Slightly Improved

I heard back from my primary care physician this afternoon. I was surprised to hear back from him, after the lambasting I gave him for failing to respond to my phone calls and online messages. His reply suggested that he had only just seen my messages, as they are funneled through staff for handling so he doesn’t see all of them. I felt like a jerk. I sent him an apology.

He mentioned in his message that he’s spoken with my oncologist. The two of them believe, subject to information provided by the as-yet-unscheduled biopsy, that I am a surgical candidate to remove a portion of the right lung where the tumor is located. I wish I could get the damn biopsy scheduled ASAP. The oncologist’s office called today to tell me the first available date for the biopsy is October 31; however, I learned that they had scheduled it to take place in Hot Springs, while the doctor recommended I go to Little Rock for the biopsy. So I told the scheduler and she said she would get back to me. Nothing yet. I do have other tests on the calendar. This Wednesday morning, I go in for a lung function test. Then, next Monday, I go in for a CT scan of my head. The oncologist wants to know whether there are any issues suggesting cancer has spread into my head (she says nothing suggests that has happened).

Naturally, commitments I’d previously made had been thrown out the window. The only things I think I’ll be able to complete as committed this week are: 1) smoking a pork loin for Friday evening’s dinner with the church Long Range Planning committee; 2) attending said dinner and planning session; and 3) spending all day Saturday at the church, participating in a congregational long range planning workshop. Though I signed on for those things, they no longer hold the appeal they once did.

I had scheduled an appointment for today to see a Nurse Practitioner who works with a dermatologist. I kept the appointment. She prescribed something that I am to apply to my scalp three times a day for a week or so, then reduce over time; that should eliminate the itching I feel on my scalp. I sure hope so. Otherwise I may have to scalp myself. But, of course, when I went to pick up the prescription, it was not ready. Late this afternoon the pharmacy called to say it was ready. But we were about to leave for an evening engagement, so the drugs remain locked at the pharmacy. Maybe soon.

I’ve mellowed since allowing myself to be consumed by ennui’s second cousin in the wee hours of the morning last night. Thanks to messages from good female friends,  I have forced myself to awaken from my morose stupor. (I don’t know why I used female as an adjective just now; I may have to examine that one day when I return to my explorations of my mind.)

Tonight, we attended the last HSV Open Mic Night of the year. It was well-attended, with around 200 people in attendance. The guy who agreed to take the reins from me last year seems to have done an admirable job; better than I was doing. I remain proud that I grew it from babyhood to an audience of 150, but the guy who took it over has done better than I could have done. The fact that he’s a musician and knows lots of local musical talent helped. And his professional history as an impressario of sorts didn’t hurt, either. Regardless of the reasons, he excelled beyond what I was able to do with the event. More power to him. Tonight’s acts were excellent, by the way. And I saw my friend Craig, the venue manager, and let him know of my health news. Unlike some folks, I don’t feel compelled to keep my diagnosis a secret. I rather prefer to put it out there, in the open, so I don’t have to remember who is in on the secret and who isn’t. It’s selfish, but it serves a purpose.

My wife made apple pie this afternoon. She planned to make it yesterday, but I was perfectly willing to put it off. It’s my birthday pie. I shun birthday cake. Birthday cake is for conformists. I bend just enough to allow for a sweet pie. I’d actually be even happier with a savory pie, make with meat or perhaps shrimp or lobster, but I’m already stretching tradition by eschewing birthday cake. I need to maintain my membership in the North American middle class; if eating sweet pie accomplishes that objective, so be it.

I am trying to remain upbeat and, for the most part, I’ve been successful. A couple of meltdowns have proven to me that I’m not the tower of strength I never thought I was. But I’ve been pretty solid. I’m feeling reasonably solid tonight. I just can’t imagine having to maintain this sense of solidity while facing a snail’s pace of action on the part of the medical community. Waiting weeks for a vital test seems unreasonable to me. But so does turning people away because they have no medical insurance.

On an utterly unrelated note, I learned today that in Garland County, where I live, the early voting ballots failed to include the Democratic candidate for Arkansas Secretary of State. By the time the error was caught, 220 people had already voted. Voting was stopped and a new ballot will be available as soon as possible. But those 220 people who didn’t have the opportunity to vote for a Democrat for Secretary of State have every reason to be enraged. I doubt the county will do a damn thing to rectify the situation for those voters.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Slightly Improved

  1. bev wigney says:

    It sounds like they are following a fairly typical protocol. I know that it all seems too slow when you’re the person at the center of things. Try to use the days of “waiting around” to organize things in your life to make it easier later on. Get nuisance stuff out of the way now. As for the biopsy, it should be done by the most competent person so that it gets done right first time round.

  2. Trisha says:

    Glad to read you’ve been able to find some peace in your most trying time, John. Wishing you the very best outcome in the ensuing tests. Will continue to look for your updates. Hang in there my friend…

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