Twilight

It still hurts to swallow and I can feel I’m not quite drug-free. I managed to contain my thoughts this morning, not ramble into the thicket of fear or worry about bleeding and complications. Though it was cold – of course it was cold – I focused on the moment. Milked how nice the nurses were and asked for three more blankets after discovering the throws were fresh out of a warmer.

I abhor hospitals and all their close cousins. The forms to sign, the smell, those ugly scrubs the color of flat twilight. Why couldn’t the staff sport something more cheerful? The process, the incompetence that lurks and has no place where people are fearful and suffering. Yet there I was, dependent on the system and its machines to tell me if I can go on in hope, can count on a semblance of normalcy to my days. Or if I’ve been harboring anything unwelcome along my G.I. Like cancer.

It was my first time on the oxygen tube. I’d seen it only in movies and on old people. Between the nasal cannula and the faithful monitor, I felt like a fully certified sick person. I hated it.

They didn’t tell me it was going to be so awful. At least the surgeon listened to me; saw that at 85 lbs I didn’t need as much sedative as the others and gave me half the normal dose. They lay me on my left side and I soon realized I would not have been able to hang in beyond those ten minutes. It was rough, even violent, though that was no one’s intention. The bite block kept my mouth open, and prevented me from biting and damaging the tube. I learned exactly why I hadn’t been allowed to eat or drink all morning. I gagged and gagged, and the tears ran. When I continued to wipe my eyes outside the room, the nurse explained the Versed does that to a lot of people.

The good look down my esophagus and stomach showed all was clear. Still sore from one of the biopsies, I realize that one had been unnecessary. Why the hec didn’t the doctor see the stomach test I’d passed already? Important thing is my innards looked healthy and at least I left with cool photos for Tennyson. He just learned the parts of the digestive system last week.

I didn’t tell many friends, didn’t want to burden anyone. I don’t bother trying to explain to people the trouble I’ve had eating the last several years. One wonderful doctor of mine once said my life is difficult to describe. But pray, I did. Not so much for fear of dying but for the brute powerlessness of it all. You look in, you look out. And you see nothing but the unknown dark, hear nothing but the echo of your questions. For all your dreams and aspirations, you come up short face-to-face with your humanity.

You look up.

164 thoughts on “Twilight

  1. “You look up.” Yes. Thank you for that reminder from out of your own pain. From someone who is also staring into the face of my humanity. May you find Strength for the journey.

  2. I couldn’t make out if this was fiction or real it seemed real and gosh so harrowing the way it is written. If it’s real I’m so glad your results are ok xx I hope you sort your eating issues out soon xx

    • So very sweet, Rolain. I’m all right compared to all those people who answer yes to all those pre-op questions. Just a slippery beast I fight, not readily nameable. I so appreciate the support. It would help, though, if you made me laugh with that picture of you ready to take off – in your cape.

      lol
      Diana

  3. Diana,

    I do hope this is fiction! Well-done young lady even if you scare more than half of us to death.

    I would say, “Been there; done that,” but one miserable comforter I would be.

    • Really, so sweet. In my fantasy, much of my life is fiction, actually. Would make it as a Times Bestseller, in that case. I’m glad you’ve made it this far to write, exhort, love, love, love as you do.

      Xxx
      Diana

      • I have always visualized you as a tiny mite of a lady with big hopes and even larger ideals. You and your work are in my day dreams and the evening ones too. ❀

        I have even felt encouraged that my own health deficiencies might be diagnosed as "normal." Until I was past 60, I never weighed more than 117. I was 5' 7" so I really was too thin. People used to comment that I looked unhealthy, but I could move mountains fast–so much energy. Now? 😦

        You may never have to worry about getting too heavy–even in old age.

  4. Such powerful writing and you never disappoint in almost bringing a tear to my eye with your writing. If it is real I hope you are on the mend. I look up, such positive words and inspirations flow through my body when i read that. It send s a tingle down my spine.

    • *Smile* That is the second tingle you’re reported here. M. =) I am honored, and appreciate your taking a moment to encourage. Such a dear. I wasn’t trying to impress w/ the words. Just told my heart. Here we go into another day….

      Onward and upward,
      D.

      • It is good to know that the words still have powerful effects. I have a few posts that come through to my email from WordPress and always tend to keep yours as a reminder to get reading them again when I get time. Holistic Wayfarer tends to be a good disease that infests my inbox πŸ™‚

  5. I agree that I hope this is fiction. Either way it is so well written, I believed it was really happening to you, thank you for sharing.

    • =) Apology not accepted bc you never need give me one (well, unless you suddenly become bipolar and start trashing my place with insults LOL). I got your heart. Thanks, honey. Much of my life has felt like a novel. Here’s to a new page this day.

    • Sweet, really. I can feel your heart. It’s nothing compared to what so many go through. Some can only look out the hospital window and fantasize a whole other life of normalcy. I am blessed. And you can’t know how deeply I feel that, going through the loving comments. You guys are amazing. Thanks for keeping up.

      Diana

  6. This is beautifully written. I can empathize with this story. Very touching to my soul. Like many on here, I do not know if this is real or fiction. Nonetheless, I felt every pain the speaker narrated. You have a real gift with words.

    • Thanks for taking a moment. It is hard to tell how much of my life is fiction or painfully real each day. *smile* What matters is our worst fears have been averted. Thank you for the encouragement. I appreciate the read.

      Blessings,
      Diana

  7. I think its true that fear is the worst part of sickness. It’s always the part I “fear” the most and have to fight. Hope you are feeling better soon. So glad it was all clear (a word on tests – sadly sometimes I’ve known doctors to schedule them just to make money (not here in the UK but some countries) so it’s generally good to double check it’s needed.

    • Don’t get me started about the need to double-chk things in the medical SYSTEM. And there are many, many unnecessary procedures. I won’t go into it bc they dO do many people a lot of good and I myself have to step into that world at times. That’s interesting that it’s a better model in the UK.Thanks for your time, Claire.

      Xxx
      Diana

  8. Whew – was that an endoscopy? I’ve avoided that so far, not that they didn’t try. Your observations are perfect and astute as far as I have felt. My guess is that it is real, since there is no way you could know those feelings without living through them. It is scary the way they take away your humanity sometimes. I find that it is necessary, although not easy, to hold onto your own responsibility for yourself and not abdicate it all to the health care professionals. Make them convince you, and ask lots of questions – best prepared before hand – as your brain gets a bit frazzled in the face of it. I also make sure i have someone i trust with me when meeting with doctors. It can be hard to think or listen when being presented with your own mortality.

    I am so glad that it went well (after effects aside) for you Diana. It is a very euphoric experience to come away from a doctor’s appt with positive news, regardless the torture to get it. God willing. The quest for answers is never easy, but progress is uplifting.

    I pray for you to find the problem and vanquish it. My thoughts are with you.

    • Yes, endoscopy, Paul. You bet I ask every ques I can think of, turn over every rock in the process. You have to do this in any field where the system benefits from serving you, as in education. That’s what helped yesterday, how kindly the nurses fielded all my questions before and after. I should’ve written down the few ques I had left of the dr. The drug started to kick in and I missed one but I later saw I wouldn’t have been able to ask the right ques to avert the needless stomach biopsy. It was only after the fact I learned exactly why he had planned to do it. Hate those loopholes. But no complaints. They all did what they could, treated me well, and I passed. Thanks for being here, my friend.

    • Have to add that I can’t really play the blame game against the medical system. So much – if not all, I almost daresay – of our ills (apart from injury) we have produced ourselves, though often unwittingly. Make poor choices in self-care.

      And there are plenty of tests I declined before the scope and after. “So what would you do if you learned I don’t have peristalsis after all?” I asked yesterday. “Nothing we can do.” All right, no thanks. No point in going through it.

  9. Not sure what to say as I am not sure this is fiction or reality. Either way, very visceral and frightening. Facing our humanity in its rawness and fullness can be a scary endeavour for most of us – we’d rather turn away from the abyss than face it. Our mortal selves tend to reach it when we are faced with critical physical distress, as described here. Pungent words.

    Blessings and prayers πŸ™‚

    Paul

    • Actually, Paul, you speak to the heart of this story. It doesn’t even really matter if it’s fiction or not. Real fiction *smile* (hope you like “real fiction”) brings us to what’s real, doesn’t it? And that final paragraph is what it’s about. What we do, how we flail, in the twilight of the greatest fears we must face. Thx for taking a moment.

  10. OMG, you’re sick, and you didn’t say anything before now? Of course you didn’t. That’s you. holding us all up as you silently scream. Please respond and tell me how you are doing. It’s great that they didn’t find anything, but you are left the question of why you can’t eat. What can I do other than tell you how amazing you are, and encourage you to take care of yourself first. I love you. Take good care, and in those moments of isolation, feel the companionship of my thoughts, even if it is from afar.

    Lots of love,
    Elizabeth

    • Your comment is screaming bloody friendship and love. =) I might change that “certified sick person.” Not sure how I like it. ‘Sick’ is a relative term (though I know what you meant) and by Western medical standards, I’ve been all right enough. I didn’t feel the need to get into the backstory here. And yes, I need to take care of myself better. This really is what it comes down to, Elizabeth. We do stupid things to ourself, body and spirit, and present ourselves to a medical system that is fond of lucrative tests and drugs. It’s bc I haven’t had a clear diagnosis I finally went in for the endoscopy – after learning a friend’s aging mother w/ similar digestive difficulty had stomach cancer after all. I’ve been able to eat better the last month or two. Just have to watch my portions and combine foods wisely. Hey, I know you wouldn’t have said I love you out here last yr. I feel it, and am again pretty bowled over by the group response. I am so blessed. I turn to greet another day, as you all me up.

      All my love,
      Diana

  11. how harrowing! (BTW I pushed “like” only because there is no “Praying for You” button…) And as always, so well written. What a powerful last paragraph! When we truly see our humanity, there’s nowhere else to look but “up!”

  12. Thy bottom line is- are you going to be OK and what are you and the physicians doing to get you better. If you have been bleeding then you need to be on a decent diet and a medication that reduces the acid in your stomach. I had bleeding ulcers from H. pylori and there is a blood test for that. And also meds to kill the H.pylori. Please take care and ask your MD/s plenty of questions.

    I hope that by now you are feeling much better.

    PS: I’m not sure if this is fact or fiction and I’d rather it be fiction.

    Best regards,
    `yvonne

    • I never bled, that was just a worry about the biopsies, and the HP is why the dr took a sample of the stomach but I’d already passed a diff test for it! So he didn’t have to. Very annoyed right now bc it still hurts, where he took it. I always ask a ton of ques. =) I hope your ulcer has healed, my friend. Thank you for taking the time.

      Xxxxxxxx
      Diana

  13. I’m glad you are looking up Diana. And I’m very sorry for your digestive challenges and health scare. It’s good to have the support of friends, family, bloggers and even the medical system, though I have similar reservations. You and several others facing health challenges help me to appreciate my good health. Now if I could figure out how to “heal” my financial and emotional challenges! πŸ™‚

    Please take care of your precious health, blessings, Brad

  14. Strange, I knew something was ‘up’ with my friend. Couldn’t put the proverbial finger on it.
    All the best to you D.

    Just think, you have a completely new library of inspiration to draw from ;( and πŸ™‚

  15. Diana, I understand completely why you didn’t “say” anything until now. That said, glad to know what’s going on so I can lift up prayers and offer support. You are a strong and independent woman; so am I. Sometimes, we tend to neglect ourselves because we don’t want to “bother” anyone. If it was a dear friend, we’d give her a stern but loving lecture, right?

    Consider yourself lectured. πŸ˜‰ and continue looking up. Love you. ❀

    • Ha ha ha. *Hang head* You called me on it. Yeah, of course the standard doesn’t hold the other way around. I realized, about the time you wrote this actually, that I really need to help myself recover from what was a brutal procedure. I didn’t take care of myself yesterday. So I was napping when you wrote. =) *Feel much better*

      Thx for everything again, Susan.
      D.

  16. “You look in, you look out. And see nothing but the unknown dark, hear nothing but the echo of your questions. For all your dreams and aspirations, you come up short face-to-face with your humanity.

    You look up.”

    – The paradox of the human conditions reminds us that there are forces beyond us. Thanks for this, great read as usual. πŸ™‚

  17. ‘the brute powerlessness’ caught my eye. I think that’s why we keep things in. At least that’s why I do. I so need to be in control. You take control as much as the doctor’s will let you. So glad you asked a lot of questions, Diana. Please take care of you. XO

  18. You’ve written it genuinely and honestly, and like always your writing is very impressive. Just like everybody else I hoped this was a fiction, however, I know from my own experience, that to describe this in such a detailed way, one has to go through things like these. There was a time in my life, I was taken to surgeries as if to work, every second week. I was totally scared at first, but afterwards got used to procedures and to falling asleep and the painful waking up.
    Well, it is tough because there are only a few smart and experienced professionals: doctors and surgeons with the capital “D’ and “S”. Most often, this means following protocol, and so many simple things can go wrong. I was glad to hear the endoscopy did not reveal any formations, ulcers or other type of not good findings.
    One part of my life is art, the other is reviewing clinical trials, test results, new pharmaceuticals and treatments. I am actually happy to always be aware of what each procedure exactly includes, it is what it is. I wish there were more physicians who realistically have time to review one’s condition and to treat that patient as one single unique individual. It is very fortunate to have medical knowledge nowadays because otherwise like you said you get unnecessary procedures, unnecessary medication and sometimes even harmful treatments. There are very few procedures which will be performed without your consent. It is useful, however, to always get the second and even third opinion.

    • “reviewing clinical trials, test results, new pharmaceuticals and treatments.”

      No wonder the other part of your life is art. =)

      I appreciate the time you took, Inese, to encourage and walk with me with your knowing. I aLWays ask questions. Very few rocks I don’t leave unturned. But the SYSTEM pretty much guarantees loopholes either in communication (in that Looooonnnnng chain of command) or all that red tape. And the patient is the one who pays for them. Which is why I stay far away from the medical world as best I can. I am trying to stay focused on and grateful for the good. Like the young lady who’s helped me with the house and my boy the last two days.

      It’s nice knowing you better – apart from your lovely art. The different things we share out here afford us bridges into one another’s lives and the chance to care. Thanks so much. I am warmed.

      Diana

  19. Sending you a hug and hopes that all is well or getting better. Sounds painful and upsetting and I hope answers are found. From a writing perspective, you do a beautiful job of conveying what the experience was like for you.

  20. Sorry you went through such a horrendous time. I have avoided letting the docs do such invasive procedures but suppose as I age medical procedures will become necessary that I hesitate to even think about now. All the best as you recover.

    • “as I age medical procedures will become necessary.” I don’t believe that, Ian, though the U.S. has us thinking otherwise. Stay happy and well. =)

      Thk u for the sympathy and regards, my friend.

  21. Diana, I don’t know where to begin. Nowadays it seems incompetency has become the status quo. What an awful experience to go through (I can only imagine). I was so scared when I had my endoscopy I didn’t think I could go through with it. From the numbing medication sprayed down my throat to the IV sedation, my mind couldn’t’ grasp the idea of this long tube exploring my gut. Thankfully the sedation took hold and the only gagging I did was on removal of the endoscope.

    I hate not understanding the field of medicine and even though I do the whole being my personal healthcare advocate by researching and quizzing my doctors I still feel I am at their mercy.

    Be well Diana. I will send up prayers on your behalf. ~Steph

    • I feel the loving empathy, Steph. Gee, sorry you went through that. Yeah, mine was moderate sedation – and I got less than most folks – so I felt it all right. I agreed to it after three years only upon learning a friend’s mother with similar G.I. trouble turned out to have cancer. I owed it to my family to know if thEiR life threatened to be compromised. Being (suffering) at their mercy is right, as far as drs go. I loathe the system, steer miles clear when I possibly can.

      I’m still on the mend, healing more slowly than they’d said I would. I hope you yourself are ok in light of the concerns that led you to the scope. Am grateful for your time and prayers, S. You rock.

      Love,
      Diana

      • You are most welcome Diana. Ah, recouperating time is a pain. I always try to imagine myself on the other side of the recouperation period – being healthy and pain-free.

        The outcome after my procedure was good and we were able to confirm the diagnosis on another situation. Mine wasn’t a potential cancer scare as yours appeared to be.

        I hope that you will be feeling better soon. ❀ ~Steph

  22. Happy that the news was good Diana, but sending you best wishes to hope you’re feeling better after the procedure soon. I haven’t had an endoscopy, but have had a colonoscopy and it took me a week or so to recover from it. Still, you wrote beautifully of the experience.

    • I hope your own scope was worth it, Andrea, and that you are well. That’s helpful to hear it took you that long to feel yourself again. I feel where he helped himself to the stomach as I write, and the throat’s still sore. They’d said my throat should be fine after 24 hrs. I’m always the red herring and the SYSTEM doesn’t seem to understand they deal with a lot of us. Which is why I stay clear of people in white coats as much I can. I appreciate the regards and your taking the time, my friend.

      Xx
      Diana

  23. Diana, you have set a fine example for me to consider. I, too, may need to consider more testing regarding my stomach (et al) and I just weaken under the pressure of the medical system. I appreciate that you see the good in it and hold onto your dignity, while also speaking very truthfully. Thanks for that. And much more importantly, be well friend. I’m rooting for you ❀

    • I’d love you to keep me posted, Angie. Just bc I’ve said it repeatedly already, I’ll refer you to the comments on the straw that broke my back and compelled me to go through with it. It has to be pretty bad to show up on medical tests, Angie. But there are many people w/ chronic issues and weaknesses which eastern medicine practitioners will be able to discern and treat. My actprtist (as far end of the spectrum as I am when it comes to invasive procedures) had also diplomatically suggested the endoscopy bc I’d been so difficult to treat. Now he and I have the relief of a confirmation that it’s what we’d thought it was: chi (ki) (or energy) deficiency. Nothing western med can do. Be SURE to ask the surgeon – if you ever get there – before the scope what STANDARD (aka usually needless) biopsies he plANS to do and decline what you wish. I had no idea he would do STANDARD ones, which I would’ve declined. I still feel the cut in my stomach and small intestines. For all my prep and questions, the matter of procedural sampling of my organs did not come up. I hope this helps. Thanks for the lovely feedback.

      Love,
      Diana

      • Oh, Diana, you are so generous to share your experience with me. I want to believe that it is the responsibility of the western medical providers to inform their patients well, but it hasn’t been my experience. I don’t feel that the lack of communication is intentional, it’s just that there is so much information to sift through and, well, providers are working fast and it’s easiest if you just go with the program. So, I can only ask about what I know to ask about, right? Thanks for giving me more to ask about (although I’m still hoping things don’t get that far.)

        Heal well, heal fast ❀

  24. I jumped the harrowing part on first reading I must confess, because I did not want to shed a tear, but I had to go back and read through carefully, tear or not. I was hoping it was fiction, but I guess it is not. By His stripes, may you be healed… and never stop looking up.

    • Thank you so much for the feedback and blessing. Most importantly, by those stripes our heart and our standing with God have been healed, right? It is also wonderful that part of His redemptive plan is to reverse the effects of the Fall, and this includes the physical. In His Time.

  25. May your health improve beyond measure. These hospital procedures are rarely enjoyable, I speak from experience and as one who is delaying more surgery as I have a sick husband and sick dog; they can’t look after each other! At least that is behind you now, and all is well apart from the surgeon not reading up on what you’d already had tested. Frustrating isn’t it?! x

    • “Frustrating isn’t it?!”
      Beyond.

      I feel the empathy. I hope things settle on your end – for all three of you! And it’s actually harder on the healthier spouse. One day at a time. One day at a time.

  26. Diana in these wretched moments waiting through the doubt and anguish, also pain and fear, all we have is a little faith that everything will go our way. To look up and plead with the one who has the last say. I am so happy you received a good report and hope you are on the mend.

  27. Sending prayers and wishes and hugs. Horrible to go through any sort of medical trials; even worse are the fears and all of the unknowns that even the most assiduous doctors and caregivers can’t quite spell out for you. Having a happily “clean” diagnosis in this part of the journey obviously doesn’t solve what makes food/eating continue to be problematic for you, so I’ll continue to keep you in heart and mind, not only for healing and physical wellness but for the comfort and assurance you must crave even more.

    Blessings and peace, my sweet.
    ❀
    K

  28. Wish there was a way I could put more honey in my prayers for you Diana.

    Hope some day u will look back and smile at all the people at your side πŸ™‚

  29. I bet the darn sickness bug or whatever the culprit was discovered it was messing with the holistic wayfarer and ran for cover! On a serious note, I am praying that you feel better soon and you never have to go through such harrowing tests ever again. I also hate hospitals and all “related cousins” and well that is my biggest fear too. *shudder*. Godspeed D. πŸ™‚

  30. Reading this well-written piece, I’d hoped it was fiction. Now hoping in prayer for your speedy recovery! Life can be difficult and seemingly impossible, at times. But praise the Lord, we need only look up to see He is there looking at us! πŸ™‚ ❀ ❀

  31. Praying for a speedy recovery from this hospital stay. Beyond that, I pray that you will learn more of the one who holds the oceans in the hollow of His hand, who orchestrates the universe and commands the wind and yet who still knows the number of hairs on your head as you rest in the crook of His fatherly arms.

  32. The hospital environment is too depressive and is not conducive to recovery. You suffered of this testing procedure so you deserve quiet and fast healing. The optimistic end of the story give the hope. God Bless you.

  33. The beauty of the text – the harshness of the subject… what a contrast. Sending you lots of warm thoughts! I hope you will be feeling better soon. Take care of yourself!

  34. Diana, I am glad your results came back good. But I am so sorry you had to go through such an awful test! And I am so sorry you are having health trouble. I hope and pray that you find solutions for this and that you get better soon. Love, Dixie

  35. Sometimes life is stranger (and more painful) than fiction.

    But my, Diana, what a crumbling experience you had to go through. I’m sure that would have broken the toughest into the most fragile soul. But still, I’m glad you’re choosing to keep your head up and on singing your song.

    Keep the faith!

  36. Just reading this…sorry to hear you’ve passed through something so tremendous and challenging. My prayers lots of good energy heading your way as I type. Hope you’ll make a full recovery, D!

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