|My post-MRI heartburn.|
The post-op MRI has always coincided with the Christmas season -- call it a chance to become a human holiday light display -- and this year was no different. My wife was a little leery. How much radiation did I have to get exposed to before it started having drawbacks -- like causing the cancer that they're hoping isn't there? My urologist would have the answer.
If he hadn't retired, that is. It was news to me. He walked out of my life without a word, as if all those years I gave to him (two and a half) meant nothing. I'd have to deal with his replacement. And unlike him, the new guy was a woman.
|My new urologist didn't get the memo.|
You always want a good first date story, and her question gave me the opening. As I gave her the rundown -- pain due to the tumor growing near the artery and, thus, cutting off my blood supply -- she scanned the surgeon's notes. "I've never heard of this before!" she gushed.
I felt like Sinatra, circa 1961. "Cool, isn't it?" I replied... and in my mind adding, "baby."
But she wasn't through yet. "This is really something... wow... incredible..." Man, this chick couldn't get enough of my diagnosis.
Then I had to go and ruin it. "Do I need another MRI? I mean, my wife's a nurse and she said --" Oh my God, she knows I'm married! What would her reaction be?
"It's standard protocol," she answered evenly, "that you have five annual MRIs following this kind of surgery." She wrote the prescription and bade me farewell until next year's appointment. Yes! A second date!
The following Saturday, I arrived at the radiology center 15 minutes early to discover 12 people ahead of me. The Upper East Side must be lousy with cancer, I judged. No doubt the Second Avenue subway construction had something to do with it. Class action lawsuit, here we come.
On the walls were were four HDTVs, all with the sound off. While waiting my turn at check-in, I watched the one tuned to CNN. I sometimes wonder if people who have to use the closed-captioning realize that mistakes are made. Like the story about the DJs who called Princess Catherine's hospital. What I assumed to be the phrase "Australian radio station" came up as AUSTRALIAN RADIATION -- appropriate, under the circumstances. But what to make of HUE MAIL YATED? Ah, of course -- humiliated. Must be that tricky accent. Wait 'til they have to quote someone from Queens.
|Wait 'til you see the centerfold.|
The MRI is a noisy affair, a combination of drills, anvils and alien spaceships taking off. When it's time to take the "contrast" images, the drip starts dripping. For all its possible side effects, that radioactive goo gives you a warm sensation all over, similar to a quality brandy or high grade Thai heroin. Every year, just before he takes those particular images, the radiologist gives me the same instructions: "Don't breathe, don't move." Good idea, because the subsequent racket -- similar to a fire alarm going off directly next to your head -- makes you want to jump out the door.
|"Congratulations! It's a lymphocele!"|
The score thus far: One trip to the urologist, two prescriptions, two trips to to different radiologists, two readings -- all for one MRI. Remind me to do something easier, like buying an assault rifle.
Wait, what's this I read online? The second possibility for the lymphocele: They may also be caused by intense masturbation or intense sex and will normally disappear in a few days.
I hope Dr. G isn't the jealous type.