Posted , 4 users are following.
Here I sit - not really knowing how to speak to friends without alarming them - so I am about to take the liberty to talk to you. Bless you for that generous largess which Tennessee Williams so potently described as 'the kindness of strangers'. Please believe me when I say that your generosity in this regard is mightily appreciated.
I have an endoscopy next Monday. Indeed the hosptial called to confirm my appointment today. (I have to - in a sense - laugh at this as thrice I called them to confirm myself and waited the first time an hour and a half on hold, the second time for an hour with the same annoying message plummeting in my ear and the third time for just under the last's duration after which I hung up in total frustration. When I asked the voice on the end of today's call why that that should have been the case I was told: 'Mondays are busy days'. I didn't go into the fact that I called only once of a Monday. I thought it best to spare my breath to cool my porridge. As it was I had to call a different branch of that same hospital to get an employee in a different department to confirm on my behalf via email. That was most kind of them.) As it is my appointment STILL stands for next Monday at 1.20 pm and the voice confirmed that the appointment had been confirmed.
I so wish it was earlier, like tomorrow. I have already reached a state of panic. At times I am frozen stiff and at other points I find myself pacing up and down in no definitive space. When I had originally asked for this at the GP's surgery the doctor in question had said: 'Oh, no, no. Not you.'. I then paid good money - and a lot of it - to see both an esteemed GI specialist and an ENT surgeon. Both were understanding of my wanting an endoscopy, although the GI specialist made it clear that he didn't think I REALLY needed it. 'I suppose', he began. Although, that said, he would be happy to oblidge me for a mere £1,500. Having already spent £648 for those two appointments I am most grateful to the NHS for allowing me this relative interim luxury - even if it has been on an eight week loop. I am, I promise, grateful (if most certainly petrified). (Why, oh why do I want to cry 'Mummy'! Absurd at my age I realise.)
I read a note on one board of someone who was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer 'with only hiccups, no pain, no food sticking in the throat'. Truth told: That has frightened me OUT of my wits. Silent burps/hiccups were my initial reporting symptom. Oh, that and then one positive element on a peptest (so LPR).
I now walk down the street feeling for all the world like a witless ghost. I am invisable to all but my brain - or more specifically my imagination. How I wish I could disappear in her presence. She - or it - contorts all in (at least my) sight. Oh, I fight with her/it (I promise) but all too frequently I lose that particular tug of war. My mental rapier has been snapped apart. I am well and truly pulled asunder.
You'll laugh I'm sure, but I have been practicing swallowing. I HAVE. I have become paranoid about that too. (I have read here that the endoscope is NOT 'the size of a pen' - as the GI specialist told me - but 'a bloody great hose' as one person on another forum on this generous board put it. Please know that within this very hour I was eating some air popped popcorn only because I wanted to see how many I could shove down in what may be my very compromised situation. I managed three and a half popped kernals. I would have said four but there had to be SOME chewing involved just to wet the round as t'were. I felt it, of course, but it did - even I had to admit - GO down. And although I don't eat bread as a rule - haven't for a long, long time - I found myself going out to the local convenience the other night expressly to buy a baggette. ME of ALL people! I then ate half the silly thing that evening - and the other half dutifully the next morning MERELY to convince myself that IT too wouldn't get stuck. (It was actually much smoother than the popcorn!) 'Why didn't you go for a barium x ray?', I ask myself. Then at least I would know how big a hiatus hernia I might have or how substantial that stricture might actually BE!! Oh,and I would glow in the dark. (Not so easy to hide then, huh.)
Anxiety is, I fear, getting the better part of me at times. (I am writing this really as an exercise for/to myself - to simply 'get it out'.) Yesterday I succeeded in giving myself a phenomenal case of gas by blatantly twisting my intestinal insides together with my best boy-scout knot of stress. I even forged a kind of diarreah for my sins. I did take an Imodium this am and happily have stayed toilet free all day. I wish the fear could be flushed (or at least stuffed) as easily. I lay on the floor and examine my stomach for any deadly lumps or bumps. I just felt around my throat and imagined it was burning. I then took my temperature. It was normal. Last night I went to bed at 9.30 pm - it was the least I could do in an effort to contain myself - and had no problem falling asleep but then woke up at 1.30 am with my heart racing - pacing - pounding like nobody's business - and my insides all achurn. My bed clothes wereI thought slightly dampened and of course I knew full well that I it had little to do with my climate of my bedroom on that the longest night of what I imagine to be my last year. That is in fact when I got up - as my belly painfully instructed - and discovered my oh, so very loose stool. (Sorry if that is in any way indecorous. I do apologise most humbly.) I went back to bed only to dwell for a bit more on my (uncertain) dilemna and only succeeded in forcing myself to breathe deeply - and hold it for a count of forty - finally managing to get some further shut-eye until 5.10 am.
I confess that I feel hermtically sealed by this situation and don't know really where to turn. I have reviewed my will (truly I have - more than once) and imagine myself saying - in a very small and stifingly white hosptial anti-room that I want no treatment; I will settle my affairs, I will say, 'Say my goodbyes and then take a long swim. It has, after all been a good life - all 58 years of it - and I have always liked to swim.) Of course I don't want to if I really isn't necessary .... but in my head somehow it is ... or at least I'm preparing myself for that reality.
You see, my friends, I am lost. Somehow I have discovered Shakespeare's 'second childishness' within myself. It now lives, it breathes 'sans eyes,sans teeth, sans taste .... sans everything'. Even now - typing that quote - my mouth has become entirely arid. I have pushed myself out unto my own private Sahara. I am, I fear, adrift.
I realise you will probably think this all a trifle silly .... I confess it is .... but still it is real to me just now. I HAVE I promise been trying to keep myself busy. I have been taking myself out every evening for these past six weeks trying to keep myself entertained. Last night was the first one I had off. Tomorrow night I will be seeing Jonas Kaufmann sing Manon Lescaut for a second time - and of course Manon will die in the end on that Louisana swamp won't she. How comforting', I'll think. 'I do understand your plight, Manon. I promise.' Somehow I succeed in fooling myself on those occasions that I am filled with joy. I applaud with the best of them. Then, of course, I sit on that bus home and stare out of the window.
Those ghosts: They will keep come flooding back. They can swim it seems even better than I.
Thank you for so listening. Even more thank you for your kind understanding. That is, I promise, a most joyous restorative.
I now I try to swallow once more.
Bless you for ALL.
1 like, 15 replies