Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So, I Talked with the Doctor

Sandy and me, 1951
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao

The neurologist finally called on Wednesday.
The MRI didn’t find a “tumor of the CNS.”
It came up with a small aneurysm in the left carotid artery instead.

I guess that’s in my brain
as that’s where the MRI was aimed
and he then ordered an MRA, this too, of my brain
to have a second look-see.

I had that done last Saturday. Now, I wait for the results.

“Then we’ll sit and decide what we want to do.”

I called my big sister, Sandy, that first night.
She’s a doctor in Wisconsin
I’ve heard her on the phone with patients
and she is wonderful.

Once on a visit here I asked her about this lump I had in my neck.
She palpated.
“Oh, babe! You got a goiter. Better get it checked.”
Then she stepped behind me and reached around
showing me, explaining in way more detail than I needed,
the proper way to feel
Someone’s thyroid.

So, I was updating her
RE: this aneurysm.
And she didn’t hesitate a moment,
“I’ll come down if you have surgery. If you want.”

The immediacy of her offer didn’t fully register
until after I was off the phone.
Just like that. She would be there.

Then, she came out with one of those bedside statements
reserved for family:
Be sure, whatever you do
to keep your blood pressure under control.
Cause... That... Sucker... Will Blow!

After I got off the phone I took my BP.
180 over 95. (And they've got me on two different meds.)
But, lying in bed, slipping off to sleep
I was chuckling. I love Sandy so much!

I don’t think doctors are suppose to say things like,
“That sucker will blow.”

I waited a few days before I called my Mom.
I didn’t want to worry her.
But, after a while it felt dishonest not to.
God has kept her with us
and so why should I pre-empt her participation in
her daughter's life.
I figured I’d just have to adjust to her fussing mother hen stuff.
But, it turns out she fooled me:

"Mom, they found a brain aneurysm."

"And what is that?"
Well, I was pretty sure she knew.
I think she was whom I first heard the term from
when I was a kid.
But, I explained it to her.
And we talked some of interventions
And what we didn’t know
And what we were waiting for
And immediate next steps.

She didn’t seem at all thrown off by developments.
Instead, her advice was simply "not to loose your sense of humor."
And then we talked some more of recent research on "clipping" and "coiling" techniques.

At which point she interrupted,
“Do you know where most strokes occur?"

Well, this went right to the point, I thought, of anatomical considerations
which greatly affect outcome probabilities.
And I didn’t know.
I hadn’t come across the data. - "No, I don't."

Most strokes occur on the toilet!
Promise me, promise me, you will not strain!

There you go.
That’s my family. Never more than 15 minutes removed from working bowel function into a conversation.

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