October 4, 2019: The Scope
My feet dangled off the hospital bed, stretching from somewhere inside a loose-fitting, roller-rink-astronomical-carpet-patterned gown, probably worn by people much sicker and terminal than I was. That didn’t stop my ill mood. The nurses zipped by beyond the white privacy curtain. My girlfriend, Sam, texted my mother that I was prepped for my procedure and was just waiting to be taken to the room.
“It’s going to be funny if I go through all of this for nothing,” I said, dwelling on the numerous fruitless appointments I’d had before this one.
“It’ll be okay,” Sam said assuredly. I squeezed her hand.
The nurse entered my bay and rushed Sam away. She instructed me to lean back and wheeled me down the hall. A woman looked at me through wrinkled eyes as she scooted with her IV to the nearest bathroom, donning a matching gown and pattern. It fit her better.
In my snooping at opened doors and withdrawn curtains, it became apparent that I was the youngest patient in the Endoscopy Lab — by a large margin. I wasn’t sure then if that made me feel better or worse, but thinking about how my symptoms puzzled my doctors, it didn’t surprise me. I wasn’t supposed to be here; not for my age, not for my weight, not for my habits. And yet, here I was, desperate for answers. Desperate enough to let a camera snake down my throat, like a sci-fi movie, and diagnose me, again like a sci-fi movie.
“How’s it going today?” Dr. McGarret said as he typed into the computer.
“Not bad, all things considered.” I wondered if I would be able to return to the office once the anesthesia wore off, but I was too nervous to ask. A note from the future: I couldn’t.
A nurse, different than the one that wheeled me in, turned knobs on the anesthesia machine. My pulse beeped a song of 89 bpm, which made me even more anxious that the people in the room could see I was nervous. It peaked up at 95. I winced, turning away from it. Avoidance was a good strategy.
“Are you experiencing any symptoms today? How’s your throat?” Dr. McGarret asked, approaching the table.
“It’s an okay day so far. My throat burns, but that could have been from sleeping with the fan…