Kage Baker, despite everything we could do, slipped right off the official radar once her cancer was diagnosed. I’ve never been able to get a logical explanation for why – her own theory was that, at the most inconvenient time of her life, she had finally achieved invisibility.
Everything took longer than anticipated. We called it the Cinder Cone Problem, because it was like trying to climb a slope of volcanic ash. For every 13 inches we climbed, we slid back a foot. And the lava was coming …
What it meant, practically, was that radiation and chemo didn’t start for 4 months after her diagnosis. Surgery was not for 6 months afterwards. Had they been sooner – ah, but that way lies madness, and my making the evening news with an assault rifle in my hands.
But I learned important lessons, fighting for Kage. I learned ways to get things done. And by using them, today I got my surgery date – January 16th. At 1:15 in the afternoon – which means a check-in a few hours earlier, and then a few days in Cedars Sinai. I shall be sleeping with the fishes, he he he, since that place is thick with aquaria.
It’s an enormous relief to have the date. I wish it were sooner. The delays caused by Medi-Cal meant that a lot of other people – who were probably putting their own surgeries off until the New Year – got in before me. But they all need their surgeries, too, and I am grateful that this has, actually, gone so relatively smoothly and quickly. As I’ve learned, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In Kage’s case, her two main surgeons had similar names – and at least twice, her insurance got them confused with one another; surgery was delayed while they argued over who was really assigned to her case. Both doctors went on vacation at the same time – and instead of re-scheduling Kage’s surgery, they cancelled it. The chemo and radiation therapies were very effective, but it took so long to get them going that her original cancer metastasized. Time, time, time was the problem; and the wasting of it was what killed her.
One of the few complaints Kage ever made was to abjure me to never, ever let this shit happen again to anyone we knew. And I haven’t. Mind you, I didn’t expect it to be me – even my imagination is not that macabre – but the caution was valid, and I have heeded it.
So now I can start making lists. I’ll over-pack, of course; I always do. But you just don’t know what you might need on any trip, and Kimberly can always read the books on my Kindle while I am dreaming with the friendly morphine pump.
And of course I will send out on the spot updates to all of you, Dear Readers. They ought to be fairly hilarious. I see some very odd things coming out of anesthesia – my anesthesiologist for my first stent implants was a 6-foot tall raccoon, and my recovery room has a chorus of elderly monkeys in it. And the doctor who did my second stent implant last year was apparently Captain Nemo. So God knows what I’ll see this time. Something to do with fish, probably.
Anyway, spare me some thought on the 16th, if you can. In the meantime, I am going to relax and play at packing and start knitting a hat.
Oh, and start marking off days on the calendar.