Life is darkly funny, and I do love black humor, so at least there’s that. For example, I have a patio that’s covered by a large canopy (a canopy is basically a thousand dollar tarp), and when it snows, I have to rake the snow off the canopy while standing on a ladder part of the time and on the roof of the house part of the time. When I stand on the house part I'm within inches of a high voltage line, but I’ve never been one to avoid looking death in the eye while standing on an icy roof, especially where the welfare of a canopy is concerned. Since it rarely snows more than an inch or two here, and during some winters not even that much, I don’t give my canopy much thought, but as I write this, it's covered by six inches of snow, and snow is continuing to fall. I wouldn’t be surprised if the framing itself collapses, and I find that darkly funny. Here are some other things that strike me undesirable, yet funny enough once I've had a snootful of thing or another.

It rarely gets below 25-degrees F. here even in the dead of winter, so I don't give frozen pipes much thought either, but the daytime highs lately have been near freezing, and the forecast low for the next two nights is 8-degrees. This means that I need to get my crawlspace vent covers down from the attic, and install them over the foundation vents, but my odds of doing it aren't looking good.

...The toilet is running. I can hear it cutting on-and-off as I write, but I can do nothing to fix it... 

Last night, Peggy moved 30 cans of house paint, 20 gallons of juice, and four cases of soymilk from the garage to the laundry room to keep it from freezing. The laundry room is also crowded with dirty laundry, but neither Peggy nor the Queen of England know how to run a washing machine, and I'm still having trouble negotiating the step between the laundry room and kitchen (the one I had so much trouble crawling up last Saturday).

Peggy was so worried yesterday that she called the neurologist that I’m supposed to see on Monday. Here, in my part of America anyway, it’s extremely unusual for a doctor to talk to a patient unless said patient is in the doctor’s office where he or she can be billed $30 a minute, so when I said “she called the neurologist,” what I meant was that she called the neurologist’s staff. However, the switchboard operator mistakenly transferred her to the CEO, so Peggy found herself talking to a man who didn’t say who he was but who sounded very surprised to hear from her. He repeatedly tried to transfer her back to the switchboard, but every time he hung-up, his own phone would ring again, and Peggy would still be on it, so he finally told her who he was and asked how he could help. She described my situation in some detail, and ended by saying, “My husband is in a lot of pain, and he needs to talk to someone before Monday about how to: manage the pain, avoid the constant threat of his entire back cramping, and protect his back from further injury,” to which the CEO responded, “All our patients are in a lot of pain, but I’ll see what I can do.” A few hours later, we got a personal call from the doctor I’m supposed to see on Monday. I was out having an MRI when he called, so he left a message saying he would call back this morning, but he didn't.

I was both astounded and pissy to hear the voice of a genuine doctor coming from my own little answering machine. Unless you’re a VIP (which I had apparently become because of a misdirected phone call), doctors give almost nothing of themselves unless it’s a billable event, and talking to a patient on the phone is not a billable event. If a patient isn’t okay with this, he must be reminded—in this case by a CEO who would not himself have to wait for a billable event—that being ignored by one’s doctor is unavoidable, and that it is unreasonable for one person to complain about it when so many other people are content to suffer in silence. Sure, plumbers and car mechanics might talk to a person off-the-clock, but medical doctors are too well-paid and highly regarded to waste time doing anything for free, that is unless it’s for a VIP, which I now am due to an inept switchboard operator who is probably out looking for a new job.

My internist of twenty years won’t talk on the phone either, but he will write a prescription, and I just love that about him. My most recent prescription was for Fentanyl, a painkiller 100 times stronger than morphine. My 50-microgram dose of Fentanyl is the equivalent of 100 milligrams of oxycodone (another drug for severe pain) per day. I never take more than 30 mgs of oxycodone a day, but I take it all at once, so I think I should survive the Fentanyl, but I’m not completely free of concern because Fentanyl has a nasty reputation for killing people, even wonderful people like myself who deserve to live long lives and who go to great pains to take their dangerous drugs exactly as prescribed. Giving Fentanyl to a person in pain is like giving a nuclear bomb to Slim Pickens, and all I have to say about that is thank the Good Lord for nuclear bombs because I had much rather be incinerated instantly by a nuke than to be hacked to death slowly by a sword. 

I would love to take a nap, but the neurologist did say that he would call again, plus my internist’s staff is supposed to let me know if the thing on my left kidney is a cyst, a hematoma, or a tumor, and I’m just nosey enough to want to find out. 

As I was finishing this up, somebody named Corey called from the internist’s office called to tell me that the growth on my left kidney is "a very large cyst that might need to come out." I asked if it could be malignant, but he didn’t know. I asked what caused it, but he didn’t know. I asked what would happen if I didn't want to cut it out, but he didn’t know. That’s all I know, that and the fact that it's not a tumor.

Peggy is making snow ice cream (snow plus condensed milk), so I'm outta here.



lotta joy said...

NOT A TUMOR is good enough to know. It seems they could do a needle aspiration, but what do I know, since I don't get paid kerbillions to make guesses and play on hunches.

I always wished we had a doctor, plumber, and an electrician in the family, but with my luck they'd be on Joe's side of the family.

Peggy knows nothing of doing the laundry? Smart girl.

Elephant's Child said...

Oh Snow. Black humour is a wonderful thing. Without it I would certainly have drowned many years ago. Hang on to and nurture yours. A cyst? Oh joy and bliss. You really don't like to do anything by halves do you?
Thank you for the updates.

All Consuming said...

It's not a tumour! Hurrah! For the moment lets definitely go with hurrah! I'm relieved for both of you. Our doctors may be a pain in the rectum at times, but they will talk to you on the phone thankfully. In fact I had a telephone consultation the other day with the only GP I like or trust, so for all of my moaning about the health care system, some of it is good, and works, and at least it's paid for by general taxes, so the poor who can't afford any health care don't die for want of medication and diagnosis. They're still pretty shite (pardon my French), but you have it worse if the damn doctors won't even talk to you on the phone tsk.
Snow ice-cream. Priceless. with all the dog and cat piss round these parts it'd look lemon flavoured too.

Strayer said...

I'd like some of what you were on when you wrote this. I'd rather be nuked too than die many other possible deaths, in war, or otherwise.

Sissy said...

If a snootful gives you the ability to write this way after your tragedy, I'm happy for you. To hell with the clothes, the snow and any other concerns. Hope you and Peggy sat and ate all the snowcream you wanted - good stuff. I love lemon! and chocolate and....

I'm certain doctors everywhere don't do personal calls...unless he might be fearful of a lawsuit, as my chiropractor, who watched me fall off his table the first time. To think how impressed I was then with him and today I know the truth of that. Ha! No money means no treatment.

Sure hope Monday brings you good news. I sure do.

My comments over your fall the other day fell into the ether somehow or other and my pain prevented repeating it. My silence was not neglect. Okay?

Robin said...

Snow...you and your *Black Humour*! I am relieved you have a Cyst...not a Tumor...and I am glad your pain is under control (sort of) until you can finally seen by a Doctor on Monday. Peggy is a wonder! (I'm not referring to the fact she totted all those cans of paint AND managed to reach the Chief Doctor.....but to the fact she doesn't do laundry!) Love that...it made me chuckle.

I (and so many of the *Snowbruah-Family* have really been worried about you...a fall like you had was (IS) scary...

Take as good care of yourself as you can...I am glad Peggy and Brewsky are there with you...

Of course, I keep you in my p----rs.... keep in touch!

Love to all three,

♥ Robin ♥

Charles Gramlich said...

you've become a cog in the system at this point, and it grinds. Hope you hear only good news and quickly are able to get out of this particular grind.

Helen said...

Snow ice cream? I would drive right over, BUT I don't have chains!

PS, my GP calls me with results of my blood work ~~ same day! Move to Bend .. or Redmond!

Sissy said...

Ah, I once had a doctor like
Helen's. Current doctor-test results require a new appt., which (wink, wink) means a second office visit charge plus new tests, then another appt. to get those results. Something is crooked, I'm thinking, eh?

angela said...

I believe the universe was working for you, the CEO couldn't get rid of Peggy so he had to deal with it. Good on her. Glad it's not a tumour most cysts are harmless but it is best to get them out. I hope your expensive tarp and pipes are ok.

Linda said...

The father of my present obgyn I am talking about on my blog came to the phone within 30 seconds of my frantic, sobbing phone call because I found a lump in my breast. He told me he would see me as soon as I got there or he would get me an appointment with someone who could deal with it that day or the next. So, you see, my present obgyn comes from good people. It was an open cyst, but feeling something that large, my mind went to breast cancer. Three weeks of strong antibiotic fixed me right up.

However, talking with some doctors is impossible. I hate it when receptionists relay messages or nurses try to explain things, then have to go ask the doctor and call me back. Then, with another follow-up question, she has to call me back yet again.

Thankfully, Peggy is persistent and knows the right questions to ask. The CEO? That is so funny. Poor guy could not get rid of her. At least things are moving along for you.

She cannot do laundry? Good for her.

PhilipH said...

Thanks for the update Snowy.
Hope the MRI analysis is good news too.
You'd better give Peggy the snowbrush now!

Stephen Hayes said...

Recently I had a physical and my doctor's office called me a few days later saying the doctor wanted to talk to me about changing one of my prescriptions. I was told I needed to make another appointment. I told them I was just in to see him and I didn't want to pay for another visit and he could just go ahead and mail me the new prescription. They refused and I'm currently looking for another doctor.

Putz said...

i think the best comment so far was that you are obviously not stable<><><>i have thought that qbout you all along right from the beginning