You’re Up Next, After the Dead Dude: a Medical History Out of Monty Python

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In the course of my life I have sort of drawn the short straw as far as physical robustness goes.  I’ve had bronchitis and pneumonia so many times I’ve lost count.  I’ve had sinus infections from hell- even after sinus surgery.  I got rheumatic fever from an untreated case of strep throat when I was ten years old which has led to countless joint sprains and strains.  Any time an orthopedist looks at any x-ray of mine, they anticipate the repeat business.  They see dollar signs and drool.   I’ve had ongoing female issues ever since the illustrious birth of the POMC – severe pelvic pain and other unmentionable nasties- that culminated in a hysterectomy almost four years ago (which hindsight being 20/20 I wish had been done right along with the Childbirth From Hell and saved me the years of hassle.)

To add to the fun, I’m also diabetic.  Yay.

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One of the several surgeries I’ve had was memorable for the humor involved.  About 13 years ago I had a funky, mole-like growth on the side of my head about the size of a dime.  I really didn’t care about it much because my hair covered it up nicely, but I made the mistake of mentioning it at a Dr.’s appointment when he asked me if I had any funky skin issues.

Of course, that meant a trip to a dermatologist and then a plastic surgeon, because said funky growth was right on top of an important facial nerve.  If it caused a problem (i.e. if it was melanoma or some other horrible cancer thing like that) or even if it was removed incorrectly, I’d end up drooling out the side of my mouth, and my speech would be incoherent.  Forever.  Oh, what fun to be a drooling imbecile, should this guy cut through the wrong thing- but should it be melanoma- well, let’s take the risk and get rid of that.

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The good news is that the plastic surgeon was comfortable doing this surgery with a local anesthetic (oh, dammit, Lidocaine burns…) so they set me up at one of those outpatient surgical centers where people go to have stuff done that would have been done in the primary care Dr.’s office back in the day, but that they’re too afraid of lawsuits to do in the office now.

I got to the center about 15 minutes early.  I was supposed to have this done at 7:30 AM, be done before 9, and back to work in the afternoon.

One really sucky thing about even an outpatient, local-anesthetic surgery is they won’t let you eat a damned thing for hours and hours ahead of time, because they’re afraid you’ll ralph on them.  By 1:30 (PM)  I was getting pretty pissy from not eating, and highly annoyed from enduring the barrage of torrid daytime TV garbage cranked up in the surgical waiting room.  I had already finished both my word-find and my crossword books, and was actually thinking about reading the three year old copies of such lovely periodicals as Urology Digest, Hemorrhoid Monthly and Sports Illustrated.  I was so perturbed that I almost didn’t notice all the activity going in and out of one of the operating rooms.

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There is boredom, and there is waiting room boredom.  It’s excruciating.

Apparently the guy who was on my surgeon’s schedule ahead of me dropped dead on the operating table while having some sort of minor surgery, like an ingrown toenail removal or something.  Only he took his time dropping dead, because they had the freaking trauma team running in and out of there for about three hours.

At 2PM the surgeon finally comes out to get me, and frankly, I’m somewhat rattled by that time.  I hadn’t eaten all day (or the night before) and I was not in a very nice mood.  He asks me if I want to go ahead and get it done. I told him hell yes, because I had only taken one day off work, and knowing the ass-clown paper pushers at that hospital I’d be 90 years old before they would see fit to schedule me in again.

 

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So I get wheeled in and the surgeon starts in with the Lidocaine- with what I thought was a bit of unnecessary roughness, but I figured I better not comment because I know what happened to the last guy.  As my head is burning from all the Lidocaine shots, he comments,

“Just don’t die on me like the last guy.  It sort of makes me look bad when my patients drop dead.”

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Five minutes later the funky growth was on its way to pathology, and I had about 8 stitches in the side of my head.   In spite of his roughness with injecting all that Lidocaine, the actual repair was done very neatly, and I’m happy to report he left me vocally articulate and drool-free.

Thankfully whatever the funky growth was, it never came back, and it wasn’t melanoma or anything else that would have killed me. It probably could have stayed there forever and not been any kind of big deal- but- Murphy’s Law being what it is, if I’d left it there it would have turned into something nasty.

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What scares me is that the way that the healthcare industry is going (and especially with the government gravy train and the abominable, evil Obama being involved in it) is that people like me with chronic conditions are going to be hurried along to die.  Part of me sort of goes along with that- and there is a time when medical intervention is pretty much pointless, but part of me wonders why it’s so hard to get just basic, necessary care.  Every time you go to a doctor they want to send you for this or that test or this or that specialist or this or that study, when they know that a.) nothing you have can really be cured, just managed somewhat, and b.) you don’t need to see 14 different specialists for every stupid basic problem that a primary care Dr. should be able to (and allowed to) treat.  The entire medical industry is geared toward how much money they can shovel in.  The doctors are more afraid of lawsuits than anything, and they can’t really afford to care much about actually getting people better.  They care more about not getting sued, and I can’t blame them.

How about tort reform?  Get rid of the bullshit lawsuits, and let doctors do what they’ve been trained to do.  Unfortunately that would make too much sense and save too much money, so nobody’s going to do anything to derail the gravy train.

If I could I’d go to the dogs’ vet.  She went to school longer and has a lot more actual sense than a lot of medical doctors, and she charges a whole hell of a lot less.

A Friendly Little Dystopia, Somewhere in a Solitary Bower, and Dead Presidents

I’m more comfortable in my own little world.  Aren’t we all, I guess, unless you’re one of those people who thrives on being surrounded by the company of others.  I feel positively smothered in the midst of large gatherings. I can only take so much, no matter who it is or what kind of conversation is going on.   Most of my family are incorrigible extroverts (I understand the mentality, but acting as though I’m an extrovert positively wears me out) so they wonder why I don’t always answer the phone immediately or text back the minute I get a text.  Sometimes I simply have to turn all that stuff off or just ignore it if I have any hope of remaining sane functional.

It’s all good here in my own little dystopia.  I have old Journey songs on the MP3 player, iced tea (with lemon only, NO sweetener of any type) and a cougar pool, capacity: 1 old cougar, namely me.  The dogs don’t give a rat’s ass if I wish to engage them in conversation or not as long as they get their meals of processed, crunchy mutton and whatever else is in their dog food, and they get to go out from time to time to perform their bodily functions and run around in the grass.  Jerry will probably be going to the campground this weekend, so I get at least one quiet solitary overnight.  I may utilize some of said solitary time to enjoy some of my live Journey DVDs (cranked up, because I know Jerry is not a Journey fan) and/or finish reading a couple of books.  The one I just started – FDR’s Deadly Secret is proving most fascinating so far. The theory in this book is that FDR died from melanoma that spread to his brain, although he had a laundry list of medical conditions going on that could have killed him too.

I just finished another book – Florence Harding: The First Lady, the Jazz Age, and the Death of America’s Most Scandalous President which picked over quite a bit of formerly obscure Marion County history as well as some rather seedy dirty laundry involving Warren G. Harding.  Yes, Harding was a tomcat.  Yes, Harding had friends in low places, but as far as scandal goes, from today’s perspective, I would have to say Clinton far exceeded Harding in the area of tomcatting, and both Clinton and Obama have far exceeded Harding in having friends in low places, and in flat out scandalous and illegal behavior.  Since this book was written in 1998, before many of the Clinton scandals came to light, and Obama was probably still a “community organizer” somewhere in Kenya, I can forgive the author that.  This book was well-researched and documented, and (though long for most people) to me, a fascinating read.

I feel for Florence Harding.  I know all too well how difficult it is to be an intelligent woman stuck with carrying a man with a lot of issues.

I don’t personally think Harding was the worst president ever.  Obama takes the prize on that dubious distinction as the worst president ever hands down as far as I’m concerned, even when compared with Dick Nixon, (in his instance I will venture to speak ill of a fellow Republican,) Jimmy Carter and even Bill Clinton.  Many past presidents (JFK, FDR and LBJ to name a few- in the 20th century) were tomcats.  Almost every past president, including my personal favorite, Ronald Reagan, was involved in something that someone might construe to be scandalous.  It’s a necessity of the office.  Perhaps the most squeaky-clean of the 20th century presidents was Harry Truman- but his sort of Democrat is extinct today, believe that.

Even Reagan had his moments, but IMHO he would do better from the grave than the current squatter occupying the Oval Office.

Come on, answer my poll, and comment, even if you do think I’m a right wing nut job.  I’m not politically correct, and I’m not very easily offended.

History is an endlessly fascinating subject for me, especially 20th century history.  I don’t know where the fascination came from but for the past several years most of my reading has been historical non-fiction.  Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, and I tend to get more engrossed in a story if I know it’s at least somewhat derived from historical fact.

It’s not entirely that I dislike people. Dislike isn’t really the right word. Dealing with people in most circumstances wears me out and sucks up what little energy I have to begin with. I do have my misanthropic tendencies- and I think people get on my nerves more than I should allow- but there are people I do adore.  The main problem I have is I can only take most people in very small doses and I can only take so much of even those who are dearest to me.  I need a lot of time alone, and when for whatever reason I don’t get it, I get very crispy around the edges.

Perhaps it’s the old school Catholic upbringing, but I feel guilty when I actually do put myself first.

In the event an airplane loses cabin pressure in flight, the flight attendant always instructs the adults to put their own oxygen mask on before masking their rugrat.  It makes sense- you have to cover yourself before you can have the resources to cover anyone else- but sometimes I get so preoccupied with other people’s wants and needs that I forget to do the things that re-energize me.

One of those things is simply turning off all the electronics and locking the doors.