September 2, 2021.
Firstly, let’s talk about spring and the hillsides filled with flowers.
On Tuesday, I was in hospital for a routine check-up – a colonoscopy.
At 7am, I waited for admission in the new Calvary Hospital in central Adelaide. The TV in the waiting room broadcast video of the last USA flight out of Kabul as the Taliban celebrated. Heavily armed Taliban fighters looking like American special forces prepared to advance into the Hamad Karzai military base. Many Afghani families with Australian connections/visas/families are left behind. Families are split. Two flights carrying 237 Afghani refugees have arrived in Adelaide. Our news broadcasts showed them taking buses to their hotels for the required 2-week isolation: they carried so little, a bag or two. It is hard to imagine the shock of leaving their homeland and arriving here.
No one in the waiting room was paying any attention.
The contrast between my ability to attend this organised, super-efficient hospital for a routine check-up and the scenes on the TV is shocking. Maybe that is why no-one in the waiting room wanted to look up and be reminded of the misery of Afghanistan … pretend it’s not happening.
To come back to my day in the hospital. A colonoscopy is not a pleasant procedure. The previous day I spent drinking copious amounts of unpleasant liquids which result in frequent trips to the toilet. I drank litres of approved fluids as well to maintain hydration.
We are lucky to be able to schedule such optional appointments. This only can be done as we have no Covid-19 cases in South Australia, although several infected drivers have visited us in the few days and the contact tracers are busy. Meanwhile, we are surrounded by states in total shutdown with escalating cases: NSW, (10th week so far and 1,279 cases today) Victoria (5 weeks and 174 cases), and ACT (2 weeks and 12 cases). Our local news provides us with regular reports. We hear the numbers:
I cannot imagine how the hospitals are coping.
For my minor procedure, I was in awe of the care and consideration I received. Each step of the way, I received outstanding attention. How lucky we are.
I spoke to the nurse about why I was particular in having this procedure. My brother, Mike, died in 2011, aged 65, of bowel cancer, after a year of chemotherapy. In spite of serious symptoms, he had delayed having a colonoscopy and shortly thereafter ended up with a perforated bowel.
The nurse, an Indian Australian, said that her mother (aged 61) had recently died in India of unknown causes – not Covid-19 and she was unable to visit.
So, appreciate the years that you have had and any family close by. They are life’s gifts.
The specialist, Mark, came to tell me the good news. No cancer – only a couple of polyps that he removed. He said bowel cancer took 8-10 years to develop. It is a hidden and mostly symptom-free disease: a disease of old age and Western diet.
It was good to walk out of hospital. Life goes on and once more, anything seems possible.
Let’s beat bowel cancer.