Monday, 7 November 2011

Gladiator - blood and piss

Thursday 27th October was a busy morning. I needed blood, urine and heart tests so that Dr Jimmy could prepare for the operation. It gave me a first taste of the speed and efficiency of the Singapore medical system.

I showed up at a the blood laboratory, which looked more like the foyer of an accountancy firm. I took a a supermarket-style queue ticket, waited for 2 minutes, and went inside when my number was displayed. The nurse was a tiny old lady with a wrinkly, smiley face. I hate needles, and had to turn away while she did her job. She rubbed my arm with an alcohol wipe and said 'there, finished'. I hadn't even felt the prick! I confirmed my details printed on the vial, and the results were emailed to my doctor within a couple of hours.

When doctors suspect cancer, they measure certain hormone 'markers' in the blood before the operation. This provides a 'baseline' against which they can measure the impact of the surgery. Little did I know that just 48 hours later, my markers would give me the fright of my life.

The urine test was a little more eventful. It was my first time. I was expecting to be handed a caraffe-type bottle of about a litre. Instead, they gave me a plastic container no bigger than a 35mm film case. Suffice to say that I ended up emptying the rest room of liquid soap and paper towels. Again, the test results went almost instantly to Dr Jimmy.

The Electrocardiogram (ECG) is a machine to monitor heart condition. The senior nurse gave me the best news I'd heard in ages: 'you records say you're 41, but your ECG says you're young and athletic'. We took the spiky graphs directly to Dr Jimmy, who studied all the test results and declared that we were ready to operate on Saturday morning at 7am.

All 3 tests had all been completed in one systematic morning, the results were already being sent to the anaethsatist, and I waddled off to the restaurant for a delicious Malay lunch.

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