To Each Scar a Story (this Is a Long One)
I have many scars. Some scars are from surgery while others are from injury. Some are obvious, some obscured and others that cannot be seen at all. Of all these scars it is my biggest that has the most interesting story.
It starts with a young boy who one day wakes to find he is feeling ill. Nothing major, just a slight tummy ache. He thinks little of it and heads to school as normal. However the next day he is still feeling ill so he tells his mother. She suggests letting it go a few days as it was the season for stomach illness. But the sickness did not go away instead it continues to grow steadily worse.
Finally convinced that this was more than just a stomach bug his mother takes him to see the doctor. The doctor asks exactly where the sick feeling is coming from but he cannot tell them as he feels ill all over his stomach. The doctor is stumped, what could it be? So he suggests that the young boy and his mother go to see a specialist paediatrician. Once they had entered the specialist’s rooms after having to wait what seemed an eternity the boy believed that this doctor was going to make him well. So with all smiles and happiness he jumps onto the exam table when asked. Now this quack, for that is what he is, instantly thinks to himself "This boy is not sick! He must be faking, or else..." Noting that the mother was watching him closely he made a quick check over the boy and sends him on his way.
Now, unbeknownst to the boy the Quack wrote a letter to the boy’s regular doctor saying that there was nothing wrong and this letter was entered into the boy permanent file. But there was something wrong. So when the mother brought the boy back again the doctor, because of the expert option of the paediatrician, would only make a show of examining the boy and send him on his way. This continued on for a year before the mother demanded tests on the boy. The doctor reluctantly ordered a blood test.
The boy fronted up for the test, but he is nervous as anyone would be. Ushered into the little room the nurse stuck him with the needle but couldn't draw blood. So she tried the other arm with the same result. By now the boy was ready to leave but they wished him to remain. An orderly was sent for to stand imposingly in the door and then they tried again but nothing. Finally the boy had had enough but they needed blood, so the orderly held down his arm as they tried again. The boy was really scared and wriggling to get away and three more orderlies were called for to hold him down as they tried again and again. Finally with much pain and tears from the boy the mother called halt the exploration for oil and left. When they went back to the doctor all he would say was "We need a blood test". He however, after a few more pestering visits, finally and reluctantly agreed to different tests on the boy’s liver. Then the spleen. Then the intestines. Then the bladder. All the while the boy was getting more and more ill as the months as years wore on. He was referred to naturopaths for Irritable Bowl, given x-rays to see if there was a blockage. Each test down, each negative result gave weight to the quack’s original opinion.
After five years the doctor had a quite word to the mother saying he thought that it may be hypochondria, the boy was having a hard time of school and didn’t want to go, so an appointment with a shrink was set. Each session with the shrink ended as it began, the boy was ill and the shrink frustrated. Finally after twelve sessions with the shrink he fronted the mother and said that the boy would only get better if he wanted too and sent her and the boy on their way. The doctor’s appointments were regular, every month they would be back at the doctors and every month nothing would happen.
It was then, about 18 months after, a friend suggested that they try a new doctor who had just started taking new patients. Filled with mistrust for doctors the boy lay on the exam table as the doctor poked and prodded. Finally looking to the boy he said “I think you have a Hiatus Hernia” and promptly ordered an endoscope.
The surgeon performing the endoscopy, another quack and the last I promise, as the boy was coming out of the anaesthetic told him the he did indeed have a Hernia and that he also had three ulcers the size of quarters from the years of acid reflux. The boy still groggy did not respond as quickly as he would have liked so the quack through some pills at him and stormed out. As the boy tried the pills he found that they did not work, he still felt so ill and the pain was so bad that he could barely function. Armed with the knowledge that had taken seven miserable years to gleam he and the mother demanded that they be referred to a surgeon in the city.
The specialist in the city immediately recognised the seriousness of the situation and booked a surgeon to perform an operation as pills “Would have no effect at this late stage!” Each person they talked to could not believe the incompetence of the first doctors and the quack on their journey. Even the surgeon stood with mouth hanging open as they related the boy’s story. He booked the boy in for the first available opening, over six months away. Now it may seem like this is the homeward stretch, but alas, it was not. For as the weeks passed by the boy’s sprit was wasting away, even though it was only months away the boy could never imagine feeling well. As the days filled with unbearable sickness and intolerable pain wore on the boy got closer to the edge. Finally he could take it no longer up-ending a bottle of pills. This time however, his stomach, far from the villain became the hero. Before any of the pills could dissolve he threw them all back up, and as the family’s finances where drained there were no others in the house. He could not slit his wrists, the memory of the blood test was still vivid in his mind and hanging was just not practical. All he could was wait.
At last the day of the surgery came and the boy, no spirit or fight left in him was wheeled into the OR with no fear. If he never woke up he would be would not wake to illness.
The surgery was a complete success and he cried as he realised for the first time in over eight years what it was to feel well. The only reminder for the journey that had almost ended his life, a twelve inch scar running up his stomach.