Patients and Patience

In spite of the routine nature of an endoscopy (though I’ve never had one before, so I speak not from experience, only from hearsay and what I’ve read), its preparatory paperwork is a bit frightening. For example, I was asked to bring my living will with me. And I had to sign documents acknowledging, or at least suggesting, that the procedure could leave me incapacitated, mortally wounded, or dead. Not likely, of course, but possible. I guess they have to cover their bases.

I am to check in at 10:40 this morning. The procedure is to begin at 11:40. I don’t know exactly when I’ll be able to leave the recovery room, but I’d guess I will be in the car no later than 2:00 p.m., maybe much earlier. Whenever the doctor and his team finish, I expect to be quite hungry, inasmuch as my instructions were to cease eating and drinking by midnight last night.

By the time the doctors have reviewed their findings, I expect to have some answers about the cause(s) of the gut pain associated with eating. And I hope the answers suggest a simple, efficient, rapid, and complete cure to whatever ails me.

But while I’m talking to the gastroenterologist, I’ll inquire about what’s involved in correcting what I think is a hiatal hernia. That problem has been present longer than the one for which I’m undergoing today’s procedure. I assume the other gut problem that feels like my innards are being strangled when I move in certain ways is a hiatal hernia. I could be wrong. I think surgery is the preferred (and perhaps the only) corrective action. I’m not particularly fond of surgery, but I’ve had enough of it in my lifetime thus far to understand that it tends to have positive outcomes.

I’ve grown more patient with medical procedures during my time as a patient. There it is. The intersection of language and medicine. I think the practice of medicine involves Latin words and phrases because the oddities of English can test the patience of patients. Or doctors. I wonder whether Latin is awash in homophones? Well, yes it does. Latin, too, is awash in homophones (homographs and homonyms). You’ll have to trust me on that; I’m not spending my time pre-procedure listing Latin homophones.

Speaking of Latin, people can speak Latin. But conversational Latin today would have a limited vocabulary compared to, say, English or Spanish. At least that’s my understanding. I could be wrong. Latin is the official language of the Holy See, by the way. So the language is not really dead. I’ve never fully understood “Holy See,” but it’s not because I haven’t tried. It’s fairly simple and straightforward, until I read a sentence like this one:  “The Holy See is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church.”

Maybe Latin’s use in medical terminology suggests some sort of connection with Catholicism? That has the makings of a strange story, it does. But not for this morning. For another time. For this morning, I’m going to focus my attention on what I’ll do for a post-procedure lunch. It’s all about food, isn’t it?



About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to Patients and Patience

  1. Thanks very much, Chuck. As it happens, the results of today’s procedure were good–surprisingly good. The doctor said both the esophagus and stomach looked just fine; no indications of anything wrong. Great news. Except I didn’t expect to learn I’m a hypochondriac. Actually, he said my problems could be acid reflux, so he gave me a prescription. But he said, too, that based on my symptoms, he expected to see a lot of signs of disease or damage. But he saw neither. And he said the symptoms I assumed to be a hiatal hernia are unlikely to indicate that. Instead, he said “strings” of tissue that formed after an earlier abdominal surgery are apt to be to blame. They can be removed, but they would re-form with a vengeance. My need for a “cure for what ails me” seems to be encountering the real world, which refuses to accommodate my need. 😉

  2. chucksigarsblog says:

    Wishing you well, John. I agree with Bev; these are routine and hardly ever have a blip. Your self-diagnosis of a hiatal hernia sounds pretty spot on, too, so I hope they determine whatever and get you back to being pain-free, my friend.

  3. Thanks, Bev! I’ll no doubt write about the experience in a day or two! 😉

  4. bev wigney says:

    Wishing you an uneventful endoscopy — most usually are pretty uneventful. In fact, as you probably know, most all procedures are uneventful, but they have to make you sign all sorts of things to cover their butts should something go amiss. Hope they figure out the cause of the discomfort that you’ve been feeling and that it can be put right without much hassle.

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