chapter 24: Dr. M

on june 17th, one month and 5 days after my brain hemorrhage, i went back to UCLA.  this time it was to see Dr. M.  he’d come highly recommended by Dr. B, himself also a UCLA head carver.

i signed in at the front desk, took a clipboard back to my seat, and started writing down all the pertinent information…and waited…and waited.  and waited.

and when all was said and done,

i waited.

fortunately for me, i was starving.  because i’d run out of time to eat before i left for my appointment.  because i’d gotten out of bed too late.  because i’d gone to sleep too late.  because i have a problem with that.  which is what started my eye pain in the first place.  which is what led to my hemorrhage.  which is what brought me to UCLA–

starving.

so i’d hurried into the cafeteria before i went up to Neurosurgery.

i went for a Chinese dish.

sweet n’ sour chicken.

fried rice.

styrofoam box.

and a bunch o’ water.

i ate during my form-filling.  gave me something to do while i answered the tough questions.  you know, “name:  wade;” “problem:  brain lesion;”  “heart problems:  no'”  “currently breast-feeding:  no;”  5 pages of boredom.  these doctors offices…i wish they’d make it fun, like maybe trivia questions along the way, with the answers on the back.  they could get those kids playsheets from Captain D’s.  or cut the back off of Cap’n Crunch.

moving on…

i finally made it into a room.  to wait.  with much more chicken in my plate than in my stomach.  so i ate.  and ate.  this to-go lunch was huge.  way “to-go,” UCLA cafeteria:  nice portions.  plus an eggroll.  i dined forever.  in my mind, a maitre d’ brought me a choice of wines.  there was bread before the meal.  and i loved the bevy of sweet delights that i nibbled on after the spumoni cleansed my palate.

i checked twice with the nursing staff to ensure that the doctor hadn’t retired while i was waiting.  whatever he did during those years, i hope his Christmases were terrific and he aged well.  i wouldn’t know–i’d never seen him before.

good thing chicken is so satiating.  –what seemed like a lifetime after my digestion was complete, Dr. M finally walked in.

i started to tell him my story.  at some point, he interrupted.  “look, i should tell you, we only have 10 minutes here, so you might wanna keep it concise.”  i laid it on him in 8 minutes.  he had 120 seconds to tell me this:

upon viewing my images, Dr. M concluded that i needed an angiogram.  which, as it turned out, involved the catheter going AROUND my heart, rather than through it.  that was great news.  but from there, it would be fed up into and out of my carotid artery.  and then into my BRAIN.  i’d wanted to avoid such an intrusive procedure when Dr. G had mentioned it at the beginning of my medical meetings.  but Dr. M changed my perspective:  “the more we can know about whatever you have in there, the better off we are.  this test may be able to shed light on your issue, instead of us waiting ’til you’re on the operating table.  the more we know before the surgery, the better prepared we can be.”  suddenly, i actually wanted them to do it.  he continued:  “i want to further review your images with my radiologists just to confirm, but i’m 65% sure we’ll be doing the angiogram.  someone should call you in about a week to schedule it.”

and that was it.  short and sweet.  with Chinese food.  and i still had a voucher for a Powerade.  benefits of the combo deal.  once again, nicely done, UCLA cafeteria.  after a detour to pick up my bright red bottled energy drink, i made the trek back to Toluca Lake.  at home, the piggies wanted to know how things went.  i told ’em.  Sneakers seemed interested.  Milly kept me busy fielding questions.  but then i realized that Pumba had quietly guzzled my Powerade.  i’d been had.  i shoulda known something was up when Milly started asking about brain surgery.  she’s always been more into podiatry.  probably because of her height.

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