Room 9. I had seen it before, but never as a patient. In fact, I had never been beyond the security doors as a patient at this hospital. There was the time I hurt my knee, joined the queue and ended up at an after-hours clinic. The bed was somewhat more comfortable and afforded me opportunity to sleep between bouts of vomiting.
Samples were asked for. Solid and liquid. The loud-voiced other patient was right, this toilet space wrecked of urine. I had to take my socks off. There was a pool of water in the toilet. I would tiptoe gingerly around it to procure a sufficient sample. It would be a while before my bowels willingly offered anything so it would be just the one sample – other than that drawn out by intravenous.
Time passed slowly and I was surprised to learn how short a time I had actually been at the hospital. This time the inordinately long wait times didn’t quite apply to me. Though I was yet to see a doctor, I was being attended to and had even been given a cocktail of variously administered medications to help ease symptoms. Abdominal pain, now most certainly localising in the right side, was being addressed by analgesics of varying strengths, to my relief.
Between having my plastic patient ID tag printed and seeing the first actual doctor, there was a small band of nurses attend me. None of them had ventured to suggest what I feared. So I asked. “What do you think is actually wrong with me?” The suggestion of a severe stomach bug seemed to be the go to, but as nurses, they were confident (or perhaps obligated) to say they simply didn’t know.
My fear was that it was as my friend and I had co-diagnosed – that I was under the sway of appendicitis. I knew what this would mean. I knew this would result in me having to endure something I had never before experienced: surgery.
There were things about this situation that seemed beyond my control. I had learned how to pray through these situations. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…