Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I always get jittery in the office.

The oncological surgeon has a spot in Cancer Central. Four corners of a major space all filled with scientists, surgeons, oncologists, nurses and that one gal who validates parking.

I am not being braggadocios. I am surrounded by the elderly, the infirm and those who are struggling with their disease. I try not to stare because I understand and yet I don't want to know. The thoughts always race through my mind - who won't be here next time? I don't look like I should be here.

But no one ever sees the scars.

A new elderly nurse calls out my name. She actually pronounces it correctly. I believe in signs(ish) and this was a positive one.

Same old routine. I've learned where they put my chart on the side of the door so when the nurse closes it, I can listen for the rustle of papers. That will mean my doc will be right in shortly thereafter.

I read and re-read the same Melanoma poster that seems to be in every room. I'm pretty sure I can spot it now that I've seen the cases 450 times. I pass on reading the hand sanitizer. There were days I'd waste qtips in the garbage pail. Tell me you never pretended having an olympic javelin toss in an office!

Then the rustle. I hear him. Oh I know he's there.

He's the chief of oncology surgery. I got the best. I documented that a while ago. He's six feet tall and about 250 lbs. A right jolly ole elf sans the jolly part.

As the door opens, he fills the entire door frame. Usually, he is a whirlwind of personality and he thrusts the door open to announce my results even before the door closes.

Today, of course, is different. His round face is always beet red. Gotta watch that blood pressure, Doc.

"How are you feeling?"

"Who? Me?" Stupid question I know but this is unusual. "I am fine."

It's the truth. I am fine. I feel fine. I feel good. I kept telling myself this for the past two weeks. I'm not the droid you are looking for.....move along.

"Are you losing weight? Trouble sleeping? Body aches?"

"Well......yeah? I just want to lose 2 more lbs, I haven't slept since fourteen and you see how you feel when your 75 lb nine year old says 'Carry me, Dad'."

I made him chuckle. That makes me chuckle. I have bedside manner down to a tee. Just that silly doctor thing and I'd be in the club.

"Your scans were normal." Finally he says it. Fongoo, what took so long? It's been at least five minutes. He does what he always does after that - bring it all back down to Earth.

"Given your unusual tumor (read: we have no idea what the hell it was), I am always going to be extra cautious. One more year and we will scan once a year. How does that sound?"

I don't know? Sort of like Dana Scully saying, "I really just want to stay and watch bad TV with you."

I'm easy for him. In. Out. Collect copay.

I already have my appointment for next January scheduled. That's how we roll.

Tomorrow morning, run. Tomorrow night, shrink. Friday morning, weights.

All pretty normal. All pretty boring.

And that's just how I like it.....

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