Saturday, January 26, 2008

I May Not Have Brushed My Teeth but I Sure Managed to Get Something Done Today

On Wednesday, on the way back from the radiologist, it snowed. The only word to describe the mountain roads when the snow is coming down at you and your windshield so that it seems like you're about to go into hyperspace and you can't see the little reflectors because they are covered with snow is treacherous. When I got back, I was freaked out.

It snowed all day Thursday, a day I said that I was officially "snowed in." But I was wrong. We ended up driving all over creation Thursday night, probably the biggest fools that ever lived. When we got back, the power had gone out not just in Duck Pond Campground, but the whole one-intersection town.

Today, Long Lost Lover (he prefers this over Absurdist Lover, so I may start referring to him as Triple L) said he needed to play games, watch movies, and relax. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do, but finally when I decided I really should write (earth to Earnest: you always need to write. daily. get used to it.), he put up a sheet partition so I could have a door. Though I was just behind the curtain, I managed to get a bunch done. One problem I have is that it's hard to get started because I have so many projects I always feel like there is something better or more important I could be doing. But I also realized in the last few days that many of the projects I've developed in the last few years have been left half-completed. Other projects are mostly finished, but need to be revised before they can be sent out. So this article that I wrote became mostly a Frankenstein's monster job, pulling a head and neck from this piece, a spine and skeletal system from over yonder, and then a whole body of skin, more or less, from somewhere else. I mocked it up and pulled pieces from here and there -- and before I knew it, I had mocked up the entire piece. Somehow, from a few hours of work, I have an almost complete draft. I have to revise it and revise it and revise it until I'm sure that no sentences remain from the Dreaded Dissertation. But I can do that in a week.

So that's good news.

Here's the other thing I'm going to get done today besides the article: I'm going to tell you the breast news. So I left for my appointment already upset. Triple L and I had somehow gotten in a whole thing the day before that hadn't really finished. Of course, it takes a million zillion years to drive through the mountain roads, then through the area of Ticky-Tacky Houses so I could drive to Highly Ranked Clinic in order for them to give my breasts and their lumps a close-up. First of all, the parking structure costs $8. For patients! What about people going there for chemo and stuff? It's highway robbery to charge patients $8 to park in a lousy structure.

Then I went down to the basement, waited in line (a couple of people wanted to go ahead of me, but I didn't let them), and filled out even more paperwork and paid. Then they sent me into a room with a handful of other people waiting. They called all of us at once. I felt like a herd of sheep. I had to wait because the other women had filed dutifully into the changing room where there were two lockers for us to put our stuff and shirts in. Then it was my turn to change into a robe whose main job seems to be to flash my breasts at everyone as I walk. Then I sat. And waited. I didn't wait too terribly long there, but I did wait a very long time in the room. Then the radiologist and the nurse came back in. The radiologist was a man (!), who looked younger than I am. So I had my breasts all greased up and looked at on the ultrasound by this young whippersnapper. Now this is my second ultrasound. The first ultrasound was when I was traveling in a place not particularly reputed for their medical equipment or advancement. There they had four giant screens on the wall, so that the patient could see what's being ultrasounded without craning her neck around to the doctor's screen. At Highly Ranked Clinic, there was just the monitor that is smaller than most people's computer screens to crane my neck to if I want to see the small black shapes in my breasts. Obviously medical ranking has nothing to do with equipment. Very odd.

Young Whippersnapper asked me to wait, still in my robe (he's in a lab coat and I'm in a robe -- guess who haqs the power? no one calls me doctor when I'm wearing one of those robes) because he needed to run the results by the attending radiologist (what? so I don't have a good radiologist???). I waited a long time because that doctor was in the middle of a biopsy. Finally, he came back out and said that the doctor agreed that it was nothing to worry about -- that they (he found a third little piece of ultrasound blackness that makes me think of these lumps as black holes -- as the absence rather than presence of something) were either cysts or inflamed ducts.

Now, I know I'm supposed to be ecstatic that it's not cancer. But though I entertained the possibility that maybe Long Lost Lover and I were going to be reunited only to be tragically parted by cancer, I never really thought it was cancer. Really I've been worried about whatever it is. But to these radiologists, it's binary. Cancer/no cancer. What if these cysts are the symptom of some other problem -- like infertility -- and nobody cares? I want to get to the bottoms of these things, find out what they are, find out what causes them and how I can avoid them, learn what I need to do differently. Preventative care sucks in Western medicine. I do not feel closure. I do not feel like celebrating. I wish they had decided what it was (cysts, inflamed ducts) so then I could go on with the next step: freakishly searching the internet for every odd natural healing website I can find that mentions anything even tangentially related, drastically altering my eating habits in order to accommodate new life change, and generally driving people crazy with my weird unfathomable eating habits and newfound "knowledge." Instead I'm in limbo.

I have my own prescription from Stephen King. He says I need to spend three to four hours a day writing and reading. I'm working on that.

In other non-starter news, I sent in my application for one community college that starts in about a week. For some odd reason, they are not beating my door down, overloading my phone, or begging for interviews. Typical. I need to send materials to two more colleges, then I'm going to get serious about other kinds of work. But I have to write. This is imperative. I have too many unfinished projects. Triple L says I should be a "completionist." He obviously doesn't know me that well.


Sisyphus said...

Yay for no cancer! That'll be a load of worry off your mind. And yay for writing things!

Hmm, I wonder if I can slip my chapter in your to-do pile?

What Now? said...

I'm glad the news is no cancer, although I totally understand the unnerving quality about ongoing limbo.

Earnest English said...

I don't know how I got into this deplorable habit of not responding to comments. I am ending this pattern now. Yay for no cancer. Now I just have to find out what the black holes ARE! Any ideas? Could they be Easter eggs that the Easter bunny has placed in there for hiding? I hope this is not like the gun in the first act that has to go off by the last act. I'll need to get my acts together.

Sis: You can always slip your chapter into my to-do list. I never get to my to-do list, only my oh-crap list. Though there is something peculiar about being at such loose ends: having the certainty of the chapter and teaching to do seems wonderful. On the other hand, it also sucks, as we all know.

WN: Limbo blech!

k8 said...

I'm very glad to hear that it isn't cancer! But I admit that not knowing the other possibilities sucks too. Be well!

AJ said...

What's the adage about answering one question only to find, like, 287 more? I'm so very glad that they didn't find cancer.

Jane D said...

Amen!!!!! I just about hard a heart attack reading this blog! Saw "radiologist" in your latest post and was then scared to even read this one! Whew! But okay. What are they? I understand your concern over not knowing. I will ask my mother, who may know something about this, and get back to you. I should probably be writing this in an email, rather than a long comment. Been thinking lots about you today. Thought I'd get on here to catch up before emailing...glad I did! I love that you're writing, by the way! And man, do I ever identify with the difficulty of just getting started on a project. Yay that you got a draft done in just a few hours!