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Paddling to the Light: in between the waves of a flat urologist and an upbeat biopsy improv

December 28, 2011

When my Dad died, it was the result of trusting a doctor he didn’t feel right about. This sensation is very similar to meeting someone and wanting themn to be a friend, but you just don’t feel in inside you. There’s an underlying distrust and lack of confidence that prevents the bond from being genuine. And usually, your instincts are right. Where is this going? Well, I go to the Stanford Cancer Center and I meet an Indian urologist who is going to assist in the surgery ahead of me. And he’s rather casual about the severity of the operation, taking about the main issue is the preservation of life, which translated into so what if I have to wear a colostomy bag. And I say, hold on, I know they can reconstruct a bladder. And he goes on that would take another four hours on top of the regular sergury. So I say just open me up latter. He casually went into every possible scenario, but indifferently and in an insensitively blunt way. I left him so depressed, like I was standing knee deep in a black pond. And I thought that anyone who made me this depressed was never going to stick his hands inside my body. I see my Dad behind me, hand on my shoulder, and he’s saying, “Don’t let that man touch you Fritizie.”


When I get ready for my biopsy, this Irish woman and this other guy are talking about lunch and staff as she is wrapping rubber bands around my arm to get a vein to tap me. Amazing. Like she was doing paperwork. It amused more more than upset me.


When I was transported to the biopsy, I’m in this gurney and lying there like a bay in a crib and being pushed down the hallway by this guy named AJ. And he has to weave around staff who are on cellphones and not moving. I said to him, “Boy, she didn’t do a thin to make that turn easier for you.” AJ said, “Happens all the time. The worse are the doctors, sometimes they stand right in the middle of the hallway and won’t move. They just think they’re so important.” I said,”A friend of mine is a respiratory therapist, he said the more important the organ the bigger the asshole.” “That’s true,” said AJ. And I’m thinking, how callous of these people, here I am as the patient, along with others, who are helpless, and they don’t respect us. They have lost their soul by pursuing a course in efficiency. I mentioned to a urologist I knew about how indifferent and methodical another urologist was. An he said, “They just get hardened, they see too much.” I said, “Well you’re not like that.” He replied, “I started 15 years later, maybe in 15 more years I’ll be like him.” I said, “No, it’s not in you to be like that.” But he did bring up a good point, many of these guys go from high school straight into med school, and maybe it would be better if there was a two year gap or so before they went to med school so they might develop a form of humanity.

Then I go for a biopsy. A second one. They are going to poke me fourteen times in an effort to find out if the tumor has to be removed through surgery or shrunk with radiation. The odds are I have to undergo a four-hour surgery, and seven days in the hospital. And I’m filled with dread. My Dad died from infections in the hospital. I can’t shake it, he is a ghost that says, “Don’t let them do to you what they did to me, Fritzie.” Okay, back to the biopsy, the staff is upbeat and friendly and they AWAKEN me. I start goofing on the procedure and them and we’re all laughing. The put a blood pressure wrap on my arm to monitor me, and I said to the woman, “I’m like you, this is not the first time you’ve been squeezed by an inanimate object.” They crack up and say, “We want this guy back…it’s too bad we have to put him under, we want him to keep talking.” And one assistant mentions how she walks around her house and vacuums with her iPod on. I said,”So you don’t hear the rats in your place.” A guy says,”She actually does have a rat in her apartment.” Then I say, “Which ex-husband is that?” They all crack up. She says,”I’m just unlucky in love.” And I say, “We that personality I’m not surprised.” Anyway, after the procedure,, slightly dazed and loopy from the meds and depressed by the IV in the middle of my arm that pinches like a long splinter, I feel more alive than ever. They give me fruit juices and it’s like being spoiled when your a kid with a cold and you love the attention–no one is going to say no.




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