Kage Baker utterly hated medical tests. They always, she averred, took longer and hurt more and revealed less than her doctors told her they would. And she was sure that many were ordered just because of physicianly uncertainty or boredom; common sense would have answered a lot of them, in her opinion.
I suspect she was often right. In my case, making my biopsy procedure wait on the results of a cardiac stress test – to make sure I could survive the anesthesia – seemed a waste of time. While I approve of my gynecologist’s desire not to have me expire on the table, there was the evidence of my Klebsiella infection to consider – where my heartbeat hit 226 beat per minute for several hours. The target in the stress test was only 137 beats per minute – I’d have thought my fitness for a little anesthesia was well and truly evident.
But I have a deep background in improvisation, which is usually frowned upon in non-emergency medicine. It’s that zebra/horses mindset, that is (rightly) suspicious of mad innovation and leaping to conclusions. Dr. House is not really an exemplar of his kind. More’s the pity. I think I could get on just fine with Gregory House; and I am by nature inclined to agree with whatever insane plan he might come up with. More weirdness has worked – and been forgotten – in the history of medicine than in almost any other field.
And you do need to be prepared for the occasional zebra, after all. For unknown reasons, it was especially hard to start an IV in me – it’s usually a snap, but I think my veins might be getting tired. Took 7 tries.This makes nurses shaky and tearful.
Also, my heart is situated slightly to the right of my chest cavity, instead of to the left; it’s not that unusual an anomaly, and there are lots of folks who are quite reversed. I’m not that bad. But it does make it hard to visualize my heart, which is tucked further under my sternum than most folks’. In practical usage, it means ultrasound technicians try to grind the damned wand right through my bones in an effort to get a clear look at my heart. Did you know the breastbone and ribs are richly endowed with nerves? They are. It hurts.
In today’s stress test, I also managed to display a “paradoxical drug reaction” to atropine – as far as I could tell, from the whispered conversation over my head, my heart was slowing down when it was administered. Which is sort of backwards to the intended affect – and since the other drugs being administered were trying to speed up my heart, things got a little goofy. I may have invented a new heart rhythm, something at right angles to the usual two. I ended up on oxygen, and the test was not quite completed – since the same organ that was dancing zydeco on Halloween refused to speed up this morning.
However, it was completed enough to show that yes – given its age and known eccentricities and the several bits of platinum bling in my chest – my heart is fine. I can withstand the anesthesia required to successfully complete a biopsy; and even more, should it be needed. I feel like warning the doctors that there is no guarantee I won’t turn into something outre during the surgery – it seems of a piece with my history so far – but my heart is just dandy.
What a relief.
When I was recovered and let go, I drove home and fell into bed. My rest was broken by a notice from my gynecologist – who must have been sitting next to her phone today – that since the cardiologist had checked me off, my biopsy has been scheduled. No messing about! I like that in a gynecologist; even more in an oncologist.
So, December 8th, I finally get my biopsy. That will clinch whatever endometrial oddity is afflicting me at last, and final arrangements for its ruthless disposal can be finalized. Ta-freaking-da.
Kage would, I know, be alternating laughing and shaking her head over today’s shenanigans. Can’t you do anything normal? I can imagine her asking. Do you have to frighten your doctors and friends with these crazy stunts?
You’re a fine one to talk, I wish I could tell her. You developed cancer no one had ever heard of, and died!
Yes, but I wasn’t weird about it, Kage would say primly. I was ladylike and normal.
Which I guess would put me in my place, because she was, totally, ladylike. And as normal as she could manage. No denying it. She may have ended up afflicted with zebras anyway, but she made them wipe their hooves and behave like horses, damn it.
Me, I’m expecting my zebras to be infiltrated by Przewalski’s horses next.