Sunday, September 16, 2012

Growing old vs growing sick

I just came back today from a brief stay at the hospital. I have not logged on to my Facebook (something I have not been doing for a long time) but I'd like to thank all my friends for their well-wishes. Thank you, all of you! Here's a little blog to share my experience with you.

My thyroid removal operation (nothing deadly serious!) was on Friday. Soon after I woke up, I felt the urge to urinate. Here is Lesson No.1. When they tell you to fast before an operation, you'd better do it. It is no small matter if you have any urge at all to empty your bladder or your bowels immediately after the operation.

Well, that would have been the end of Lesson No.1 if I could even use the urinal and do it on the bed, even with all the tubes running across my body. But that was not meant to be. I could hardly squeeze a few drops out despite a great urge. I was told it might be due to the anesthesia or the painkillers. Painkillers?!! That's it. I recall that when I woke up the nurse asked if I was in pain. Desperate for any bit of pampering, I nodded yes. I must have been given another dose of painkillers. Lesson No.2. I didn't dare complain of any more pain after that. Each time a nurse asked "do you have any pain?", I cheerily said no. Nothing is worse than the urge to pee and still not able to.

That night, I heard the other chap in the room telling the nurse how he couldn't pee and how it hurt when he did. Apparently he had this problem longer and much worse. I thank God mine was only temporary. Lesson No.3: no matter how bad, there is always someone else in greater pain.

The real epiphany came when I realized that as we grow old, it is not the balding head or the wrinkled skin that will concern us the most. It is the pain that comes when we have to suffer certain conditions. Like the inability to pee when under an increasing urge. It was torturous. I thank God I am now back to my fully functional body and health.