Archive for June, 2009

Next week is time for another post-remission checkup. I have blood taken this Thursday and see Dr. Sheila next Monday afternoon for the results and to be ‘professionally felt up’. I’ve been having some weird collarbone feelings that make me a little anxious but I’m pretty sure this is just post biopsy nerve damage. Oh yeah, and some good, healthy hypochondria.  Anyway, I’ll post the results of my check up next week. Wish me luck!


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Last night Al, Kay and James come over for dinner. Cassie makes flank steak with Asian marinade, fried rice and sesame sauce in the mode of Japanese Village. James has teeth and has matured. He enjoys playing with some pots, spoons and the pile of newspapers. He is intrigued and attracted to Otis. I think that it will not be long before we will be protecting Otis from James, rather than the other way around.

Today is D-Day for the Sphincterotomy. I sleep late, wash in the detailed way they require before surgery and we head out to Victoria General Hospital via Pure Vanilla. I can’t eat anything at this point but Cassie has a latte and a fruit Galette. It’s just pleasant to relax for a half an hour before getting cut.

We arrive at VGH to check in at the front desk. However, they have no record of my surgery!!! It turns out that even though the surgeon’s assistant believed that she had sent the paperwork over, it never arrived and she did not confirm it. So, the surgery is not scheduled. And at this point I have been fasting for 14 hours and both Cassie and I have taken time off work to get this done. ARRRRRRGH! The earliest they can schedule me is June 16th. This is very disappointing to me since I am really psyched up to get this over with. Cassie is incensed by the incompetent waste and the disrespectful use of our time.

The kind VGH booking manager comes over to talk to us and offers that – though there are no guarantees – there is a 50:50 chance that they might be able to fit us in at the end of the shift if the surgeons and operating room staff pick up some time during the day. We decide to wait since I’m all fasted and scrubbed and at this point 50:50 is better odds than I’ve had up until now.

VGH is undergoing renovations so there are no chairs in the admitting area. We find seats in the ER waiting room instead, letting the admitting clerks know where we are. I read a wonderful cruising book that I have read before and am reading again: the highly recommended An Embarrassment of Mangoes”. Cassie entertains herself by watching and making quiet, snide comments to me about the low-life people that are waiting as walk-ins for emergency treatment on a sunny Thursday afternoon.

At 1:30pm the admitting clerk fetches us and it looks like we’re going to git ‘er done. I get admitted and tagged. Then, it’s all a rush since the period between when they have realized there will be time for my procedure and the last slot available is narrow. I change into the humiliating surgery gown and the nurse gives me a prophylactic Zantac to make sure my guts stay quiet. The porter is waiting, tapping her foot while the nurse completes the preoperative work up. Then it’s into the holding area for the OR. My surgeon comes by to see if I have any questions and to give me his verbal instructions for post-op care. Then it’s into the OR. The anesthetist also stops by and we discuss the potential for trouble if I am provided with too much oxygen given the Bleomycin received during chemo last summer.

The surgery is done face down (prone) but they don’t maneuver me into this position until I am under. I notice there are a couple of muscular looking male orderlies scrubbed and gowned in the OR. I’m sure the prospect of flipping the 105kg dead weight that I will become is cause enough to call in some extra help. A surgical intern or student tries to get the IV line into a vein in the back of my left hand. After a minute of poking around in an uncomfortable way the anesthetist (who reminds me a bit of the actor Sam Elliot) grunts “stand aside” to this dude and personally sticks the IV needle into the back of my right hand with one deft shot. Perfect.

A few seconds later I am out. I wake up in the recovery room with the eerie feeling of no time having passed. I have noticed this before with general anesthetics. I wait there for a half hour until the nurses are sure I am stable. Then it’s back to the prep area where Cass meets me and takes me home. I am now sitting on a thick absorbent pad while she has gone to exercise her horse. My time sense is still woefully screwed up by the general anesthetic. It is getting dark out and is just about 9:30 pm but my brain seems to think it’s only about 6pm. Weird. I have no pain but some bleeding. It could be worse. Much worse.

“Whenever times get bad, just remember that it could be worse. After all, you could be a crack whore. Unless you already are a crack whore, of course. I can’t see how it could get worse than that. Meth whore, I suppose. Yes, things could always get worse, you could be a meth whore.”

“It could be worse. A woman could cut off your penis while you’re sleeping and toss it out the window of a moving car. There’s always that.” Fight Club

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