Ever have the feeling that you’re not feeling right? That heartburn that won’t go away no matter how many chiles habaneros you don’t eat?
You read up on the symptoms online, right? Then you make your prognosis/diagnosis. Hmm, that set of symptoms sounds about right so I must have this.
OK. First step, get a professional opinion.
Luckily, as with most Yucatecan families (and I count myself among those lucky enough to have an extended Yucatecan family) there is a doctor in the family. In this case, not only a doctor, but an ear, nose and throat specialist called in Spanish un otorrinolaringologo. Sounds like an exotic tropical Cuban tune, but once you enter the dimly lit clinic on Calle 57 you realize that although the ambience is definitely 1967 post-revolutionary Havana, there will be no music on this occasion.
The visit to the family otorrino (the shortened version is the more accepted term for his specialty) confirms my suspicions – and nagging dread – that an endoscopia must be endured. His medical prescription goes beyond just those 10 letters and stretches it out to a whopping 26 letters; I need an esofagogastroduodenoscopia.
It gives me heartburn just thinking about it. Hell, it gives me heartburn just spelling the damn word.
I make the appointment at the Centro de Endoscopia del Sureste, the location near Avenida Itzaes, not the Altabrisa one, because my doctor says that the newer one has some deficiencies. Not one to ask what those might be, I readily accept his suggestion and make my appointment with the nice ladies at the reception area who tell me what I need to not do before coming to my appointment the following day at 11 AM.
On the day, Better Half comes with me as one needs to have a designated driver for the entertaining post-endo drive home, as some grogginess might still be there and your reaction times might be a little slow when driving through a glorieta with 57 other drivers in a hurry. We sit and wait in the dimly lit room, the air conditioning on and everyone talking in whispers. The ambience is peaceful, almost disconcertingly funereal. Some very old people are sitting around waiting for their turn to be prodded, perforated or penetrated – in a medical way of course. No one looks happy to be there.
A drink is offered; a most disgusting clear liquid that ‘cleans the pipes’ so to speak. At least that is what I am told. Better Half and I check our email on our iPhones.
A loud – no, very loud – woman and her even louder daughter break the tranquility of the office and the old man a few seats away wakes with a jolt, his elderly body moving from a collapsed inflatable human to soldier-straight in about 2 seconds. The woman and her daughter provide all manner of personal details to the counter ladies in a voice that can probably be heard at the Plaza de Toros a good 15 blocks away in García Ginerés and their evident and complete lack of concern for their surroundings is astounding. From their look, their tone and their loudly-shared information which would make identity theft a piece of cake, we can surmise that they are of the so called clase acomodada, that breed of Meridano who has the oblivious self-confidence and indifferent arrogance of those born to have a muchacha, a mozo and a chofer at their beck and call 24/7. After a few minutes of teeth-gritting conversation, they also fall silent and poke at their phones.
Finally, thankfully, my name is called and I am directed to a small room with a hospital bed and instructed to remove my shirt and put on the classic hospital gown that everyone has come to know and love featuring it’s stunning pastel tones and daring back-cleavage-exposing aperture. A catheter (is that what they are called?) is placed on my hand, inserted into a vein and a syringe attached. The liquid is yellow-green from what I can see. I onehandedly play with my iPhone and take pictures of myself while I lie there waiting for something to happen.
It does and I am wheeled into the operating room where Dr. Peniche Gallareta, whose brother I know from my days in the printing business, welcomes me as the intern rolls me on my side like a beached walrus, folding and placing my arms just so. The good doctor also chides me after finding out how long I have had my heartburn issues. If there is one thing I love about doctors and dentists, it’s how they manage to scold you when you finally do go and see them.
Yes, it has been a while.
Yes, I should probably have come earlier.
No, actually I never floss.
In any case, the syringe is injected, I am given something plastic to bite on, the doctor asks how the sleepiness is coming along and before I know it I am paying at the counter. I have NO recollection of the endo-process, the wheeling back into the little room, the removal of the afore-mentioned SexyBack gown, putting on my shirt or walking to the counter. My first memory is of paying the bill!
Now, I must take the beautiful color photos of my charming insides to a specialist so he can tell me what comes next.
I can’t wait.