We Don’t Need No Stinking Soda Crackers

That’s it. I’ve had it with surgery. If anything else goes whacko with this body, the doctors will have to make an extraordinary case for operating, and I’m not sure “or you will die” would do it. Had the tumor on my parotid gland removed last Friday and it was horrible. I wanted to die then for sure.

The thing is, I am not the best patient – ask my children, they’ll tell you. I complain, I argue, I don’t do as I’m told. I self-medicate – in the hospital, at home, I don’t care. It makes everyone crazy. And then in the hospital one is at the mercy of strangers, which keeps you from cursing as much as you might like. Some things I wanted to say in the 24 hours after surgery but didn’t:

1)  There is no anesthesia in the world that doesn’t make me nauseous, so there’s no point in telling me it shouldn’t. As my personal definition of hell is 23 hours a day of nausea and one hour of anticipation, it’s fortunate for you that there was nothing close enough to throw when I found out you were giving me only a half-dose of nausea medication. Finally, I do not want a soda cracker. If you keep pushing it, I will have to kill you.

2)  It seems no matter what time I ask, it isn’t time for more morphine. Really, is there a morphine shortage I haven’t heard about? Why are you hoarding it? Give me some!

3)  I have an IV taped to my left hand to put liquids in, another taped to my neck to take liquids out, and every other hour I have to wear inflatable leg wraps. If there is an optimal position for comfort in these circumstances, I have not discovered it. The bed is a rock, and none of its 56 amazing positions will change that. The pillow is a rock on top of a rock.

4)  Not only is my right ear and everything in the vicinity completely numb, it has the appearance of a breast implant gone terribly wrong. The scar below said ear looks like an amateur map of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. And I have bacitracin ointment in my hair. I do not feel pretty.

I can imagine the thousands of cell phone minutes burned when my daughters learned I was having surgery. “Who’s staying with Mom? What’s the plan? We need a plan!” They are patient and tolerant and sympathetic in the extreme, and after a day or so, I have to kick them out lest they lose their patience, tolerance and sympathy.

Those nodules on my thyroid gland? They will be the size of hard-boiled eggs before we part company.


Doctor Who?

I am behind on my blogging but not without cause. Fall is always chaotic at work, where Christmas starts around September 1 and doesn’t end till Halloween, by which time I am usually grateful I didn’t shoot the last person who asked me to move a comma. Then I like to spend fall weekends moving a half-million leaves from one spot in the yard to another, which is what comes from living surrounded by your so-called majestic oaks.

So. Why not continue on the subject of health and put one thing to rest.

I have learned more about the world of glands in the last two weeks than in the last 20 years, most notably that the doctor you see about one kind (thyroid) is not the doctor you see about another kind (parotid), even though the two glands are about 5 inches apart. No, you have to make twice as many doctor visits to get the full picture on any glandular issues.

I also learned that two specialists who work in the same clinic, on the same floor and down the hall from each other, can be completely unaware of each other’s existence. In fact, one may be unable to pronounce the other’s name.

I saw the endocrinologist last week to get the results of Biopsy #2 (memorable for being stuck in the neck an added 16 to 17 times, because, gosh, we found some more of these things and, hey, why not check them out while you’re here!) and learned that my several thyroid nodules, while ugly, happily are not killing me. (I know they’re ugly because I searched online, where there are about eleventeen different kinds of nodules, all ugly as sin.)

I asked the endocrinologist for an opinion on Biopsy #1 while I was there, and that’s when I learned that he doesn’t do parotid. Said you might as well ask a dentist about your bunions. Said he didn’t know anything about it and wasn’t about to venture an opinion. Which is a big fat lie. He’s a doctor. Of course he has an opinion, one he isn’t about to share with me.

This week I go to the Ear Nose & Throat doctor, where I hope to get the final word on nodules and put this whole sordid experience behind me, except I probably won’t because I’m pretty sure one of them has to come out. Nevertheless, let’s just give it a rest for a while. I’m sick of nodules and I’m sure you are too.