On the fourth Raya I was tossing and turning at night with a cold sweat and biting back tears while my husband rub some minyak kayu putih onto my stomach and my back.
After the ointment and a bowl of Special K, I felt some relief and my husband said: we should go to the hospital.
And so we did, after waking up Kuzco, my then housemate (sadly for us, Kuzco has gone back to Malaysia, leaving me at a lost next time I want to knead some dough) to give him the baby monitor so that he will be roused from his sleep if any of my sons start to wake up. We then left the house at 6 am to go to the nearest hospital.
Why the hospital, you may ask, and not a clinic? Over here, the NHS (National Health Service) system is a little different. To go to a ‘clinic’ like in Malaysia is somewhat similar to going to the ‘Health Centre’ here. Everyone is supposed to be registered to their own personal GP at their nearest Health Centre . In all honesty, the service they give here is of a high standard and it’s free, but do you know how difficult it is here to get to even see the doctor?
Every time I call the doctor to make an appointment for my children, my husband or myself, the doctor’s receptionist will tell me that the doctor can only see me next week, at the earliest because his appointment book is full for the week. Needless to say, by the time we reach our appointment date, we have either successfully self medicated ourselves with medicine from Malaysia or from the pharmacy (since coming to the UK as a 'mother' who is supposed to care for her family, I have learnt to self medicate, to learn the names of suitable medicine for my family and I have also brought lots of medicine from Malaysia because I knew of the 'situation' here from previous experiences) or the sickness has taken its full course and we have recovered with our own antibodies – and you know how horrible that can be.
That’s why we opted to go to the hospital and not bother to call the Health Centre for an appointment to see the doctor.
Back to my story. There was no one in the reception area of the hospital except for a woman who was whimpering on a wheelchair, obviously in some kind of pain. There were two men behind the counter, dressed in normal clothes and I went directly to them, to enquire about seeing a doctor.
The large bearded white Brit who interviewed me was not too kindly. He asked me a few standard questions about my condition and said without compassion, “You should really be seeing your own GP (at the Health Centre) for this.” I think he was probably assuming that I was having some menstrual cramps or something and so I replied;
“Don’t give me that shit! I’m here at the hospital to see the doctor and you’ve got no right to turn me away, you fat arsed wanker!”
Heh. I wish.
Instead, I said with a wince and an exaggerated moan to make sure he knows that I indeed have ‘a case’ to go to the hospital: “Well...I was in pain all through the night…”
Fortunately for me, he looked at me and just nodded and asked me to sit down. A few minutes later, my name appeared on the screen and I went directly to the examination room. The person sitting at the doctor’s table was none other than the man I saw entering the hospital main entrance just a few minutes before that, who I was sure was one of the hospital’s staff because he waved to the men at the counter and went straight inside, but I would never have guessed that he was one of the medical staff - because of his extremely casual dressing. He was wearing an old and worn denim jacket and a cap and carrying a bag pack over his shoulder. On top of that, he walked with a street swagger. So I had thought; he must be one of the hospital’s cleaners who was friendly with the the admin staff.. no doubt.
It turned out that looks can be deceiving indeed and he was a doctor, and a kind and polite one too at that. Sorry, doctor.
Dr Uduku was obviously not a Brit. As he asked me questions and checked my urine sample and blood pressure, I curiously thought, isn’t he supposed to be serving the people in his own country? I’m sure they need him more than the well nourished and over eating people here. But I wasn’t about to ask him that directly because, well, I really am a well behaved person.
The results were good, thank God. Nothing serious, just mild gastric pains, Dr Uduku announced. At that, I wondered what a full blown gastric pain would feel like and I thank God that mine was not so bad. In truth, I did not understand 50% of what the doctor said but fortunately, I managed to understand when the doctor advised that I eat regular but small meals, to stop eating 4 hours before I go to bed and to not forget to take the medicine he has prescribed.
The good doctor then proceeded to type something on his computer and printed out my prescription and minutes later, I left the hospital with my husband, feeling reasonably satisfied and happy that I have had some medicine prescribed for me by an actual GP – unlike the medicine I normally take.
We went to a pharmacy later and my husband had to pay £13+ (bloody expensive!) for a bottle of some white stuff and some capsules which I later realise has gelatin in the coating. One week later, I am still feeling a little pain now and then but there has been no more sleepless nights and I hope to completely recover soon, God willing.