Saturday, August 26, 2006

8.26.06, Dr. Hands, Dim Sum, and ADBs

Dr. Hands, Dim Sum and ADBs

Get the health issues out of the way first. Normally today would be about the worst on the post-chemo nausea. I felt all right for most of it however, holding up well until the end of coffee after dim sum when I started to flag. I saw that coming. Pain management is going better today, which leaves the sneakiness of nausea as my primary challenge. Franky Scale 7 to 6. (And the chemo drugs finally arrived!) The first half of the day was well worth it, the second half too is quieting down into copasetic calm. Tuna, mango salsa, a movie, little pleasures now.

•The Return of Dr. Hands: A clarification from the “two noteworthy” point I mentioned about Bone Scan Day has be requested. So in order to please. The Dr. Hands story was simply that when I had my port-o-cath put into my upper right chest, the little port for receiving needles and then a catheter tube that moves up from there over my clavicle and then down into my heart for easy drug delivery — my mainline, my doctor was quite friendly with the his hands on service. Very generous, one might say. Perhaps he wanted to make sure I was as comfortable as possible, or perhaps years of medical experience had perfected his bedside manner as a semi-retired surgeon, or perhaps we had something special, which is what I like to think. The special attention might have been creepy on another day but there had been so much bad news and so much tragedy already in the previous couple of weeks that this incident struck me more as comical. Also, having my mother and 60-year old cousin there to watch, and K was there too, made it all the more surreal. Somebody’s unconscious mind had broken the reality barrier and was running amok in the pre-surgery room. I was just witness. And my mother was witness, too, I guess, although she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. So she said later.

There was a connection between this doctor and our home state of Utah. Small world. So the talk extended from medical to geographical and biographical. All the while I was receiving this extra gift of touch on both pecs and other areas of my neck and chest. Enough to say that it stuck in my mind. So while lying on the bone scan table, my skeleton being slowly read in detail, the technician was making small talk and it turned to his medical alma mater, the University of Utah. “So,” pregnant pause, “do you know Dr. Hands?” And then he waited another second. I wanted to turn my head and see if K was also having this same “What the hell?” moment, but couldn’t. Was he asking me if I wanted more of the special service during my bone scan? Was he with quality control to check and see how my previous procedure was? Who knew?

Turned out to be nothing, with the tech simply making a Utah connection, then telling us how the doctor’s famous for a catheter line he invented call the “Hands Line.” So his intro to that was “Have you heard of the Hands Line?” And so it went. Not as exciting as the first story, just a humorous reminder.

• The original blog items I thought I’d write on were dim sum and ADBs. Dim Sum is a straightforward concept. The ADB, I think, requires some explanation. This morning K and I, the always lovely Ms. T and ever dashing Machine (mostly blog names) went for dim sum in the International District. To Jade Garden. Very tasty food and serious satiation by the time were done with the twenty or so little steamers of food. Chrysanthemum tea, cup after cup, prawns, shrimp, eggplant, lobster, gai lan (Chinese broccoli), and more, more, more. I’m working on gaining wait now. My last doctor visit had me up about half a pound — and I realize that could be just daily variation but as I see it, it’s up. And I’m going to get the rest of that pound and maybe one more.

Showing up late Saturday morning and seeing the place packed, standing room only, people waiting for 45 minutes on the sidewalk out front is a very good indication of how good the food is. So we made the wait, did not try the “cancer” excuse to get up in the line, not yet on that one, and left with stomachs singing. Mine just a bit off key.

• The ADB (Accelerated Death Benefit)
This is not an insurance tool I would like to have to know about, knowledge life would be sweeter without. How often, on the other hand, is knowledge not comforting in life? The ADB conversation I might hold till tomorrow given post-length at this point. It might be obvious what it’s about, but I was planning to go through the psychology of what it’s like to “get certified” as terminal and having an insurance company then give you an early benefit based on this. More later.


david said...

Hello from Maine, in sight and sound and smell of the water. It keeps waving. I thought I'd send this an email, but then after reading about Curascript I figure the guy can handle any kinda shit howeverwise it arrives. One of the things about being at the beach, it's where as a child I went for the summers, to my grandparents' place by the water; and we still do. I like it for what it is, and for the many memories, and for the space it provides for me to write, and just simply be. I hadn't noticed before, but this time really have, that it is also a place for the most vivid dreams, the sorts I used to dream as a child and younger person. Last night's dream included a visit with mr. j. One of the things about these dreams is their visual clarity, and he was most vividly present. But see, though it was my dream, I don't want to make him uneasy with the thought that he was there, or here; so three cheers for comment moderation. He can do with this what he wishes. Because the point of it was he carried a lot of anger with him, not toward me, but more generalized, and I thought later, after 'waking up,' that except for the well-deserved but temperate blasts at the recent winner of the Pile of Shit Award and others of their ilk, remarkably what I keep finding in the dngg posts each day are the most amazing concern for the others of us who read each day's post and are lifted up with the warmth, the intelligence, the grit, and occasionally buffeted by the stupidities of the sytematized approach to medicine that our culture seems in some ways to have fallen back down into. And yet and yet, there is what works too, and the people, even Dr. Hans, or Dr. Hands, or... Boy that one is stranger than a dream!

Ms. T. said...

Just a quick set of comments related to my visit:

1. It was so nice to meet K. Ever since mr.j was diagnosed and based on various anecdotes, I am feeling that she deserves the "best response" award. But it was also nice to see her in action (not quite CD actions, but it was super joyful to hear about it:-) and in person.

2. I also like to comment on how much I appreciate the blog. It's really hard to manage emotions and relationships when I am in a different city. But the blog has created this sense of conversation, knowing where you are at, what to expect, how to try to be there, etc. I cannot even imagine how it would have felt without the blog while I am not in Seattle. But I know it would have been impossible to catch up and reconnect when I am here, hadan't been for the blog (and you are always my favorite commy spending time and reconnecting with is always great).

3. Can you ask your ms. shrink if it is ok for you to be so concerned with what it feels to be us -your family and friend? Is it fair for you to constantly be the considerate one who makes effort for our comfort? I say this, b/c I am used to illness and selfish/irrational behavior coming together and I have been constantly surprised by how different you are. I think you should ask her for an appropriate dose of selfishness necessary for managing the emotional anxiety caused by external affairs? I say it could be as important as pain management.

4. Pile-of-shit-polished-with-piss award to Curascript. At least Josef K. was not struggling with pancreatic cancer, was he?

Lots of love,


tossing salads said...

right on ms. t. he does seem to try and comfort us. which is one of the most beautiful parts of him. but the sad and bizzare part, is that we will be ok. there will be a huge fucking hole (sorry mom,i just was reminded of my language, for those who are offended sorry also), another one just this side of dan, when... but be selfish, be whatever, i will support you, you have the right. love and painlesses free as possible days as can be managed.