On Halloween day, I decided to be treated. And what I learned from a night in the hospital

I did think long and hard whether I should put this post up on the blog because it was not even one bit related to fashion or shoes. I thought it would be really bizarre for readers, especially first-timers who magically land on my blog to find a lot of entries about this pair of shoes or that pair of shoes and out of nowhere, there is a deeply personal entry in which I wax philosophical about illness and life. However, I have realized with each passing day that our life is multi-facted (as it should be), so while it’s really nice to have a thing or two that we feel passionate about and ready to talk about it any time of the day, it shouldn’t be THE only thing in our life. Plus, I really believe that this post is going to be very helpful for many people out there (if they stumble upon it) who are in the same boat. It’s all about virtual moral support. I experience this first-hand because no one I know went through the same thing so I’m having to resort to the internet for knowledge and reassurance.


I was hospitalized last night. The timing couldn’t have been any uncannier (or more uncanny? Now you see how often I sweat over small stuff) because what happened to me last night had happened to me exactly a year ago, which has gone down in history as inarguably the most painful night of my entire life. The funny thing is I could have had it not happen yesterday if I had done what I was medically advised back then. So yeah, yesterday’s incident was self-inflicted in a sense. To make long story short (and spare you any unnecessary graphic details along the way), I experienced an excruciating pain in my upper right portion of my abdomen while I was in a cinema watching Paranormal Activity on a drizzling and chilly night a year ago. (Did I mention that mine has all the ingredients of a horror movie. Oh, it’s Halloween today. Happy Halloween.) I managed to soldier on until mid-night when I couldn’t take it anymore and asked my parents to take me to the hospital, which wasn’t a good time to be hospitalized because #1. the vast majority of doctors were home by then and thus the hospital were vacant and #2. the vast majority of patients who had to be there at that time were in a pretty terrible shape for one reason or another. When I first got there, I was in so much pain that my whole body sort of curled up into a fetal position and my face became contorted probably to the point that it must have been so laughable and ridiculous that the staff on duty that night literally couldn’t contain their laughter. Let just keep it short and simple by saying that I would have chopped their mouths off if I could. Anyway, I was given some painkillers which helped me sleep through the pain. The next morning, I woke up to do some basic tests and the doctor diagnosed me with an inflammatory gallbladder with some minuscule gallstones in it. Every symptom of a gallbladder attack was present. For those of you who are not familiar with your own body (my former self included), gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ near your liver that stores bile before it’s released into the small intestine. No need for an in-depth human anatomy lesson here so in a layman’s term, it helps with the digestive system. It’s a very useful organ but not vital, meaning your body still functions if it has to be taken out for whatever reasons. The doctor said while my case wasn’t urgent, it would benefit me to have it removed as soon as possible to avoid any future pain or delirious complications. I was so young and sure as hell didn’t want to part with any of my body part, so I adamantly refused. That was the main reason. The other was in the third world, many doctors have the habit of…I’m thinking of how to put this as lightly as possible…making surgeries happen way sooner than they should since more surgeries equal more money. The bottom line is I promised him to come back only to never actually come back.

Fast forward to a year later, same script same character. Oh but with a more civilized timing at a different hospital.

Fortunately, the episode was less intense this time around, and it actually receded by midnight without the aid of painkillers. My family insisted on me staying overnight just in case. Thus, I had some down time to look around and ponder. Here are the conclusions I reached after another unpleasant yet memorable night in the hospital:

1. Your body is your BEST business asset. Full stop. No, yesterday wasn’t when I was awaken to that mantra. I realized it a long time ago, but each trip to the hospital truly re-echoes in my mind what the singular most important asset anyone can have is. Since my problem is related to the digestive system, I stayed in that section of the hospital and witnessed many people especially middle-aged men suffer agonizing pains both pre and post-surgery due to their alcohol abuse and lifestyles. I sympathized with them yet couldn’t help but feeling that maybe they really, really needed this painful lesson. For some of them, the lesson was actually being re-taught. Sad, isn’t it? People often say only when in your deathbed do you learn what your priorities are, but I say it doesn’t have to be that way. We can set our priorities straight every single day by treating our body like a temple. Treating our body right every single day doesn’t guarantee that sickness or diseases will never befall us but #1: we greatly reduce our chances of having them, #2: our immune system will be strong enough to fight on, and #3: we don’t have to say if only or I wish when bedridden. Back when I was in the States, I had a bad diet. Not McDonald or junk food kind of bad but I really did have the art of extremity down to a science. I ate the spiciest or the sweetest or the saltiest food. I also led quite a sedentary lifestyle. My exercising was nil. I have completely changed ever since, and that has helped me keep my gallbladder under control for the past year. The condition didn’t exacerbate but didn’t improve which brings me to the next point.

2. It’s incredibly important to let go. I had an epiphany last night: I refused to go under the knife for the longest time not because I love my organ too much to say goodbye. The truth of the matter is I’m beyond scared of surgeries. “I never have one in my life” or “it will be so painful” is what fear has been whispering to me all along. However, when a body part is no longer fulfilling what it’s born to do and actually giving you pain, it’s essential to put it into context and follow the long-standing medical practice. Really, in just about anything else in life, fear is the fucking culprit. We settle for a mediocre relationshit because we’re terrified of never finding love again. We hate our job with a burning passion but we don’t let go because we’re afraid to be jobless. While I still have a whole lot to learn about confronting fear head-on and letting go, I can tell you that what has worked for me is to sit back, be honest about what’s holding me back, then educate myself about the alternatives and finally take the plunge. More often than not, letting go is the only way to healthiness and happiness.

 3. Doctors are modern heroes. Obviously, we’re talking about doctors who treat their job with integrity only. Watching them do their jobs during the wee hours of the morning makes everything that I have ever done in my whole life look like cake.

4. My aunt is one crazy woman. I had this aunt whose house I used to come over when I was a child because we were closer to her than the rest. However, as I grew up, it’s dawned on me how manipulative, authoritatative and insensitive she is. I appreciate that she rushed to my side when she heard the news, but that alone didn’t make me any less irritated at her repeatedly telling me to go find a job within a bank in my country because it’s the ONLY prestigious job in society and allows me to earn a shit-load of money. Generally speaking, family relationships are more entangled in my third world fatherland than they’re in the west. Family members like to pick their nose into others’ businesses, and they never know when to stop. It’s complicated to dig deep into this, so let’s just say I found her ulterior motive, narrow-mindedness and disregard for other professions extremely off-putting.

That’s all for now. Strangely enough, a post about my wandering thoughts after spending a night in the hospital turned out to be abnormally long. If you’re still with me, I know you really love me. I’ll most likely have this laparoscopic cholecystectomy thing done at some point within the next few weeks, which I’ll certainly blog about. I have been doing a lot of research online and felt much calmer and prepared. Until then, we’ll keep chatting about shoes and fashion 🙂

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  • Calvin

    Ditto with point no 4!

    • theconfuseddasher

      Ha. So it looks like my generalization that family relationships in Asia are usually unnecessarily complicated stands correct 🙂 Hope all is going well with you and the family, Calvin 🙂