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Monday, June 11, 2001

I should be relieved. All the tests so far are negative, and the symptoms are gradually easing. The doctor thinks I had a viral infection, which is now mostly gone. The discomfort I'm still feeling is residual inflammation and will continue to get better. All good news.

Except that he also wants more samples, so they can run tests for "invisible blood." (Sounds kind of voodoo to me.) The little fold-up cards and coffee stirrers they gave me for these samples are exactly the same as the ones I picked up from the Lab Guy the day of my first appointment. When I took those samples back to the lab the next day, they told me they couldn't use them because they were the wrong kind. Now I get to do that all over again.

And I have to have a sigmoidoscopy. I'm not sure what that is, but if it has "scope" in it it can't be good. And the instructions are ominous: no solid food the day before, two Fleet enemas an hour apart the morning I go in for the procedure.

It's not happening until the middle of August. Early in the morning. And if you're still with me, that means getting up about five o'clock to start all the prep work, then driving into town to get probed, then driving back home and trying to have a normal Tuesday. Yeah, that's going to happen.

When I balked at the early morning hour of the appointment, the nurse came out of nowhere and informed me that was the only time they did it, and not only that, if I thought I was going to cancel I should let them know a few days ahead of time, because they have hordes of people clamoring to have this done to them.

Well, sure. I can see that. Who wouldn't want a sigmoidoscopy, especially if all you have to do is drink clear liquids for 24 hours and give yourself a couple of rectal evacuants, then walk around with your legs bowed for the rest of the day. Sounds like a little slice of heaven. I wouldn't give up my shot at this experience to the next person in line for all the beans in... ummm... never mind.

What I really like is having two whole months to work this over in my mind, because I'm not obsessive about these things at all, oh no.

Oh, the doctor also gave me a prescription for Zantac, to reduce the acid in my stomach. But he didn't give me any dietary advice or restrictions. I think I'll still be careful of what I eat for a while, though. Maybe forever.

Also, just to record every bit of useless information about this ten-minute examination, my blood pressure was a little higher than it was ten days ago. He didn't mention that, either, but the nurse told me. He didn't recommend any blood tests or prescribe an antibiotic (or whatever the appropriate medication for infection might be).

I have to admit, I'm not completely sold on the diagnosis. If I keep getting better, and the new tests don't show anything, I'll feel more secure about all this.

lush green wisteria

To celebrate David's birthday tonight, we nailed him down for a few hours and fed him tacos with the family. After nineteen years of creatively choosing just the right present every year, today, on his twentieth, I gave him cash. But I don't think he hated it. Then we sat around and listened (and sang along with) his new Hank Williams III CD. I came home, and he went off to another party. Which makes sense, since I've already had a lot more birthdays that he's had.

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It's a hard road to choose,
Being good and paying dues,
But that's the kind of life I'm living
And I plan on living long.