Unexpected deployment in Berlin.

Unerwartete Operation

  • Friday, 15 January

  2:00 AM

I wake up in the middle of the night with a very strong, abnormal pain in my stomach.

 – 3:30 a.m.

The pain continues for another hour and a half and I have to go to my family doctor in Colombia. My mother.

 – 5:00 a.m.

After trying my doctor’s advice, trying to vomit, trying everything I could have read on Google, I gave up. My stomach felt like it was saturated with very sharp spikes, and I decided to drive to the nearest clinic on a very cold early morning when the snow started to fall and the cold hit my face.

 – 5:30 a.m.

We arrived at the hospital after 5 minutes in the taxi, which seemed like 2 hours, and rushed to the emergency room. We were very lucky because there was no one there and I was seen immediately. They gave me some painkillers which took effect after about 20 minutes. During this time, the pain got stronger and stronger, and I had never felt anything like it in my life.


The pain subsided.  They take blood samples, do an electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram and do everything possible to find out what I might have. Three people on my stretcher try to calm me down. At that moment they tell me that it is most likely a stone in my gallbladder.

 – 8:00 a.m.

After waiting a while with the medicine and the pain subsiding, they move me to a room in the emergency room. There I try to relax and get some sleep.

 – 11:00 a.m.

After a visit to two doctors in the morning and another echocardiogram, my diagnosis is confirmed: a gallbladder stone and that I will probably need surgery at some point in my life, but that it is not very serious. Most of the doctors spoke English, but so far not very well.

 – 13:00

A nurse comes into the room and speaks to us in German, with that characteristic tone that makes you think she’s scolding you. We didn’t understand anything, but the next minute a man came in and put me on my stretcher and took me into the corridor. I didn’t know what was going on, but I was standing in the middle of nowhere.

 – 1:05 p.m.

Out of nowhere a German doctor with a very bushy beard appeared, holding some papers in his hand, very friendly and wanting to speak Spanish. He started speaking English but then said he wanted to practise his Spanish so we didn’t see a problem. The first thing she asked me was if I had already signed the permits for the surgery. I was lying down and when I heard “surgery” my posture changed to a sitting position within 2 seconds. My eyes widened and I think my heartbeat accelerated a little. The doctor immediately realised that no one had told us. At this point, I asked him to speak to me in English because his Spanish was not enough to explain all the doubts I had at that moment. With the help of some diagrams that were on the papers and sitting on my gurney, he explained to me everything that was going on and that the operation had to be done in less than 72 hours, otherwise it could be dangerous for me.

 – 13:20

A porter arrives and I am taken by a lift through the long corridors of the hospital for almost four minutes. A cold, bleak atmosphere, accompanied by a small pain in my stomach, made my day a little sad.

 – 1:25 pm

We arrived at my new room. Number 13, thank goodness I’m sceptical about numerology. The room just for me, but with room for 2 more people. I asked about the window.

 – 19:00

Time for dinner, but there was nothing for this photo. I had to go without food until the operation, which could be on Saturday or Sunday. “Not you,” said the nurse. I was very hungry. I was only allowed to drink water. The instructions were given to me in very German English, as the nurses usually did not speak English well, but the hands were always ready to help.

 – 10:00

I close my eyes without much pain (after all the medication they had given me) and fall asleep. It was a very long day and I hoped that the operation could be done as soon as possible, probably Saturday afternoon or Sunday. That depended on the number of emergencies they had. In the meantime, I had my two room-mates snoring like speedboats in the Pacific at full speed. Finding no other remedy, I put on my headphones, listened to music and fell asleep.

 – 11:32 h

They wake me up without me knowing why. All I see is the time on a black clock perched on a nurse’s hand. She speaks to me in English and says: “The operation is taking place now. Again, I was too scared and my brain was not yet awake enough to process this information. “Go to the toilet, change your underwear and let’s go”. I obeyed his command, went to bed and back through the dark and cold corridors of the hospital.

 – 11:36 a.m.

I get to the surgery area, and here I don’t understand anything. Everyone was speaking German, and this language sometimes sounds as if they are insulting or calling each other names. Suddenly my stretcher stops in a room full of medical equipment and I realise it’s time. A doctor comes up to me, says he is the anaesthetist and explains everything that is going to happen. While he was talking, a very friendly nurse (who knew I was a bit scared) kept telling me “everything is fine, everything is fine”, which in English means “don’t worry, everything is going to be fine”.

 – 12:00

“Ok, we’re going to start now,” the doctor said to me and put an element on my nose that enclosed the anaesthetic gases. “Imagine a very beautiful place where you would like to be,” the doctor said and also told me in a very calm tone that many people start dreaming and that I should do the same. I closed my eyes and got ready to go back to sleep.

  • Saturday, 16 January

 – 4:30 a.m.

I wake up in the recovery room in the same pain as before, thinking that nothing had been done to me or that I had stayed the same as before. Suddenly I was told, at least that’s what I understood when they spoke to me in German, that everything was over and they would take me to my room. They gave me my tartar, which was very unpleasant, but it was very interesting to see how something so big can form in your body and cause so much pain. At that moment I realised that I had been operated on.

 – 7:30 a.m.

Bright lights, nurses entering the room and breakfast on trays woke me up. I was very tired and just tried to put my headphones back on and sleep.

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