I remember that night as clearly as though it were yesterday. The crippling pain woke me from my sleep, at 4 in the morning. At first, I tried to calm myself and passed it off as a tummy bug, although a part of me knew something else was wrong.
I live in a city that at the time was still sort of new to me, I didn’t know anyone well enough to come help me at an ungodly hour like 4 in the morning. I decided to drink some water and wait for morning light to see if things got better.
A few hours of fitful sleep later, around 7 am, I tried to call one of my neighbors from downstairs to take me to the emergency room. As luck would have it, the mrs didn’t answer the phone the first time.
I called my parents in Bombay then and asked my father to call the same neighbor. A few moments later, they came upstairs to me and quickly told me to get ready to go to the emergency room.
The only symptom I could complain of was a severe stomach pain at this one spot on the right. They drove me to the emergency room, but of course, the attendant on call just advised a pelvic sonography and gave me some pain killers. To be honest, what else could he have done without knowing what was happening inside in the absence of a sonography.
After going back home, I first thought of going on my own for a sonography a little later in the day. Fortunately, my parents decided to drive down to Pune and God knew I needed them then.
When they reached, we went to a few hospitals or diagnostic centers for the sonography – the only way to tell what was wrong inside. Since it was afternoon, at literally every place we ventured to, there was no real doctor, just attendants or other staff.
Something as simple as a sonography couldn’t be done and I was told to come back in the evening instead.
Even some of the mid-sized hospitals didn’t seem to have doctors around, because it was afternoon. That’s basically siesta time. Even shops close down in most places and cases.
I guess sleep is more important than saving lives for some. I wonder why people choose certain professions if they can’t fully realize the essence of the job? What if there was a more serious patient, like a heart attack victim who needed urgent medical care?
Who would save him, the nurse on call? I’m sure a nurse may be capable of, but the absence of doctors because its afternoon should be unacceptable.
I remember bursting into tears that day outside the hospital. I needed help and I needed it right then and quite frankly not knowing where that severe pain came from and what it was due to was scaring me. We were eventually told by a relative to go to another ‘well-known’ hospital.
At the casualty ward…
The medical attendant on call tried frantically to trace a doctor to do a sonography and since it was still afternoon, he couldn’t find anyone. Over and above that, the one or two doctors that were there said it was getting late and that they were almost readying to go home. Because their shift was over. WOW.
I guess being a doctor in a big privately held institution is not about saving lives. Anymore.
Eventually, a shrewd woman doctor decided to fit me in and I was wheeled to the sonography room a few minutes later. Uncomfortable as I was, I lay there while she conducted her tests in a hap hazard manner.
At my job, when we need to work overtime, we do so gladly. Because it’s part of the deal.
I guess some doctors haven’t realized that they are expected to do this, because of the field they have voluntarily ventured into.
It’s funny how even the bigger Life Care brands in some cities still commercialize the value of medicine as a profession.
I have come across doctors who would go out of their way for the benefit of their patient. I’m not saying they should. I’m only saying, a complete absence during certain hours of the day is just dangerous. At least someone from the entire team can fill-in, inspite of the fact that it is siesta time.
The first doctor reported a hemorrhagic cyst and so I was advised to go to another specialized branch of the hospital that dealt with women-related issues, mostly also to find out the exact location and status of the cyst.
That’s when I was diagnosed with a chronic, lifelong ultra-painful condition called Endometriosis, that’s what the cyst was because of.
My doctors told me this condition was still an ‘enigma’ and that there were only two forms of treatment: pain management and hormone therapy. OR, I could choose to have a baby sometime soon to see if it helped with the condition (they said sometimes it did, but again they couldn’t be 100% sure it would), now isn’t that the worst reason for me to breed?
Shouldn’t you have a child because you are ready to?
Or because it’s what you’ve wanted, always?
Not because it ‘might’ just save you from a lot of chronic pain.
I don’t remember what it’s like to not feel pain. Some days are good. The days during my cycle are simply terrible. I literally just lie on a couch without doing anything for 5 days in a month, on an average.
I have often wished in the last year and half, ever since the diagnosis came through, that I wake up, for once, without discomfort. There is some amount of discomfort every morning. Still.
I am not dying of anything just yet.
But I’ve forgotten what no pain feels like. To feel absolutely okay and on top of things and how I wish I could just be pain free, always.
Life can be good if you let it. For me, a day without nausea and pain feels heavenly. I am tired of complaining of sudden stomach cramps or fatigue or nausea.
But I can’t help it.
What I do do is, make myself feel better by pampering myself a little bit, every day.
If it’s not a nice relaxing facial one weekend, it’s a super amazing foot massage the next. I shop. I use expensive lipsticks and dress up to feel good at work. I like looking presentable and why shouldn’t I?
I slather on expensive perfumes even if I am just going downstairs to buy vegetables.
Gone are the days when ‘it wasn’t necessary’ to do these things unless it was a special day. Because, now, if there are ways to make myself feel good, ways that are in my control, I will gladly indulge in it.
For how long will I let the forces of nature take over my life?
Random trips with friends. Random plans. Living to do the things I like, taking time-out to indulge in the hobbies I like, be it music or movies or reading a book. For now, that’s enough and every minute I indulge in one of those, is worth it.
Nobody or nothing else can give you the same feelings of happiness as this. Just this.
The pain is crippling. It’s like something is pulling your insides out. I suffered this pain especially during my monthly cycle for over two years and its only when things got out of hand last year that 2 emergency surgeries had to take place to remove the cysts that had formed, over time.
Several women suffer from Endometriosis but a lucky few experience no symptoms of pain or discomfort and even go on to have healthy babies.
Those who do experience symptoms may suffer a lot of pain with it. Along with other problems.
I can’t remember the last time I genuinely fell well.
Don’t wait for a special day to do nice things for yourself. Everyday is a celebration and it should be. Wear that expensive makeup, that lovely top that you were saving for a special occasion. Wear it now and wear it a lot.
Leave work an hour earlier, if only to go meet your friends. Relax. Unwind.
Remember, if the organization you work for doesn’t understand this, it’s their loss. Because, in the same breath, when business is bad, they won’t be afraid to get rid of you.
Family. Friends. Good memories. This comes first. We haven’t been told this enough.
Work will happen and it should. But besides paying the bills, and giving some a level of professional satisfaction, there is not much more it can do for you. Be passionate about work, but know when to draw the line.
Don’t live a little. Live a lot. Because, if you have no pain and no illness and nothing else to stop you, then it’s about time you don’t stop yourself.
Trust me. I would know.
Contributed by someone who suffers from Endometriosis