Matthew Becker

Matthew Becker (Subornogram Foundation): Matthew received his B.A. in Political Science and International Business from Metropolitan State College in Denver in 2008. From 2008 to 2010 he worked as a community youth development volunteer with the Peace Corps in western Mongolia. Following the Peace Corps, Matthew taught in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and served as a juvenile risk assessor with a nonprofit in Colorado Springs. He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps Reserves. At the time of his fellowship Matthew was pursuing his M.S. in Global Affairs at New York University. After his fellowship Matthew wrote: "It gave me a better understanding of the problems Bangladesh faces and also issues surrounding the way NGO's work there. I got a better idea of the importance of journalism in advocating for human rights and education related issues for the communities that many people don't pay attention to or concern themselves with."


01 Aug

Matt in the Hospital
Matt in the Hospital


Often when friends or acquaintances ask me what I want to do in the long term, I half-jokingly tell them my plan is to live a life that is so exciting and interesting, that when I’m older, I can write a book about it and at least a few million people will want to read it. Jokes aside, that’s my retirement plan. It seems the universe has recently had a few things in mind to keep my life interesting and dramatic enough to allow me to continue to work towards this goal. Now, for the record, I’m not saying I live the most exciting life. I know of many people who are much more fearless, more adventurous, crazier, more fun and more creative and have stories that make mine look downright plain. That being said, a reasonable amount of people tend to like to follow where life takes me and seem to enjoy reading about my experiences. I always appreciate having supporters and dare I say “fans”, and I do my best to keep things interesting and entertaining.

Things I can now check off my list of life experiences: emergency appendicitis surgery in Bangladesh.

I never thought I’d be able to say that but here I am, still in my hospital bed in Dhaka, waiting to be discharged after about a week of pain, trauma, drama, cute but sometimes cold nurses, skinnier than I’ve been in years, trying to find the right mixture of words to describe the whole experience. To those who’ve followed the drama on Facebook, much of this will be repeated but I’ll include some of the details I left out over the course of the week. After finally having recovered from my foot trauma last week, I found myself suffering from some mild stomach pains. Dismissing them as hunger pains from not having consumed much the day before, I ate what I could find in my friend’s fridge and hoped it would go away. The pain increased, feeling like I had a small sharp rock in my side. Unable to finish dinner, I went to bed hoping to feel better in the morning. After a night of sweating repetitively and feeling the stomach pain increase steadily, a visit to the nearest hospital seemed like the best course of action.

Continuing (August 1st, 2012)

Arriving at a nearby private hospital, the first two doctors I consulted with agreed that it seemed like appendicitis. X-rays, CT scans, blood tests, etc. and that remained the diagnosis. Thanks to my good friend and the other Bangladesh Peace Fellow Adam Kruse, I was able to get in contact with the U.S. embassy doctor, who recommended that I get a second opinion and treatment if necessary from another hospital he was more familiar with. After some time spent trying to get myself discharged, I managed to get out of the hospital and catch a ride, courtesy of my friend Frisca, to the other hospital. At Apollo Hospital, the surgeon and his consultant both agreed that it was appendicitis and that the best course of action was to operate. Trusting the word of Doc Solomon from the U.S. embassy, and getting a good feeling from these surgeons, I agreed to proceed. I vaguely remember being wheeled into surgery and being assured by the anesthesiologist that he would “make my pain disappear”. Next thing I know, I woke up in an unfamiliar room, groggy and in a lot of pain. When I finally regained what seemed like full consciousness, the doctors visited me and let me know that my appendix had been infected and gangrenous, and had burst before they could remove it, but that the surgery had went well and now we just had to wait for signs of infection.

The next five to six days consisted of a lot of pain, a lot of lying in a hospital bed struggling to talk with Frisca and Adam, and the various nurses and doctors who visited me seemingly every hour. I was poked with multiple needles, IVs, took various medications and had my temperature, pulse and blood pressure checked about a million times while I recovered. My first trip to the bathroom unassisted resulted in me blacking out and smacking my head on the floor. Frisca and Adam kept me entertained as much as possible and I slowly managed to start eating and drinking again, while the medical staff confirmed that there was no infection and I should be able to leave the hospital in a few days.

I can’t really recall much worth going into any more detail over but just wanted to get a summary up of what happened over the past week or so, and then get myself back to my writing, picture taking and other work. I’m staying with Frisca again, trying to regain my strength and recover. I have to go back to the hospital in a couple of days to check in with the cardiologist and make sure my incisions are healing well. Hopefully if things go well with the doc, I’ll be able to head back to Sonargaon soon and get back to work. More to come, thanks for reading!

Edit: Also just wanted to add a big thank you to Karin Orr at Advocacy Project for being supportive and communicative through this whole ordeal. And thank you to my friends and family who’ve been kind enough to offer support and love via emails, Facebook and Skype. I’m very fortunate to know some awesome people. :)

Posted By Matthew Becker

Posted Aug 1st, 2012

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