The History of Mr. Polyp: Fun with IKEACare
What with one thing and another it has not been a very good few weeks. Every year the final month before a book deadline is pretty hectic, especially since this year there's at least 25% more copy than last year, which has to be jammed in without taking up any more pages, since it's already enough of a Brick to make Les Miz look like a pamphlet.
Anyway, three weeks ago I was getting dressed for yoga class when I discovered that it was, as it were, Shark Week. Now, in my younger days there were times when I was *quite* chuffed to get my period but since I'm 60 now I was instead magisterially dischuffed.
So the next morning, I was able to reach my primary care doc pretty easily. She told me to go see my gynecologist, and since I don't have one, she said I should call her office and they'd give me a number for Dr. [Redacted]. And, once I waited for Primary Care Doc's office to open, they did indeed give me a number for Dr. Redacted. Although it was the wrong number, but that's OK because they gave me the right number and set up an appointment for Thursday. As it was now Tuesday, I thought that was a bit lengthy, and later that day Primary Care Doc's office called me back and said I could see Dr. Hu [not redacted, because I think it's funny] later that day.
So Dr. Hu was unable to stick a barbecue match through my cervix and told me I had to go to the outpatient surgery department the next day for a biopsy. The table was so small that the leg cramps took my mind off the whole barbecue match sitch. Everything in the Jersey City Medical Center seems to be too small and very cold. Obviously they purchased the blueprints from the morgue in Rivendell. Because you never know when you'll have to autopsy a lot of hobbits. There are (trufax!) lots of oppossums in Jersey City, so why not hobbits?
He asked me who would be taking me home from the biopsy, I said no one. We dickered for a while, but he didn't absolutely make the biopsy conditional on my having an escort. He said the procedure would be at about one or two pm, and I had to show up at eleven am.
The procedure was in fact at 4:30, and they a) said it couldn't be done because I didn't have an escort, b) said if I insisted yes, they could do it with sedation instead of a general anaesthetic, c) said no, it couldn't, d) said that the hospital would have Fernando, whoever he is, take me home (sure hope he's not a serial killer) and e) wheeled me into the OR, reminding me that it was early July so nobody had had their job for more than a week, reassuring me NO END as the PGY2 explained to the PGY1 how to adjust the arms. I looked up at the big round lights, thinking that it was just like being executed in Texas, but before I could say "habeas corpus!" I was unconscious, and the next thing I knew I was freezing my arse off in the recovery room.
And then they took me to a hospital room! And hooked up an IV and some inflatable boots that attach to a motor on the foot of the bed and are an entire kink bingo line in and of themselves! I had taken the precaution of bringing five books along with me, which came in handy, although the woman in the next bed is *never* going to forgive me for leaving my light on so I could read. (Why didn't she either TELL me or ring for the nurse and ask the nurse to "tell that dreadful rude woman to turn off the light"?
Eventually I wheedled a nurse into disconnecting the boots, so at least I could walk around the corridors for a bit (almost everyone was watching TV, which was sort of ghostly at three in the morning) and then sit in the lounge and read.
And the next morning I got sprung! I think Dr. Hu said that they removed a polyp, although his English is a second or higher-order language so he glowers and yells a lot. I assure you, I have not been so glad to leave someplace since the second day of my bar exam. (I'm so old that there was no third day for the multi-state.)
Hospital personnel are always telling you that you can ask them anything, they're just there to help, which I believe is Hippocratese for "your call is very important to us." But when you actually ask something, the two main answers are:
a) Huh? and
I was told to set up an appointment for an ultrasound, and to come back in two weeks, which I duly did. They have the BEST lube for the ultrasound, and the tech kind of fished around with Steely Dan with my knee clamped to her breast. Usually you get dinner first.
So, I have had the second appointment, and Dr. Hu kept pointing to a piece of paper with one photograph of a round red thing and another photograph of a round white thing (with a surprising resemblance to the photographs of my retina from LensCrafters) and bellowing, "You see? You see?" and telling me to come back in a year. From which I deduce that the bleeding was caused by a polyp and the polyp has now been removed and good riddance to bad rubbish, and the ultrasound didn't find anything sinister.
While that was going on, there was also a heat wave (I don't have AC), a water main break requiring water-boiling, my refrigerator conked out, and so did the living room stand fan and one of the bedroom window fans.
So as you can imagine this has been an atmosphere highly conducive to doing sophisticated legal analysis, because if you haven't had a whole night's sleep in a couple of weeks, it really improves your ability to summarize a recondite constitutional law discussion into a few pithy lines.
My father died eight years ago, and he was a hospital frequent flyer, so I got pretty used to the way things used to work. Surprisingly, in the interim they are STILL writing things in looseleaf books, everybody who turns up asks the same few questions (I wanted to set up an arbitrage market: DOB 1/22/53 bid, 6/14/60 asked?) but nobody actually asks anything about your actual symptoms, and they couldn't organize a pillowcase for the bed.
As for IKEACare, I'm all in favor of autonomy for the patient, but it's like being presented with a large box full of components and an indecipherable diagram and told to sort out your own care when you keep being told things (like how to get the various permissions, including a Papal encyclical, for procedures) that turn out not to be accurate.
So you see, I got behind on things, including my Much Ado review, and then all this started...