Wednesday, 30 November 2016
A Strange Experience
A few days ago, I had to go visit my doctor to get something checked out. It was nothing of great concern, but I wanted a medical opinion, so he had a quick look, fixed an appointment to have some more checks, and gave me a prescription. Like I said, it was nothing of great concern, but since the medical advice is always to 'have something looked at', it's what I did... just like we all do. It was all sorted in the space of an hour, and the medication afterwards cost me £8.50. Have you ever stopped to ponder the amazing simplicity of this?
10 years ago, I had a severe concern about some occasional bleeding out of my backside, and after some checks, was referred to a local hospital for a colonoscopy. Yes, they were going to take a look inside. Before the day, I was given some medication to spring-clean my innards so they they could be all shiny, sparkling and fit for inspection, and was told, if hungry within 24 hours of the Big Moment, to only eat cream cheese sandwiches on white bread. Yum.
So on the day, I appeared at the venue to be removed from my clothes and given my patient's awkward smock to wear, the sort that doesn't hide very much. After an injection to loosen things up a bit down below, I was then taken into another room where I was laid down sideways and inflated with vast supplies of oxygen, rather like a fairground balloon... so that other interesting things could be duly inserted. Then came the Big Moment. The Doctor and her team showed me the camera, which was like a long thin snake that could be adjusted to curl this way, and that.... and gosh, it even had a little light on the end, like some gizmo out of the Terminator. Guess where this was all going- and we would be able to see the whole thing live, on big-screen TV.
And so, as I lay on my side in a foetal position, we began, and the camera was sent on its mission into the Heart of Darkness represented by my colon. But here came the first surprise. Everything looked so wonderfully pink and healthy. The camera went in quite some distance, looking this way and that (No I didn't have a tape measure with me), and after a few minutes, the doctor said, 'That's a healthy colon.' I felt strangely proud. She then used the camera to point out the second surprise, a slight weakness in a part of the side-wall, indicating 'diverticulosis'... which is basically what happens when you strain too much on the loo, and some of the squeezing muscles detach themselves from the side-wall itself. (Lots of us have it, and the answer is to stick with a high-fibre diet as much as possible.)
So the investigation was over, the camera was gradually withdrawn. and then it happened. I was still studying the uniquely live action on the TV screen when I saw an image that will haunt me for the rest of my life. Have you ever glanced in the rear-view mirror when coming out of the other end of the Tyne Tunnel? Well, that's what I saw- only the Tyne Tunnel was my Rear End writ-large, and it was truly awesome.
Later, came the fourth surprise. For the rest of the day, my inflated intestines remained pumped up with oxygen, so the gas had to be expelled in the normal way- and just for once, it was amazingly sweet-smelling. Ah, bliss.
Afterwards, I was given a clean bill of health, the bleeding was put down to 'piles', I was given some cream to sort it all out, and that was that. This whole business cost me about £20.00 in prescriptions, and I now knew I most definitely didn't have cancer. What would this procedure have cost me if I had the misfortune to be living in the USA? $3,081.00, on average. God Bless America.
So if you have a British passport, then please count your blessings for what it gives you, folks- and whatever you do, be thankful for the thousands of migrants from around the world who (like my doctor), staff our amazing NHS and make it work, every day.