Once Again in the Hospital

Believe it or not, I got confined again in the hospital over the weekend.

As they say, when it pours it rains hahahahaha again, when it rains, it's four! oops hahahahaha You know what I meant... :-)

Last Friday, I woke up with a severe stomach ache. It was a steady pain. It is not gurgling within (otherwise, it would have been just another loose bowel movement episode) or a sharp, cutting pain (then it would have been amoebiasis, which I got during my media days). I also vomited twice. Experience with this kind of pain taught me not to drink any pain reliever or any medication. I had close calls with appendicitis and diverticulitis before.

When I could not bear the pain anymore, my wife and I rushed to the hospital. I drove to the hospital, can you imagine? We live near a mall here so taxis are hard to get.

The ER people suspected either gallstones or appendicitis (my WBC count is 16,000 while the normal max level is 10,000 indicating an infection). The pain is also in the right side of my abdomen. Then I heard those words, "You have to be confined."

Oh, no. Not again! (Just about two weeks ago, I underwent a major ear surgery, remember?) But we had to travel to another hospital, this time my brother rushed to the hospital to drive for me, because my HMO won't pay portion of the bills if I would be confined in the first one. Another 30-40-minute drive.

IV was inserted. (By the way, Filipinos are good at it. I heard that nurses in US [no offense meant] practice inserting IVs with oranges. Here, we practice it with humans hahahahaha) My veins in the left hand are small. But it got in. Whew!

By the next day, the pain subsided. I was already asking the doctor if I could be released so that I could still preach on Sunday (the workaholic me is kicking in). But Ellen insisted that the doctor determine first what caused the pain just to make sure. He agreed.

It's a good thing my mentor (Rev. Philip Tarroja) pitched in for me in our worship service.

I was subjected to a cleansing enema in preparation for a barium enema so the x-ray would get good pictures. I would spare you the gross details. All I can say is that it felt soooo uncomfortable. And that is an understatement.

But things are whirling in my mind. The doctor said if he sees "something" in the x-ray, I would have to go through colonoscopy. The mere mention struck fear in my heart. The pain could be caused by something as mundane as mere indigestion or something as serious as intestinal blockage or, worst, the big "C".

You see, by sheer coincidence, I was confined in the very same room in the very same hospital where my brother-in-law died of cancer. Get the picture?

The night before the x-ray I could not sleep. Other than the discomfort I felt after chugging in one bottle of laxative (orange flavored castor oil. Yucck!), I thought, "What if it is the big "C?"

I started writing my bucket list, something I learned from a movie of the same name.

Sure, I am already assured of eternal life. But the question is, have I been as fruitful as God wanted me to be, have I lived my life the way He intended me to live? So if ever I would go, I want to do it with a loud bang!

An item in my bucket list is to write letters to inspire my future grandkids. That's really in the distant future because my eldest son is just 18, the second is only 11 and the youngest is 10 plus he has autism. Maybe I could videotape myself sharing my thoughts to them. I just don't know if I have to post it in Youtube :-) The reason for this is that the Bible commands us in Deuteronomy to teach not only our kids but also our grandkids. But, in my very fertile imagination, in case I succumb to cancer, I may not be able to do it in person. So, better to write them or leave a video behind.

Another item is to eat tamilok with my best friend, Rev. Jesse Dedel. Tamilok is somewhat like a long, white, translucent worm. It bores into wood and is found in scenic Palawan here in the Philippines. I read somewhere that tamilok is actually a mollusk. People just cut the tip of a branch where there is tamilok inside, pull it out, tear off the head and squeeze the entrails out, dip it in vinegar with chili and calamansi and pop it in their mouths, raw and all. Needless to say, my best buddy immediately shot down the idea when I told him about this item in my bucket list. But I sure hope, if ever I am about to die, that he would honor such a dying wish :-D hehehehehe any more volunteers?

Finally, the results came out. Guess what? Nothing in there. No blockages. No tumor or anomalies whatsoever. That means no more colonoscopy. I heaved a deep sigh of relief. The doctor said it could be what he calls "non-specific colitis" or inflammation of the colon. Diet modification (AGAIN!?! But I have been dieting, believe me! I swear!) is one way to prevent it from happening.

Praise God it's not the big "C." Please continue to pray for my health. Thank you. Yesterday, Monday, I got released from the hospital. God again graciously provided for my hospital bills. (He sufficiently took care of it that we could even politely refuse financial help from dear friends and close relatives.)

By the way, I am still working on my bucket list. I still plan to fulfill it. ;-)


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