There is a saying on this island that goes “when in doubt, get out” if you are sick . If you feel like you might die then you most probably will unless you go somewhere else. Although Google is marginally better than most diagnoses given at the hospital, once you start on that investigative route it’s quite easy to convince yourself you will die anyway. From numerous horrendous conditions.
Many of them.
All at once.
There are lots of lovely conditions that start with generic flu-like symptoms but then proceed to dissolve your favourite internal organs whilst you lap up your Lemsip. A few weeks ago I thought I had flu and was completely knocked out for 6 days.
And then I turned yellow – and it wasn’t a Lemsip overdose.
And so I began my Death-by-Google exercise to diagnose myself. Top of the list: Leptospiros, Hepatitus, Gallstones, Bile duct blockage. Mostly non-fatal if treated properly. There were some other more serious possibilities, but having done Death-by-Google before I decided to discount them until diagnosed by someone other than Dr G.
Now, Sunday is not the best day to visit the hospital, but since I was looking more like an anorexic Kim Jong-Un after a session in Dale Winton’s tanning salon I trundled up there anyway.
“Possibly Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, or Gallstones. Come back for a blood test and ultrasound scan tomorrow.”
Now, Monday is not the best day to visit the hospital. People do dumb shit at the weekend or just don’t want to work and need a sick note -it’s busy. Luckily I’d been issued with the paperwork for the tests already so jumped the queue and went direct to the experimentation labs.
Ultrasound: Gallstones, 1.1cm.
Blood: Mmmm, possibly something else.
I need to go to Labasa.
I checked in at Taveuni Hospital Monday evening, bags packed for a week since I had no idea how long I might be away. A stack of ham salad sandwiches and fruits, a plate, a bowl, a cup, cutlery, a blanket, a small duvet, and my own toilet roll all stuffed in (yes, you DO need to take this stuff !!) with clothes, toiletries, a book, pen and paper. Expected time of departure tomorrow – 8am.
8am – I’m picking up my bag and just about to leave with the nurse to get on the ferry. The Dr arrives.
“Stop !!! You’re staying another day. We need to prepare you a bit more before you can go.”
Repeat blood test, another scan (Gallstones, 0.8cm), intravenous drip, actually feeling fine and bored shitless. Tests still inconclusive.
Labasa tomorrow. Promise.
We’re off. Male nurse to accompany and medicate me on the way, and a parting gift from the kitchen – a packet of egg mayo sandwiches for my lunch.
Arrive Labasa and check in.
“Go to X-ray/scan”.
“Bugger off, you’ve eaten egg mayo sandwiches. Come back tomorrow. Don’t eat anything.”
Blood tests. I wonder if the results will show high levels of egg mayonnaise.
“Your scan will be at 10pm. Don’t eat anything. Is that your bottle ? Don’t drink anything.”
“Mmmm, possible gallstones – 0.6cm. More tests tomorrow. Eat something now, then don’t eat anything.”
I’m eating one of my ham salad sandwiches. Male nurse arrives.
“Mr Jonny, I need to check your toilet passage.”
“Mmmm, OK. Can I finish this first ?”
I wonder if the results will show high levels of ham.
“You will be having a CT scan at 10am, and then a gastroscopy.”
“Let’s go !!”
I get to ride around the hospital in a wheelchair even though my legs are in perfect working order.
At the CT scan lab.
“Don’t move !!”
I get scanned and hope there are no sandwiches of any description blocking the view.
“Change into this. Gastroscopy !!”
I’m figuring this could be messy.
Having never had a gastroscopy before I took a guess that, whilst not particularly pleasant, it wouldn’t be too bad – probably on a par with having my toilet passage checked. (My toilet passage was fine in case you’re wondering – sorry to keep you in suspense). My tormentor for this particular exercise was a rather jolly guy who’s name escapes me but was something like Dr Hashish. He explained in lovely detail what was going to happen, and then explained to the other staff not to administer the Valium because I would be more helpful without it. He then proceeded to insert about 30 inches of tubing down my throat and into my stomach and beyond, whilst I came close to gagging up all my internals organs straight into his face for the next 15 minutes.
Later that afternoon, whilst pondering my preference for anal fingering or being deep throated, I got a visit from the head doctor for my case.
“Gallstones – yes they are there, maybe. Everything else, negative. You need another scan tomorrow, and a surgery slot would be lined up immediately afterwards depending on the results. Don’t eat anything.”
More blood tests.
“Your scan will be at lunchtime. Don’t eat anything.”
“Your scan will be at 3pm.”
I have a slightly frustrated discussion with the nurse and doctor on duty. Everyone seems agreed I have gallstones. Everything else is negative. My jaundice is slightly better. I might die soon of starvation. My scan has been overlooked, my surgery has been cancelled. There is a boat leaving for Taveuni tomorrow. I would like to be on it. My sister and son arrived on Taveuni from the UK yesterday. If there is no immediate need for surgery, please discharge me back to Taveuni with any medication and paperwork I might need.
They discharge me.
Come back in 2 weeks.
Arrive back on Taveuni on a boat which is 9 hours late.
One week later I was feeling fine, jaundice faded, stuffing my face with food, and was expressing a preference for anal fingering to anyone that was interested. (Not in giving me one, that is, but if I had to choose between one or the other).
The day before I am due back in Labasa I visit Taveuni Hospital and ask for a further blood test. It comes up fine and dandy. Diagnosis: Jaundice caused by temporary duct blockage due to stones, or coincidental unrelated infection. No need to go back to Labasa now, but get the gallstones seen to at some point.
So, everything back to normal………..
………for a week, when what should pop up – or out ?
Prolapsed Hemorrhoids !!!!!
And to cut a long story short on this one, I am now back in favour of being deep throated.
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Gallery: Flowers of the Fiji Islands
Wherever you look in Fiji there is an abundance of colour, and the tropical gardens are no exception. A selection of our local plant life on Taveuni Estates.