Saturday, May 09, 2009

I'm an episode of "House"

Thursday, during one of my frequent naps, the hospital called and left a message saying that a doctor would like to talk to me about the chest x-rays I had Tuesday.

When a radiologist sees something on a chest x-ray, it's usually either pneumonia or lung cancer. I had to call back five times before someone even answered the phone, but the man who did speak to me said the doctor was busy but would definitely call me back. I've never wished so hard that I had pneumonia - although, having never smoked a single cigarette, the chances of lung cancer were tiny.

The doctor called me back not long after and told me that the radiologist thought my spleen was prominent (meaning swollen). He and I chatted a bit about my illness and experience on Tuesday, and he was shocked that no one at the hospital either examined me or took blood samples for testing. No one even bothered to fill in my chart - but, finally, I'd spoken with a sensible physician. He told me to come in Friday morning for more tests and he requisitioned blood work and an abdominal ultrasound.

My work was done through the emergency room, and the doctor there was brief but also sensible. I arrived at 8:00 a.m. and had the blood taken about half an hour later. I waited until 11:30 for the ultrasound, but that gave time for the blood lab work to finish.

My emergency doc was just about to discharge me when he noticed that my lymphocytes were high, so he backtracked and called in hematology. As this drop-dead-gorgeous Vietnamese hematology resident interviewed me, Elvi walked in. The resident palpated various parts of me while Elvi watched. Hot!

The hematology resident wanted her boss to look at me too, but they had a bone marrow biopsy to do first so I had some time to kill, fortunately with Elvi. We went across the street and had some pho.

Elvi had gone to get the kids before I met the hematologists so I had to face them alone. They felt me again (woohoo!) and told me both my spleen and liver were enlarged. We talked about what could be causing this, and the doctor pointed out that my lymphocytes were normal at my check-up in February, so whatever this is, it's likely acute and not chronic.

But what it is is still up in the air. The last battery of blood tests I had before leaving the hospital will test for hepatitis (and HIV, as a matter of standard procedure). We'll get the results of that Monday and I'm going in to see the hematologist again on Tuesday.

Her last words to me were to spend the weekend listening to my body, which isn't a problem since it's screaming so loudly. I spent ten hours at the hospital yesterday, but ironically it was the best I'd felt over the course of a day in a while. Today, I'm getting a bit of a sore throat and the enlarged organs are uncomfortable.

Bonus discussion of "ironic":

Smart-asses know that Alanis Morissette, in her song "Ironic", calls many situations ironic when they have nothing to do with irony. But what if the title and content of the song are what is meant to be ironic? A sort of meta-irony, I suppose. Then again, who really cares?


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