First I put my hospital card into a machine and it spat out a slip of paper that I think said what I had an appointment for. Then I went to the window at the internal medicine counter. They took my slip and my card, and I waited while they prepared some sort of file for me. When the lady called me up, she asked me with a very concerned look on her face, "Is Japanese ok?" I assured her that I could understand her. She handed me back my card, along with a file folder containing what I assume was information about the visit and a mysterious item shrouded in what looked like a folded-up and taped brown paper bag. Then she told me to go to window 23 down the hall.

I walked down a gray, dimly-lit hallway to window 23, where a lady swiped my hospital card, checked a box on my form, and told me to proceed to window 26. I went to window 26, dutifully handed them all the material I had been given by the preceding nurses, and took a seat next to two elderly women on some burnt sienna-colored benches the nurse indicated. So there I waited for my stomach to be photographed. Will there be sedatives used? Will I puke all over the place when they hit the gag reflex? Will the English-speaking doctor be there? Here are the answers I predict I'll get: No, Yes, No, respectively.

There was a local anesthetic, but I still gagged, vomited, and cried a lot. The nurse kept saying the Japanese equivalent of "Suck it up, rise above it, fight through it." She also said that I should try not to vomit because it's dangerous during the procedure. Too bad vomiting is INVOLUNTARY. If I could have kept myself from vomiting, I would have. During the procedure the doctor tried to show me the inside of my stomach on the monitor, but I just wanted to get it over with. I refused to look up, and instead stared glassy-eyed at a point on the curtain behind the doctor. I felt like a snake had burrowed into my body through my mouth and was trying to take a bath in my gastric juices.

"No ulcer. Gastritis. You have gastritis. Don't worry."
After the most invasive medical procedure I've ever been through conscious, I was handed the brown paper bag and the file folder and told to go back to the internal medicine counter. I think I was suffering some sort of mild shock after the trauma of having a giant tube stuck down my throat while awake. I found I couldn't sit and read while I waited because my eyes refused to focus on the page. I think I was suffering some sort of mild shock after the trauma of having a giant tube stuck down my throat while awake. I originally wrote this partly by sight and party by faith that it would be legible later.

I was finally called in to talk to the English-speaking doctor about the test results. He confirmed that I didn't have an ulcer, but an inflamed esophagus. He said it's probably caused by stress. He prescribed a medicine for me to take daily, and scheduled a check-up for next month. But if he tells me I have to do another gastroendoscopy, I will punch him in the face.
written by Ruthie @ 1:14 AM  
2 thoughts:
  • At 10/09/2007 3:04 PM, Anonymous Bets said…

    awww! ruthie! that sounds awful! but you're a very good writer! and i loved your ending...punch him in the face...wow, made me laugh out loud. love you! and i'm so glad this traumatic ordeal is OVER for you!

  • At 10/12/2007 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ugh; I got sick my sophomore year at NWC, and they wanted to do that to me, and I wouldn't let them. Hell; I had to have Kelly Fischer and three nurses hold me down just so they could take my blood. Blech; I'm sorry that it sucked for you=( I wish I could be there to rescue you, somehow. I'll work on it. Love you, Ruf!

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Name: Ruthie
Home: Japan
About Me: I want to know who God is and what his truth is. I love getting lost in beautiful music and cloudless star-filled skies, especially in the fall. I hate being bored. I like big cities. I want to travel the world.
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