Saturday, November 15, 2008

Journey into Myself (Nov 15 08)

The past few weeks have been terrible for me. I was hospitalized in Medical City in October 22-26 for extreme allergies to antibiotics, to rule out Steven-Johnson syndrome. Then again I was hospitalized in St. Luke's in November 11-13 for vertigo, and to get cardiac and colonic check up. For several occasions this year, I had severe vertigo attacks, requiring me to assume a restricted positioning of the head when lying down or sitting up, for otherwise, the world literally spins, causing extreme dizziness and nausea, and preventing me from doing the normal work of a teacher. Carotid ultrasound revealed that circulation to my head was normal, and so the vertigo could not be due to bad circulation to the head. The vertigo must, therefore, be vestibular in origin, that part of the inner ear that contributes to sense of balance and spatial orientation. Dr. Allan Carpella prescribed Serc 24mg two times a day, an increase in dosage from the old magic of Serc 8mg three times a day. Furthermore, he prescribed head rotation exercises, which seem to be doing some good.

During this interlude at St. Luke's, Dr. Canlas did a colonoscopy, a detailed movie-camera exploration of my large intestines, to check if the irregular bowel movement of this 62-year old man is colonic in origin. To prepare, I was starved from 8:30 PM of the evening before the colonoscopy up to the actual colonoscopy itself, which happened at 12:30 PM of the following day. Which means 16 hours NPO -- no food or drink. I was given 4 tablets of Dulcolax, and two 250 ml bottles of liquid magnesium citrate -- and these constituted the enema to flush out the colonic contents. When I was a small boy, my mother accomplished this enema by using one bag-full of lukewarm soapy water to flush out colonic contents, which, by the way, is many times more effective than Dulcolax plus magnesium citrate. By 12:30 PM, I was so hungry and so weak, that all I wanted was for the procedure to be over. Dr. Canlas was assisted by anaesthesiologist Dra. Estrella. I requested Dra. Estrella if I could be kept awake so that I can watch the colonoscopy on the TV monitor, and she agreed to use only the smallest dose of anaesthetic. As Dr. Canlas performed the colonoscopy, I kept asking questions. Have we passed the transverse colon yet? Why is the pechay that I ate still intact and undigested? Is that mucus from my congested nose that I see in my colon? And Dr. Canlas was saying: I see a polyp, but it looks benign, but I'm going to take it out, nevetheless - for biopsy. And so on. Watching a journey into your own colon, complete with tour-guide explanations from the doctor, can be a very enlightening experience. How many people that you know have experienced such scientific adventure? I have.

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