Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Kazan Week 5 - "What's it like being in a Russian hospital"

September 14, 2015
All is well :) Thank Goodness

As many of you know.... I've been having some pretty nasty health issues lately. And it completely took me out of the work this week. Tuesday morning I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, crazy uncomfortable chest pain that I have never had. Eating was especially a chore... it felt like I was eating rocks or sending a grater down my esophogus anytime anything went down. I called the mission doctor and he set up at appointment for me at a clinic on Tuesday evening. ... they checked me out and everything was fine with my pulse, no pain in my stomach, they even did x-rays on me. They found nothing. So they told me that I would need to have a stomach scope done. For those of you who don't know what that is... that's where they stick a camera down your throat and have a look at your insides. Yaaaaay. That would take place Friday morning. 

By Wednesday my pain levels were at a constant 5-6 and by evening it was getting 7-8 constistantly. What really began to scare me was when breathing deeply became painful. Here I am, a 20 year old young girl and I felt like I was about to hit my 85th birthday. Sooo by that point we decided it would be best for me to take it easy before my appointment on Friday.

Here we are. September 11. And I go in for my scope........ never have I been in more discomfort in my life. It was like someone was telling me, "hey I'm going to stick my finger all the way down your throat, but you need to keep breathing and try not to gag." Imagine shoving a hot dog up and down your ephogous and trying not to gag? Really. So obviously it was hard for them to snap a picture of the problem because poor Sister Wilson couldn't stop gagging. I'm sorry but I'm just not used to people touching me in my throat, stomach, and esophagus. 

Finally when they got a decent enough picture they took out the camera and I just layed there exhausted for a moment. When I came to myself they told me what the problem was. Which I had no idea what the word meant, so I had to look it up in my little handheld dictionary. I guess I have 2 ulcers in my throat. I really hate that word... ulcer. But I have them, so that's that. He said to me, "I really don't like one of them, it's about a centrimeter big... and the problem is that it's bleeding a little bit." They called in some other doctors and they agreed that it was serious enough that they called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. 

Upon arriving at the hospital they did some more testing on me. I felt like a labratory experiment. The doctor who was working with me then announced that I would need to have another scope done. I could not stand the thought of having that procedure being done on me twice in one day. The thought was absolutely repulsing. In that moment I felt so awfully desperate, I was looking for some sort of comfort or a hug from someone. I remembered prayer and the atonement and prayed for strength through my Savior. I walked into the room where they do the procedure and sat down on the table. As soon as the doctor lifted her hand to begin, I started crying. I was in noooo condition to have that done to me twice in one day! It was completely traumatizing the first time and didn't feel comfortable enough with anyone doing it because all the doctors were so impatient with my language barrier. Frustrated, the doctor threw up his hands and said, "I don't see a point in doing a second one either!" He then sent me back to the other doctors and told them that I was refusing help. Sooo they decided to keep my in the hospital under observation until Monday. It took some convincing to let my companion stay with me. But she was even able to get her own bed :) 

Up we went to our hospital room, which I was expecting to be private.... nope. There were six other beds with patients in them. That just overwhelmed me because what I really wanted was to be alone. I offered to pay more for a private room, but all the rooms in the hospital were full. I have never been poked and probed more in my life.  All I really wanted was my mom. Frustrated and exhausted, I collapsed on my bed and the tears came again. 

While I lay there sniffling an old woman laying across the room from me turned on her side and looked at me with a frown on her face, "Hey now... don't cry," she said with comfort in her voice. Her name was Lucia. I looked around the room at the people who surrounded me and one by one they each chimed in an told me that everything would be okay, and that I'm in a great hospital with wonderful nurses. Lucia, Yana, Anya, Valya, and Roostilia. I was honestly shocked by their kindness. Never have I been treated so warmly by strangers in Russia. A moment later a nurse came in with all sort of IV bottles and needles and looked straight at me. If anyone knows me... they know that shots are my biggest fear. Lucia told me to look to her and did a good job at distracting me by making interesting faces while the nurse got the IV situated in my arm. I stayed hooked up to that thing for a good 6 hours. 

The doctors told me that I would be staying overnight and that I wasn't allowed to eat anything for the day. Well.... I wasn't about to have a 40 hour fast so I went to the bathroom and secretly ate brownies in there. 

That night I got a call from the mission Doctor who told me that he had contacted a specialist in Salt Lake City about my ulcer and the specialist said that he doesn't think it will be a problem, but if the pain doesn't go down within 2 weeks that I would need to come home early from my mission. That thought didn't even cross my mind until that point and my ears just instantly filled with tears, I pushed the thought out and tried my best to get to sleep. 

Worst night sleep ever. It was like a war-zone in the middle of the night. People coming in and out and bringing in more beds and casualties who just had operations done. I wouldn't say that the hospital is the best place for resting in Russia.  

Morning... a nurse walked in with a tray of needles and every person in the room just instinctively turned on their sides, pulled down half their pant, and got ready for a shot in the bottom. I watched each person's face wince and decided in that moment that if they let me pass on the scope that they would let me pass on a butt shot. Unfortunately I was wrong. Everyone in the room knew I was afraid of needles and that's the last place I'd ever want one to go. Thankfully I got it overwith and everyone cheered and congratulated me :') 

I called our mission doctor at about 8:00 and he told me that it would be okay for us to check-out and go home and that it would be about the same if I layed in bed at home instead of at the hospital. The doctors were a little relluctant in letting us leave, but we got out, and gave out 3 Books of Mormon to doctors and to patients in the process :) I said goodbye to my new favorite friends. I felt a special connection to this group of people. All being pricked and probed and awkwardly having to undress all day. And then watching them take care of each other, offering support and pillows and words of comfort. They know how I feel, and I know how they feel. It's like the love I have for all the missionaries here, who go through the same things I do. 

Something interesting happened when we returned home from the hospital.... after about 2 hours of being home, I wanted to go back. I guess it was nice to have someone taking care of me. It was so so interesting all the time and having people to talk to and to baby me and take care of me like a mom, even if it was shots. 

My love for the Russian people grew more during these 2 days that it has my entire mission. I can honestly say that these are some of the best days that I have had here. I never imagined that spending time in a Russian hospital could be a good experience. But it will go down in history as some of the dearest days of my life. 

I feel that my mission was planned and organized to gain the optimal growth possible. I just feel like sometimes he sends me tests and trails and I feel like he wants to see if I can endure it well, and I feel like I fail the tests sometimes. But I don't know the answer key. God has known us forever and I can't ruin his plans, he's gotta have a ton of back up plans :) I'm just grateful that no matter what I do, and no matter what happens to me, this work will go forward, whether I'm apart of that or not.


Sister Brooklyn Wilson 

1 comment:

  1. Esophagoscopy is normally performed with topical anesthetics (say, lidocaine spray) used to numb the inside of the throat, so most patients experience no discomfort at all while some may still need moderate sedation. Were they out of the drugs?
    Your hospital room was pretty nice, though.