Free appendectomy!

Surgeon who did reconstructive work swings by at midnight. Peels off five mega-adhesive dressings from tummy, pulls out the daiquiri drain, does a quick stitch, replaces dressings with clean, slimmer ones. Says pain will subside, and is partly because he took my appendix out while in there. ‘It was in the way’. Tells nurse to remove final (unused) plastic IV device from arm. Free of these repulsive encumbrances at last.

They had just moved a new patient into a nearby bed. Even a non-medic can diagnose his condition: sleep apnea. Like a geyser erupting in a regular cycle of silence, approaching tremors, a massive whoosh, and a full-on 80dB explosive warthog snort, then a sort of spluttering subsidence. Over and over. When I complain, nurse gives me a sleeping pill. My first one ever. Another revelation – never realized how effective these things are.

Still clueless about how a hospital works. Most nurses have limited functions, like emptying bags of urine or taking blood pressure, and know nothing about your case. One or two will helpfully explain what is planned for you, but they’re basically guessing. Occasionally a busy one comes in and makes an executive decision – let’s remove that second plastic IV attachment. There is a hidden power guiding things somewhere out in the corridor. In terms of presence, doctors make up about 0.02% of the staff.

And on cue my colonoscopy guy drops by. Ten minutes to organize some meds, two hours to add up the bill – and I’m out.

Enjoying the view one last time…

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11 Responses to Free appendectomy!

  1. Paul says:

    I really think you should name and shame this hospital which firstly bodged a straightforward colonoscopy, and then randomly removed part of your body for no reason more than “it was in the way”. My confidence in HK’s medical system (which I have ben fortunate enough not to have needed to use in my 25 years here, but I guess the day will come) has taken a big hit from this tale.

    If this happened to me there’s no way I would be paying a cent.

  2. Joe Blow says:

    Yesterday I saw a colonoscopy ad on the side of a tram. I thought by myself, “Why don’t you stick that up your ***.”

  3. Cannotla says:

    “he took my appendix out while in there” – someone once told me that appendices are a delicacy in Kwangtung, especially gweilo versions. You should have demanded your cut….

    “They had just moved a new patient into a nearby bed. Even a non-medic can diagnose his condition: sleep apnea.” – really bad luck to get our old pal Reactor#4 in the next bed. But you’ll be sorry you didn’t take the opportunity to permanently snuff out his rants before escaping….

  4. Low Profile says:

    A tip for next time – the canteen in Matilda Hospital (where I had an incident-free colonoscopy several years ago) has (or had) the best Singapore fried noodles in town.

    Glad you’re on the mend. When I click on a picture in your blog I expect a well-chosen tune, not something yucky!

  5. Mark Bradley says:

    “A tip for next time – the canteen in Matilda Hospital (where I had an incident-free colonoscopy several years ago) has (or had) the best Singapore fried noodles in town.”

    The restaurant at Union Hospital is pretty good too if anyone lives in the Shatin area. Baptist Hospital really sucks and has horrible food. Hemmer’s photos give me Baptist Hospital vibes, though my surgeon there (my Ophthalmologist) did an excellent job. Good experience at Union with colonoscopy too.

  6. zatluhcas says:

    This reminds me vividly of my stint in Queen Mary two years ago to have my appendix out (because it was trying to kill me, not because it was in the way). Yes, the nurses were nasty and robotic but the doctors on the whole were lovely. And the whole thing was a couple of hundred dollars in the end (I paid with Octopus) so you gotta love that.

  7. justsayin says:

    ‘Still clueless about how HK politics works. Most politicians have limited functions, like distributing bags of free products or taking meetings, and know nothing about governance. One or two will helpfully explain what is planned for HK, but they’re basically guessing. Occasionally a busy one comes in and makes an executive decision – let’s remove that second part of ‘one country, two systems’. There is a hidden power guiding things somewhere out in the mainland. In terms of presence, heavyweights make up about 0.02% of the population.’

    How’s that for adaptation?

    Curious: what sort of COVID policies were in place in the hospital which shall remain anonymous?

  8. Knownot says:

    I heard the colon tear –
    A dreadful sound,
    A grievous wound.
    I shed a bitter tear.

    Can he soon recover?
    The bill is done
    And now he’s gone.
    The worst is over!

  9. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    If of interest to anyone now option for private: In March I (my insurance) paid for Endoscopy + Colonoscopy ( 1hr 15 Min.) HK $ 49,465.- at the Gleneagles.

  10. Jason90 says:

    Very glad to hear Hemlock is recovered and going home.
    Colonoscopy perforation rates are quoted at about 1 in 1,500 to 1 in 10,000 depending on the study, but, alas, there is a small risk of perforation with every colonoscopy.
    Colonoscopy is the best way of finding and removing pre-cancerous polyps, and thus preventing colorectal cancer.
    Colorectal cancer is about to become Hong Kong’s biggest killer (as lung cancer deaths are declining as fewer people are smoking). Whilst reducing lung cancer is a great triumph, having an almost entirely preventable disease – colorectal cancer – as your biggest cause of death is not – perhaps even an embarrassment – which is maybe why the Hong Kong Government now has a colorectal cancer screening programme – and adverts on the sides of buses etc.
    Readers – please don’t be put off by Hemlock’s unfortunate experience – at least he’s guaranteed colorectal cancer-free for the next 5-10 years (depending on whether he had any polyps removed – we don’t need to know) and get your colorectal cancer screening. I have mine regularly.
    @Paul – the hospital didn’t perforate Hemlock’s colon – if anyone is responsible it’s the doctor who performed the procedure – but it’s most likely bad luck – as we see perforations with very experienced endoscopists who are well out of their learning curves.

  11. asiaseen says:

    A marginally related example of HK bureaucratic joined-up thinking from the overly verbose vaccination booking website:

    It is not mandatory for registrant(s) to provide the personal data as required in this registration. However, if registrant(s) do not provide such personal data, OGCIO will be unable to process the booking request.

    A classic Catch 22

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