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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Sunday, January 08, 2017

entry arrow4:50 PM | In the Hospital

They placed me in Cunningham Hall, informally known around the university hospital as the "dengue ward." I don't have dengue, but the hospital is already filled to overflowing -- I've heard that there are times patients can get stuck at an ER bed for two straight days -- and I am lucky to get a bed at all, in an air-conditioned hall, right at a corner that afforded me a bit of privacy in a place that has 18 beds. Getting a private room is out of the question. I don't mind: I figured I wanted to study people, and this was a perfect opportunity for that. I don't know if the other patients around me have dengue: the man on the next bed apparently has been suffering from severe pneumonia for some months now, but his diabetes is masking the normal fever that should have been a symptom to his distress. He looks grizzled and his skin is jaundiced but otherwise he moves about fine. I learn about his condition when he made a quick conference with his doctor this morning, and I was eavesdropping -- not for lack of restraint. In this close space, everyone eavesdrops. By day, the place is teeming with bantays and visitors and nurses and orderlies and the rare doctor making their rounds. I don't much like daytime in a hospital, I quickly decided: it is much too noisy, although I've surprised myself by being able to sleep through the noise and the abundance of fluorescent lighting. Sleep is good; it is antidote to the boredom of hospitals. By night, a comfortable kind of quiet settles down and only the nurses on duty make the tiniest bit of noise. They wake you every four hours or so, to get your vital signs, to adjust the drip of your IV, to ask you if you have drank water or peed or pooped. I make myself very helpful. Still, I don't feel sick at all -- although I know the pain in my stomach has been coated over by the magic of painkillers. I was doubling up in pain when I arrived at the ER only the other day, to be quickly administered to by doctors on duty who apparently used to be my students. (In my mind, I hoped I gave them good grades.) Now, lying on my bed, I'm watching the drip, I'm passing the hours, and I've made myself game to the battery of tests they're giving me. "As long as I'm here," I told my doctor, "I might as well get that complete physical exam I don't ever get to do every year because I'm always busy." So now I know my blood sugar level, my cholesterol level, my triglycerides level, and all the other vital information about our bodies that become paramount once you've reached the age of 40. I still feel the same, but I'm sure my diet beginning now will not say the same thing. Happy New Year.


[1] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich