Home > Life > The ongoing saga of Captain Maybe’s intestines

The ongoing saga of Captain Maybe’s intestines


As I suggested last week, I did go to a doctor’s on Friday. I procrastinated for a good while, but then finally set out for an ‘internal medicine’ clinic I’d seen nearby. The waiting room was pretty small, deserted but for me and the staff and bedecked in pictures of women – adverts, posters etc. I began to suspect that the doctor specialised in the wrong sort of internal medicine.

The doctor – a woman – spoke halting English, and told me that she couldn’t help me with my requests, but she directed me to another clinic above one of the banks at Bank Junction. So I went there.

As with the surgery I went to in Ansan, there were two doctors, a gastroenterologist and a cardiologist. I saw the cardiologist and he gave me a prescription for my sulfasalazine, and made an appointment for me to come in for a colonoscopy the following week (I’d been told to have one every year to keep an eye on things and check for bowel cancer).

After the consultation, a nurse gave me a little bottle of laxative – I shudder even to think of it again. She didn’t speak much English, and she took some time to try explaining when I was to take the two doses and what things I wasn’t supposed to eat in the meantime (corn and watermelon seeds).

After that I got my prescription (which seemed a fair bit more expensive than in Ansan) and headed to a dental clinic I’d noticed along my road. The name of this place was 런던 치과 – Reondeon Chigwa – London Dental Clinic. Its logo is a Union Jack in the wrong colours.

Inside, waiting in the waiting room, it turned out that the dentist had studied in Glasgow (assuming he named the clinic, he decided that Koreans would understand Geullaeseugo). The nurses at reception didn’t seem to speak any English, but they fetched the dentist and he was nearly fluent.

I had my teeth cleaned for ₩50,000 (about £25) and had a filling removed and redone for ₩5,000. (My opinion of the last dentist I saw, in St Helens, fell even further.) I thought I would also have some fillings at the visible edges of my teeth, where they go under the gums (which had some of which had been filled in St Helens but subsequently fallen out), but the dentist said they weren’t covered by insurance (and would cost ₩60,000 per filling) and suggested I come back another time.

On Monday evening, straight after my first day back at work I took the first dose of the laxative. It’s utterly vile stuff – it tastes kind of like sugary bleach. The previous times I’d taken a laxative like this (I’m not sure that it was exactly the same type), my bowels had opened in fairly short order to allow all the water I’d had to drink to gush through. This time, however, the laxative’s effect was much less dramatic. I sat on the toilet with my laptop and watched a couple of episodes of Dexter (a fantastic programme that I’ve recently started watching) – and very little happened faeces-wise.

It was only several hours after taking the laxative that the water made its way out of my body. In the morning, the same thing happened when I took the second dose – and I was still squirting liquid out of my arse a few hours after the colonoscopy.

Anyway, at 8:30am on Tuesday, I walked down the road to the doctor’s surgery and had my colonoscopy. The initial results were that there was no change from last time – some polyps, scarring from my colitis, but apparently no major issues. The doctor took a biopsy of a polyp and sent it for testing. He also told me that he wanted to change my medication because of sulfasalazine’s side effects: it causes infertility (reversible infertility, fortunately). He told me to come back next month once I’d used up my current prescription. He also gave me a print out of some pictures of the inside of my large intestine, and here it is:

Categories: Life
  1. 4 September 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Hey Buddy,

    Nice pics. It sounds like that experience was as good as it could be. I start my first (in three years) day at uni today. More sociology, always sociology. It’ll be forever, maybe.

  2. 5 September 2008 at 5:05 am

    Apart from the laxative, it was OK. I forgot to mention that they gave me some porridge as I left; it was surprisingly quite pleasant.

    I remember bits of the Sociology module I did before going to university – I thought it was a pretty interesting subject. Best of luck with the course (MA?).

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