Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19, 2010
Part 4: Scrabble Mr. Escher?

The waiting is the hardest part Every day you see one more card You take it on faith You take it to the heart The waiting is the hardest part The Waiting, Tommy Petty

At times like this, I can't help but think of Dory, the regal tang from PIXAR's Finding Nemo with short term memory loss. Despite her mental lapses, Dory had the best attitude.

"Just keep swmmin'. Just keep swimmin."

And I guess that's the best way to approach to my situation. And so, like Dory, I am dog-paddling right now and keeping my head above water and hoping that the monkey doesn't steal my wallet. (If you haven't seen Finding Nemo-first off-shame on you! and second-that last statement about the monkey is gonna make no sense at all)

Every once, as I am treading water, I tread water, stopping, as it were, to catch my breath and maybe prick my ears to see if the phone is ringing.

"Just keep swimmin'. Just keep swimmin."

And laughin'. I think laughin' is just as important.

*** Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson go on a camping trip, set up their tent, and fall asleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes his faithful friend. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see. "Watson replies, "I see millions of stars.""What does that tell you?" asks Holmes. Watson ponders for a minute. "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo. Time-wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past 3. Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all-powerful and we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?" Holmes is silent for a moment, then speaks. "Watson, you idiot, someone has stolen our tent." ***

I don't know about you, but that cracked me up.

*** An elderly Florida couple, Sam and Bessie, are vacationing in Las Vegas. Sam always wanted a pair of authentic cowboy boots. Seeing some on sale one day, Sam buys them, and wears them back to the hotel, walking proudly.

He walks into their room and says to his wife, "Notice anything different about me?"

Bessie looks him over, "Nope."

Sam says excitedly, "Come on, Bessie, take a good look. Notice anything different about me?"

Bessie looks again, "Nope."

Frustrated, Sam storms off into the bathroom, undresses, and walks back into the room completely naked except for his boots. Again he asks, a little louder this time, "Notice anything different now?" Bessie looks up and says, "Sam, what's different? It's hanging down today, it was hanging down yesterday, it'll be hanging down again tomorrow."

Furious, Sam yells, "And do you know why it's hanging down, Bessie? It's hanging down because it's looking at my new boots!"

To which Bessie replies, "Shoulda bought a hat, Sam. Shoulda bought a hat." ***

Last night was rough. My pain, which is focused directly at the base of my skull, had been snowballing all day like in one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons. Around 8 P.M., it slammed into me, like a freight train, and kept going, growing bigger and bigger with every roll, my arms and legs and skis poking out. It was one of those nights where spasms of pain, like lightening strikes, shoot down my neck and spine. It's hard to ignore the pain when it is like that. It's hard to laugh it off, but I try.

Eventually I reach for my bottles of little pills and take two...last night I took three...and close my eyes and pray for relief. What was it that The Rolling Stones sang about? Mother's Little Helper?

"So go running for the shelter of a mother's little helper.
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight..."

I was talking about waiting earlier. Today I was informed that the neurosurgeon I had tried to call the other day for an appointment already had my information and a copy of the report from the radiologist. The doctor's assistant, I'll call her Jaime, is supposed to call me and let me know when my appointment is. So now I'm waiting for that phone call and wondering how long it will before I will actually be talking to a neurosurgeon and getting answers.

I'm grateful of course that it appears a neurosurgeon has my information. That means I'm one step closer. But to what? Biopsy? Surgery?

If biopsy is the next step, and seriously, it has to be. Right? It's only logical. so if I am going to have a biopsy, then more than likely it will be a FNB or Fine needle biopsy. FNB is a procedure in which a small-caliber needle is placed into a mass and then cellular material is removed. Afterwards, a cytologic (the analysis under a microscope of cells collected from a part of the body) diagnosis is rendered. It is widely accepted as one of the most useful diagnostic procedures in the evaluation of neck masses. I'm just hoping the phrase "We're gonna give you a local anesthetic, so just sit back and we will see you in a little bit. Chocolates and champagne, perhaps?"

I've had four tattoos. Needles don't scare me. Small caliber needles stuck in my neck are another story. Knock my ass out and wake me up before you go-go.

So basically they are gonna stick a long needle in my neck, root around, and them pull something out. Suddenly the game Operation comes to mind, and I can't deny it, if the person with said needle pokes something they're not supposed to with that long needle, my nose will probably turn red and I will probably buzz.

And before I continue, let me just say this: "Thank God for Google." Because without Google, I wouldn't know what the Hell was going on inside my body. I mean, Holy Crap!, some of the words these doctors use. Great for a game of Scrabble, but when you try to explain to the Average Joe why you have a huge white Lidocaine patch on your neck, the whole system breaks down.

Just so you know, if you were playing Scrabble and you put the word 'cytologic' down, double word, word, double letter and triple letter aside, you'd score a nice and easy 16 points. Not too shabby. Triple word would be 78 points. I'm just saying.

Some other words I've become familiar with:

Foraminal- 14 points

Encroachment- 21 points

Neural-6 points

Disc-7 points

Osteophyte-18 points

Stenosis- 8 points

Canal-9 points


Jerk-Off-24 (If anyone contests your use of 'jerkoff, may I suggest you use it in a sentence for them?)

I try to be a lemonade-out-of-lemons type person, so at the very least, after all I've been through these last few months, with these doctors and their reports, I'm gonna come out of this knowing some awesome Scrabble words. So watch out. I'm coming Scrabble challengers. I'm coming and I'm loaded for bear.

So, it seems that the next step in this process is to be stuck with a needle. Depending of course if my doctor, who I yet to have an appointment with, and it seems I won't find out until next week if I do in fact I have an appointment because it's Friday and I doubt very seriously I'm high priority to someone who just wants to get off work because it's Friday and wants to hurry to Capital Ale House and down a few with the girls.

"Just keep swmmin.' Just keep swimmin."

Things are moving along. And that is a good thing. It's shame that it takes repeated phone calls and repeated squeaking to get some grease on your wheel, but if the outcome is that I can see a neurosurgeon before ten weeks is up, then I will consider myself lucky, be grateful and wait my turn.

I have a whole shopping list of hopes right now. The biggest one is I'm hoping I won't have to deal with Frank anymore. I'm pretty sure that by now he's forgotten who I am anyway. I fee like I've been traded up to the Majors and don't ever want to go back to Double A Ball. I've had my fill of fast food. I'm looking forward to a nice sit-down meal with a waiter who is going to bring me bread sticks without me asking and who is going to stand by the window and make sure that my steak is just the way I ordered it.

I'm not any better than anybody else and I don't think I am. But in today's world of those with health insurance and those without health insurance I also know that nobody is going to look out for me like I will. So I am going to make phone calls and I'm going to Google those really long words on my radiology reports and I'm going to squeak and squeak and squeak and get my wheels greased.

I'd much rather be the annoying guy who called every day than the guy who was satisfied with being sucked into the become part of M.C.Escher's Relativity and spend an eternity walking up and down endless winding stairs...never truly getting anywhere until I have a tumor on my neck the size of a basketball.

Not me Mister. Not this guy.

and that's Jody with a "y"


  1. You go, Jody!!! Absolutely, calling every day until you get results is the way to go.

    Great idea with the Scrabble words. I've learned a few myself. And boy, howdy, I could get some points for drug names too! How 'bout the score for cyclophosphamide or prochlorperazine? Now, those are some winners there... not that I'd ever be so lucky as to end up with all the correct tiles, but then again, you never know...

  2. To borrow (and tweak) a famous saying, "Keep on jokin'!"

    God bless you, Jody. I'm praying he kicks some doctor butt so they get their act in gear and do something quickly.