I’m starting something new in my blog – entries I’ll call A Blast From the Past. Basically, these will be times when I had a blast and it was in the past. I’ll put these entries in when I’m too busy to write something original or too drunk to care either way.
This one is from an email sent to my friends after I had some medical tests last year. (My apologies to everyone who already read this – but it’s my health, you should goddamn care enough to read it again.)
So if you're keeping track, in the past 10 months or so I’ve had various health ailments, including, but not limited to, having four wisdom teeth extracted, tearing up my hand like road kill in a drunken stupor, having a thing cut out of my back, various sinus infections, flues, etc. The latest event logged in my "journal of my rebellious body" is the result of some "weird" (these are all scientific terms) levels of "stuff" in my blood test results. The stuff in question is a hormone the kidney sends out when it thinks it isn't getting enough blood (sort of like the attitude your girlfriend sends out when she thinks she's not getting enough love.) Now too much of this hormone being sent out can result in high blood pressure, because your heart is trying to make your kidney happy. (Same result with the girlfriend scenario.)
Doc thinks the cause of this is "renal artery stenosis", or basically a kink in an artery going to the kidney. Same as a garden hose, but with blood and much smaller. So I had to go yesterday to get a renal angiogram. (Every time I say "renal" all I can think of is "anal" or "penal" – whoever came up with these names should have thought to make the dirty organs sound very different than the rest of the organs).
I go to the office and I’m surrounded by people double, triple, and, quite possibly, quadruple my age. Everyone is drinking this stuff that they're handing out at the front desk. Apparently they have to drink like 6 glasses of it to fill up their bladder. This doesn't sound good to me. I ask the receptionist woman:
Me: "Do I have to drink this stuff?"
Her: "What are you having done?"
Me: "Something with my kidneys? A kidney scan?"
Her: "Then no."
Me: "Good enough for me."
I have already decided that I will not be using the word "renal" to anyone, including doctors. I find it to be one of those medical terms that anyone other than doctors shouldn't say. Like when non-Spanish people say Spanish words. It just never sounds right.
I wait, and wait, and wait. Waited over an hour. I thought the old woman next to me was going to die. I mean really, just close her eyes and go. Every time I turn my head to look at the TV on the wall next to her, she turns her head and looks directly at me with this face that is saying, "Drown me in this cup of juice. Please." I can't describe how I knew that's what her face was saying, but it was.
Finally I get called in and this is where it gets weird. I have to change into a gown, which is like a blue bathrobe made out of pillow case material. It's short. I go into one of the stalls and the nurse says, "OK, shirt and slacks off, you can leave your shoes on." Because that's what I want to do, I want to take my shirt and pants off, put on the short robe (with three quarter sleeves?) And leave my socks and shoes on. And they put a mirror in the changing room? People want to see themselves like this?
I figure I’ll just change quickly, hurry to the next room, and close the door. No problem, hardly anyone will see me. Besides, who am I trying to look good for? The 75 year old woman with the unlit cigarette in her mouth in the next stall over? So I gather up my clothes, open the door, and there's no one there. No one to tell me where to go. I'm stuck. I'm peeking my head out the door like the guy in hat movie that got locked out of his hotel room wearing women's underwear (you know the one I’m talking about). Finally a nurse walks by:
Me: "Excuse me, do you know where I should go next?"
Her: "Ummm, doctors taking care of someone else. Just stay here, I’ll come back and get you."
Me: "That's the worst fucking thing I've heard all day."
Ok, so I didn't say that, but I really, really wanted to. And then, out of nowhere, a hot nurse walks by. I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if 1. She wasn't real and it was a waking nightmare; or 2. It was the first time in history a hot ad exec said to herself, "I think I’ll go into nursing at the renal scan place." I'm dying here. Nurse leaves, I’m standing there. There is no possible way of standing where I don't look like a complete ass. I try sitting down, realize I have a short gown on, stand right back up. I'm fucked. Hot nurse walks by at least 3 times. I half expect her to whip out a camera one time and start snapping away. I even got caught one time adjusting my robe in the mirror. Pathetic.
Finally, I go into the room and the test goes pretty smoothly. The doctor was a relatively young guy who, at seeing me for the first time, says, "Whoa! Are you lost? How old are you?" I think he was just happy to see someone that he could talk to in a normal volume.
Bottom line, test went ok, should get results today. I hope I did good. I didn't really study, but then again I never did in college either.