Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"I've had enough bad news to last a lifetime" - Del Amitri


OK, it's been a stressful couple of weeks for me. I'm going to try to write about it without getting into too many specifics because, well, you just don't need to know them.

In a nutshell, a two-week period a couple of weeks ago involved 3 different doctors, a dentist (just coincidental) and a blood test at the lab.

For the past two years, I've had an issue with some wee beasties swimming around in my bloodstream. They can check your blood for certain markers that indicate the evidence of said beasties. As I understand it, any numbers below 10 mean you don' t have the beasties, any numbers from 11 to 100 are inconclusive, and any numbers over 1oo indicate the positive presence of the beasties. My first blood test indicated markers over the 1,000 level. Now this isn't dangerous, but it's a little off-putting, if you know what I mean, to know that there are little wee beastie parties going on in your body. There's nothing to be done to evict the beasties except to wait for them to get tired of the neighborhood and decide to move on.

Anyway, every 6 months or so I'd get another blood test and every time, my numbers would actually increase. Apparently the beasties found my body a very attractive place to live. I mean, the temperature's a pretty constant 98.6 degrees F, food is provided daily, lots of entertainment opportunities, housing prices are low, the schools are good, nearby shopping, and so forth.

On my last doctor visit, he prescribed yet another blood test and explained to me that some people never get rid of the beasties and go on to live, and I love this phrase, perfectly normal lives. This is the same guy who would describe a truck full of Jell-O Pudding rolling over your chest as "a little pressure". Anyway, as I was about to leave, he asked if there were any other issues and, like the addle-pated idiot that I am, I mentioned a small development that had occurred recently. He immediately got the doctoral look of concern and demanded to check me out. He poked, he prodded, he actually inserted things into me. He then declared that I would probably need surgery and referred me to a surgeon.

So the next morning I go to the lab and get impaled for a blood test. A few days later, I go to see the surgeon. He poked, he prodded, he inserted things into me. He asked how old I was. When I told him that I was 52, he asked when I had my last colonoscopy. I told him that I'd never had a colonoscopy. He said that he wouldn't even consider operating on me until I had a pre-op colonoscopy and a pre-op checkup with my physician including an EKG. He then referred me to a gastroenterologist.

So a few days later I go to see the third doctor. I got a description which sounded to me like, "We move a full crew and lots of heavy machinery into your body, burn off anything that's in the way, snip off anything we don't like, and get lots of before-and-after photos. It's incredibly painful, but you'll be unconscious." You're damn straight I will.

I won't give you any information at all about the day-before preparation for the colonoscopy, except to say that I was very disappointed to learn that vodka does not count as a "clear liquid" for these purposes.

So I'm in for the procedure. I can tell that my body is in full retreat because they had to stab me 3 times before they found a vein. I'm wearing a T-shirt, socks, and a gown that's, shall we say, immodest. They had me roll over on my side and I watched as the doctor put the hypodermic into the IV drip (it was a clear liquid, I would've rather gone with the vodka). The last thing I remember seeing was the large television set on which my intestinal tract would soon be displayed in hi-def. This, folks, is reality TV.

Finally, we come to the good news. Six months ago, the markers for the wee beasties in my bloodstream had escalated to 3,435. In this last blood test, the number was down to 8. Remember that anything below 10 means no infection. Also, after the procedure, the gastroenterologist told me that everything looked good and that, to quote him, "Surgery is not indicated." Just as the three greatest words in the English language are "I love you", the 4 greatest words are "surgery is not indicated". Trust me.

Plus I got a whole folder full of pictures of my innards.

No, no matter how much you beg, I will not post them here.

I'm hale and healthy, folks. Also, next week starts two weeks' vacation for me, and I get to enjoy it knowing that I'm wee beastie-free and I don't have the prospect of surgery hanging over my head.

For all of these things, I am grateful.

Gone, gone at last, gone at last
Gone at last, gone at last
I had a long streak of that bad luck
But I'm prayin' it's gone at last
--Paul Simon

21 comments:

lacochran said...

If that's a picture of what was in your system, you can just get the eff out right now.

Gilahi said...

la - Well, it's a wee beastie. Dunno if it's the same kind or not. In any event, they're gone now.

Mike said...

"he asked when I had my last colonoscopy"

Answer - Just last week.

Gilahi said...

Mike - Guess I wasn't thinking on my feet. Still, if I hadn't gone through with the colonoscopy, I'd have been scheduled for surgery.

Oh wait, were you serious?

Mike said...

No, I wasn't serious. It's been a few years since I've had to drink that nasty stuff. I think surgery might have been more fun.

Gilahi said...

mike - It IS nasty, but it comes with "flavor packs" now. I chose orange. It was marginally less putrid. Doc wants me back in 3 to 5 years. Hopefully I will have forgotten how nasty the stuff is or they will have improved it by then.

J.M. Tewkesbury said...

Well, I don't know about wee beasties, blood counts or heavy equipment. All I can say is, thank God you're all right! Enjoy your vacation and send us a postcard!

Gilahi said...

J.M. - Thanks! I was very, very relieved. Look for a postcard.

Bilbo said...

Ah, welcome to the joys of the over-50 set. The annual colonoscopy thing is a real joy, particularly the part about being able to watch your innards on TV in real time. As it happens, I will be having some minor surgery next week while you are on vacation...depending on how it goes, I may not need to spring for a mask for Halloween. Oh, well... enjoy your vacation. And, depending on where you go, don't drink the water, or you could get reacquainted with those beasties real fast...

Gilahi said...

Bilbo - Fortunately for me, the gastroenterologist says that he doesn't need to see me for another 3 years. If I had to go through this on an annual basis, I don't know if I'd be up for it. It's no wonder that so many men don't get checked out as often as they should.

On vacation, I'll avoid the water and stick with the tequila and the beer. There's your hint about where we're going.

Gilahi said...

Bilbo - And oh, by the way, good luck with your procedure. Hope everything goes smoothly.

Bilbo said...

Gilahi - except for the cool Halloween-ready stitch job, all went well. Thanks for the thought. B.

Gilahi said...

Bilbostein - Excellent! Sorry it took so long for me to get back on this, but we've been away. Glad to hear there were no complications.

Herb of DC said...

Sorry I'm tardy for the party here but I'm glad things turned out well and you have some awesome pictures to frighten future grandchildren with some day.

Gilahi said...

Herb - Thanks. Halloween is next week, so I thought I might dress as a polyp, given that I now have a guideline.

Mike said...

This has really been bugging me. Your comments are usually an even number. 2, 4, 6, 12, etc. Someone comments, you reply. Something has gotten out of sync. 15 is not normal. So I'm putting this comment here to even things out so don't reply to it. OK?

Gilahi said...

Mike - OK.

Mike said...

I know this blogger that's pushing NaBloPoMo. You may be aware of her too. I hear she can be an inyourface kinda person when she wants to be. Be careful.

Gilahi said...

Hmmmm... I wonder if we're thinking about the same person.

Hannah said...

Glad you're feeling better! :)

Gilahi said...

Hannah - Thanks!

 
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