Two Cancers VI

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Healthcare system tip :

If you need get admitted to the emergency ward quickly, call the ambulance and get them to have you checked in as an emergency patient. It helps to be an actual emergency case in this situation.

I found this out when the paramedics got me to the hospital. They listened to my encapsulation of my condition/story on the way and got me into an examining room in no time, and shortly after that the attending physician was looking at me and as I told my story to him a look of concern and confusion washed over his face. After a moments thought he looked at the nurse and said “if this gentleman were 80 years old his condition might make some sense to me, but since he’s 40 and in otherwise good health, I don’t know what to say, so run basically every test we have on him and we’ll go from there “.

Needless to say his words caused me concern, but at this point I was glad to find somebody other than the brother of a friend (who was also an emergency room doc) who took me seriously. Thanks to my friends’brother, I already had an appointment for an MRI set up for three days from now, so I settled in for what I figured was the beginning of an unpleasant process. I was given some pills for the pain until they could find a bed for me, and in the meantime they began to take blood and urine samples while arranging for xrays and other tests whose names and procedures have fortunately escaped my memory.

The bed that was found for me was located in one of the emergency room hallways and would be my home for the next 2 1/2 – 3 days. Once I was thus situated, a nurse came and gave me what had been eluding my grasp for the previous six months. Relief. From pain. Using my favourite of all drugs, morphine.

Aaaaahhhhh….morphine. Killer of pain, provider of pleasure, sweet, sweet friend. Yum.

And as soon as the stuff hit my brain I figured ‘fuck it, I need a cigarette’ and that was the end of four years of going without that form of addictive pleasure. I knew I was in pretty bad shape and also figured I was in for a long haul in hospital and figured I’d take what few and simple comforts I could find. Besides which, I find that junk and smokes pretty much go hand in hand. There’s something about chasing the one fix with another, much the same as whiskey and beer or mushrooms and dope. They compliment each other, and I knew that this ride was going to continue for the forseeable future so I just wanted to lie back and enjoy at least as much of what was coming as I could.

The days came and went, with me getting wheeled about for tests and proddings at random intervals and with Caroline going back and forth between the kids, work and the hospital. Through the fog of everything I watched as her concern turned to fear as time passed without any clues as to the cause of my pain and all, and I wondered what the hell must be going on in her mind. She’d lost her father to cancer two years before my first go with Hodgkins, and here I was in the hospital that was baffling the collected MDs who had been by my bed. Lucky her.

I finally got a room on my fourth day in the hospital, just in time to be taken for my MRI. I had already had xrays, a CT scan, ultrasound and all manner of blood testing and physical exams, but nothing concrete had surfaced as an explanation for my condition. Within ten minutes of returning to my room I was greeted by a doctor I hadn’t yet laid eyes on. He introduced himself and told me he was the liason for patients that need transfer to other (read better) facilities and then told me that as soon as the radiologists put my MRI up next to my CT scan they could see that I had cancer in my lower back. They were certain I had a tumor surrounding my spinal cord from my L6 vertebrae down to the bottom of my spine, and that they thought it may have spread to the bone and muscle of my left hip.

WHOOSH !

That was the sound of my brain shutting off and coming back to full force in a nanosecond.

Cancer. L6 on down. Transfer to Kingston. Surgery. Tell Caroline. Fuck. The kids. Fuck.

“That motherfucking bastard _________ !!”

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~ by Rocky Green on May 8, 2007.

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