Thursday, 22 September 2016

Hospital: Testimonies and phlebotomies

Knowing me well
I have learnt to take my medical situation in my stride. From a time when wanted no knowledge of what I might have acquired through the indifference about it might be, the denial at what might be happening to me and the concern that I might be tethered to some palliative unsure of how it might well end.
Seven years ago, after a visit to my doctor, a referral and another referral, I left home with a change of underwear with my partner to attend a hospital appointment.
Within the hour of seeing the consultant, I was in a hospital bed and there for another 18 nights and with that came a seriously life-threatening cancer diagnosis and an interest in understanding what was happening to me.
Beyond medicine
Intravenous drips, pills, patches, phlebotomies, biopsies and chemotherapies later, I settled into a quarterly visit to the hospital for check-ups monitoring my health through the tale in the bloods, the clues not a few about where I was and how I was doing.
I regularly looked forward to these visits, no more out of angst or concern, but in anticipation of better indicators and that ever glowing compliment about how well I was turned out.
Besides, the conversation always moved beyond the minutiae of medical matters to life in general, interesting repartee and learning more of each other, our interests, our engagements, and much else.
Parting with routine
Yesterday was no different, I had seen literally all consultants in that department and this time I was back to see the main man, to think he was a registrar some 34 years ago, considering I am just coming to 28 years in my field of expertise. He spent 3 years being a doctor in the Apartheid era, Republic of Transkei, an exposure to a system that demanded much beyond his medical prowess.
Then he refilled my prescription for another six months, allayed my concerns about my once unusually high blood pressure before sending me off to the phlebotomist who might have attached a hose to my carotid artery than seek a vein in my upper arm. Six vials later, I was released from service to the vampire’s convention, it could have been seven, but two of the blood tests could be done off the contents of one vial. How forgiving and considerate.
His parting words with a firm handshake were, “You just keep on being elegant and putting us all to shame.”


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