It’s almost a year now since I became a slave of this kind of illness that when I tried to sleep, I would wake up with a pain in my chest then suddenly I was out of breath. Due to this, I was afraid to go to sleep for many nights.
‘But I didn’t want to die at young age!’ I said to myself one night when I could not sleep.
Thinking it was a heart disease, I was in and out of the hospital for my cardiologists and after undergoing to a lot of test like ECG, blood test, xray, and TMT, my doctor and the test results would always say to me ‘You’re normal’. Then later on, I would receive my prescribed medicine for my muscle pain in the chest.
The medicine, however, proved nothing to be but a mere toxin to my liver because the medicine was not actually the medicine that I needed to cure my illness as my condition did not improve even a single bit.
Unfortunately, going to hospital in Saudi Arabia is not a free or cheap procedure because of the sudden changes in our medical insurance policy, in which we have to pay 10% or 50SAR (maximum) of our total hospital bills per visit.
Discussing back my illness, I was really helpless and almost losing my hope because I saw no cure to my illness. Even the doctors couldn’t properly give me an accurate diagnosis.
When I felt very exhausted of going back and forth to the hospital and be given with same medicine by my doctors over and over again and almost wanted to give up my fight for a cure, I came to meet somebody who had similar characteristics to my condition. I was really happy at that time to actually know that I was not alone in my struggle.
According to him, I could have an acid reflux or heart burn, in which the gastric acid from the stomach goes up to the esophagus. When it occurs, it triggers pain in the chest that can be confused with pain similar to a heart attack.
Having that hypothesis in my mind, I went to see a gastro or stomach doctor last 27th September 2016. I came to meet Dr. Elwan in the hospital and I requested from him that I wanted to undergo an endoscopy in order to check if I had an acid reflux and/or hiatal hernia (hernia in the stomach). And so he scheduled me for an endoscopy on 10th October 2016.
On 9th October 2016, the nurse from the hospital called me to remind me about my schedule the next day and she advised me to do fasting starting from night of 10:00 pm until 8:00 am the next morning.
Fasting is necessary and a requirement in endoscopy so the doctor can see clearly what’s inside your stomach and to prevent you from vomiting while the camera is being stuck inside your esophagus.
When I arrived in the hospital on 10th October past 8:00 am, I immediately went to Family Clinic, which is near the hospital’s cafeteria. I gave my Iqama, medical card and approval letter (which I got from Dr. Elwan’s nurse) to the man in counter to open an account for Dr. Elwan.
After waiting for 5-10 mins, the man in the counter asked me to pay my total hospital bill of 50SAR. Upon paying my bills, he gave me my receipt and medical papers, which were my licenses to undergo the test.
When I signed and gave the medical papers to the nurse in Endoscopy Unit Room, I was given a name tag that was placed in my wrist.
The nurse then asked me to follow her to the elevator to go to the Minor Surgery Room in the second floor of the hospital.
Inside the Minor Surgery Room was my recovery bed before and after my endoscopy.
After escorting me to my recovery bed, the Endoscopy nurse asked me to wait in my recovery bed until the doctor would give his instruction.
When the Endoscopy nurse left, the other nurse in the Minor Surgery Room asked me to change to my hospital dress and instructed me to lie down in my bed so could put the needle (for the syringe) in my left hand.
After 10-15 minutes, the nurse in the Minor Surgery Room escorted me back to the Endoscopy room.
I was literally shaking when I arrived inside the Endoscopy room. I was nervous and afraid that I might not wake up after the test. I told the nurse about my situation but she asked to take deep breath and relax.
When I sat in the operating bed, a nurse sprayed something inside my mouth to numb my throat. Then she told me to lie down on my left side and with my back against the pillow. When everything’s all set, the doctor came to put a mouth piece inside my mouth and sedated me, and that’s everything I could remember.
I woke up 2 hours after the test and I found myself on my recovery bed in the Minor Surgery Room. Thank God I woke up. As I checked the time, it was 11:30 am and in front of me was my recovery food consisting of 2 sliced breads with cheese, banana, tetra pack juice and bottled water. It’s the most delicious food I’d ever eaten at that time. I was hungry and weak and wanted to go out from the hospital.
After finishing my food, I removed my hospital dress and went back to the endoscopy room. The nurse gave me the following: my medical prescription, diagnosis (doctor’s findings were GERD, antral gastritis and lower esophagitis), my sick leave letter for one day, and a picture taken by the endoscope as shown below:
The nurse told me to come back on 19th October to know the diagnosis of the biopsy of the tissue taken inside my stomach. She also advised me to avoid stress, sweet foods (e.g., chocolate), and spicy foods.
While still under the influence of sedative, I went to the pharmacy to buy my medicines and called it a day.
I arrived in my accommodation room at 12:30 pm.I immediately went to my bed and slept for almost an hour. But when I woke up, I had fever and pains in my throat, left hand and chest.
I immediately took some medicine to cure my pains and returned back to bed to sleep again.
The next day, my throat’s still painful, but good thing I didn’t have any fever.
One week after the endoscopy, I already felt an improvement to my condition and I would say that my endoscopy experience helped me to recover back to my health and removed all of my fears completely. However, I do not recommend you to follow what I did. It is still best to consult your doctor before doing anything to yourself.