak-hours would be horrendous, the perfect testing ground for car horns and a hot spot for road rage incidents.

My father accompanied me during that fifteen to twenty minute drive for my appointment. Dr. B’s clinic was on the second floor of a rather tall tower that housed other businesses, ranging from other healthcare centers to financial companies. As my father and I walked down a rather long hallway leading up to the clinic I kept my eye out for the nearest men’s room in case of an emergency while waiting for my session. Ever since I went through that unfortunate phase of my pre-hospitalized suffering it had become a habit for me to find the nearest restroom in case I was attacked by an uncontrollable need to empty my bowels. I found it near the exit.

My father immediately took a seat in the waiting room while I approached the receptionist and confirmed my attendance. She also gave me a couple of forms to complete that involved questions regarding my personal details and health history. The clinic was clean and well-lit and the lady behind the front desk was approachable and laid-back. Dr. B sure did know how to pick his staff.
“Ok, please take a seat in the waiting room and fill out that form, Dr. B will be with you shortly.”
“Thank you.”
I took a seat next to my father in the waiting room, a small room with a multi-colored carpet covering the floor and a big screen TV mounted on the wall at the front of the room showing the morning news. There was also a small space in the back corner for children to play and color in pictures and some of their artworks were on display in the back wall.
After about ten minutes of waiting, shortly after I finished that questionnaire, I suddenly felt that dreaded urge again. Oh boy, I hope this won’t eat into my appointment, it would be two months of waiting down the drain if I missed my shot!
“I’ll be right back,” I told Pop before rushing out of the waiting room, down the hall and into the men’s room.
I did my business as quickly as I could before rushing back into the waiting room, hoping that I wouldn’t pass out as I was still anaemic and had lost more blood. Man, I’ll be glad to finally get a diagnosis for this damn thing.
“Are you ok?” asked Dad.
“Yeah. Did he call me?”
“He hasn’t come in yet.”
“Ok, cool.”
I didn’t have to wait long as Dr. B walked into the room three minutes later and called my name.

 Dr. B’s office was one befitting that of a man of his accomplishments. He sat behind a rather wide, dark, wooden desk piled with different cards with information on various bowel and digestive disorders, a model of the digestive system sat not too far from the patient’s side of the table and on the wall behind him hung the obligatory framed qualifications and awards. His computer and phone sat immediately in front of him and photos of his family and one of those ‘World’s Best Dad’ mugs were not too far away. Like his comrade Dr. G his office had a massive window with a great view outside, although I would say that the view outside his office was more grandiose than that of Dr. G’s. While Dr. G’s office overlooked an open green space, Dr. B’s office overlooked the landscape of a neighboring suburb, giving one a panoramic view of rooftops, roads, gardens, green hills and plains.

Damn, this guy is a real boss!

As for the man himself, he looked to be in his early to mid-forties, was of Middle-Eastern descent and had a slim build and a friendly face framed by a dark beard. He spoke in a relaxed and calming manner, the type who can put a nervous patient at ease.
“How are you today?” he asked.
“I’m good, thank you.”
“Ok, take a seat and let’s get right into it.”
I took a seat opposite him while my father took a seat on one of the guest’s chairs on the side of the room.
“So, what can I help you with?”
And from there I took a deep breath and recounted the past five months to Dr. B as best as I could, from the initial symptoms, then the brief moment of victory during the trip to Canada and Alaska before segueing over to the vengeful return of those symptoms and the descent into a very dark place that still hurts to talk about. I also informed him that I was anaemic and had undergone a blood transfusion during the past weekend and that I had suffered from the bout of the flu shortly before all hell broke loose.

Quite a journey, huh?

Dr. B listened intently as I spoke, remaining stoic for the most part but there appeared to be a look of confusion on his face. I guess my symptoms had a level of inconsistency to them. While I did feel the usual symptoms indicative of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and/or Irritable Bowel Syndrome he was somewhat mystified over the way my symptoms suddenly disappeared during those two weeks overseas. Also, any cramps that I felt only manifested during those couple of weeks while I was battling the flu and gradually eased, I never found myself in a situation where my stomach cramped badly in between sessions on the porcelain throne. Apparently most IBD / IBS patients complained of persistent, painful cramps that, at times, left them in so much pain that they were unable to move, as though they were continually being stabbed in the stomach. Me? I worked out and continued to teach at the Wing Chun Academy up until I became anaemic. I didn’t feel any pain unless I was sitting on the can. The bloody stools seemed to be the only consistent symptom that had plagued me.
“Right,” he finally replied calmly, masking any sense of feeling overwhelmed if such was the case, “how much blood do you think you are losing whenever you go?”
I recited to him the same line I told the nurse during my stay in the hospital.  “Not sure, but it can’t be much since I hear it dripping out rather than pouring out like a waterfall.”
“Is the blood separate from your stools?”
“I’m pretty sure it is,” I responded. Like I said in a previous post, the results mainly looked like red wine with bits of chocolate in them. The blood and stools appeared to be separate. Again, sorry to any sommeliers out there for the mental picture and an apology to chocolate lovers, too.
“Ok, so it’s only a bit of blood, is it?”
Here it comes, the denial; “Pretty sure it is, although a few drops can spread out and render the water in the bowl red so it looks as though a lot of blood was spilled.”
“I see.”
Man, I can’t believe he bought that shit. I guess he can only go by what I was saying since he never personally saw the aftermath.
“And did you feel any cramps when you weren’t in the toilet? Do you feel any cramps now?”
“No, I don’t.”
He then offered me a glimmer of hope that brightened up the overall mood in the room after having veered towards somewhere less cheery.
“Based on what you’ve told me there is a possibility that you could be afflicted by Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but if these symptoms worsened while you were ill and had tapered off slightly since then there might be a chance that the flu played a bigger role in the anaemia, the cramps and all that than anything in your bowels.”
He made sure to emphasize the word ‘might’. Still, that sounded pretty darn good to me!
“So it could be something less severe like haemorrhoids?”
“It’s a possibility that I wouldn’t completely rule out.”
Man, full credit to Dr. G for introducing me to this guy. He had an open mind and was willing even to explore all scenarios rather than jumping straight into the doom and gloom.

Dr. B then turned towards his computer and began typing away, making a booking for my colonoscopy.
“The only way we’ll be able to get an official diagnosis is through a colonoscopy,” he said, “let’s see which dates are available…..”
My father and I gave each other a thumbs up as he typed away. It may not be all that severe after all. Dr. B then turned his attention back towards us.
“Ok, I can book you in for this Monday or next Friday.”

 Damn, looks like this will actually be happening. Shit just got real!

In my mind I immediately decided to go with the later date. I finally wanted to get to the bottom of these symptoms (no pun intended) but I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to undergo such an invasive procedure. The thought of it still made me feel uneasy.
My father, however, had other ideas.
“Take the earlier date, Son,” he whispered towards me, “the sooner the better.”
He was right. I was still anaemic and delaying this could see me rushed straight back into the hospital and I was determined not to have to do a sequel of the events of the previous weekend.
“We’ll take the Monday option,” I sighed.

That’s four days from today. Oh boy……

Dr. B locked in the date on his computer before printing out some sheets for me that confirmed the date and also included some notes on what to expect before and after the procedure.
“Ok, you’re booked in for Monday morning,” said Dr. B, “you can still eat as normal for the rest of the day and tomorrow but come Saturday you will need to start preparing for the colonoscopy. The receptionist outside will give you a package that contains the formula you will need to drink in order to clean out your bowels as well as a list of what you can and cannot eat and drink during the cleansing process.”

Great. Another two days of restrictive eating.

“Ok,” I finally replied after wrapping my head around the fact that this thing was happening sooner than I thought.
“In the meantime, take it easy,” he added, “you’ll be alright.”
We stood up and my father and I shook hands with him to end the appointment.
“See you soon,” said Dr. B.
“Yep, see you then.”
Dr. B kindly escorted my father and I from his office and I lined up again behind the front desk while Dad waited outside. The receptionist was busy with an elderly couple with the wife inquiring about her own upcoming colonoscopy. After they had walked over to the waiting room I gave the receptionist my answers to the questionnaire that I filled out earlier and she gave me a box that contained sachets of the formula that would empty my bowels as well as a list of instructions on how to take them. Included was also a list of dietary do’s and don’ts that I had to adhere to and I read over that list during the drive home.

Oooohhhh hell no!!!

For a man that liked to keep himself in tip top shape it was difficult to read. Wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, typical staples of my diet, were out and for two days I had to subsist on white carbs, meat, liquids and not much else. You see, the dieat that I had to stick to prior to the colonoscopy was a low fiber one to keep my bowel calm as it was being prepped for the procedure.
Oh yeah, and since I was booked for Monday morning I was prohibited from eating solids from Sunday mid-day until after the procedure. I would have to subsist on the formula plus soups and liquids for the rest of the day. And during the hours before the surgery I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink, period. Not even a sip of water.
By the time I finished reading through that list I had the same look on my face as a man that had just been robbed of his whole life savings. This was a whole new level of bullshit that, though expected, I wasn’t prepared to accept.
“Don’t worry, son,” said Pops, “it’s only for a couple of days.”
He was right about that but I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t a couple of days too many. But if this is what it was going to take to finally reveal the cause of my maladies over the past few months then so be it.

In the meantime, I had the rest of this day and the next to pig out on whatever I wanted before the special diet began. And I had every intention of making the most of those two days.

The Fire – Free At Last

Gotta smile through the pain, easier said than done,
Tired and battered but still I won’t give up,
Let it burn, Kid, can’t let this shit break you,
As long as your heart still beatin’ you still got a life worth livin’.


30 July 2018

Adrift in this peaceful calm without a soul in sight,
Deep in sleep in the still of the night,
Here I lie, recharging my batteries,
Sealed away from the bitter sting of reality,
Yearning to stay here forever, I don’t ever want to leave,
Wishes are for fairy tales, son, time to rise from your sleep.

I had no idea what time it was when I was suddenly woken by a nurse wishing to take my blood pressure yet again. I didn’t open my eyes to acknowledge her presence, preferring to stick my right arm out at any random direction, hoping that she would see it.

Man, y’all still want to do this in the middle of the fucking night!?

The room was rather dark, illuminated only by the lights in the hallway and the beeping sound of different machines in the room plus my roommates’ snoring only added to my aggravation. The nurse quickly checked my blood pressure reading before leaving and well, I guess I couldn’t begrudge her for it as she was merely performing her duties and had to work during this ungodly hour attending to different patients’ needs while my sick-ass got to lie on a bed, uncomfortable though it was.

You have people working overnight to nurse patients such as yourself back to good health and to make sure you are comfortable. Show some respect!

Anyway, I woke up the next morning once again at 7:30 with the sun shining on my face. A sudden shot of pain radiated from my right arm as I stretched, as though a rat had bitten me in the crook of my arm.

That fucking catheter!

For the past two days that damn thing stung whenever I moved my right arm, as though it were taunting me.
“Haha! Just try to move your arm again, Sucker!”
I had half a mind to yank that motherfucker right off and throw it out the window but I thought better of it and left it for the professionals. The last thing I needed was an infection.
I checked my phone as I ate breakfast and noticed that I had received a text message from my mother. She had taken the day off from work to keep me company in the morning before her doctor’s appointment during the afternoon and was on her way to see me. She arrived about half an hour later, carrying with her a bag with an extra change of pyjamas for me.


A nurse took my blood pressure again after I had taken a shower and changed clothes. It returned a positive result and so my mother asked her if it was alright for me to take a short walk outside to get some sunlight. I hadn’t had any sun exposure since my parents and I left Dr. G’s clinic two days prior and given my current condition, a dose of direct sunlight should do wonders for my recovery.
“That’s fine,” replied the nurse.
And so my mother and I walked out of my room, down the hall and took the elevator to the ground floor. We went into the parking lot where I walked around and filled my lungs with fresh air. Man, walking outside never felt SO good! I felt wild and free, but there was a catch. I still had to be careful even while walking as my haemoglobin levels were still dangerously low and any sudden spike in my heart rate could potentially send me face-down into a blackout.

Easy, Tiger. Don’t make a fool of yourself.

It took all of what limited strength I had to suppress the urge to break into a run or shadow boxing routine. But in the end, hard-won discipline overcame them, the chance to move around outside, even if it was just gentle walking, was a God-send.
My mother and I slowly made our way back to my hospital room after twenty minutes outside and my powers of resistance were further challenged when we walked through a path near the hospital’s main exit, where various cafes had already opened up for breakfast. The different aromas that wafted from them damn near made me drool and I would have easily murdered a plate of bacon, eggs and toast if I had it my way. I never wanted to see another cup of soup again!


Hospitals are dead as fuck during weekday mornings and the atmosphere was all but similar to that of a morgue. People work and study during the day and so visits are far and few in between and patients are left to their own devices. I was fortunate to have my mother to keep me company.
“Do you feel better?” she enquired.
“Yeah, much better. Thanks, Mom.”
“Rest for now.”
As I lay down resting I felt it again, that horrible fucking feeling.

Shit, here I go again.

I hopped out of bed and once again prepared for that lonely march towards the toilet. Each trip to the toilet, at this point, felt like a condemned prisoner’s walk to the gallows. I felt like John Coffey walking that last mile to meet his end through Old Sparky.
“Be right back,” I told Mom.
I walked to the toilet and locked the door. The result was depressing.

Nothing but blood.

I guess the last of the solid food I’d eaten over the past couple of days had long been expelled and now I had just lost some more of the blood that they had pumped into me. What a waste, no pun intended. Upon exiting, I was approached by a passing nurse that looked at me as though she had known me her entire life. She must be one of the nurses that were privy to my symptoms.
“Are you the one with the bloody stools?” she asked, a thick Filipino accent wrapped around her words.
“Did you defecate again just then?”
Wow, she wasn’t holding back at all.
“Ok,” she replied, “next time you go, I want you to call me over before you clean up so I can see how much blood there is in your stools.”
Was she serious!? The idea of dropping off a stool sample to a pathology clinic was embarrassing for me, now I have to literally show someone my shit, especially when it looked as though someone had spilled cranberry juice in the damn bowl!?

Geez, Lady. I don’t think you’re gonna want to see that.

“Ok,” I replied reluctantly.
“There is a special button close to the toilet seat that will summon a nurse,” she instructed, “I want you to press it after you’re done.”
I returned to my room and climbed back into bed in an attempt to nap while Mom read the daily news on her phone. My roommates were all in their own little worlds, passing the time the only way they knew how. Mr. Funny pants had fallen back asleep, the King Of Samoa was watching some mid-day show on his bedside screen, his countenance still stuck on its default ‘stone-face’ setting and the guy with the leg was playing around on his phone, probably chatting to his wife. We must have looked like a bunch of college roommates chilling in our dorm room.
After a while, my mother stood up and stretched. It was almost 10am.
“I have to go to my doctor’s appointment now,” she said, “your father and I will be back later tonight.”
“Ok, Mom.”
“Hopefully you can go home tonight.”
“Yeah, I hope so too,” I chuckled.
She kissed me good bye before heading out of the room.


Following another blood pressure test the nurse also informed me that my blood test from the previous day returned a haemoglobin count in the early-seventies.


Looks like I wasn’t spilling that much blood during the last couple of times that I went to take a shit. The nurse also reminded me that another doctor would come to speak to me later in the afternoon, the one that the group of young docs that interviewed me the previous day had mentioned.
“Ok, cool,” I replied, “I look forward to it.”
“Just rest for now, ok sir?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
I laid back on my bed, relief washing over me like gentle waves on the seashore. That higher haemoglobin count wasn’t exactly a massive gain from sixty-nine but when you’re in the kind of situation that I was in, even the smallest victories are worthy of a party that eclipsed anything that Hollywood could conjure.
And then I was suddenly brought crashing back down to harsh reality, like a military aircraft shot down by enemy fire while flying over hostile territory.


And so once again, I trekked down the hall and into the toilet for another round of business. I was just about to flush when I suddenly remembered the nurse’s earlier request.

Wow, that was close!

And so I pressed the button near that toilet seat, quickly cleaned up and took a peek out the door. I saw her approaching down the hall.
“Ah, emptied the bowels again, I see?”
Lady, you are very perceptive.
“Let’s take a look, shall we?”
I reluctantly opened the toilet bowl and allowed her to take a peek. Man, talk about awkward! She briefly examined the aftermath of the carnage while I stood by, arms crossed and ashamed. My face would have been beet-red with embarrassment if I had a higher blood count, I hope she wasn’t looking forward to a tall glass of cranberry juice or red wine that day.
“Is this what it looks like all the time?” she asked.
“For the last few weeks, yes.”
“Because that’s a lot of blood.”
Not exactly what I wanted to hear. That was her gentle way of stating that my bowels were fucked up. I tried to downplay the severity of the situation.
“Well, I don’t hear blood spilling out of me like a waterfall,” I reasoned, “it comes out more of like drops that I think spreads itself out over the water or something.”
Boy, that was lame! And she didn’t buy it.
“Ok,” she responded, “but that still looks like a lot of blood. You probably have some form of IBD in there.”
IBD as in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Someone take me out to pasture and shoot me.
“I’m scheduled for a consultation with a gastroenterologist this coming Thursday,” I revealed, “a colonoscopy will probably happen shortly afterwards.”
“Ok, that’s good to know,” she replied and then added, “thanks for showing me.”


I had another nap before lunchtime and shortly after waking a nurse handed me a large tray, along with a slice of bread, dessert, a cup of orange juice and water.
Well, this is different.
“Enjoy your meal, sir!”
“Thank you.”
I was greeted by a pleasant surprise when I lifted the cover from the tray. In fact, I think I almost wept tears of joy. In the tray were two large pieces of beef with gravy, some mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. I could have stood up and danced around the room like Tom Cruise in Risky Business if no one was around. Finally, I was given the all-clear to eat real food!


I didn’t hold back. After being deprived of food I damn near went primal on my meal, devoured my meal with the ferocity of a hungry lion. Meanwhile, my roommates were carrying on a conversation about something that they had heard the previous night which I, fortunately, had slept through.
“Did you fellas hear that lady screaming last night?” asked Mr. Funny pants.
“Yeah,” answered the King Of Samoa, in a rare break from his brooding, “very loud.”
Apparently, a patient from a room down the hall suffering from dementia had been screaming on and off during the night, causing a commotion on our floor and disturbing my companions’ sleep patterns. These poor guys must have felt as though they were trapped in a horror film, being woken up repeatedly like that in the dark by incessant screaming and I can only imagine how the nurses felt trying to appease that poor patient.
I sat down on my bed following that meal and rested. It wasn’t exactly special taste-wise but it sure did feel good to finally eat solids again after being deprived during the last couple of days. A few hours later, however, I would learn that victory and reward comes at a very hefty price.

Oh no!

It appears that all that food shocked my bowel into wanting to make another blood donation. I think by now you know what’s coming. And so once again, I hopped off the bed, made my way down the hallway and……fill in the blanks.


A nurse dropped by later that afternoon to ask me what I wanted for dinner and I was immediately taken aback.
Dinner? So does this mean I’m not going home yet?
I guess not. They wouldn’t ask a home-bound patient what they wanted for dinner unless they had every intention of delivering it to my house later.


I made my request before slumping back down my bed, totally dejected. I began to wonder if I was going to have to spend a whole week in this damn place with its lifeless, white walls, stuffy air that smelled of medication and God knows what else, noisy machines and the sounds (and sights) of people in various stages of illness and agony. In the mindset that I was in they might as well had thrown me into solitary confinement in a dark, rat-infested cell fit for the scum buckets of society.
But then I remembered that I was expecting a visit from another doctor today, maybe they would have some good news for me. But I wasn’t getting my hopes up.


The doctor arrived later that afternoon, at around three if I remember correctly. She was probably about my age if not slightly older and looked to be of mixed Caucasian and Asian heritage. I’m not going to lie, Dear Reader, she was pretty cute! I hopped off the bed and shook her hand, my grip still rather weak due to my illness.
“Good afternoon, sir,” she greeted.
“Good afternoon, Doctor.”
“How are you today?”
“I’m ok,” I lied, “how are you?”
“Just fine, thank you!”
She took a vacant chair that divided the space between my bed and Mr. Funny Pants’ bed and sat opposite me. I sat on a bedside chair, with the table that I used for meals behind me. Man, why did she have to meet a severely depleted, almost skeletal version of me!? Why couldn’t I have crossed paths with her at my athletic peak? Ah well, I digress, back to the story!
“I was informed of your symptoms and would like to discuss them with you.”
“Ok, sure,” I replied.
She proceeded to repeat the symptoms that I had disclosed to the group of doctors the previous day while I nodded and listened.
“At this point we still can’t give a proper diagnosis….”

Looks like I’ll still have to go through that colonoscopy after all. Darn it!

Call it wishful thinking but I was silently hoping that somehow those doctors would have come up with a plausible diagnosis, sparing me the pain of having to undergo a colonoscopy. But that sounded too good to be true.
The doctor continued; “but I was also told that your haemoglobin levels have gone up.”
“Yes, it has.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“Um…..I’m not sure if you were told,” I added, “but I’m booked for an appointment with the gastroenterologist this coming Thursday and will go for a colonoscopy not long afterwards.”
“Yes, I was told,” she replied, “that’s good to hear.”
“Um, not really, no,” I joked.
She laughed before adding “you will be alright, it’s not as bad as you think.”
Coming from her that was a relief. She then added the words that I had been waiting for what seemed like a lifetime to hear.
“Based on your results I feel that it is safe for you to go home tonight.”
I had to hold myself back from screaming ‘COME ON!!!!’ the way Lleyton Hewitt does whenever he wins a crucial point. That little moment right there was legitimately one of the happiest moments of my life.
“Ok, that sounds good, thank you!” I replied, my grin now up to ear-to-ear levels. Good God, I hope she didn’t think I looked like a creep!
Perhaps sensing my adrenaline rising, she brought me back down to earth. “But please remember that you are still anaemic and so you still must take it easy over the next few days,” she cautioned.
“Yes, of course.”
And then she closed the meeting. We both stood up and shook hands again.
“Thank you for your time and all the best with your health,” she said.
“Thank you, ma’am. Have a great day.”

My parole was officially granted at around 6pm that night, when a nurse came around to check my blood pressure for the umpteenth time. After another good reading, she said the magic words:
“Looks like you can go home now, Sir.”
“Thank you!”
And to make it official, she removed that catheter from my right arm. It left a rather ugly scar but my arm finally felt free.
“You may start packing your things now,” she said.
“Yes, thank you!”
Quick as a flash, I picked up my phone and texted my parents. My father immediately responded that he and my mother would be arriving within twenty to thirty minutes.
I quickly packed up my belongings and then sat on my bed awaiting my parents’ arrival. They turned up about twenty to thirty minutes after responding to my text and once we had gathered my things, we bade farewell to my roommates. I couldn’t shake hands with any of them as they were with their families and, well, in a hospital environment you had to be wary of infection.
“Take care, guys. It’s been fun.”
“Take care of yourself, young man,” replied the guy with the leg, assuming the role of spokesperson on behalf of the other two, “stay safe out there.”
The King Of Samoa and Funny Pants both smiled in agreement.
A few nurses were also present in the room and I made sure to thank them for their assistance over the past few days.
“Thank you for everything.”
I can’t say that my two and a half days in hospital were among the best in my life but it was, at least, made bearable by these kind people. I could have easily gone mad in there but in addition to my family’s support they kept me sane in an otherwise rather uncomfortable environment. Plus that blood transfusion did heal me somewhat, though I knew that the road to victory was still a long one that I had barely just started.

“Bye, everyone!”

And that was it. My parents and I walked down the hall before taking the elevator down to the ground floor, where the hospital exits were located. I took one last look at the window to my room, the one that overlooked the exit, before leaving and nodded towards it, a mark of humility over having overcome this little hurdle.


I promptly fell asleep when I lay on my bed that night, following a hearty meal two hours prior. To have a nice, home cooked meal and then to be in my own room and bed again…….it was fucking glorious and I savored every moment of it.
Before drifting off to sleep I thought about my upcoming colonoscopy. By now I had accepted that it needed to be done but don’t get me wrong. I was still not looking forward to it. But first, in three days’ time, I would be meeting the man that would be instrumental to my recovery, the legendary Dr. B.

Running Up That Hill – Liquid Diet

If I only could make a deal with God,
To turn back time, to wind back the clock,
It’ll never happen, it aint how life works,
You only get one shot, for better or worse,
Swallow your pride, quit feeling sorry,
Reality’s hard enough, why fill your head with worry?
Fight back hard, Kid, you aint dead yet,
Slow and steady is the key, take it step by step.


29 July 2018

I woke up at around 7:30am, feeling as though I had been run over by a mack truck. The last twenty-four hours sure did a number on me; my eyes felt unusually heavy and there was a painful, throbbing sensation in my head, as though Travis Barker was using my noggin as a snare drum. I glanced over at my father, seated on a chair beside my bed, still fast asleep.

 If he’s still asleep then I’m going back to sleep.

Not a chance of that happening, as if out of nowhere a nurse suddenly sprang forth next to my bed like a jungle cat and demanded to check my blood pressure.

Man, was this chick waiting round the corner for me to wake up?

Too weak to put up resistance, I surrendered my right arm. Thankfully, my blood pressure was still ok.
“All good, sir,” she said enthusiastically. I wished I could bottle up some of her pep and good cheer for myself. If she was running on minimal sleep it did not show. I just felt like shit and try as I might, I couldn’t snap my body to life.
Seeing no point in trying to fall back asleep I slowly sat up my bed, persisted through the dizzy feeling in my head and noticed that my breakfast was sitting on a small table beside the bed’s headrest.

You’ve gotta be kidding me.

They weren’t bluffing when they said that I would be put on a liquid diet for the duration of my stay. ‘Breakfast’ was a small cup of yoghurt, a small cup orange juice and a small cup of milk.

Sorry, buddy. But no banana, egg, toast and oatmeal for you.

I quickly lapped up my first meal since the previous afternoon. It was better than nothing, I suppose, and the yoghurt didn’t taste too bad. But man, talk about depressing, I was eating like a baby!
My father woke up shortly after I had finished eating and seemed just as groggy, which was understandable since he had to sleep while sitting.
“Morning, Pop.”
“Did you eat yet?”
“Yeah. If you could call it that.”
Dad practically laughed out loud when I told him what was on the menu. The way I was feeling at the time I would have given up all four of my limbs for a steak.

I then gazed out the window, which overlooked the building’s reception and exit plus a walkway lined with cafes and florists. The sun still wasn’t in full bloom and the few staff members that walked outside were bundled up from head to toe and steam emitted from their mouths as they exhaled, signs of the freezing winter chill outside. I also surveyed the hospital room I was in and I noticed that my roommates all still had their curtains drawn. They were each slumped on three other beds, positioned in the other three corners of the room. The walls of the room were painted white, typical of hospital rooms, and various machines in the room made noises all day and night. The overhead television screens mounted on the ceiling did not seem to operate, although we also had access to screens on our bedsides if we wanted to watch TV. Nurses frequently came and went to drop off and pick up trays of food as well as to check on patients’ various health reports.
A nurse dropped by to pick up my empty food tray and also asked me some questions regarding my symptoms. Again, I rattled off the blood, the feet and all that but also let her know that I had a blood transfusion the previous night.

“Ok, thanks for letting me know,” she said.

I would later learn that this will not be the last time I would have to repeat my symptoms to anyone and that I would be subject to another blood test during my stay in this damn place.
I turned my attention to my father, who looked rather worse for wear.
“Are you ok, Pop?” I asked.
My father yawned and stretched his arms and back. “I’m good, Son,” he slurred, still exhausted.
I’m fairly certain that he was feeling the various aches and pains that came with being in a seated position all night but he hid it for my benefit. What a tough guy! He then pulled out his phone.
“I’ll text your mother.”
I came to realize that while I was doing it tough my parents were, too. My father had sacrificed the comfort of his own bed to sit by my side all night and he and my mother each took turns looking after my sick-ass self. Imagine that, they had put their weekend on hold just for me. Looking at it in that light made it easier to feel grateful rather than stay stuck under the dark clouds of misery.

My mother replied to my father’s text, stating that she had packed breakfast for me and was about to leave the house. My heart sunk when my father informed me.
“She made me breakfast!?”
“Yes, son.”
“But Dad….I can’t eat solids right now!”
Too late to tell Mom now, she’s probably already driving. I guess Dad will just have to eat the food that Mom had lovingly prepared – but after what he did overnight he had more than earned it.
Meanwhile, the nurses gradually drew open the curtains that blocked off my roommates’ beds and I caught a glimpse of them all. All three were significantly older than me and were probably slightly perplexed at the sight of a young man lying in a hospital bed while his elderly father sat beside him.

Shouldn’t this young whipper-snapper be out painting the town red with his buddies!?

The world has a funny way of throwing a spanner in the works, my friends. Anyway, allow me to introduce you all to my roommates. On the bed a few feet away from mine was an older gentleman, probably in his sixties, with a rather rotund physique and had slight difficulty moving. Not sure what his ailment was but his quick wit remained intact in spite of it and he wore a rather funny pair of pyjama trousers that his wife probably had to twist his arm into wearing. Looked like something that his children gave him for Christmas as a gag gift.
Across the foot of his bed was another older bloke in his forties. He was of Maori descent, earning the nickname ‘King Of Samoa’ from his other two roommates. He was rather soft-spoken and introverted, remaining taciturn during his downtime and becoming animated only in the presence of his wife and children.
And across the foot of my bed was another older man in his late fifties to early sixties who had an infected wound on his leg. He was not quite as boisterous as my neighbor but nevertheless was a friendly and genial sort and was frequently visited by his wife and adult daughter.

These blokes seemed to be studying me, trying to figure out what I was ‘doing time’ for. Their guesses were as good as mine. The man with the funny pyjama pants finally broke the ice.
“What’re ya in here for, young man?” he asked?
“Anaemia,” I replied.
“Side effect from some mysterious illness.”
My father and I smiled back at him before we all went back to our own respective businesses. My mother then texted my father to let him know that she had found parking and was making her way up towards my room.
“Get some sleep when you get home,” I reminded him.
“Of course.”
My mother entered the room a short while later and my eyes immediately locked onto that big bag of food that she had brought.
“How are you?” she asked.
“I’m good.”
I motioned to the bag she was holding.
“Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to eat solids yet.”
“Yeah. It sucks.”
My mother shook her head in disappointment. She had packed a couple of English muffins with poached eggs and bacon plus a couple of bananas and apples. Man, if I had it my way I would have leaped out of that bed, onto the bag and absolutely gobbled up all the grub and probably the bag itself, too. I was ravenously hungry! In the end we let Dad go home with the bag so he can enjoy his well-deserved meal(s).

Mom had bought the Sunday morning papers for us to read to stave off boredom and we both read in silence, the beeping of various machines in the room breaking the silence. My roommates also kept to themselves, doing their own thing. Shortly after reading the sports pages my mother suggested that I take a shower to freshen up.
“I brought you some toiletries and a spare pair of pyjamas,” she noted, “they’re in the overnight bag by your bed.”
A small bag sat on a chair next to a bedside set of drawers.
“Ok, Mom. Thank you.”
I took the toiletries and change of clothes from the bag and headed towards a vacant bathroom. It was a rather spacious room with white-tiled floors and a solitary window that allowed the sunlight in. Having been deprived of direct sunlight since the previous noon, I savored the sun’s warmth.

Vitamin D, come and get me!

I slowly disrobed and almost jumped back a I took a peek at my reflection in the mirror.
Oh my God……what the hell happened to me!?
The man in the mirror was gaunt and almost skeletal, wrapped up in skin that was pale almost to the point of translucence. The lips were almost colorless, the eyes lifeless. And that catheter was still stuck in my arm and hurt like hell. I looked like a cadaver, a far cry from the athletic person I knew. Looks like the blood transfusion from the previous day had yet to kick in and whatever mysterious beast inside was making their point loud and clear – they were NOT messing around.

After my shower I walked back to my room where my mother had just finished reading the newspaper and was texting my father and my sister. One of my three roommates, the guy with the infected leg noticed my fresh clothes and wet hair.
“How are ya feeling now, young man?”
I guess I looked much better than I did before the shower, although I still felt like shit.
“All good, Sir.”
“You look good, mate,” added the bloke with the funny trousers.
I didn’t share his view but smiled at the compliment.
“As do you, Sir.”
And with that, I climbed back into bed and rested. I was still running on low energy and so I tried to conserve as much strength as I could. Can’t say it was easy, however. During the best of times I find it extremely difficult to sit still and it was no different even in my depleted state. Not to brag but at my physical peak I am the type that can smash out a tough workout session after a long day at work.
“Rest up, son,” said Mom, “go back to sleep if you can.”
“Sounds good.”
I laid down and closed my eyes to rest, but was suddenly jolted upward by an all-too-familiar feeling. That sickly rumbling from the pit of my stomach that made its way down to my ass.

Oh no…..here it comes!

 Much to my mother’s surprise I jumped out of bed and flew out the door, down the hallway and made a beeline for the toilet, slipping and spinning past nurses and ‘civilians’ on the way. I locked the door and did my business. No more pain, no more waves but there was still plenty of blood.

So much for that transfusion.

I cleaned myself up and walked back to my room, suddenly reminded of the fact that I still had yet to find out what type motherfucker from hell was responsible for all this bullshit torment. I slumped back onto my bed, totally drained. Mom knew right away what had happened.
“Is there still blood?”
She let out a deep, sad sigh and sat back onto her seat.
“You rest now, son. Try to sleep again.”
It was sound advice but there was no way in hell I could fall asleep after that. I lay down and stared at the ceiling, my anxiety kicking into overdrive.

And eventually so did my bowels – AGAIN!

For fuck’s sake, I just emptied y’all half an hour ago!

Looks like I had very little to say about the matter. My bowels were demanding to be emptied again. I hopped out of bed once more and prepared to make my way down the hallway.
“Where are you going?” asked my mother.
I was too upset to answer. I returned to the same toilet and once again sat down for further bloody business.

 God dammit. I think that’s half the pint gone already.

 Again, I cleaned myself up and shuffled out of the toilet, dragging my feet all the way. That fucking toilet might as well had said, “thank you, come again!” I trudged back to my room and climbed back into bed while my mother proceeded to grill me.
“Where did you go?”
“Are you ok?”
I let out a short grunt that let her know that I was in no mood to talk. She got the message and let me be. Once more I was adrift in that fucking ocean of emotions with no God damn lifeboat and was treading water to keep myself from drowning. I just wanted to fall back asleep and be rid of this sickening feeling.

A nurse then approached my bed to take my blood pressure. It once again returned a normal reading.
“How are you feeling today, Sir?”
“All good,” I lied.
“I understand that you are the one that had bloody stools?”
“Ok, sir,” she went on, “a group of doctors will come by later on to interview you about your symptoms and to maybe find out the possible cause of your anaemia.”
“Sounds good. Around what time?”
“Maybe just after mid-day. Answer them as honestly as you can.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
And with that the nurse left.

At around 11am my mother informed me that she was going to leave for a little while to attend to some chores around the house that she had mapped out for the weekend before they were obliterated by Dr. G’s phone call. She also wanted to give me some alone time to relax and reflect so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed.
“Rest up, ok?” she said, “Your father, sister and I will visit later.”
“Ok, Mom. Thanks for your time.”
She kissed me good bye before leaving. I lied down on my bed and finally fell into a short but deep nap, a temporary reprieve from my fucked-up situation.


I woke up half an hour later, shortly before lunchtime. One of the nurses came around with a lunch tray for Mr. Liquid diet over here; Orange juice, vegetable soup, mango mousse and chocolate milk.

Lunch of champs!

My three roommates chatted away as they ate and I listened passively to their conversation from my corner. Those lucky bastards got to eat steak, mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. They mostly talked about work and family life, but one of them made a remark that, I’ll admit, almost made me feel murderous.
“Would have preferred something off a grill to be honest,” he said in between bites.
Yeah, that pissed me the fuck off.

At least you’re allowed to eat real food you ungrateful gronk. Quit being a bitch and eat your fucking steak!

It’s not a nice thing to say or think and I harbored no ill feelings towards that bloke but Mr. Nice Guy had closed up shop for the time being. Being hangry as fuck does that to a person.


About an hour after I ate a nurse approached me and requested a blood test. She drew some blood from my right arm through the catheter, about two or three vials’ worth. One of my roommates, the one whose bed was across the foot of mine, laughed out loud.
“Darl, you can’t take blood from him after you’ve just put some in him!” he cackled.
“Oh yes we can,” she fired back.
I looked at him and smiled. “They’re trying to kill me, man!” I joked.
Both he and the nurse erupted with laughter. Oh well, at least that little exchange brightened my mood somewhat.

A group of doctors arrived at my bedside at around 1:30 in the afternoon, shortly after I had another liquid meal. They were a rather young-looking group, with the oldest among them probably in their early to mid-thirties and looked like extras from a medical show. They took turns asking me questions about my symptoms and I was only too happy to regale them with my little horror stories. I felt like a professional athlete in a media conference before a group of journalists, minus the microphones and video cameras!
After five minutes of question time, one of them thanked me for my time on behalf of the group and also let me know that they were going to consult a more senior doctor who would then come to see me either later in the afternoon or during the next day.

Um, the NEXT day!?

That’s right, I was going to stay in this God damn place for another night!


Anyway, this doctor would also be informed of the result of the blood test I took earlier during the day, and that was fine by me. I hoped that they would be able to provide a clearer picture of what was happening inside.


Not long afterwards, my mother and father arrived. They took a seat next to me and asked me how I was.
“All good,” I replied, “liquid lunch wasn’t too bad and a group of doctors asked me about my symptoms. Apparently a more senior doctor is supposed to come see me later if not tomorrow…..”
I took a deep, disappointed sigh before adding in the punchline.
“Because, apparently, I’ll be staying here overnight again.”
My parents’ faces slumped. But not for long.
“At least you’re doing good, man,” said Dad, “you’ll be better in no time.”
I had the best parents in the world. I decided to change the subject.
“So what have you both been up to today?”
“You know, the usual,” responded Dad, “just cleaning around the house….”
My mother rolled her eyes. “He spent the whole day in the backyard while I cleaned up around the house,” she said.
And with that my Dad gave her one of those ‘how-dare-you-accuse-me-of-a-crime-I-didn’t-commit’ looks. Sounded about right, I had to laugh!

About an hour later, my sister texted my father that she had reached the train station. Dad left to pick her up and they both arrived at my bedside fifteen minutes later. My sister had endured a long, frustrating trip to get here, a thirty-minute train trip that ended up being an hour too long due to severe disruptions that day to the train network that became the headliner during the evening news.
“Hey, how are you doing?” she asked.
“All good,” I replied, “a lot better than yesterday.”
We talked for a while, during which she revealed that when I confessed to her the previous night about my health condition she was relaxing in her apartment, binge-watching Law & Order and enjoying a glass of wine. That text message damn near made her hit the ceiling.
“Sorry for ruining your night,” I joked. And we both laughed.
My sister and I are close. We were each other’s best friend as children and while we no longer live under the same roof and have our own lives we still get along and can always pick right up where we left off from after prolonged periods of not seeing one other.
Anyway, we sat down as a family and caught up about the week that was. I savored this moment, for a while the hospital ceased to exist and I was transported back home, sitting on a comfy chair in the living room sharing various stories and jokes with my nearest and dearest. I felt free and all was well in the world.
Our little reunion was then interrupted by a staff member who came around to ask me what I wanted to have for dinner. I went with pumpkin soup, chocolate mousse, orange juice and chocolate milk. Man, this liquid diet will be the death of me! I damn near salivated when I heard the meal options for my roommates, all of whom were entertaining their own visitors.
“Now you guys know what I’m eating in here,” I laughed.

My sister left at around 4:30 that afternoon. We gave each other a hug before my father drove her back to the train station. She texted me a short message of encouragement not long after, probably while still waiting for those blasted trains to arrive. That totally made my afternoon.
Shortly after my father returned from the train station my parents and I chilled for a while longer until they decided to go home and let me rest. It was 5pm and dinner was right around the corner.
“You’re doing good, mate,” whispered my Dad, “keep fighting.”
“You’ve got this, Son,” added my Mom.
“Thanks, guys,” I replied.
My parents then left my room and headed for the elevator down the hall that would take them to the ground floor. I got up off my bed once they had left the room and looked out my window. I waved to them as they made their way to the exit and they enthusiastically waved back until they were out of sight. My dinner arrived shortly afterwards.

As I ate (or rather, lapped up) another liquid meal I blocked out the sound of various machines in the room and my roommates’ bantering and meditated on the time I spent with my family and the effort they made to make sure I had someone to keep me from descending into the dark side. I’m not sure how many dollars’ worth of hospital parking costs my parents had accumulated by now and my sister had braved the fucked-up train system just to spend some time with her big brother. My parents used to always remind my sister and I when we were children that they would always have our backs no matter what and my sister and I both made a pact as children that we’d be friends for life. This hospital stay seemed to reiterate that and I couldn’t help but feel humbled.
I picked up my phone and quickly texted them all a message of appreciation. They deserved to know that their efforts were very much appreciated and had restored my fighting spirit. They all responded, in quick succession, with further words of encouragement before wishing me good night.

I’m the luckiest man on the fucking planet!

With that support system by my side how the fuck could I lose!?