Sunday, June 11, 2017

The first strange thing. I got there early and they took me early. What?!?!

This was the post ultrasound check-in with my endocrinologist who's handshake could drop you to the floor. 

I have excellent news to share with you. She might have said excellent, she might have said wonderful. Something along those lines. The lymph node we had been concerned about? It looks fine now. Everything looks fine. 

Okay uhhh I didn't know we had been concerned about a lymph node. I really didn't. So I was all like, uhh great! 

Then she actually tried to trick me-which seems 500% crazy, doesn't it? But not to worry. I am on top of my thyroid medication game. She said, So you're taking it with your coffee? Umno, says me. Empty stomach? she asks. Yeah, that's what you told me to do, right? Very good, she said. Phew. I passed. 

The pressure. The pressure. 

And as it turns out-all of that-'If you're going to get a cancer-thyroid is the one to have' nonsense(I think I've even said that myself but I'd have been referring to the actual surgery)isn't entirely true. You're looking at a new ultrasound every six months until you clear a certain period of time hurdle and then, once a year but guess what. You can still get it. Even if you don't have a thyroid. 

Fer f!@k sake. 

Anything I can be doing to avoid that? No. Anyway I'd know if something was up? Only medical testing. Is there some sort of danger in letting it go on for a whole year? No. It's a slow growing cancer. See you in December. 


Blood test I was supposed to get before the aforementioned appointment. Oh hell, I dunno. I thought they got enough blood last week but nope. You have to give each doctors name and so I arrived unprepared. Check minus for me. 

Blood test goes wrong or maybe not even wrong but when the phlebotomist starts yelling for someone to come in there-while the needle is still stuck in my arm-I'm gonna tell you, it's disturbing. 

Medical people seem to think it's no big deal but they're not me and I was alarmed. 

Silver lining. I now have the number to the patient advocate and I'm putting it in my phone. 

If you take away nothing from all my bloggery? Remember this: As soon as something feels wrong in hospital land? You have to speak up as it is going down. Ask for the manager. Do not wait till you file your lawsuit, you might be dead. 

You're welcome. 

More-no eating for 4 hours-time to kill between the appointment and the cat scan. I tried to read this local author I'd seen interviewed on TeeVee (it was a lot of pressure to put on one writer, wasn't it?)but I had this sense that her words had been shoved through 27 editing machines. Or maybe 28. Scrubbed clean of what was probably it's charm. Too bad. 

I say that because I'm feeling the same way about my own book manuscript but I have an idea. Ding. 

Maybe next I'll try her first one.

Next up was le chat scan avec contrast. A 2:40 appointment. Yeah, more drinking of the goo. In this case orange blossom, I believe. I don't know what was going on with the cosmos but I was actually able to toss it on back. (With the straw, of course.) Also I made the appointment after lunch so I wasn't empty hungry. Know what I mean?

There was a misunderstanding within that whole cat scan prep process-the further away from it I get the more I think it might have just been having this day scheduled the way I did. 

I think I do better with one appointment at a time-but when they said 'take off everything except your underwear and your socks' and I replied that I wasn't wearing any socks-I understood it that I shouldn't be going in there with my giant buckled sandals. Right? I wouldn't put those in a washing machine. Would you? 

See that pink-ish thing in the lower left corner? 
That's where the trouble began. 

I took my clothes and sandals off, locked my stuff in a locker and sat in this little carpeted area and waited. 

Well, in came the nurse and all of a sudden I seem to have been cast as one of the Beverly Hillbillies not having been gifted with the knowledge that I should be wearing my sandals. (For the record, I don't wear water shoes in the C-ment pond either. I can't stand them. You be scared of germs. I'll be over here goofing around.)

The nurse sat down next to another patient and remarkably rudely made some comment about my lack of footwear(honest? I thought they'd be bringing me some of those stylin' yellow socks. I could have even brought my own.) and the other grandmotherly type patient in the waiting area chimed in with an observation that she'd even seen a staple on the floor. 

Oh HIPAA where art thou. 

Got through the next bit which is where they kinda make a little port for the contrast stuff to be pushed through. (That's currently the little purple spot between my wrist and elbow.) 

Maybe some of the most unattractive patterns known to man. 

And at about 4:15, I was standing next to the cat scan machine explaining the weird conversation I'd had with the prep nurse and about 15 minutes later I was on the phone in the hallway explaining to the Head of All Nurses what had gone wrong with the instruction process and what changes they might consider in the future. 

I continue to make contributions to medical science. 

And PS: Barium goes out like a lion. Go straight home. 'Nuff said. 


Surgeon Appointment. Me, P, the surgeon who resembles BD Wong reprising his role on SVU-same slightness physically, same quick intelligence, maybe a bit more intensity and one med student. 

We are in and we are going to be looking at the CatScan and I am like, is this going to be gross? And the 2 med people are like no. Not at all. And I'm like, are you sure? Because I don't think I'm ready for that right now and they assure me and all of a sudden there I am on the screen in black and white  COMPLETELY exposed. 

I mean like every inch of my circumference visible to everyone in the room. Including things you'd probably be good with remaining unseen except by the worms that might be eating you in the afterlife. I mean All Of Your Stuff. 


AND, if that's not weird enough and I believe it is-they can easily scroll through me. Like I'm watching as my tail bone appears and gets bigger and then smaller and then gone. That's what I am focussing on because the rest of it just freaks me out completely. (You look like a bag of X-rayed charcoal briquettes kinda/sorta.) Sorta like this only softer with bosoms. 

There is a lot of talking and at one point I am completely excluded from the conversation and I am looking at the med student like: hmm I wonder what would happen if I just walked out right now. But there needs to be another surgery.

The top of the giant incision(why did I never measure that thing?) has opened up. 

I drive the conversation(because I got straight A's in that one semester of creative problem solving when I attempted grad school)into: In what ways can we make this surgery better than the last one because we can all agreed that the last one completely sucked and a half-o-rama. 

And the doctor took a big slice of time to really have me consider if Loyola was the best place for me which was awkweird because based on my limited resources, what are we going to say and after this strange period of silence, I said I was willing to go in with an open mind if I could be the first surgery of the day(barring some natural disaster)and he said  yes and he'd try and get a post-surgery room on the 4th floor as opposed to the 7th? (It might be the other way around. The taking in of all of this was A LOT.) and we purposely planned this avoiding the holiday weekend because that had not gone so well last time  and he told us his vacation schedule and asked us what our summer plans were and we were all like: uhh we're sort of waiting to know about THIS you know, before we book our trip to the Rivera and stuff. 

And the next thing you know we are driving home and I'm looking at all the people and I say, how come I have to be the one that has this shit? 

I'm not the worst behaved person in the universe(this is my self pity phase-luckily it's relatively short)and I start picking out people on the street that are CLEARLY behaving way worse that I ever did. Look at that lady-I point out a huge woman floating by-how come she doesn't have this shit? Or that guy-a man completely sunburned smoking a cigarette. How come he doesn't get this? 

We spend the rest of the evening relatively stunned. 


The next day, I decided the only thing to do was to get myself as strong as possible and eat at the tippy top of the food chain. I've got a month. 

Game on.

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