I had some good news Tuesday. Or rather, a lack of bad news, which in this case amounts to the same thing. After taking those x-rays a few weeks back I scheduled a follow-up with my physician for mid-May. Two days later the office called and said that the doctor wanted to move the appointment up a significant amount of time. Naturally I asked why.
"I don't know sir," the receptionist said. "He just said he wanted to see you as soon as you were able."
There was more back and forth, and in the end the doc objected even to the new date and moved it up some more. These were x-rays of my back, and while I tried to remain logical, 40% of my brain was convinced they'd found either a tumor or a spot on my lungs. Other than Lisa I told no one and kept it to myself.
Tuesday I waited for an hour in the office before being seen. First things first, the doctor said the x-rays showed arthritis in my neck and throughout my back, with the worst of it in my neck. He asked if I had any pain that extended below the waist, and said if I did he would send me for an MRI and further tests.
I don't have back pain, other than the occasional ache everyone gets, and if they hadn't taken the X-rays I'd have gone twenty more years before suspecting a thing. To my mind, this was/is an irrelevant condition. I vetoed the MRI.
Then he wanted to know if I had ever experienced trauma to the region behind my forehead. That threw me. No, I replied.
"Any surgery, accident . . .anything metal? Shrapnel perhaps?"
I laughed. " Unless aliens kidnapped me and implanted something, the answer's still no. What's this about?"
The doctor looked confused. The x-rays had showed cloudy matter in that region but according to the reports it could not be identified because the shots were blocked by metal shards in my forehead.
"Let me see that," I said, and he handed me the one page report from the hospital staff. Yup, he had the gist right. That wasn't good. I read on and was surprised to learn I had been admitted to the ER after an assault. I was even more surprised to find out I was a 24 year old female.
The doc turned red.. "I am sorry, the hospital must have left a page of this woman's report in the fax machine when they sent yours. I apologize, this is a horrible breach of privacy."
Pshff. Fine by me. Bad for the lady with the cloudy brain pic, but gravy baby for me. No need to apologize.
"So do I still have arthritis, or is that her's too?"
Sadly, no go on that. That one's all mine.
All kidding aside, it sucks to spend 40% of your time wondering if you're on the way out. Will the kids remember me? If they do, will I be some idealized notion or a real person to them? Ah, man, if Lisa remarries she'll probably get more years in with him than with me; I should at least have gotten the lion's share. Why didn't I push past the writers block and get a book published? Crap, I hope I don't die before the Lost series finale. Etc. Etc.
Knowing me all this was for naught and I'll continue treading water. But at least in theory it's inspired me to set some things right and get my ass in gear. We'll see if it sticks.
* * * * *
I took a bike ride late Tuesday. It was a cold day, but you always see hippies cruising around on such afternoons. I assumed they had discovered that your body heat keeps you comfortable in that situation. I wore a jacket as I headed out, but was convinced I'd have to shed it soon into the ride.
Bulls**t. F'ing hippies.
It was cold. Damn cold. And you know what? It feels twice as cold when you're cutting through the air at a decent speed. I was an icicle by the time I got home.
F that. I'm sticking to warm days. Period.