Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Chicken's Revenge

"Don't finish all of the gravy"

These where the instructions I received last Saturday as we sat in SUNTEC's food court finishing a meal of Vietnamese chicken curry.

As the shard of bone embedded itself in my throat my wife's instruction was still ringing in my ears. There are few words to describe the feeling when you instantly know that you have ignored sensible advice and are about to suffer the consequences.

So began my week. For the first couple of days I was of the opinion that the offending shard would make its own timely exit. By Tuesday I was not so sure and on Wednesday I took myself off to the company-designated doctor.

Waiting in a Singaporean doctor's is an interesting experience - very efficient and if you have three hours to spare you could try for a walk-in appointment (which isn't an appointment at all).

My first visit resulted in a the classic probing by spatula and a packet of strong medicinal lozenges. I have been anticipating that the medico might assault my larynx with a length of flexible tubing but this was not to be. An X-ray was suggested but I declined.

The next day I returned saw another doctor at the same clinic and took the X-ray. No bone fragments were in evidence but just to be sure you recommended I visit an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at Mt Elizabeth hospital.

As this second consultation had taken most of the morning I decided to press on with the specialist appointment mid afternoon. At least I would have piece of mind.

Punctually at three o'clock I arrived at the E&T clinic. One can always spot the difference between a doctor's and a specialist clinic.

The doctor usually has one online machine to extract payment from your credit card, whereas the specialist will often have up to four at reception to make sure that they can extract their fee from what ever card you choose to use.

The other thing about specialists' clinics is that they are often small and have their walls festooned with graphic charts and diagrams of the body parts that are about to examine. My specialist had these illustrations in 3D extruded plastic.

The half hour examination was nowhere near as unpleasant as a colleagues had predicted it would be. The laryngoscope is a miniature camera attached to a very fine cable which was fed down my nose.

As the patient in the chair you are able to watch this 'Journey to the Bottom Of My Throat" on a large screen at the same time as the specialist soothingly describes the procedure. I have to say that normally the last thing I want to see on any screen is an operation. I prefer to channels but this was not going to happen.

No chicken bone was in evidence so we can assume that what I was feeling was the after effects of the bone - a phantom effect which is not uncommon.

Having carefully extracted the wafer thin tube the good doctor then proceeded to burn me a disk of the investigation for my personal record. Thus far I have resisted the temptation to share it with others on YouTube.

$300 poorer I made my way to the surgery door. Full of assurance he said that it would appear the offending object had departed, but he couldn't be totally sure as sometimes small bones get covered by skin very quickly.

I could always come back and see him if need be........

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