AKA - RETCH!
It’s Wednesday morning and I’m lying on my side in Doctor Rat’s surgery, tube down my throat, nurse stroking my cheek, tears streaming from my eyes, repeatedly dry retching, while Doctor Rat takes me on a fantastical tour of my duodenum via a TV screen. As Wednesday mornings go, it’s so-so.
This less than magical situation that I currently find myself in, is all because I’ve finally decided to get to the bottom why I’ve been coughing for the best part of the last seven years. I’ve seen doctors in London about it several times over the years and been given various diagnosis ranging from, “Some people are just a bit coughy”, or "Maybe it's a bit of a bug?" to, “Could be acid reflux.” It was the later suggestion that has brought me to gastro expert (not the delicious type) Doctor Rat and his ominous, invasive hose-pipe.
I look up at the screen and see that the camera now appears to be in something that resembles a tunnel of ears. It's like my own personal version of the movie Inner Space. I'm half expecting to see Dennis Quaid commandeering a miniaturised vehicle through my intestine.
I decide that I need a distraction so I order my mind to wander. I begin to think about the previous day when I took several bags of clothes to a homeless shelter. Zsuzsa is on a mission to clear out all of our unused items to make way for more items that won’t be used. I pull up at the homeless shelter, carry the bags through the hordes of hairy homeless, enter a building with a dubious smell, and dump the bags at reception.
“Köszönöm (Thank you)!” says the man behind the counter.
“Szivesen (My pleasure)!” I reply.
I then peer in to the bag to see what delights Zsuzsa has left for the shivering homeless hoards.
“We are now near the antrum.“ says Doctor Rat, yanking me from the homeless shelter as he does so.
I look at the screen. Yep, looks like the antrum to me. I glance up at Doctor Rat, peering at him through bleary eyes. Whoa there cowboy! What the hell are you holding!? In his hand is a metal wire with a kind of pincer on the end.
“I will now pass this down the tube to take a sample for a biopsy!”
Okay mind. Let’s get the hiking boots back on and go wandering once more.
We’re at an aquarium, just over a week ago. Mila is pressed up against the glass of a huge tank. An enormous, savage looking shark swims towards Mila. Mila, who we’ve recently discovered, for some unknown reason has a fear of cellos, just grins at the oncoming shark and then attempts to stroke it through the glass. The shark does not look amused. If sharks could scoff I'm pretty sure it would have done so. But little Mila is fearless. My baby girl’s got balls.
I’m suddenly aware that the hose-pipe is being pulled out of my body. I breath in deeply as the pipe leaves my mouth and I sit up straight.
“Okay. All done.” says Doctor Rat.
“Is everything okay?” I ask nervously.
“Yes, yes. No tumour. No ulcer. Just a bit of inflammation in your antrum, but I’ll give you something for that.
“And the biopsy? What was that for?”
“Helicobacter. Bacteria that might be the cause. No problem if it is. Medicine will fix it.”
“So I’m fine then? I take the medicine and carry on as normal?”
“Yes, yes. Exactly as normal. But no caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, fruit juice or chocolate for a while.”