Gone to hell in a handbasket

When I last wrote, I reported that the three CAT-scans I had on Monday had determined that I have a badly crushed L1 vertebra (L1 is the red vertebra in the illustration), and “something” on my left kidney. That something could be a hematoma from the fall, a tumor, or a cyst. To determine which, my internist ordered an MRI, which is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday. Today, I’m to have a prerequisite blood test to verify that my kidneys have recovered from the injection of the contrast medium on Monday, the test being necessary because more contrast medium is to be injected tomorrow.

The internist’s office called yesterday morning (Tuesday) to let me know they had faxed a referral to a surgical neurologist. I immediately called the neurologist’s office to make an appointment, only to have someone named Toni tell me in her chipper voice that the referral hadn’t arrived. After a second referral was faxed, I called Toni again, but had to leave a message on her voicemail. She didn’t call back, despite being told that my situation was urgent. I called her again this morning. She said she still hadn’t received a referral. so I gave her the name of the person who had faxed the TWO referrals, the exact times the referrals were faxed, and the name of the person in her office who had taken the referrals from the fax machine and delivered them to her; at which point Toni said, in her, by now, maddeningly chipper voice, “Oh, here they are,” and made my appointment.

I think that what was going on for Toni was that she wanted me to be a good boy and quietly wait my turn in line, no matter how long it took, but, as I told her: “I’m in terrible pain; I’m getting almost no sleep; I can’t even do light housework; the only way I can take the edge off is to combine Fentanyl and oxycodone, drugs that are dangerous when combined; all this plus I look pregnant because I’ve gone from having two bowel movements a day before the accident to having none since the accident, suggesting the likelihood of abdominal nerve damage. I really need to be seen.” This was way more information than Toni wanted to hear, and some of the chipperness left her voice.

If you want to know what’s it like to feel powerless, be in desperate need of medical care but not actually bleeding to death. Of course, there are good office staff, and I try to have fun with them. I was talking to one just this morning. When she called me to say, “I have the answers to all of your questions,” I responded, “Okay, what is the meaning of life?” Earlier this week, another had asked, “Do you have other issues?” and I said, “Oh, but do I ever have other issues, but I don’t think you can help me with them.” Maybe she was kidding me back when she said, “Well, I’ll certainly do my best.”