Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hospital Overload

I was all set to document my day Tuesday evening the 21st. The evening was damp so I lit the gas logs, set up the laptop, and settled into the Morris Chair. Holly climbed on board for huggs and loves. A purring cat giving head butts and licks was more important than working on a journal entry. I fell back on Scarlett O’Hara’s mantra, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
Contentment with Holly:



Tomorrow morning is here. Turned off the news and Pandora is streaming my soothing “Cowboy Celtic” station. The coffee is dripping through the 1940’s aluminum Wearever drip coffeepot. After I pour my first cup, the cast iron frying pan will replace the kettle on the burner and my home fries will start cooking in lots of butter and onions. Another typical day: How I relish my morning routine.
There is a favourite movie that always entertains me even though I know pretty much every line of dialogue. It’s a 1934 “B” movie called “City Limits” with great action and amusing dialogue.    City Limits       In the beginning plot development, a newspaper reporter is masquerading as a Dr for a story. The hypochondriac sister latches onto him and says, “Doctor, I’ve had two operations and let me tell you about my incisions!” That line got used a couple times yesterday by me….
I left the house at 8:00 a.m. to drive to the Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham, AL. My appointment was not till 10:40 but I was going into unfamiliar territory and would rather be early than frantic and late. The directions were easy enough to follow to the parking deck. There was not an empty space till I hit the 6th floor.
I’m out of my element in Hospitals. I only hit one wrong reception desk searching for the proper one to check in. I was way early but explained how I had a good book to read and it would give me time to clam down. The reception people would rather see people early than late I think!
My first blood pressure was 135 which was very high for me. It had to be from the stress of the drive and all. UAB is the medical teaching hospital branch for the University of Alabama. The real technical division of UA is in Huntsville where all the space research is going on. The “football division and everything else” is in Tuscaloosa.
Once I was checked into the system things just flowed. Everyone was so kind and encouraging. That means so much when you are uncertain and worried. After going through triage one of the Dr’s pupils entered to do an assessment. Everyone is so young!
I had copies of my lab reports “just in case”. I have to say after I researched those reports on line I felt much more assured. The Dr arrived and checked where the growth was removed and felt my lymph nodes. The growth was small at 1.55mm, but it was over the 1mm threshold of not spreading. He explained the procedure I’m to undergo which is to inject dye and then remove more of the skin from where the growth was taken out to do further testing for melanoma. The dye will be traced to the nearest lymph nodes which will be x-rayed and biopsied as needed. This is the course of action I had read about on line. The Dr told me this was caught early enough I had a great chance the cancer had not spread and if it did he did not think it could have progressed far. Surgery is scheduled for Thursday the 2nd.
There is another screening process for surgery. I lucked out and was able to get a slot that afternoon which saved me an added drive to Birmingham.
When I had my blood pressure done again it was down to a more normal 115 over I forget but that number was good! There is such a protocol to go through. I have never had an operation where I have been totally out. I made sure it was documented I have caps on my front teeth. Aunt Fran had one of her teeth broken off during an operation for kidney stones, but we are going back to the very early 1960’s.
I had my last nurse practitioner laughing telling mom and my GP Dr’s stories. Being an army nurse mom only took us kids to see the doctor for life or death situations. The NP said that is what her kids tell her! I also told her how I had to explain to my GP that when I start to get that white fungus or whatever on my toenails, I just apply Vicks Vapo Rub and it clears up almost instantly. She was laughing as I said how good it makes your feet feel and smell.
Speaking of my GP, when this is all over and done with I’m going to send him a letter of thanks. Basically he saved my life. It was through his insistence at my first physical with him that I went back to my dermatologist. He explained that flaking skin on my scalp was not just dandruff but instead actinic keratosis. I had written that annoying flaking skin off to being annoying dandruff and not pre cancerous skin growths.
It was through my yearly dermatology examination this melanoma was diagnosed. It is hard for me to imagine how my life has changed in only two weeks. There is a down side in that after the surgery I’ll be limited for a while physically. This will drive me crazy as I have a lot of bricks to move!! But I need to follow doctor’s orders so when I tell people, “Let me show you my incisions” they are looking at something pretty!!

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.