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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Complications of a Visit to a Walk-In Medical Clinic │ Photos of My Wife Jack at her Nong Soong (Thailand) Family Home

This has been a day that I never even remotely anticipated!

I had another abominable night last night, unable to be free enough from pain to sleep well.

With the swelling over my left temporomandibular joint area being as fearsomely robust as ever ─ just as if I had a very large orange embedded in my face ─ I decided that I needed to get some medical attention.

I am not one to take pain medication, but the previous day I had resorted to a total of three Advils, and I could see that I was soon going to likely be taking my first this day.

So I popped one, and at perhaps 8:45 a.m. set off afoot on the hike to the Cedar Hills Medical Clinic about four blocks away ─ Cedar Hills is located roughly at 128th Street & 96th Avenue here in Surrey

It probably was a half-hour before I was summoned from the common waiting room to an examination room where I probably waited another half-hour.

When a doctor finally engaged with me, his observation was that what I had developing on the left of my face was "most impressive " The doctor was Arun Bhatt.

He agreed with me after an examination that the "collection" probably was unrelated to any dental root issues. But as far as he was concerned, he wanted me to accept his referral to the emergency area of the Surrey Memorial Hospital six or so blocks away.

I believe that it was he who was the first to settle upon my parotid gland being at fault for all of this. It had somehow become blocked, and was no longer draining.

When he learned that I would be walking to the hospital, he insisted that due to the numerous inches of wet snow slowly washing away, he would personally have a cab summoned for me.

His solicitation was marked; so even though I would have to pay for the ride, I agreed to his offer, and was soon in the main waiting room again awaiting the taxi.

When it arrived, I found a young South Asian man behind the wheel. We fell to talking ─ my swelling was apparent enough even though I had a green hood over my head.

By the time he had delivered me to the outside of the emergency area, he not only wished for me the best possible outcome, but said that he would pray to God for it to be so.

The fare was well over $7, so I just gave him a ten.     

And a new round of experiences were set in play for me.

So many things took place, starting off with a blood test to determine conclusively that I had an infection. I was told that I most certainly did.

The process at Surrey Memorial can be ponderously slow. After about three hours, I was interviewed by a Dr. Christian Cheung. He wanted me to go and see a Dr. Mark Miller, an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist. He had an office just a short walk up the King George Boulevard, for he was not present in the hospital. 

It was bitterly cold outside, I found. Or maybe it was just me in my feverish state.

I may have had to wait an hour before being seen by Dr. Martin. He was a very stocky chap with whitish hair, and seemed to require the use of a cane.

He interviewed and examined me, and then announced that he was going to try something that I was not going to like very much. And with that, he basically surrounded me and then proceeded to press with goodly force upon the swelling, as if attempting to express its contents.

It was excruciating, and my hands and arms were raised defensively as if I was prepared to grapple with the man, and all the while I was declaring pseudo-profanity ─ instead of using actual curses, I was loudly saying things like, "Curse words! Curse words!" over an over just to get across my intent.

I told him that had he seen me three or so hours earlier when my Advil capsule was still managing my pain, I might have been able to bear better his punishment, but the pain had returned and I had been sitting in his waiting room fidgeting from it.

He said something to his receptionist when I also said that I had not had anything to drink since first leaving home in the morning ─ one of his prescriptions of advice was that I drink lots of water through each day.

He was not done with the brutality, however. After inserting a tongue depressor into to slightly opened mouth ─ I can barely work a finger between my two rows of teeth, so reduced is my ability to open my mouth ─ he proceeded with yet another attempt to extrude some of the "collection," and got similar physical reaction from me as before.

His Asian receptionist showed up with a bottle of chilled water, and even gave me one of her own Advils when she learned that I had not brought any with me ─ evidently she sometimes needs their use, In fact, she then went and got an unopened bottle from her own supply and turned them over to me in case I might need any later. I still had to return to the Surrey Memorial for more treatment,  

It was definitely a miserable stroll back to the Surrey Memorial ─ a cruel, cold wind was blowing.

I was to see Dr. Cheung again, but that took time ─ there was a fairly lengthy line-up at admittance allowing me access to the operational area...and I had no idea how to find the guy anyway. Heck, I had gotten lost just trying to leave him earlier to keep the appointment with Dr. Miller.

I was to be moved around ─ sitting and waiting, but this time shirtless and with a gown covering me ─ for maybe another three or so hours.

Ultimately, I was given a CAT scan ─ something I never imagined in my life to be voluntarily submitting to.

And then came an antibiotic IV drip ─ I believe that I correctly took note that the antibiotic was clindamycin.

Eventually they were through with me for the day, and I was free to head on for home ─ on foot, of course. It was after 7:00 p.m. by that point, so my day from the time I entered the Cedar Hills Medical Clinic until this point when I was heading home from the Surrey Memorial was more than 11 hours.

And I had a 7:00 a.m. appointment for another antibiotic drip the next morning ─ this time at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre.  A walk to get there from home would be a little more ambitious, for it is just over eight blocks distant (a mile) from where I live.

As I was walking home along the noisy 96th Avenue, I answered my ringing cellphone, thinking that it was one of the household trying to reach me ─ I had often kept the phone turned off. But an unfamiliar female voice enquired if I was me ─ I could barely hear her over the traffic noise as I trudged a sidewalk still snow-covered.

I allowed that it was me, but that I had just left the hospital and was walking home, and in no position for a conversation. She said something, but I couldn't catch it. So I disconnected us.

It was just my luck, I thought, to have taken one phone call all day, and to have it turn out to be someone I didn't know ─ maybe even someone related to one of the banks my wife and I deal with.

I arrived home to find just my youngest step-son Poté (and his girlfriend) home. He was quick to come to me to see where I had been all day, for it is uncharacteristic for me not to be home ─ especially looking as grotesque as I do.         

I never took a photo of myself this day, despite taking two on each of the previous three days. But I think the swelling was even bigger. Dr. Cheung couldn't resist getting some photos with his phone, for he ─ as well as each of the other physicians ─ maintained never to have seen anything so peculiarly large.

So I filled Poté in on much of my experiences, and mentioned that I had the 7:00 a.m. antibiotic IV drip scheduled. He then told me that I had two messages awaiting me on the house-phone answering-machine relating to that.

We played them ─ it was indeed the same voice that I had hung up on just a short while before. She identified herself as something that sounded like "Boo-zhay."

She was calling from Jim Pattison concerning the morning appointment ─ I had been set up for 9:00 a.m. That was when that section of the centre opened.

Well, that was good news ─ I would have an extra two hours to get there.

But Poté stepped up and said that he would drive me.

My younger brother Mark was soon home, and got his own recount of my day.

We settled in to watch some evening T.V. via our Android TV Box, and I tried a little supper ─ my first meal since midday the previous day. I had eaten nothing in between.

Poté had given me two samosas, and some dipping sauce. I had to take off pieces of each samosa with my fingers, for I could not open my mouth wide enough to take a bite. I would dip the piece into the sauce, and then press it between my two rows of teeth.

The tartness of the sauce, and possibly spicing of the samosas themselves, seemed to be strongly affecting my salivary (parotid) gland. I could hardly stand the assault.

The ENT specialist Dr. Miller had said to try and eat things to stimulate the gland ─ sharp and sour flavours, such as a lemon.

But I think that the forceful pressure he had applied to the swelling must have opened up some channel to that area of the gland, for I found myself barely able to tolerate flavours. I followed up the samosas with the last of some congee (rice soup) that is normally practically bland, but this time each small spoonful took long to succeed the previous one because of how paralyzing the flavours had become to the tortured gland.

It was good to be finished eating. It was not much at all, but I did not want more.

I only managed to bear drinking one can of my strong (8% alcohol) beer ─ I seemed to be hitting the wall where my day's endurance was concerned, and I longed for bed. I had even gotten to be feeling cold after I finished eating. I had pulled on a sweater over what I already had on, and then I put on a bulky bomber-style jacket. I ended up watching T.V. garbed like that while reclined on the chesterfield with a heavy blanket over-top me.

It was probably something like 10:40 p.m. when I let Mark know that I had to get myself to bed ─ I had amazed myself for lasting that long.

Since I have no photos of myself to post, I will post some that were taken last Fall when my wife Jack charged the fare to fly back home to Thailand to see her mother after well over 3½ years.

This collection or sequence of images were apparently taken while some sort of special big meal was being prepared ─ in would be within the large Nong Soong village where Jack's family home is. Nong Soong is at most a 15-minute drive from Udon Thani

My estimate is that it is the evening of November 4, 2016. Jack looks amazingly well and quite naturally beautiful in these two shots as she lends at hand in the preparation of something for the table:



Another element of that meal being prepared:


Another couple of shots of Jack busy in this kitchen:



Perhaps the setting is actually Jack's home itself ─ this alternate kitchen view more closely resembles what I can remember of the kitchen (I do not know who the young woman is):


The same young lady is in this next photo, which very much makes me believe that the setting is Jack's family home. The woman at the left is Jack's sister Lumpoon, while I think the woman at the right on the bench is Sujittra, Jack's former sister-in-law (that is, the ex-wife of Jack's brother Santi):


One of my wife's oldest and dearest friends is Daisha, a gay man I have always enjoyed drinking with. He appears to be lending a hand in the food-preparation:


Some of the diners ─ at the left is the husband of Jack's sister Lumpoon; the smiling gal in the centre is unknown to me; and I think that the partial view of the woman at the extreme right is offering enough for me to recognize Jack's other sister, Penn:


Further along at that same table are my wife Jack and her old friend Daisha, who can never seem to resist being something of a clown:


Another photo of one of the young lasses I am unable to identify:


And that was the final photo from that sequence.

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I am going to close out today's post with a journal entry from 41 years ago when I was 26 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting that small space in a house located on Ninth Street, and one or two houses up from Third Avenue.

I see that I had for the day's agenda a hike out to visit my mother Irene Dorosh in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey. The little house that she and her husband Alex made such a warm home of is gone now, but its address was 12106 - 90th Avenue. It was my main mailing address.

To hike there from my room would take about 1½ hours of fast-paced trekking.

The evening prior to this entry, I sought my bed at 8:30 p.m.
TUESDAY, February 10, 1976

I arose about 3:25 a.m. at most, freshly aware of a recent dream involving an Indian attack of the old West on a large group of travellers; they had to give everyone a fatal wound, and their favourite was driving an arrow through the top of the skull and out the jaw or chin region, which for some reason left the victim alive and mobile for hours and hours so he could die pretty well at the Indians' convenience. The attack was awful. Frankenstein's monster seemed to be represented amid the mortally injured survivors.

Anyway, I felt no hungrier on arising than is the usual case. I am anxious to weigh myself at mom's.

I recall another dream. It seems Mark & I were together under the same roof, and so was Cathy, I guess. Anyway, he brought home another girl he was interested in (hight Nikki?) who looked much like her, and in the upset there stood for me opportunity to make one mine; however, my lack of esteem for myself held me from involvement. 

But really, I'm extremely disenchanted with Cathy, and never did have much in favour of people so self-righteous and blind, hostile, and socially selfish to the point of lacking any consideration and proper conduct in the dealing with others. I've felt this way some months about her, and could never desire her as I used to. She is obviously sick, and poison to any relationship I could help create.

Getting back to the dream; Sparky was in it. 

My complexion today is disappointing, but I'm leaving for mom's short of 6:00 a.m. in some rain.

I got to the bridge before some man offered me a lift I didn't want; he was heading home to White Rock after spending the night with his girl, but he took me right up Scott to my turn-off. It was pouring now, and cold.

I felt obliged to wait out in the back for nigh 25 minutes 'neath some shelter till Alex went to work, then I presented myself.

Mail awaiting me included an entry ticket to a Playboy sweepstakes, my Canadian Championship DogDerby Sweepstakes ticket, and a Church of God letter.

In today's mail came another Playboy ticket and a letter from Jean.

I didn't plan to, but I ate a full glut; however my weight before beginning was no more than 184, considerably lower than Friday's 190+. If I keep my eating minimal while home, I should reach a goal of under 175.

Phyllis visited for quite a while today.

My walk home was easy enough; it was just spitting rain, but windy. My foot is still troublesome.

At mom's I discovered the effects of a throat infection seemed in the first stage, if the signs bode true.

My bed ─ 8:30 p.m.
I used to remember so many of my dreams ─ that ability has faded in the intervening decades.

"Cathy" was my younger brother Mark's girlfriend, Catherine Jeanette Gunther. Despite my negative assessment of her, my depths must still have been infatuated with her if I was having a dream wherein Mark was jeopardizing his relationship with her by bringing home some striking lookalike ─ Jeanette and Mark lived together, after all. It would have been a perfect set-up to potentially forge a relationship with Jeanette if Mark's actions broke them up.

"Sparky" was a childhood Spaniel we owned for maybe as many as nine years, until a neighbour accidentally poisoned him in an attempt to poison an especially nasty German shepherd none of us cared for. Sparky found the bait instead.

Even though I never wanted a ride, I would accept one when offered because I knew that the Good Samaritan was doing his civic best. But getting me to my mother's home so early meant that I had to wait until her husband Alex had gone to work ─ I always figured that he was sick of me for how often I came visiting.

An American pen-pal ─ Jean M. Martin (née Black) ─ sent me a letter that arrived that day.

I doubt that I dropped my body-weight to under 175 pounds ─ most of my adult life I have weighed in the low 180s.

It was my older maternal half-sister Phyllis who came to visit our mother while I was there.

Anyway...so my day exactly 41 years ago!
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