Ibuprofen, paracetamol, tramadol arrow.
My head whirls! There is sharp pain in my left lower back. The pain bites hard like a hungry shark. Dr. Andrew can’t make out what it is. He orders a urine test and a blood test.
He wants an ultra-sound done. But why? There is nothing wrong with my hearing! I can clearly hear the mouse squeaking under the couch in the consulting- room.
I drive from radiology lab to radiology lab, but they are all closed for the New Year. My pain doesn't take a holiday. So what do I do now! I go to the public hospital to implore them to take an ultrasound, and send the result to the doctor.
But at 11am they admit me as an in-patient! They dump me on a hospital bed; take urine and blood samples. Then they jab a needle into my right wrist, and connect me to an I.V. drip!
Hey! Hey! This is unlawful detention!
Then they take me to the short-stay emergency room. Actually it is one-sixth part of a room. I have to go to the toilet. How can I?! The drip chains me to the bed. I ask the ward-boy what I should do.
He simply says, “Take the drip with you to the toilet.”
I do that. I can't hold on much longer. But the process of undoing my pant zip alongside pulling and pushing the contraption into the cubicle results in the tube separating from the needle. The I.V liquid gushes onto the floor.
Oh no! A big puddle. It is spreading. I cannot put the tube back with one hand with the liquid pouring out. I have to stop this. The toilet bowl! I pour the contents of the bag into the toilet!
I go back sheepishly to my bed. The nurse comes to check the contents of the drip bag. She frowns. The bag has shrivelled! I look the other way, trying to read the writing on the wall. She gives me an ugly look, taking the deflated thing away.
The pain grows and grows. It is 4pm. I haven't eaten anything at all the whole day. I ask the nurse at the counter whether I can eat before the ultrasound is taken, and she snaps "No!". I become grumpier and grumpier. The ward doctor comes to say goodbye as his shift is over. I ask him whether I can eat, and he says “yes”.
"But the nurse said no!"
"I am the doctor, and I say yes!"
So yes it is. I eat a packet of chips, and a tasteless chicken pie. Then I wait and wait. At last someone comes to wheel me to the scanning room. I quip that I can walk, but she orders me to lie down. I add that this is the first time in my adult life that I have ever been wheeled. She doesn’t even smile.
I hop onto another bed, and that goes into a half –moon machine.
“Hold your breath!”
Back to the one-sixth room.
They bring in an elderly man to the bed on my right.
The doctor asks him whether he can see a pen.
“Did you fall in the bathroom?”
“Are you diabetic?”
“You are from Durban, aren’t you?”
“Have you ever seen a dik-dik?”
“Do you play cricket?”
“Can you say anything except ‘yep’!”
I hear the muffled sound of retreating footsteps.
Then a thunderous bellow like a buffalo with a bilestone.
I feel more sick. The thought of spending an entire night with this!
When will they let me go home! A couple of smiling nurses assure me that the doctor has been paged, and is coming.
Shall I just disappear! But what if they put the police on me!!
The doctor is apologetic. He declares that I have a small stone in my kidney.
“Can’t you take it out?”
“No. It is too small. Take plenty of fluids, and it will exit by itself”.
“But what about the pain, doctor?”
“Take the painkillers that you have been prescribed.”
“Is that all?”
“That’s all. You can go now”.
I exit with the speed of an express train!